Affiliate websites fall into two SEO categories – the good and the bad. Sadly the vast majority fall into the latter group. Google doesn’t hate affiliate websites by any means; it just hates low quality sites.

However, the reason it looks like it hates affiliate sites is that the vast majority of these sites are, in a word, crap! Fortunately, like most things in the world of marketing, there are a few common traits that infect most of these poor quality websites – so let’s take a look at those:

Affilliate-1 Why Google 'Hates' Affiliate Sites - The Shortcomings That Cause SEO Problems

Offer Sites

The world of affiliate sites used to be about large pay outs for specific deals. This resulted in a lot of sites based around mobile phone deals, wine club offers and so forth. However, the reality was that it resulted in sites focused solely around their offer, with little or no legitimate content, and just a load of empty content around what was being sold. Google rewards content that is in-depth and with its Panda update began to punish empty content that was sparse on quality. Nowadays it’s SEO101, but still a lot of affiliates don’t follow through and wonder what went wrong.

The Takeaway:

Content first, affiliate links second – not the other way around.


The old adage about putting all your eggs in one basket rings very true for the affiliate marketing sites. For example, sites that focus all of their efforts on making money from AdSense can end up having quite the shock when something happens without warning. However, through using diversification tactics you can not only earn more from your site, but also create a buffer if things go wrong. For example, if your site earns money from AdSense alone, then why not add some affiliate links to a service or product offered in your area. Alternatively, why not allow for private advertising on the site within Google guidelines?

Of course, these are just examples.

The Takeaway:

Avoid putting all your efforts into one area alone

Links are Natural

The World Wide Web is based on links and even though it can be hard to get them for your site, don’t get a chip on your shoulder. There are a lot of link curmudgeons in the world and it doesn’t need another. Link freely and don’t act like a spoiled child who won’t link to others because people wouldn’t link to you. Linking freely helps customers and also is the most natural thing on the web and you won’t be punished for it.

Even from a Google perspective, it’s a little unnatural unless you’re Wikipedia or some authority site. We need links, like we need friends, so link freely to government, informational and also non-competitive commercial sites.

The Takeaway:

Don’t be a link curmudgeon – it helps nobody

Community Matters

If you can build up a large amount of traffic independent from Google and its constant changes, then you’re onto a winner. If you can build forums, social media and even email lists and get traffic from them, then you’re onto something big and have built a form of traffic to weather a lot of storms.

The Takeaway:  

Communities create Traffic outside of Google

Domain Mentions are Better Than None at All

Doing things that get you into the press and get people talking and writing about you as an affiliate or a company is great and of notable benefit to your business on numerous levels. Don’t be like an SEO here, remember, a mention on a big site can often be just as beneficial as the link itself and if there’s no link, just remember – a brand mention is better than no mention.

The Takeaway:

Any publicity is good publicity

Use Structured Data

There are a number of arguments for using structured data and this will increasingly be the case, particularly as Google’s algorithm will focus more on it. These XML markups and microdata tags give Google a better understanding of your site. It’s simple really, rich snippets are more enticing to click on – so make sure you utilise them, particularly with author markup.

The Takeaway:

New content and marked up content are best

These tips may seem like common sense to many, however they’re still common mistakes that people make again and again.