SEO Tip of the Week: Onsite Trust Optimisation: Affiliate avoidance checklist

TAGs: 90 Digital, Google, nick garner, SEO Tip of the Week, Tip of the Week, trust optimization, Video

90 Digital CEO Nick Garner talks about affiliate avoidance checklist in this edition of’s SEO Tip of the Week.

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Short intro to Trust Optimization.

Along with on site optimization and link acquisition, there seems to be a third element to ranking well on Google, it’s called Trust Optimization. Trust Optimization is based on the information we have got from anecdotal evidence on click through rates and rankings along with explicit guidelines from Google stating what they are looking for in a trusted website.  On with the post…

In this series we’ve talked a lot about simple things to avoid like deceptive pages or whatever.

To help you recap, here is a list of the sort of things Google quality rater guidelines talks about if they give you a really low Trust Rating:

• Harmful or malicious pages or websites.

• True lack of purpose pages or websites.

• Deceptive pages or websites.

• Pages or websites which are created to make money with little to no attempt to help users.

• Pages with extremely low or lowest quality MC.

• Pages on YMYL websites with completely inadequate or no website information.

• Pages on abandoned, hacked, or defaced websites.

• Pages or websites created with no expertise or pages which are highly untrustworthy, unreliable, unauthoritative, inaccurate, or misleading.”

Does this list feel like so many affiliate sites?

If you’re an iGaming affiliate, there is always a temptation to just knock out another website in the hope that little site might get a few dollars in each month.  Build a few hundred websites and that’s a few thousand dollars income.

Some years back, this was a good model for an iGaming affiliate.  Just keep knocking out those sites.


Of course for users, it was like watching your lavatory overflow…The internet was filling up with junk websites that Google found for you in its search results.  Good times for affiliates,  bad times for everyone else.

Reading this list reminds me of so many sites I’ll be glad to never see again.

Today, if you talk to an affiliate or an operator they will tell you how tough times really are.

To give you an idea of the ratio between winners and losers, I checked out a medium-sized operator  using Majestic the backlink tool.  By identifying the affiliate link footprint, I could see how many different domains had affiliate URL’s, therefore live affiliate banners or text links on their sites.

Out of a list of 2,500 or so domains, one hundred and forty we’re visible on Google’s search index according to SEMRUSH,  a tool for looking at rnakings for sites. That’s a ratio of 1 in 17 domains with some reasonable presence on the search results.

Why? Because most affiliate sites have no true purpose other than to get you to click on a banner .

They are relatively deceptive, they have low quality content and the pages are often created with no real expertise and are untrustworthy.

Of course it doesn’t have to be this way. Affiliate sites have a purpose and serve the user in a helpful way if they focus  on helping the user make a buying decision that is best for them.

In other words, instead of just loading up a site with the right text and ramming a ton of links into it,  you could actually think about what the user would want and aim to be trustworthy.

If a user trusts you, your engagement metrics go up and so will your rankings.


Nick Garner


Nick Garner is  founder of 90 Digital, the well-known and respected iGaming search marketing agency.  

Nick is obsessed with SEO and whatever it takes to rank sustainably on Google.


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