Is Affiliate Marketing Dead? 2022 And Beyond

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Is Affiliate Marketing Dead in 2022? We hear this question asked a lot by individuals who are interested in making money online all the time. People have been asking this question since 2005.

Short Answer: No, affiliate marketing is not dead. And we would like to have a conversation with the people that started that rumor.

Affiliate Marketing is alive and well and it is still an ever-growing market! It has just changed over time. 

It was estimated in 2019, that by 2022 affiliate marketing would be an 800 million dollar industry. Today, it is in fact an 8.5 billion dollar industry.

Using Google Trends

If you input “affiliate marketing” into Googe Trends and choose the past “5 years” timeframe, you can see that the chart only goes up, in fact, it doubles!

(The trail off at the end is where Google is still caluclating the new month.)

Is Affiliate Marketing Easy? 

It once was very easy. You could put up a website and use what today we call “black hat methods” to rank your site fast and earn an income just as fast, but those days are long gone.

It has gotten harder over the years due to continuous updates by the search engines.

The first big updates were the Panda and Penguin updates. Google also regularly makes updates several times a year (like the recent review updates).

Google has advanced over the years and is a whole lot smarter. It can detect spun content, spam, and low quality in seconds. Google looks for high-quality relevant content that engages readers.

What Was The Main Purpose Of The Panda Update?

The main purpose of the Panda update in 2011 was to reward high-quality websites and banish, de-rank, or lower rankings of low-quality websites in Google’s organic search engine results.

In 2012 The Penguin update happened.

What Did The Google Penguin Update Target?

Short Answer: Spammy backlinks. Before the Penguin update having any backlinks boosted your site in the search engines. They did not have to be quality so people abused the system. 

Now you have to be careful where your backlinks come from and disavow spammy links in webmaster tools of Google Search Console.

What Did The Updates Have In Common?

Both updates were about improving the quality of the websites in Google’s search results. Google was also trying to improve search engine relevancy.

Fast Forward To 2021

Last year we had the “link spam” update and the first of the “review” article updates. 

Link Spam Update

Google’s Link Spam update required all links to be marked and clearly defined so that it makes detecting spammy links even easier. 

Review Article Update 1 (April 2021)

On April 8, Google rolled out a new algorithm that specifically looked at product reviews, with a view to only ranking those highly that contained in-depth research.

Google’s advice includes the following points:

  • Do you express expert knowledge of the product?
  • Do you show how it can be used?
  • Have you mentioned how it measures up in terms of performance?
  • Have you said what sets it apart from its competitors?
  • Have you compared it to other similar products?
  • Have you discussed the pros and cons?
  • Has the product evolved and improved from previous models?

Review Update 2: December 2021 

Google added more conditions that they will be looking at when ranking your product reviews. Direct quote from Google below.

“Therefore we are introducing two new best practices for product reviews, to take effect in a future update.

  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.”

Review Update 3: March 2022

Google has now added a third algorithm update (last week).

Google is now trying to rank product reviews higher if they go by the new rules.

Basically, Google is looking for information that goes beyond what the manufacturer provides. If you are only rewriting a description of the product, then it is not going to rank as this is not what Google wants.

Many of you probably review products that you don’t own and cannot provide proof that you have personally used the product, so this will be a problem.

But to help you out, Google has actually produced a help document on writing product reviews.

Write High-Quality Reviews – Link To Google’s Help Document

or see the screenshot below


Affiliate marketing is not dead and it is not going anywhere. It is still possible to make money with affiliate marketing, but not by using methods of the past and certainly not as quickly as is often advertised.

Google is constantly rolling out algorithm updates and it often changes how they search for information. Google’s standards are always aiming higher so that they can deliver exactly what the searcher is looking for during their search.

Google’s new metrics for reviews will alter what ranks high in the search engines but hopefully, this will allow you to create new and better content for your site and your visitors. 

As long as you follow the guidelines that Google has set forth your content has the opportunity to rank higher than ever before allowing for more traffic growth to your website and potentially more sales. 

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