Matt Cutts the head of Google’s spam fighting team recently said on Twitter that they were planning a small change to the Google algo to remove many of the sites that are sitting high in Google’s pages that have keyword matching domains and low quality content.
The problem is that when Google changes their algorithms it isn’t just the people they target who suffers. Sites with lots of content which readers love can still be penalized and sent flying far out of the SERPS.
Google Sniper was an affiliate marketing method where sites were built around a product and matching long tail keywords that had little competition. Part of this method was to have the domain name the same as the keyword. This would help the site to rank on the first page of Google and the site owner to start earning money from free traffic visiting the site looking for that product.
For example, Amazon sells virtually everything, if you chose a specific product like this drinks chiller…
Which has a high purchase price, you get paid a percentage of any sales you make so if you sell higher priced items you make more money. To get sales for free, people would create a mini website that has an Exact Matched Domain (EMD) like www.HuskyBudweiserDrinksChiller.com or www.HuskyBudweiserDrinksChillerReview.com and fill the mini site with a few pages and videos with information about the chiller with a slight leaning to why you should buy the item.
The site would include affiliate links to the product on Amazon or wherever the chosen product is being sold from. When someone came to the site and then clicked through the link and bought the item the site owner would get a percentage of the sale.
As Google is based around people searching it is safe to assume that people who find the site were looking for information and details about this specific product. It stands to reason, try it, go to Google and type in ‘Batman’ I know you will not get any websites in the search results that are all about the ‘Husky Budweiser Drinks Chiller’
These sites follow different rules, they are created only if there are enough people searching for the chosen item. Or If there is very little competition that will allow the site to rank high quickly with little effort and only if the first page of Google is not filled with big sites like Amazon or Wikipedia.
They also have a main keyword and several relevant matching keywords strategically placed throughout the site, some are bold, some are underlined and they are a common theme throughout the site. As you can see on this example that had affiliate links sending the reader to a product that helped people cure their panic attacks.
The problem with these sites is that they are thin, they are based around only one item and they serve no other purpose but hang around on the first page of Google sucking affiliate commissions. Google does not like this, they want their search results to give the best sites to Google users. So they are clamping down on these sniper sites and trying to get rid of them.
The main objection is this, what if people who are searching for information on products like this “drinks chiller” find all that they need on these “thin” sites? Hasn’t that site fulfilled what Google wants? Hasn’t the Google user got the information that they wanted to help them make that decision? What if that user is happy?
Is Google justified in dictating that these sites are no good if other people find them useful?
Google is happy to give you their results and affiliate links to products that they will be paid for but as for you, they don’t want you to make money from their search results, a bit double standard? A bit Evil Empire minded? Maybe, but that I am afraid is where the future is heading.
What are your thoughts?