Being thin may have its advantages offline, but online it’s a dirty word. Google gives a rating of “offensive” to thin affiliates, the ones that simply duplicate other sites send traffic to the second site, earning affiliate commissions with no value added content or services. If a site isn’t unique or helpful and just acts as a middleman, adding nothing to the buyer’s decision process or the sales process, it is called a thin affiliate or an affiliate doorway.
What do thin affiliates do that put them on the bad side of Google…. and what Should you NOT put on your site?
Links overwhelmingly pointing to one affiliate merchant – it begs the question, why not just go there first?
Images located exclusively on another site
Pages of almost zero content that house PPC ads
Affiliate merchant data feeds
Keyword stuffing for search engine bots, with text no human could comprehend
Hidden text – such as white text on a white background, loaded up with keywords
Content or images displayed only on pop-ups
Ads displayed to look like search engine results
The bottom line is that if you are considering anything that will have the effect of looking different than it is, easily misleading someone, technically tricking search engines, or profiting on the back of someone else, forget it. You do so at your own peril and the peril of your site. This isn’t the wild west anymore. Legitimate companies base their livelihood on fair and honest dealings on the web, and those who don’t subscribe to honest practices will be left in the dust.
Karen Kari's articles and more information on the affiliate business can be found at: