I am seeing the kind of traffic I used to get a few years ago after pages have been moved to niche sites but I'm getting a fraction of the Amazon income. There are a lot of factors involved but a main suspect for a significant part of this issue this has to be the replacement of Amazon capsules with text links.
Readers have no idea where these links lead and no incentive to click them.
I cannot look at this issue in any detail myself (unless someone has a clever suggestion) but HP could check out text links vs Amazon capsules with an AB test in analytics or by using virtual pageviews or 'events'.
I reckon it is worth doing partly for the sake of recovering the income and partly because many readers will see these links as deceptive and therefore spammy. I know that I do.
Also, if the links are not being used they become a good reason to attract a Google slap. No reader interaction with a page element= the element is self serving. Self serving affiliate links are bad news.
I agree; text links are suspicious to me, and I will not touch them. I thought part of the reason for the Squidoo acquisition was to obtain their cunning "buy it now" technology that evaded ad blockers. However, I am enjoying some tasty pageviews.... I don't know what the answer is. Maybe they can experiment with a niche other than Pethelpful. lol
Some people say text links for sales are effective, others say they are not. A reputable Hubber once said she has had little luck with text links for making sales but has had success with the ads that are images with the Buy Now thing. Logically, it makes sense to me that an image ad would be more effective, because the tendency seems to be that people buy something that's "in their face". A text link just looks like a link, could go ignored and probably people don't appreciate clicking a link in text only to be taken over to Amazon.
However, once the ads got snipped from my Hubs that were transferred I just left the Hubs that way, with no Amazon ads; I figured it was HPs way of saying they want to seriously cut down on Amazon ads.
Although, I have to say whether the ad is a text link or an image, either way it always has a spammy quality to me; especially considering how some articles on rev-share sites have been just plastered full of Amazon capsules. Not to offend any ex-squids, but it's the reason I never trusted Squidoo. I used to see lenses over there just covered with Amazon ads.
However, I have to say, some of my Hubs make a little money from Amazon ads and those are among the ones who had those ads snipped. In fact, those Hubs were the main way I made any kind of money from Amazon at all.
Without real data it is hard to know what we talking about but it might be worth running through the advantages of text links vs capsules.
cannot be adblocked
do not bring unwanted, keyword heavy, duplicate content onto the page
are completely in the control of the writer (or whoever messes with the writers work)
are easy for newbies to use but hard for newbies to find (big plus, keep the newbies away from from affiliate links)
honest ads, no deception involved, if a reader clicks them, they know what to expect
only spammy if misused by the writer
use an image which delivers info, as well as temptation
I reckon it is best to get rid of Amazon capsules altogether, as they stand. Use a capsule where writers can generate a text link and add a small photo if they wish. A clear 'Buy from Amazon' message should be included every time.
As Solaras intimates, no harm in experimenting on a niche nobody cares about like 'rantboxie'.
You could probably say something that tells users the link points to Amazon maybe? That would make more people trust you and know where the links take them. Let's say XYZ is linked. You could say soemthing such as: You could check out XYZ on Amazon / buy XYZ on Amazon / You're going to need XYZ for this project which is available on Amazon and so on.
What I learnt from my sites:
Text links - fewer clicks, but higher conversion rates.
Image links - Not that great
Image with a buy now below - Most clicks and high conversions
On the whole an image with a buy now button below gets me the most sales, eventhough the conversion rate is lower than just plain text links.
If the text links on HP are not being blocked, they could simply create a button below on image capsule and text link a regular HTML button - not the amazon buy now (I don't use that).
Any kind of, honestly labelled ad, free from keyword stuffing and with a small image would be fine.
Paul Edmondson seems to agree with you about the text links by the way. His page, 'https://holidappy.com/gift-ideas/Gifts-for-8Year-Old-Girl-Ideas' uses this link to Amazon: 'a rubber-band loom (buy from Amazon). '
That is better than the editor's standard effort, but leaving the whole thing to the whim of the editors and the discretion of the seriously dis-empowered writers is not going to produce the best result.
A little testing could uncover the facts and lead to some consistency.
My traffic has more than doubled since the introduction of niche sites, and my sales have increased along with it. I don't use the text links. I don't think they are so much sneaky as they just provide poor reader experience. A savvy reader will know to look at the bottom of the screen to see the destination of a link, but I suspect most just assume, unless told otherwise, that a link takes them to another page of information, not off the site to a product.
And adding text telling the reader where the link takes them, to me, is like pitching to them or selling to them. That's something I've always tried to avoid. IMO, a good product Hub should be information with the opportunity to buy, not a pitch.
Also: The way the text links are set up through HP don't show your affiliate ID in the link. The path is some weird text. I want to be able to check and see that my affiliate ID is showing up when it should. Not that HP would do anything tricky, but mistakes happen, as they did with the launch of the first two niche sites.
I'd be interested in seeing the results of a study of text links vs capsules but it would take a heck of a lot to convince me they are superior to capsules in both conversions and user experience. If HP is concerned about spammy anchor text why not remove the product name from the capsule and just pull the image from the API?
That would be a great idea. Use the image as an image capsule with the buy option below. Just like on Wizzley. I have amazing conversion there on Wizzley. I get like 30 visits a month but at least 5 sales a month from that ID. Not bad IMO
Right. Even Amazon's own link builder gives the option of using just an image. There would still be the descriptions field for adding the product name if desired, but it wouldn't be a link and it wouldn't be the same repetitive text used around the web.
Really, it would be nice if Amazon sellers stopped creating messy, keyword-packed product titles for their listing.
Aside: I've always really liked Wizzley but never had the patience to stick to it. Every few months I start to feel like I should build up some content over there, but then I talk myself out of it.
That is interesting that you've had success with the image and the buy option below. I've recently started trying it on my own sites, experimenting - but it's only been a few months since I started using this strategy.
My traffic is going through the roof just now. Stats error maybe?
Anyway, at face value, niche and non-niche pages are performing wonderfully.
Good excuse to have a few beers. Other excuses:
Nobody tried to run me over today (rarity where I live)
Ahh that's enough....
Wouldn't it be nice to celebrate the triumph of data over strange and incomprehensible narratives?
Yeah, I was noticing a jump in traffic too.
Same here and I dont see anything special happening on Analytics real time other than the usual. But I hope it's not a bug haha.
Stats error. I think they were all exactly doubled. Mine were. Back to normal now.
Ha ha good stuff Will..good to hear from you again.
Family duties today, lol.
But still trying to get back into HP...
There are plenty of opportunities here, after all. Problem is, switching from a libertarian free-for-all to strict central committee control takes some getting used to.
Gonna try harder.
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