As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have
shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically-generated webpages
that often contain product data feeds
provided by merchants. The goal of such webpages is to manipulate the relevancy
or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as
Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of
specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine
Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to
provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users.
PageRank algorithm update ("BigDaddy") in February 2006—the final stage of
Google's major update ("Jagger") that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically
targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to
remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links are regarded negatively as they
do not offer quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google,
where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".
Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within
the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To
avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality
content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of
banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
Affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within
the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining
to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's
Internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be
appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an
affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the
context of the articles and information about sports. The goal is to publish
quality information within the website and provide context-oriented links to
related merchant's websites.