This post follows on from an ongoing issue with affiliate networks being better than the actual publisher at search optimisation and at times spamming the search results with duplicate content. Google has begun the process of applying gradual penalties and progressing to complete removal from affiliates from the search index. The problem is often affiliate networks are constantly launching new domains, subdomains off existing domains faster than Google is responding.With all the recent hype around VirginBlue's Velocity Gold upgrade failure, there has been a significant uplift in search volume and it appears that some of these affiliate/automated results show the most to gain.We can see from the results shown below that Velocity ranks #1 the Fairfax OMG owned #2 CreditCards.com.au result actually has a better call to action in its result and so would likely get a reasonable amount of clicks. It is also noted that the NAB product information page does not actually feature in the first page of results and actually ranks #20 for the term "velocity gold".This poor ranking for one of their products shows that NAB needs to focus more on their online products as they are likely losing customers to affiliate networks who can often convert to sales better. As shown later in this post Banks.com.au are cross-promoting other Banks products against your product and also feature ads for competitors products such as the Qantas AMEX card.
I have removed a Google news link and a link to a forum FlyerTalk for visual purposes. But what about the remaining results and why do they all look similar? I have included the graphic of who provides the content and we can see the results are dominated by Mozo who appear to power the automated and duplicate content that is shown in the results. The final result is a Naked Communications run finance website likely operated on behalf of a client.The Mozo-powered results are purely automated results with the only difference being the website name dynamically inserted into the page title and meta description. The results look like spam and do not appear to provide a quality response to users.To show what I mean by automated/duplicate content for the Mozo-powered product I have included the pages shown above. The only slight difference between each of the pages is the website template being used with all using the same on site text content, on site images and even layout. This is not quality content this is lazy automated results spamming the search results!
What about OMG Fairfax?So lets compare the search results from OMG Fairfax and why they are similar websites why their results are better quality and more relevant. Comparing Banks.com.au and CreditCards.com.au both while the content is similar I can clearly see while the text is similar they have ensured that the page titles and meta descriptions are unique but still relevant to the search result.
The page description are included below to make it easier for you to visualise the slight differences in results.
NAB Velocity Gold Credit Card - review and compare Velocity Gold Credit Card features and apply for credit cards online.
The NAB Velocity Gold Credit Card - review the Velocity Gold Credit Card from NAB, compare features and apply for credit cards online.
Why is it not duplicate content?
So while both pages contain similar content why is CreditCards.com.au ranked higher than Banks.com.au? The CreditCard domain actually has around 20% more on site content related to the Velocity Gold Credit Card and also its domain is a more relevant for the content.
Do you agree with my analysis of the search results and do you think the issue of affiliate/automated content is increasing or just getting better quality and harder to spot?