This is a guest post by Matt Carter of Matts Marketing Blog.
In business, whether in the real world or the digital world, success requires a certain amount of adaptability when game-changing events occur.
This was amply displayed recently in the digital world by the earth shattering effects of Google's Panda update in the SEO community and its follow up buddy, Penguin.
Only a few people who did Affiliate Marketing and other internet related marketing strategies were left unaffected - the rest suffered.
Reasons for Affiliate Marketing failure
Arguably the biggest contributor to the downfall of many internet marketing sites, including Affiliate Marketing pages, is the inferior quality of the site.
Google users (searchers) did not appreciate spammers or misleading links that took them to places that were only interested in selling without informing.
As a result, Google took steps that absolutely shredded any site it deemed to be of low quality. There was some collateral damage of course, and this put the fear of god in the entire SEO community.
So now people are less crass about what they put into their sites and how they get traffic.
Other factors also played into the destruction of many marketing strategies such as a lack of diversity in ways of attracting traffic.
Relying only on Google for visitors placed many marketers in vulnerable positions, which they came to understand very clearly when the search engine giant eradicated them from the search results.
How to avoid Google's slaps
Now that you know what can drag you down, we need to discover what techniques can propel you up. Fortunately, they are not that difficult to find, though that doesn’t stop a lot of people from missing them.
Perhaps it has to do with the sheer simplicity that makes them easy to overlook. Keep in mind, though, that simple does not necessarily mean easy, and easy is exactly what some of these are not.
Diversity of traffic sources
If the lack of diversity in traffic sources is what makes for a failing internet marketing strategy, it only makes sense to remedy this by getting traffic from as many different sources as possible.
These can include social networks, forums, email interactions, guest blogging and even commenting on other blogs and sites. Whatever the case, never think that only one source of traffic will serve your cause effectively.
If you’re relying on search engine traffic for the majority of your visitors then start now to look for alternative sources.
Developing good content is another (ultimately the most powerful) way you can keep Google off your back and retain customer trust.
It really isn’t that difficult as your sole objective is to provide adequate reading material that is informative and has everything to do with the affiliate link that you’re trying to send your visitors to.
The way you construct the content will also give you the opportunity to entice readers and make them interested enough to click through to your merchant’s sales page.
Make sure it's informative or educational, enabling people to do something they couldn't do before reading your article. Also, it needs to be detailed, well-researched, well-written and well-structured.
Different, unique products
Another step you can take is by moving out of the norm and offering visitors products that they might need but few or no others are offering.
This is one of those concepts that is simple enough in principle, but is far from easy to implement. Not everyone has the ability to think of a new idea that hasn't occurred to anyone else and put it into practice.
Nevertheless, it is one of the best ways to make it in the business.
As an alternative to coming up with a completely new product, see whether there’s an angle or emphasis to an existing product or service that's different and not currently being offered.
Finding a unique angle to an existing product or service is a great way to stand out without having to re-invent the wheel.
Name and reputation
Finally, you have to build a name for yourself that is so lucrative and so popular that no amount of tampering from Google can put a dent in your business.
As you can probably imagine, this can be very challenging but it is perfectly doable. It is also the best way to protect your sites from being slapped to oblivion by whatever adorable creature that Google comes up with in the future.
Seth Godin initiated the term ‘tribe’ for this, and it’s a term now used by many top marketers.
Build yourself a loyal tribe by constantly delivering high value information, delivered through an email autoresponder sequence, and you will start to reduce your reliance on the search engines for visitors.
Although search engine traffic is usually targeted and, therefore, good, you don’t want to be reliant on a single source of visitors to sustain a business.
Diversification is the route to resilience, particularly when you consider how often not just Google but all the search engines update their algorithms.