In a post that appeared on WordPress Tavern, AcademiaThemes has lost a lot of affiliate revenue due to their affiliates losing substantial amounts of traffic. This was due to an early algorithm rework by Google to target websites that were mass producing content for the sake of generating sales.
AcademiaThemes says that “Many of our affiliates simply lost all their traffic, so we lost basically all sales generated by them which is an important source of revenue for new shops.” Affiliates are getting hammered by search engines mostly due to their poorly produced content and lists that are made only for the sake of generating revenue.
Many of the commentators on the post agree with the change Nate Wright stated that
There are better and worse affiliates. But by and large they’re the ones creating all the “25+ Best ***** WordPress Themes” pages that clog all the top spots in Google search results. These are the kinds of pages Google is targeting when it updates its algorithm, so it’s an acknowledged part of the risk. This summer I really struggled after my 2 top-performing affiliates lost their positions for important keywords (one has since worked his way all the way to the top, even beating ThemeForest!).
It is true, that while Google is trying to cut down on the spam there are still a lot of websites that are ranking extremely high. For instance, popular web design magazine DesignsRazzi is a big offender of this if you take this post, for example, their post content is all copied and pasted from CodeCanyon and all their links are from the affiliate network. The worst part is this content still ranks fairly well.
Furthermore, a lot of the content is not either wrong or has misleading titles. While Google is taking steps to knock this type of content from search results it simply is not working as this case study shows you can still rank and produce content that is clearly copied and pasted.
Here is a video tutorial to help you choose a proper WordPress theme and to know which ones are “SEO Optimized”.