Associate-O-Matic is the most popular Amazon affiliate script out there; there’s no doubt about that. True, there is competition, and that’s fine; a little elbowing can make for a better product. But in an effort to make some of the also-rans look better, claims are made that may not be accurate. Many times a competitor’s website will roll out charts showing why they are better than AOM (which is almost always mentioned by name). These point-by-point comparisons are often not updated so as to make it appear that AOM is hopelessly behind on features. There are also people who will deny with their last breath that an affiliate script can seriously compete with a blog or a custom-made script. It’s a little like saying, “You can have your shiny Detroit-made automobile; the best cars are made by hand. Out of wood.”
Maybe so. Maybe not. We’re going to look at some of the more popular myths that have grown up alongside AOM, and see if reality matches up.
MYTH #1: AOM does poorly in Google
“AOM (and affiliate script sites in general) are disliked by Google because of duplicate content, etc. They never rank well with search engines”
While it’s true that duplicate content can have a negative effect upon any website, there are several key elements that can counter this, if they’re done correctly. One of these elements is time itself. The age of a website can be an important factor towards any success. Obviously the older a website is, the more likely it is to be an authority and thus a believable site. Many domains are probably abandoned after a year (or less!) if the riches don’t roll in immediately. And that’s probably just about the time that they might gain a level of respectability with search engines.
Original content is another key area that’s usually overlooked. Duplicate content is generally not a problem for Google or any other search engine, depending on the ratio of original to dupe content. The more original content you have, the less important the duplicate content becomes. With zero original content, your chances of advancement are probably poor. If there is a Google sandbox, sites are probably sent there more for lack of content than anything else.
I’ve seen many AOM sites on page #1 for various Google search terms. As I write this, I have two stores ranked #1 for their main keywords. Both sites are several years old and have original content. I’m sure there are many others. Sandboxed? I don’t think so. MYTH: BUSTED
MYTH #2: AOM does not allow you to add original content
“I use [competing product] because you can add your own content, which search engines like”
Very similar to the preceding myth, there’s this prevailing idea that you cannot add original content in AOM. Nothing could be further from the truth! You can add as much content as you want to the home page, the view cart page, the category descriptions, etc. Custom boxes can be placed in multiple locations on item pages, category pages, sidebars, headers, footers, and so on. In fact it’s hard to think of where you can’t add original content. Of course, you then have to write all this content… MYTH: BUSTED
MYTH #3: AOM is not SEO-friendly
“Managing SEO is the key to success, and AOM does not allow you to do this very well”
One of the most powerful features of Associate-O-Matic is that it is constantly evolving; from year to year it changes to accommodate new abilities, features and functions. SEO is often a nebulous term because it is an evolutionary process. As new methods emerge, they can be adapted and added. Currently, AOM utilizes many ways to make a site more SEO attractive. The mod_rewrite feature allows you to choose from several SEO-friendly URL formats. Nofollow links can be established to preserve link juice. You can customize the title and META description tags, and cloaking can be employed to hide references to Amazon in certain circumstances.
If you enter “SEO test” into Google, the first result is this website: http://www.instantposition.com/seotest.php . Upon entering a web address, it measures various SEO features. It’s easy to adjust the parameters in AOM to achieve a perfect 40 point score. I do it all the time. How does this make AOM SEO-unfriendly? It doesn’t. MYTH: BUSTED
MYTH #4: AOM is hard to customize
“All AOM stores look alike – it’s a cookie-cutter script”
At one time this was probably true, but not now. With the introduction of v5, replacing tables with CSS, Associate-O-Matic can now be customized to an incredible degree. It’s possible to design or purchase a template theme that can make an AOM site truly unique and have a look that is completely unlike the ‘standard’ layout. Over time, more and more amazing designs will emerge, and AOM will be lauded for ‘its unique ability to be customized’. A quick glance through our sister site AOM Skins will show how adaptable a site can be. MYTH: BUSTED
MYTH #5: AOM does not perform as well as a blog
“I changed my WordPress site to AOM; sales dropped and it sank in the listings”
This is a situation that’s perhaps not as clear-cut as the other myths. Because a blog is (in theory) almost nothing but content, they should do well with search engines. But that does not mean every blog will outperform every AOM store. Many blogs sink without a trace, just as many AOM stores do very well. So what does this really mean?
It means that any website that features a good mix of original content, with proper SEO structure, healthy backlinks and of interest to enough people will always do well in terms of exposure, search result rankings, and selling anything they might happen to offer. When a blog changes to AOM, and does worse, were all the old indexed links redirected correctly with a 301 redirect? If not, the sudden loss of indexed pages replaced by new ones will always cause a serious drop in the rankings. Blogs that are updated often will show growth, which keeps search engines and humans coming back; setting up an AOM site then putting it on autopilot will probably have the opposite effect.
A blog that offers product reviews with links to Amazon requires a lot of work to keep going; if you’re willing to do the work and it’s a success for you, why change it in the first place? Blogs that don’t do well at selling are the ones that get changed to Associate-O-Matic sites. Usually to get a benefit without putting in the effort. Then the blame is heaped upon AOM if the site continues to fail. It seems like a bit of circular reasoning is going on here:
+ Change script
+ Fail to properly do 301 redirect
+ Lose previously indexed pages
+ Fail to properly configure SEO
+ Fail to get quality backlinks
+ Fail to add original content
Result = Site continues to fail
AOM is not a magic bullet, but neither is WordPress. Someone who knows what they’re doing can probably make any site a success. Someone who expects a ‘set-and-forget’ site to bring home the bacon will struggle. That mindset is a lot harder to change than an online script. MYTH: BUSTED
Affiliate marketing is not an ‘easy’ profession. Most of the myths we’ve looked at (and others) are usually the result of assuming that this business is a single process. A store script like AOM can make one aspect of what’s required an easy step. But if you think it’s the only step, you will be mistaken. If you make AOM a part of your business plan, you can probably avoid the myths by finding out they were never there in the first place.