SEO affiliates were certainly hit hard by Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. Most affiliates that depended on traffic via SEO witnessed a large drop in traffic.
SEO affiliates will need to modify their strategies to take care of current and future Google algorithm updates. If you are one such SEO then you need to decipher the AIDA funnel that splits any buying process into different steps such as causing awareness, interest, desire, and finally action.
The reason this process is in the form of a funnel is because affiliates get paid when they lead visitors towards a sale. Normally, affiliates concentrate on searches that possess a clear transactional value. Any affiliate would like to rank well for leads or sales that were on the verge of closure.
However, Google’s recent updates are trying to replace affiliates with actual retailers or sellers on those very same search queries. Affiliates have found themselves with fewer good SERP positions as compared to earlier results.
Affiliates hence need to formulate a new strategy that focuses on keywords that are not truly transactional, but close enough to get them on board with retailers in search results. For instance, they may need to focus on keywords that begin with “comparison” or “reviews” followed by the product name.
These terms generally lead to websites that have ranked well during organic results by Google. Anyway, if an affiliate does manage to get a visitor that merely wants to buy rather than get information on a product then the visitor may bounce away quickly since he or she may actually want to purchase instead of getting information. If the buyer is in the information stage then the affiliate SEO strategy will work well since it will provide the necessary information to the prospective buyer and provide links to sellers.
Hence, affiliates need to rethink their chosen keywords and may actually find this strategy a boon due to less competition for their preferred keywords.
Another strategy for SEO affiliates that has been endorsed by Google itself is to turn into a brand. In this strategy, you need to merely focus on creating an image of trust and building up a brand rather than focusing merely on conversions or higher traffic and impressions.
However, success with this strategy will definitely take a long time since you will need to be in the market for a long time to ensure sufficient visibility while you build that important trust factor. Your goal will need to be such that over time users start to actually search for you as a brand.
The new SEO affiliate strategy will need to provide extra benefit for searchers as well as please current and future Google updates at the same time. As a SEO, you can combine both the above strategies or can use them independently as you try to stay one step ahead of Google’s changing search strategies.