Google updated its search quality evaluator guidelines back in August, placing a greater focus on the ‘E-A-T’ principles of expertise, authority and trust.

The first few weeks of the update was characterised by leading brands witnessing significant and sometimes erratic changes in their organic search visibility. Some brands saw their visibility almost wiped out entirely, only to return to normal shortly afterward. Weeks of volatility followed as Google appeared to tweak the dials on the updated algorithm.

“While the E-A-T update was a shock to many, the fact that Google hadn’t rolled it out earlier was even more surprising,” explains Sebastian Zinke, Head of Performance at Rise Project London. “It’s an incredibly logical step, as we always want to get the most relevant, genuine and authoritative result when we are searching for something.”

Thankfully things have calmed down somewhat since then, but how are things fairing for affiliates five months on?

“Previously, affiliates and even operators got away with lower quality content and link building,” continues Zinke. Now, with this update in place, he suggests affiliates focus on four main things – content, branding, link building and user experience:

  1. Content – We are all aware of this, but quality content is important. Unique and well written content on its own is not sufficient. You have to engage the user and provide content that sets you apart from the competition (more detail, different approach, etc) as well as cut content which is low quality and doesn’t drive traffic.
  2. Branding – Affiliates will have seen that more operators are ranking for competitive terms and their branding power is one of the reasons. It makes sense for affiliates to do things like moving towards a more “branded” approach, rather than a keyword-rich domain name, and thus creating an authority for their site.
  3. Link Building – As always, link building remains a key factor. Focus your outreach on quality sites that are relevant and can help you with your brand exposure.
  4. User Experience – This is far more important than it was before. Make sure the user’s expectations are met from the second they click the search engine result to clicking out to your affiliate links. This journey is particularly critical for mobile.”

For more expert insight, book your seat at AffiliateINSIDER Bootcamp, our exclusive two-day digital accelerator for igaming affiliates held on 21-22 March.