Affiliate FAQ – How do I make sure that feed-based product info on my site is up to date?

I got a great question from one of our affiliates today and I wanted to share the answer with others to help save some frustration and likely some lost sales.

Anthony asked:

“I use PopShops to build my storefronts promoting  products from your ShareASale feed, and most of the year, it works great.  However, during the Holiday season, I’m seeing a lot of products out of stock and it’s tough to keep up with editing my stores.  Do you have any tips or recommendations to help me keep my sites up to date?”

The issue here is that while PopShops is a great tool for affiliates, it has a weakness that is exposed during our rush season.  The issue is that because your products are all hand selected, when a product is sold out and no longer available through the feed, there’s no way to automatically update the page with a new product that is in stock.   Users have no choice but to login from day to day and insure that their products are in stock and update the storefront manually.   If you have a network of pages where you are promoting merchants, this is pretty unwieldy and time consuming.  In short, it’s not scalable for the hardcore professional affiliate.

I recommend that you take a look at storebuilder options that are dynamic – two that come to mind are DataFeedr and Goldencan.  Both allow you to build keyword based storefronts that are updated daily as the feeds are updated.  This means that if a new item is added to the site that fits your search, they will be added and if products are sold out, they will be removed from your storefront.

Remember, in the Christmas/Holiday Shopping season, it’s important to consider this as the sku count, or number of products available in the Fanatics affiliate data feed literally can swing by 100,000 products as we sell products out for the season.  Also, regardless of the storefront building tool you choose to work with, you need to make sure to put additional SEO effort into your site to make sure that you get traffic and that your site has long-term viability.  Make sure to write unique content, wisely choose your URL’s and take advantage of social media like Facebook and Twitter using plugins that allow your audience to follow you and receive updates when you have valuable content to share with them.

Can Product Descriptions in Datafeeds Be Considered Duplicate Content? Ask Matt Cutts.

Over the last week or so I have been blogging quite a bit about the need to contribute your own unique content to make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance of getting free SEO based traffic from Google.  My contention was that since Fanatics already ranks for the content that we make available in the feed, simply building sites based 100% on our feed content was not a long term solution for affiliate success.   In this video Matt Cutts from the Google Spam Team addresses a question from a user on whether Google considers descriptions from datafeeds to be duplicate content.

The short answer is “yes.”   The bottom line is that if you are using the product descriptions in the feeds as is, there maybe hundreds of other affiliates who are already using this content.

The solution?  Write your own unique content to differentiate yourself and give yourself the chance to rank highly for the terms you consider important.