Found Good Buyer Keywords? Think Again. Google is Playing Favoritsm and Affiliates Need to Pay Attention.


Google is playing favoritsm when it comes to certain buyer keywords.

What they are doing – for those keywords – is reserving the entire first page of search results for a very specific category of website.

And if your site is not in that category – you will not get listed.

I’ve seen this change happen for a while – quietly but surely. And this favoritsm has actually become quite common over the last few weeks.

I haven’t heard anybody talk about this, but it is definitely happening.

So if you’re trying to rank for buying keywords, listen up.

Before we start, if you haven’t read my post on buying keywords, go read it now. Everything I’m writing here is based on that. So make sure you check it out first.

As a reminder, I explained the concept of a continuum of keywords, as shown below:

Find profitable keywords

The major change in search results that I’m discussing here affects specifically product keywords.

To illustrate this change, let’s take a look at the current search results for bob revolution duallie – a popular stroller.

buyer keywords search results

On the top of the search results, as usual, are Google ads. This is nothing new.

Below the regular ads, you will find the Google Shopping results. Note that Google Shopping results have been displaying on the first page for quite a while, but now stores actually need to pay to be listed. So this is also in essence – an ad.

Below the shopping results are the organic results (ie not paid).

Now this is where things get interesting – because they affect you..

The first and second listings belongs to BOB Gear – the company that makes these strollers.

Results #3-10 are:

Albee Baby
Magic Beans
Toys R Us
The Right Start

In the middle are some images (they don’t seem to show up in my screen capture), but what I want you to focus on is the website listings.

What is the common factor between sites #3-10?

Look again.

See it yet?

Right. They are all retail stores. Or, in other words, e-commerce sites.

This is not a coincidence. I see it again and again.

For many product keywords, Google has decided to list only e-commerce sites on the first page.

So if you want to be on the first page of Google for the term ‘bob revolution duallie’ you need to either be the manufacturer (BOB Gear) or a retail store selling this product online.

If you are an affiliate or a review site, you are out.

As I said, this is not true for all products. But as time goes by it seems to be the case for more and more of these.

You need to understand this, because I don’t want you trying to rank for what looks like an easy keyword, when in reality all the page 1 results are reserved for brands and retail stores, and as an affiliate you don’t stand a chance.

When you consider a keyword, this is something you need to take into account.

So let’s talk about solutions here…


What do you do if you want traffic? Not just any traffic, but the high-converting kind?

You know – the kind that makes you money.

Well, here are your options:

Solution #1 – Pick a Niche Where Review Sites Stand a Chance

For some products Google will display a mix of retail stores and review sites. Do a search for a camera or a laptop and you will see what I mean.

If you promote this type of product, you still have a chance of being on the first page.

Do keep in mind that you need to beat the other competing review sites, and that is not always easy.

Solution #2 – Favor Other Buyer Keywords

You can stay away from product names and stick to other types of buying keywords.

This is an easy solution because many buying keywords are still very easy to rank for.

You’ll just have to stick to the strong buying keywords (high to convert but low traffic) and weak buying keywords (lower to convert but higher traffic).

Solution #3 – Don’t Rely Only on Google

Get traffic from sources other than Google.

I’ve been doing that lately with quite a lot of success, and I’ll talk about it more in another blog post.

Of course this is true no matter what you are doing. With all the Google changes that are going on, you want to protect yourself by relying on multiple traffic sources.

That’s it. Feel free to ask me questions below.

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11 thoughts on “Found Good Buyer Keywords? Think Again. Google is Playing Favoritsm and Affiliates Need to Pay Attention.”

  1. Actually, Sarah, I wrote about this problem some time ago (see Death of a Search Engine) with a particular focus on the biggest e-commerce stores.

    The writing has been on the wall for affiliates for some time, but the argument that switching to e-commerce will get you further in the SERPS has also taken a hit since Penguin. New, small e-commerce stores aren’t going to do much better than affiliate blogs in this brave new world. The game has been rigged in favor of big corporations and against small-business people.

    • Hi Richard, and thanks for contributing here. Please don’t get me wrong. This is (yet again) NOT the end of affiliate blogs and small businesses. I still make money from affiliate marketing, and so do many others that I know. And people do make money from e-commerce. However, you just have to know how to do it right. And in this particular case it means picking keywords you can rank for. There’s more to it, and I’ll try to shed light on it on this blog in the coming weeks.

    • It seems to be related to the niche. Many electronic products get review sites ranked on page 1. Baby gear such as strollers – don’t. This is all for product keywords, of course, and not for other buyer keywords.

  2. Hi Sara,

    I was just going through the rest of your IPC course today and damn, it does seem tough out there for affiliates. This is a really useful post, thanks 🙂

    Like you say though, it’s best to NOT rely completely on Google for rankings and pick the keywords wisely also.

    Do you ever use PPC traffic to get people to visit your review sites?? As surely then those ads WOULD show up top??

    Clare 🙂

    • You can use PPC traffic to get people to visit your site, and it’s a good way to test a market fast. The challenge, of course, is to keep costs low enough, since it can get quite expensive.

  3. Hi sara,

    Thanks for this insightful post.

    So you mean to say that this product you’re promoting is about building ecommerce sites? It doesn’t seem like that to me when I had a look at the site.

    Also, you bonus link does not seem to be working.
    At least not on my end.



    • I fixed the link. Thanks for pointing that out. When you click on the link, you will get to a video that explains Blueprint PRO further. Hopefully that will help. If not, let me know.

  4. Thanks Sara.

    I’m still plugging along on the Insiders Profit Club. It’s been a lot to learn and I’m still learning. You and your staff are very helpful. I still need a lot of help but I’m still working on it.

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