Two Quick Ways to Make Your Copy of Merchants Data Feed Different From All Other Affiliates


Product data feeds are really popular among affiliates because they can help produce thousands of product pages quickly and easily. Such pages can be used to drive highly targeted search engine traffic looking specifically for those products. But there is a big problem.

The problem with data feeds is the fact that a lot of affiliates use the same copies of feeds in the same exact ways. Most data feed affiliates put just the product names in HTML titles, so they all end up with a bunch of similar pages that have identical titles. And since the search engines give a lot of weight to the titles of HTML pages, those affiliates end up competing with each other for the same highly specific keywords.

Luckily, this problem has a quick and dirty solution. It's worse than going over the feed by hand, but much better than doing nothing. What I get from affiliates is that manually modifying feed simply defeats the purpose. But being able to do it automatically can help one differentiate his site from other affiliates without losing the benefits of using data feeds.

There are two basic ways to automatically make your site a little bit different from other affiliates of the same merchant.

The first way is to add some keywords before and/or after the product name in the HTML title. For example, let's say you pick a phrase "On Sale" to add after the product name. So instead of "Blue Widget #MN-3143" you have in the original data feed, you would now have "Blue Widget #MN-3143 On Sale" in the HTML title of that product page. You simply add that phrase to the titles of all products in the feed. That lets you specifically target people who would search for "blue widget on sale" or "mn-3143 on sale."

You can also use some arbitrary keywords like "Cheap" or "Discounted" or "Quality" before the product name to have something like "Cheap Blue Widget #MN-3143." The keywords you pick largely depend on the merchant's product line.

Another variation of this technique is to randomize the keywords that are displayed before and after product names in the titles. You can use a sever-side technology of your choice to pick a random keyword out of some predefined list and append it to the name of a product to form the title for the page. Your scripts would pick a new keyword for each request for the product page. Of course, that would only work if you are using a database, and do not generate static HTML using Webmerge or a similar program. That way, even though you don't control the exact keyword that is displayed for any particular page, with enough product pages you can cover a wider market of people searching with different modifiers. You should be able to cover different shopper types -- the ones looking for bargains as well as the ones looking for quality.

The second way to make your site different from others is a bit more complex, but could yield much greater results. Instead of adding something to the product names, you can try changing the names on a large scale. As I said earlier, modifying feeds by hand would defeat the purpose of using them. But if you perform a find-and-replace operation on the whole file then you can get different content without spending much additional time.

The utility you might want to use for feed modification is called sed. You can search for that name using you favorite search engine. It's sed -- the stream editor. I'm going to skip much of the technical detail on how and why it does certain things in a certain way. Instead, I will concentrate on describing practical application of sed with product feeds.

At its core, sed takes input data, modifies it according to certain rules and outputs the result -- all done line-by-line. It uses regular expressions and can perform extremely complex operations, by for now I just want to concentrate on simple replacements.

The good thing about sed is it can use an external file with multiple commands and execute them one after another for the entire input file (in our case, it's a product feed). So you can replace as many words as you need. Also, once you define those commands, you can use them for many different feeds with different merchants.

Let's go over a few examples that should illustrate the true power of this approach.

I'll assume that the merchant we are working with sells widgets of various kinds. You looked over the feed and saw that the merchant has some porcelain widgets; red and blue, large and small. One of the synonyms for porcelain is ceramic, so first thing you would do is replace the word porcelain with ceramic in all product names and descriptions.

This can be done by adding the following commands to a sed script file before running it against the feed:

s/porcelain/ceramic/g s/Porcelain/Ceramic/g

Those commands will replace your keywords while preserving capitalization. So that a title like "Big Blue Porcelain Widget" becomes "Big Blue Ceramic Widget."

To make things more interesting, let's assume that the feed already has some ceramic widgets aside from the porcelain ones. So you do not want to end up with just one kind. Instead, you want to switch them around. Remember, your goal is to be as different from the original feed as possible.

You can achieve that with the following set of commands:

s/porcelain/MYTEMPKEYWORD/g s/ceramic/porcelain/g s/MYTEMPKEYWORD/ceramic/g

In the example above, I used MYTEMPKEYWORD as a place-holder. That let us make sure that we are not losing the original keywords.

What happens there is:

all "porcelain" is changed to "MYTEMPKEYWORD' then all "ceramic" is changed to "porcelain" then all "MYTEMPKEYWORD" (which used to be the original porcelain) is changed to "ceramic"

and then the same thing should be done for all capitalized keywords.

You can use anything in place of MYTEMPKEYWORD as long as it does not already appear in the feed. You want to use some unique keyword.

Once you are done with those keywords, you can change something like "Metallic" to "Shiny Metal Finish" -- assuming that makes sense for a given product line.

