Have you ever considered whether your marketing methods are the right ones to use? Perhaps you’ve been using affiliate marketing successfully for many years now and believe ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’. But as with most areas of life, with experience can come complacency and sometimes the most basic (and often important) details can go unchecked.

One of the most basic things you need to be successful at affiliate marketing is an account in good standing, and vitally not a frozen one!

With this in mind, can you afford not to spend five minutes digesting the content of this article to ensure your account is not put at risk by what we consider to be poor quality traffic?

Don’t get stung by an affiliate account freeze. Read on to ensure you are aware of our policies surrounding poor quality traffic.

What could be classed as poor quality traffic?

Ask yourself an important question. Do you do any of the following?

  • Use paid to surf traffic
  • Use free to surf traffic
  • Use traffic exchange networks
  • Directly link to merchants websites

If so, your MoreNiche account could be at risk.

Paid/free to surf and traffic exchange networks are potentially damaging to your account

This type of traffic is at best useless and at worst expensive from an affiliates perspective. Not only could it cost you money in fees for the traffic itself, it could even cost you your affiliate account. We regularly freeze affiliates using traffic generation methods such as these.

Traffic from these sources will be random, non targeted and will be very unlikely to convert. Think about it, if you are selling diet pills, the only visitors you want to be paying for are those actively interested in weight loss. Think Google Adwords with highly related keywords, not randomly generated traffic or possibly even bots visiting your site.

Even with free to surf traffic, thousands of unrelated visitors to your site will cost you dearly. Remember, hoards of traffic slows a website down unless expensive hosting is paid for. If you don’t get better hosting, this extra traffic could cost you quality visitors who actually want to use your site for genuine reasons. This type of traffic really is a double-edged sword.

Work smartly. Don’t weigh down your site with this useless traffic!

Direct linking to merchant’s sites is not allowed

The very reason our most successful affiliates do so well is due to their ability to pre-sell a product before referring ‘qualified’ visitors on to our merchants websites to make that vital sale.

We see it time and time again. Our highest earning affiliates are those who make the best case on their own website for the visitor to need the merchant’s product. With the right website, the visitor is already chomping at the bit and desperate to order the item before they even see the merchant’s website. This is the key to long term affiliate success with our merchants.

Affiliates who directly link to the merchant’s website completely bypass this all important qualifying stage. They use whichever traffic method they can to drive hits directly to the merchant’s website. This can have huge implications for both merchant and affiliate. Merchants websites are slowed down by large amounts of unqualified poor quality traffic and if we spot this happening, your account is at risk of being frozen in order to protect our merchants interests.

Poor quality traffic can cost you (or our merchants) money!

All traffic (good and bad) costs webmasters in one way or another.

The more traffic you have, the better your hosting plan has to be. Better hosting costs more money. Whether you’re an affiliate or a merchant, you need to be ensuring that if you’re paying for traffic, that traffic needs to be as targeted as possible.

Merchants sites often receive thousands of visits a day, and if just one affiliate is increasing that number by sending traffic which is essentially useless, we cannot simply ignore it. It is for this reason we have to protect our merchants interests by ensuring the traffic sent to their websites is of good quality and that the visitors are interested in making a purchase before they even get there.

The warning signs of poor quality traffic

There are various ways by which we can spot poor quality traffic from affiliates. We can see from an affiliate’s transaction report their referral url, whether they are directly linking to the merchant’s site and also how well their traffic converts. We check our stats on a daily basis, and each day we freeze several non compliant affiliate accounts.
Declining Stats

If we spot that you are sending thousands of unique hits directly to a merchant’s site, we will take immediate action. In most instances you will be sent a warning email which will give you 24 hours to stop all such traffic from reaching the merchant’s site, and should you fail to do so your account will be frozen until this has stopped. In extreme circumstances there may be no warning at all, hence the importance of abiding by our terms and conditions for all your affiliate websites.

There is a better way!

Build a website and build a brand.

It’s a fact that our most successful affiliates all have several things in common.

They all own highly relevant websites. They build a brand (and a name for themselves) to ensure their website becomes an authority on the subject they talk about. They treat their affiliate website with the same level of importance as a bricks and mortar business. This is without a doubt the best way to build a sustainable affiliate income.

Many work hard to get their website ranked well in Google for highly relevant search terms. Because they understand their affiliate website should be run like a business, they don’t take risks with black hat SEO or dodgy traffic exchange websites. They understand the importance of the need for the visitors to their site to actually want or need the product they are trying to promote and they concentrate on white hat SEO to get their site seen by the right people.

This isn’t to say that successful affiliates don’t still purchase traffic to speed up the process. Many use good quality PPC or social campaigns to direct traffic towards their own sites, and this can be a great way to faster profits.

Conclusion

Auto-generated traffic is full of false promises. Remember that old saying, ‘If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is’. It’s relevant to so many situations, including this one. Ignore it at your peril; it could cost you your account!

If you’re unsure whether or not poor quality traffic could be an issue for you, ask yourself honestly; if you pay for traffic, do you know for certain that all traffic from that source is interested in the product you are promoting?

Is your website ethical? Check it doesn’t offer false promises/claims. Does it exist for the sole purpose of helping the visitor to decide whether to buy the product or not? Remember, Google always favours websites which are genuinely helpful to the visitor in the long term, so this is much better for SEO.

Add content which is unique, factual and helpful. The longer a visitor remains on your site, the more valuable Google will realise your content is and the better it will rank. When linking to a merchant site, set the link to open in a new window to ensure the visitor is not lost in the transfer, and make your website easy to navigate to encourage visitors to view other pages while they’re on your site. This will significantly lower your bounce rate (again, a great indicator for Google that your website has what it takes to deserve to rank higher in the search results!).

Remember, build your site for your end user and take the time to learn white hat SEO. Moz is a great learning resource for this.

If you have funds available to spend on paid to surf traffic, spend it on a carefully planned PPC campaign instead. – Don’t brand match bid (we don’t allow this). Go for long tail keywords to reduce spending and ensure you split test/set up conversion tracking so you can check where your money is best spent and make changes accordingly when needed.

Above all, always avoid any kind of auto-generated traffic methods. They are almost always bad news for your profits, your website and your affiliate account.
If you are unsure about anything mentioned here, or are worried that your account may be at risk due to issues raised, pop an email over to compliance at sally.harwood@moreniche.com to work through any problems with our compliance team. We will be happy to assist those willing to make positive changes to keep their account in good standing.