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I recently discovered something very interesting after combing through one of my affiliate store's keyword stats. As you can see the site is ranking for a long tail keyword for which Amazon, Sears and other big players are at the top of results. However, what intrigued me the most was what was at the bottom of the first page results.... several wordpress and blogger sites that apparently are ranking for this keyword as well, as shown below:
This method (opening up affiliate stores on subdomains of authority sites) used to work awhile back ago but I noticed a dramatic decrease in it's effectiveness. Mainly the networks weed out these stores because they consider them to be spam. Also these types of sites offer little to no unique content but rehashed syndicated content from other sites. Google has been on a war path with this kind of system gaming. I have been opting for review sites with unique content that Google would eat up. Their algorithms have been weeding out a lot of the junk sites, which is why I find this discovery very surprising.
As you can see, the subdomain looks to have been made with a script of some sort, easy enough to create... but effective? Apparently so on some level, because there are several of them ranking for this long tail keyword. Upon clicking on the link, it is very apparent that this site was made for one reason and one reason only.. offering no value to the visitor in Google's eyes. If you click on the pages within the site, it takes you to a spartan page with one or two affiliate links....
I plan on visiting the links from within a vps so I don't compromise any of my other systems or data. I have a vps specifically set up for this sort of thing..... You just never know what you'll "catch" when you click on something... and it's getting worse all the time. I will follow up with my findings, I would like to know exactly what these sites are up to and who they belong to.... and do some reverse engineering of sorts.