Affiliate marketers who continually post up, “thin content,” are in danger of earning themselves a penalty from Google.

That’s the word from Chris Nelson, the head of Google’s search quality team in a posting on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

The warning came in response to, what Nelson says, is an uptick in scraped and other weak content from adult affiliate sites.Though he mentions sites that, “…display content provided by an affiliate program—the same content that is available across hundreds or even thousands of other sites,” he doesn’t call out any programs in particular.

So how can affiliates, adult and otherwise stay ahead of this Google warning? Nelson helpfully provided the following question matrix:

Does this site provide significant added benefits that would make a user want to visit this site in search results instead of the original source of the content?” If the answer is ‘No,’ the site may frustrate searchers and violate our quality guidelines.

Over at SearchEngineLand.com, SEO expert Barry Schwartz predicts that the entire adult affiliate industry could be in line for a punishment of some kind from Google, just so everyone knows they’re serious.

Though casino, poker and sports betting affiliates aren’t mentioned by name, it seems pretty safe to assume that Google will be keeping a close eye on their sites, too.

If you’ve been following SEO developments over the past year or so, you know that Google is getting very serious about enforcing its, quality content agenda and is moving towards a post-SEO world.


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