Comment on Making Money Through Affiliate Marketing by SEO Dave.
I’m an SEO consultant with a LOT of affiliate marketing experience so know what Google like/hates when it comes to affiliate content because I’ve tried pretty much every permutation of affiliate based content.
Google hates thin affiliate based content: This is affiliate content that anyone can get hold of and put on their sites, the best example is datafeeds like Amazons affiliate XML feed. With this you can create enormous (million page) sites with little effort. At the other end of this thin affiliate scale is using the affiliates marketing content one page at a time verbatim as your content (like copying a Clickbank sales page).
The problem with this type of content from Google’s point of view is they can get the exact same content from the affiliates website, why use your copy of Amazon’s site when Google can index Amazon.com etc…, basically there’s no added value to a copy of an affiliates content so Google tends to penalise it all (will still spider and index it, but it won’t rank well long term).
What Google likes is unique content, so when promoting affiliate products create your own content (it is that simple).
You could for example take a couple of hundred Amazon affiliate products and write a review on each of them and combine this with some of the affiliates content (fifty-fifty sort of ratio), add this to a site and as long as those reviews are unique (copying them from Amazon isn’t unique : tried that :)) Google will index and rank that content based just like any other content (it’s no longer thin content).
The problem with the above is to do well with a program like Amazon is you have to make a LOT of sales (you only get 4-10% of the affiliate revenue).
To make a lot of sales, you either need some really good traffic SERPs on some very important high value products (lots of traffic to a small number of products) or have a load of product pages and gain a lot of very easy SERPs, the long tail SERPs.
Unless you have a lot of free time (or you don’t value your time) it’s not worth doing this with programs like Amazon, you sell $500 worth of products and get just $25 is a rip off when you have to do a lot of work for it!
On the other hand with programs like Clickbank $500 in sales can get you over $250 as your share. As you can see from my revenue report above I made over $600 from Clickbank last month and most of it was from three product pages (so sold over $1,200 in Clickbank products with a 50% revenue share)!
Had I got similar sales figures from Amazon products I’d have made around $60. Not bad for a few pages I suppose, but I’ve got these pages to PR4s and PR5s so put a fair amount of SEO effort into them ($60 from several PR4/PR5 pages a month isn’t a good return).
I have to say if you can find some good Clickbank products to promote they can have a better return than selling real products (like cell phones for example) on your own online store! I owned an online store and I wasn’t making 50% profit on my sales.