Pre-Written Content from Your Afilliate Program

Last Update: September 30, 2021

So, when offering feedback on websites, I have noticed a lot of them are using the pre-written product descriptions provided by their affiliate programs.

Now, you may think that if your affiliate program is offering this material, then you can save time and effort by simply copying and pasting it. And, after all, they know their own product best, so why do you need to write anything else?

Unfortunately, this won't work when it comes to ranking your post. If you think about it, there are probably thousands of other affiliates all using the same content, and Google knows this.

In fact, there is even specific guidance in the Google Search Central documentation, which you can read below.

This type of behaviour is known as a "thin" website, and Google describes it as:

"pages with product affiliate links on which the product descriptions and reviews are copied directly from the original merchant without any original content or added value."

And Google's advice is:

"ask yourself why a user would want to visit your site first rather than visiting the original merchant directly. Make sure your site adds substantial value beyond simply republishing content available from the original merchant."

You may also wish to read a post I wrote earlier this year, on what Google expects to see in a product review.

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Roybretton Premium Plus
Good morning Diane,

I hope that you're doing well and keeping busy.

It's interesting that many people are doing this particular practice, it's amazing how humans like shortcuts! I must admit I haven't offered feedback on a website for a long time, maybe I ought to!

It looks like Google sums up the issue well, I hope members listen to your wise words.

Have a great day.

JeannineC Premium
OMG, I couldn't agree more!

I was at a conference several years ago, and a high-ranking Google employee (employee #70 in the company!) was reviewing sites. Someone offered their site, on which they had placed the merchant product catalog word for word. The Google person told him his site was thin and filled with duplicate content, and the site owner was completely confused by that. Confirming what you just said, the site owner was told that there was nothing special, nothing unique to draw readers to his site, much less for them to click through from there to make a purchase. Basically, that site would never rank.

Add value to your posts by writing your own content. You can start with what the merchant provides, but don't end there!
brichnow21 Premium Plus
Add Value and your personal touch!
StephenJacks Premium
Hi Diane

Great Article

The only information I use from the manufacturer or affiliate are the technical specs. Well you can't really change those can you ha ha

I usually have them in a table see attached image. But everything else is my own work. I believe google won't penalise you for that.

But you are thoroughly correct in saying that using affiliate or manufacturer product descriptions verbatim will hurt your rankings.

It just so happens I am sitting writing a review and needed a break. Replying to your post seemed to be an adequate distraction. LOL

SamiWilliams Premium
Wealthy Affiliate continues to amaze me with the quality of information shared. Reminding new people about adding useful information to the affiliate information to give the reader more information than just the "canned" speel. Thanks, Sami
JeffreyBrown Premium
This is a very valid point, Diane! Thanks for the heads-up!