In 2009 and 2011, I had the displeasure of getting my Adwords account suspended, twice. The cause each time, by their own “automated message” was that my website was flagged for being a “bridge page”. Upon further investigating it, I learned what this was, why Google didn’t like it and that even in the SEO world, having this type of page may negatively influence my rankings.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about this subject and I before I get into too many details, I will say there is a right and wrong way to approach the topic of bridge pages, and I will explain that in this article. But first:
Just what exactly is a bridge page (BP) anyway?
Well the best way to describe is this:
But wait a second Vitaliy, isn’t that just a regular affiliate blueprint?
Yes you are correct, but there’s different ways you can execute this formula, a good and bad way. I’ll show you examples of both as we progress, but first, here’s the most important way I can explain this:
Google values in both the SEO and PPC world high value websites that offer great content, that’s core knowledge to anyone who understands how to get high rankings in Google and low costs for ads in adwords.
Great content means people who read it, enjoy it, stick around, share it, comment on it and do things that indicate their interest in being on it and usually there is a lot of content, we’re talking 1,000’s of words.
A BP however is generally a type of page (single or multiple articles) where great content is generally not written up and it’s main goal is to get visitors over to another page, and that is generally one that sells them things through affiliate links.
When the term BP is used, the context is usually not that good. It indicates a cheap type of website where the owner doesn’t care about offering value to their visitors as much as they care about getting them over to another place where they can buy stuff and give that same website owner commissions.
In short: Money is valued over content.
And this generally goes against that same core principal that Google has set, so when they assume your website is a BP, it can hinder your SEO rankings, and if you’re doing PPC (through adwords), the ramifications are even worse (suspension) and it is not a situation you ever want to be in with them because if they suspend you over this, you won’t be able to get it undone, unless you are lucky enough to convince the Adwords staff that you’re innocent and that is a RARITY, trust me, I’ve tried and so have many with probably a less than 1% success rate.
How does Google actually know your page is guilty of this?
Well there’s a bunch of algorithm presets in place to notice it, but in my experience, here are the clues they look for on websites that end up being labelled as a BP:
For SEO: If your article/s are LITTERED with affiliate links and the type of content that generally gets little attention (low stay time on the website), little content overall, spam like content, and a high click through to get to another website, it may be flagged for this.
Review sites are generally most guilty of this and I see it quite often. There’s people who make their websites in a way where they do nothing but review products and focus too much on promoting ALL of them, and not enough attention to giving their page value.
Their website is nothing more than a “detour” to affiliate links and like I said before, there is a “cheapness” to it. You can even pick up on it if you read enough of someone’s content. Generally people can feel when they are being sold something and when they are actually being given value.
By the way: Tell me if you’ve ever had that feeling from reading an article, I’d love to know if I’m not the only one! Maybe I’ve just been reading too many articles and studying how people promote their stuff for too long.
For PPC: Now this a generalization (and this is my personal experience and opinion), but if you have affiliate links on your page you’re running ads to, forget about trying to do an adwords campaign. In my personal experience, no matter how high quality it is, it will still be given that bad label and you risk getting your account suspended.
With Adwords, and in my experience, there is no grey area or room for affiliate links or opt ins, no matter what and my 2 account suspensions proved that. If you wish to succeed with Adwords, you need to promote local businesses or your own services, not affiliate programs.
Your only other option to do affiliate marketing and PPC together is in places like Bing, that still offers hope and I personally use that platform to run my PPC campaigns (with great success).
There’s a bad way and good way to approach the topic of bridge pages:
First the bad way:
If you have a review site that generally promotes every single thing it can, you are essentially building a BAD type of BP. I personally find very little trust and value in any source that tells me everything they review is good and worth buying. It basically erodes the trust.
In every single market on this planet that has a wide range of products and competition, it is well known that very few products in each actual market are good. Generally 80%-90% of all products in any big industry (weight loss, marketing products, books, phones, ect…) are bad while 10%-20% are good.
Furthermore, it is BAD for SEO (I’m not even talking about PPC) because every article links out to a different (promotional) page and thus Google will treat it that way when they view it through the ways I explained above on how they grade you.
So I am going back to my main point about money valued above actual content value and if you seek to focus on the money, you will hinder the true key to success which is writing great content.
Now for the good way:
If you have an article/s which offers great content, interlinks between your other articles and other third party sources that AREN’T affiliate promotions, but you rarely promote stuff (in maybe 10% of cases), you are building a GOOD type of BP, where people don’t just land on it and view it as a “segway” to an affiliate promotion. Instead, they take the time to read your content, they value it, they comment on it and they come back to it.
Google takes note of this stuff too and when they see these positive things happening, they reward you with better rankings.
Now the only time this would not work in your favor is if you attempted to do Adwords campaigns. Like I said before, be very careful in that regard. Even if you have a wonderful page, it can still get flagged and penalized.
Otherwise, for SEO, if you can do execute this well, all I can say is carry on and if you need help, this program is going to be your best way to make it work.
My final thoughts:
Understand that the bottom line of this whole article is that every single page that promotes a third party product HAS to link out to them and if it does it TOO much, it’s a bad BP, and if it doesn’t, it’s a good one.
Obviously, you want to focus on the good type if you’re going to succeed.
Now one final word I want to mention is in regards to the whole relation of this topic to making money online and doing it correctly. If you’re new to this whole concept or you’ve had issues succeeding in this business, you may want to start through a solid program that will give you the correct tools and training to make it work:
Believe me when I say solid training is the key to making it in this business. If I hadn’t gotten the same training I’m recommending to you now, I would have never succeeded and made it to the point of doing this full time, like I do now.