Post-Panda Link Building for Affiliate Websites in 2012

Impact of the German Panda update

Does link building for affiliates work at all after the numerous Panda updates? You may ask yourself these days this question.

A few weeks ago Jason Acidre of Kaiserthesage asked me to provide answers to two questions about link building for affiliate websites for a group interview on that topic. I had so many things going on that I forgot about it until it was too late. My answers remained unpublished. My insights were quite unique I think and weren’t addressed by the other experts I decided to publish them here on SEO 2.0

Jason asked:

1. What are the types of links that affiliate marketers should be focusing on building to their affiliate sites this year?

One of my main clients is basically an affiliate site. It’s one of the oldest and largest coupon sites in Germany. It has been hit by a penalty even before Panda was rolled out in 2011 on August 12th. They hired me and then I made them change their focus. In the past they were focusing on low quality anchor text rich text links from websites. So it was the old school SEO link building that has worked for almost a decade. I laid out a new SEO strategy with the following links in mind:

  1. authority editorial links from highly respected, old and reliable domains ideally
  2. branded links consisting of or containing the URL or brand in the anchor text
  3. social media links from blogs, social sites like Twitter, Google+ or public Facebook profiles
  4. diverse natural links from real people without perfect anchor texts, including “nofollow” links

We were out of the penalty within a few weeks and when the Panda high quality update was rolled out in Germany we ended up as one of the biggest winners both in our industry and in general as noted by third party analytics tool vendors and the tech press. The combination of

  • authority
  • branded
  • social
  • natural

links was crucial IMHO. In 2012 I would focus even more on the social media and blogger outreach.

2. Let’s say you have an affiliate site, how would you build links to your product review(s)?
There are at least two great ways to build link for affiliate sites. Either writing reviews of such high quality by themselves that they are really worth being linked to or you have to provide incentives to link to them.

 

Examples:

 

  • One of my favorite examples is the Amazon infographic that was published by Frugal Dad: http://frugaldad.com/amazon/
    It garnered lots of authority links and was a blockbuster on social media.
  • Some renowned SEO bloggers like Aaron Wall managed to write such comprehensive reviews that they don’t need to add more compelling content. Just search for [review] on site:seobook.com and you will see what I mean. Of course his blog is already an authority so it makes it easier to get links.
  • For blogs that don’t have a following yet I do contests where other bloggers who take part can win prizes related to the review, ideally the product itself.
  • I do a lot of Influencer and press outreach. Whoever mentions products we’re an affiliate of and doesn’t sell them as well is a potential linker.

 

There are a lot more link building techniques I use, some traditional ones among them and some more creative ones as well it would take longer to explain. Maybe I’ll follow up with another post on that topic.

Don’t forget one thing though, your affiliate site has to offer even more value than the company that originally sells the products. As my client runs a coupon site the value is partly there but we had to improve the site a lot as well content-wise.

Always think about the things the manufacturer itself can’t offer, even negative reviews are a unique selling proposition here. How do you approach link building for affiliate sites post-Panda?