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When Google AdSense and Affiliate Programs Can Hurt Your SEO

Google AdSense is a great platform. It gives publishers the opportunity to monetize their websites. Affiliate programs are also highly beneficial to publishers. If an e-commerce store is making a pivot and is waiting on products, an affiliate banner can help keep your numbers up while you're waiting for a new vendor. However, there are a couple of situations that you need to be aware of when AdSense and affiliate banners can tank your traffic.

Website Speed

When you place AdSense or an affiliate code on your website, it can potentially hurt your website speed. While leaderboard ads in the header of your website may look and seem great, this is often the first element of the code that a browser will try to load. In the day and age of responsive, dynamic ads with animations, this can be a problem for webmasters. Here are two suggestions that we make:

  • Always test your website load speed after you have placed an ad code. If it is significantly slower, we recommend moving the ad lower on the page.
  • With affiliate ads, we recommend designing your own banner and then adding the hyperlink on the image or on the button you want people to click on. While Amazon and other advertising platforms provide dynamic banners for you, your website will have to make a call to the platform in order to load the banner.

Here is a recent link in Google’s support forum where this issue is partially addressed.

Ad & Banner Relevancy

AdSense is a great platform. That being said, you might not know enough about how to control your AdSense ads to get relevant ads to appear to your website users. Let’s say that you own a boutique clothing blog and monetize it with AdSense. If a visitor comes to a blog article on leggings and they see an AdSense ad for a game to download on their smartphone, people might not trust the website. Google does have some very basic ad control settings in AdSense. However, you don’t have total control of the ads shown because Google owns the advertising space that you add on your website.

If you are going to place ads on your website, we recommend an advertising affiliate program. ShareaSale is a great affiliate marketplace. If you sign up for an affiliate program as a publisher, you can apply for and promote the merchants that you like and align with the content that you publish on your website.

Reputation and Relevancy of Your Seller

Even if you are using an affiliate program as a publisher on your website, you still want to review the reputation of the seller over time. If a seller’s customer reviews decline from 5 to 3, people will be less likely to purchase from an affiliate link on your website. Amazon native shopping ads can also be problematic. These ads tend to be dynamic in nature and might not show your visitors the most relevant product that they want to buy. We recommend having one product per page or a page of featured products and using shortened links that go directly to those products on Amazon.

Don’t Abuse Your Ad Platform

Be aware of the ad policy guidelines when running ads from any platform. For example, certain merchants on Share-a-Sale do not allow you to bid on their branded keywords. On AdSense, certain types of traffic schemes, like unwanted emails, are not allowed. While breaking the rules on an ad platform may not hurt your SEO, you could ultimately end up having that ad platform taken away.

Also, follow Google landing page guidelines when placing your AdSense banners and banners from other ad platforms. The Google “Top Heavy” algorithm has clear guidelines for ad placements and you could suffer from a penalty by having too many ads or too distracting of ads on a landing page.