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Recently I came across to this podcast on Authority Hacker that talked about how to make more money from Amazon associates program. One of the suggestions was to add a pricing table or summary text about the products at the top of an article.
I have had played around with pricing table and I must admin I am not a big fan of it. It takes way too much efforts to build and I do not like to have a table right at the top of an article. On the other hand, I have never done a summary text about products at the top of an article. It sounded like a good idea so I decided to give it a try.
1) Creating the summary
I simply grabbed a couple sentences here and there about each product from the main text. I then added Amazon affiliate link to the name of each product in the summary. An example is shown below.
Product name – A little bit of description about the product. Why you should or should not buy it.
2) Place it on pages with the most traffic
I picked 10 pages or so that had the most traffic.
3) Let it run for about 30 days
Why adding clickbait at the top of an article was a bad idea?
I did not really plan to make it an experiment but it just turned out that way because I wanted to make sure the changes did not have negative effects to the site. I used Crazy Egg to analyze the changes and it became clear why adding this summary “clickbait” section was a bad idea.
I started seeing Amazon affiliate earning dropped substantially about 20 days into the experiment.
The articles with summary section did get a lot of clicks
Interestingly enough, these articles with the summary section did get a lot of clicks (image below). As you can see the version with summary did get a lot of red dots at the top, indicate people are clicking the Amazon affiliate links, whereas the clicks are more spread out with the normal version.
This just did not add up. If people are clicking then why nobody was buying? That reason became clear when I analysed the scroll map.
People are not reading the content!
When analysed the scroll map, it became clear that people were not reading the content. They would just click on the links and leave the site. I can think of two negative effects by this.
1) People did not trust my site
They probably thought my site was one of those clickbait sites. People who got to these pages were looking for certain information and expected that from the site. They probably expected the links they clicked would take them to additional information about the product. They probably felt betrayed when the links took them to Amazon.com.
2) Negative SEO effects
This possibly had negative effects on SEO as well because I did see the traffic dropped somewhat. Looking at the Analytics data comparing before and after adding the clickbait implementation, it clearly shows increase in bounce rate and drop in session duration.
Considering Google looks at time on site / bounce rate etc as ranking signals, the fact that people did not spend much time on the site did not help.
Based on this I don’t think I would use pricing tables or summary text moving forward, or at least not at the top of an article. I could be wrong but many of the success stories that people talk about with these “clickbait” type content is now questionable to me. Did they actually look into how people reacted to the clickbait content?
If you have a different experience from this please share. I would love to know how you made it work.