Google Issues Subtle Warning To Affiliates That Have “Thin-Content”

google-penalty-squareGoogle’s Chris Nelson of the search quality team issued a warning on the Google Webmaster Blog to affiliates who produce thin-content. He said that affiliates that produce thin-content and have little-to-no value-add on their site may be penalized for going against Google’s guidelines.

The warning was more direct to affiliate sites in the “adult” space, saying this has become more of an issue recently in that space. Chris Nelson said, “recently, we’ve seen this behavior on many video sites, particularly in the adult industry, but also elsewhere.”

When Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, posted it on Twitter, he also made a point to call out the adult industry by saying, “reminder about thin affiliates, esp. in porn.”

How do you know if your site is at risk? Google sums it up pretty clearly:

If your site syndicates content that’s available elsewhere, a good question to ask is: “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.

I have to expect that the adult affiliate industry will seem some sort of wide-spread penalty pushed out in the next week or two based on this reminder. As you know, Google likes to break the spirits of search spammers.