I'm new to creating affiliate programs for website clients, and it seems to be a growing trend. This answer to this question may be really obvious, but somehow it's not clicking for me. Here's the deal:
We created an affiliate program for someone. I'll call them the "affiliate owner"
There are currently 3 affiliate account participants in their program, recommending the product.
The link that the affiliate gets is URL on the affiliate owner's website. So, if the affiliate owner's website is affiliateowner.com, then for each affiliate selling/recommending product for them would be: affilateowner.com/affiliates/thirdpartyaffiliateprogramcompanyname.php?id=1
The id=1 part is what changes for each affiliate.
Of the three affiliates, one so far uses the link in their newsletters, another uses it on their website, and the third has it on their blog, but no clicks have come from it yet.
The one that has it on their website has posted the affiliate product as a product one could buy on the affiliate participant's ecommerce site. Their site has the ability to carry products with inventory, OR show a product that looks like the others, but the link to buy it allows for the affiliate link, and the graphic button that normally says "add to cart" instead says "buy now"
It is this affiliate participant account that is now ranking in the search engines. But, it's their affiliate link ending in id=1, that is ranking for different little terms, and getting sales. While this is great for the affiliate owner to just get cash (and obviously great for the affiliate participant), it seems like:
A. Why is this link ranking in the first place? The only place it's made available online is on the affiliate participant's shop page, and even that had changed the URL a bit to work with the dynamic site.
B. Should the affiliate participant account be getting commissions on this (they currently do)? It just seems odd. I mean, this is a URL that is the affiliate OWNER's website, not the affiliate account that is just recommending it and linking to it. Are all affiliate participant links suddenly going to start ranking? Or does the affiliate participant's website have a strong SEO foundation, and they are just naturally ranking for this. Keep in mind: the ranking link does NOT lead to the affiliate participant's website. It leads directly to the affiliate owner.
I think this affiliate participant link is slowly replacing the already ranking links for the affiliate owner on several terms. I know this because I manage and grow the SEO for the owner, so I track rankings for specific terms by date and which URL is ranking to. I'm questioning now the third party affiliate program we chose to use, on why this type of link would rank and replace.
Or explained in another way:
So, I have a lot of amazon affiliate links on my blog, and I use the same affiliate link, but change the ASIN number. The link is always based at amazon, but anything bought from the link on my blog gives me the commission. However, can these links I've created also be ranking in search engines and I just never realized it? So, if a person searching for a product runs the search, gets my amazon link with my ASIN number, and when they click on it, they never see my blog, they just click on my amazon affiliate link in the search results and go straight to amazon, giving me the commission.
I hope this made sense. Kind of hard to explain when not using actual URLs.
Edited by houndog, 22 September 2009 - 11:46 AM.