Adding that to a command file would give you:

s/porcelain/MYTEMPKEYWORD/g s/ceramic/porcelain/g s/MYTEMPKEYWORD/ceramic/g s/Porcelain/MYTEMPKEYWORD/g s/Ceramic/Porcelain/g s/MYTEMPKEYWORD/Ceramic/g s/Metallic/Shiny Metal Finish/g s/metallic/shiny metal finish/g

That would also change "Blue Metallic Widget" to "Blue Metal-Looking Finish Widget."

As I said earlier, you can add as many commands as you want for different words and phrases. And with enough such small changes, you will be able to reach traffic that is not already covered by your competing affiliates. While a few hundred affiliates with their data feed sites might be displayed for a keyword "blue porcelain widget" -- there might be just a few (if any) covering "blue ceramic widget" for the same merchant.

Even something like

s/TV Set/Television Set/g

along with diagonal sizes and brand names might help you stand apart from the rest of the affiliates who use the same feed. Any change is better than having the same exact content as others.

I encourage you to download a copy of sed and check it out. Once you get a hang of it, you will be able to automate the whole process. And if you are already using scripts to refresh merchants' feeds and rebuild sites automatically, then you can plug sed in the middle and modify feeds on the fly.

Also, if you are having a hard time coming up with words to replace, you might want to check out Princeton's WordNet. You can even download the word database and use it locally on your desktop.

Konstantin Goudkov manages an affiliate program with a merchant that carries 2500+ gifts. If you enjoy working with companies that treat affiliates like valued partners then be sure to check us out.

You can find more information about our program at: www.genericgifts.com/affiliate_program.jsp">http://www.genericgifts.com/affiliate_program.jsp


MORE RESOURCES:
This morning we see three key reports of economic data for investors to mull over Major U S indexes now have their eyes on a possible ninth straight week of closing in the green but based on more speculation and hopefulness than actual statistics Being Thursday we have new weekly

We remain lacking on normal economic data ahead of today s opening bell not only because Q4 earnings season s deluge has dwindled but because the overhangs of the 5 week government shutdown has continued delays in data such as the January Housing Starts and Building Permits that had

To kick off a shortened week due to Presidents Day Monday we see a much lighter calendar both in economic data and Q4 earnings releases Aside from a report on the February Home Builders Index due after the opening bell and a few key earnings reports so far this morning we re notably

As I have pointed out on many occasions in the last few months, the big move down in stocks at the end of last year wasn’t about anything that actually happened. While Q4 wasn’t exactly a barnburner, it wasn’t a disaster either. Job growth remained strong, wages were starting to pick up as a result and, most

The market surged on Friday, driven by renewed optimism that when the March 1 deadline comes around, the U.S. and China would have already shaken hands on a trade truce. Tariff-related rhetoric and thoughts of an economic slowdown had become a restraint, particularly amid the recent market rebound. Was it a “head

Data collection is no justification for increasing investor

Retail sales for December 2018 showed consumers backed away from the spending trough. Is this a precursor for things to come? Retail sales release for December was delayed due to the government shutdown. To understand graphically how bad the headline data was for retail sales, the graph below adjusts the

Import and Export Prices 160 for the month of January have been released ahead of this morning s opening bell with results much as we ve seen with recent economic metrics coming up short of estimates Import Prices month over month hit 0 5 lower than the 0 3 expected

Gold prices have been down ever since the precious metal hit all-time highs of nearly $1,900/oz eight years ago. That’s quite a long time, and a nice rally appears overdue. Well, one Wall Street punter thinks that time is just right to purchase the commodity. Bernstein says investors should look at gold and gold

Futures have swung to negative levels following three main economic metrics hitting the tape before Thursday s opening bell Happy Valentine s Day BTW everybody Perhaps early traders are still trying to digest what these figures mean and none are cataclysmic though all are worse

Adobe stock A new study has found that a horrifying 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year due to medical bills they can’t pay. In the end, it’s easier to declare bankruptcy than to allow oneself to drown in medical expenses. That’s how you know when a country is broken. According to researchers of a

The American political discourse has changed since the 2018 midterm election. Enthusiasm and passion were to be found on the left-wing of the Democratic Party. A new sense of hope and mission replaced the defeatism and cynicism seen in 2016. Some identified with democratic socialism, but in the political rhetoric the

Pre market futures are again trading up today as expectations continue to be favorable for two things that have yet to be officially resolved the U S China trade war where an increase on the current 10 tariffs on Chinese goods is scheduled to increase to 25 March 1st and a budget

Following an optimistic start to the year and the  best January ever  for oil prices, hedge funds and other money managers began the month of February more cautiously as fears about global economic growth outweighed (again) OPEC’s cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. In the latest reporting week to

Chinese President Xi Jinping hatched " Made in China 2025”,   it didn’t go down well with many world leader, especially in Western economies. And now Germany has proposed an equally abrasive push. Germany’s economic affairs minister, Peter Altmaier, has launched an ambitious and somewhat controversial industrial

Alopa.com ©