Affiliate marketing is the practice of one website publishing promotional content (such as affiliate blogs or ads) for another business’ products or services. The affiliate (who publishes the promotional content) is paid only when the content or ads on their site contribute to sales for the business partner, as opposed to ad networks, where sites are paid simply for displaying a business partner’s ads to site visitors. Affiliate-derived conversions are tracked according to a special cookie attached to web visitors who arrived via the affiliate’s site.
Affiliate marketing can be done on a site-to-business level or through an affiliate program.
Niche Content for Affiliate Marketing
Best practices for affiliate marketing content are similar to those for general content marketing in the sense that information and keywords should be carefully targeted to specific audiences. This is important for the affiliate as it makes the promotional site a credible web destination, and it’s important for both parties as it increases the likelihood of conversion from affiliate content.
SEO Implications of Affiliate Marketing
Niche, original content is also important for the SEO-friendliness of affiliate sites. Google’s rollout of Panda, especially, necessitates valuable and unique site content for rankings.
When online businesses and affiliate sites are working together through an affiliate network, there is a chance that product description, service attributes, etc, will come from a boilerplate. This may be published on the original business’ site as well as any site promoting it through affiliate content. In this case, all parties run the risk of being penalized for duplicate content.
Google suggests that any website limit the amount of affiliate content they publish, highly target it to offer site visitors value and (as with any content publisher) keep site content updated. More information on Google’s treatment of affiliate content can be found in the company’s related Webmaster Tools Help article.