A4U affiliate event

Affiliate SEO

Earlier this month, Richie and I popped along to the annual two-day A4U event in Lonnnnnnnnnnnndon to discuss all things affiliate.

(The picture above was taken on the second night at ‘The Inc’ club in the O2 arena. Yes, that is pure oxygen we are inhaling and, yes, the champagne was warm and a tad acidic!)

The event represented a great opportunity to network with all of the key players on the UK affiliate scene and Richie and I would like to say a big hello to everyone we met.

Every year, the A4U event covers all areas of affiliate marketing, yet there is often focus on a current ‘hot topic’. While last year’s event focused on voucher codes, this year saw more than a smattering of SEO discussion and I thought I’d share a few of the key points I picked up.

Link buying
I asked a few industry leading lights what their attitudes were to link acquisition and specifically to link buying and, wow, what a mixed bag of responses I received!

However, most affiliate SEO experts agreed that you should consider link buying but only as part of a broader link acquisition strategy encompassing onsite & offsite link optimisation, press release syndication, reciprocal linking, link bait, news syndication, etc. You must not forget though that buying or selling links that pass PageRank is against Google’s T&C’s and could get your site penalised or banned!

Universal search
A healthy reminder was given about the growing importance of universal search and the benefits of optimising for local/maps, pdf’s, images, videos, blogs and news returns.

Google have had a few tech challenges
Google users in the UK may have noticed a recent mix up of southern hemisphere and UK-centric search results, creating a pretty poor user experience in many cases. For example, if you search for ‘tennis court hire’ on Google UK then you get several Australian sites near the top = not good!

Google Vince update
The Vince update, which set out to clean up the “cesspool” that it is alleged the internet has become, negatively affected affiliates by demoting them whilst promoting well known brands in their place, causing many affiliates to rethink their marketing strategies.

Google affiliate PPC page decline
A recent penalty has been introduced for low quality affiliate landing pages, with those affected being suspended if they are deemed of a low quality.

Finally, here are some handy SEO tools:

Majestic SEO – The World’s largest database of backlinks.
Crazy Egg – Navigation issue diagnostics.
Link Diagnosis – Competitor link analysis.
Raven – A link acquisition management tool and useful for researching, managing and reporting on SEO and social media campaigns.

For me, the A4U search seminars just showed how much interest there is in search and how the rapid rate of development continues to keep all involved on their toes. As always, it will be interesting to see what the big topic is at next year’s A4U.