Affiliate Marketing is one of the most important methods of making money online. Affiliate links and SEO are two terms that often scare people even in their dreams. Google has a lot of guidelines about doing business online and you have to play by its rules if you want to stay at the top of the business. Here is everything that you need to know-
What’s the relation between Affiliate Links and SEO?
Whenever Google updates its algorithms, the Internet gets filled with rumors about affiliate marketing affecting the Search Engine Optimization of websites. Many websites get hit by a penalty from Google and they start wondering whether this is because of the links to their affiliate products. To answer this question, let me clear one thing out- affiliate links are not too different from normal links. Yes, Google can detect those links but their presence is not too big an issue.
They start becoming an issue when you shift your focus from the content to monetization only. If you have done any research before opening up your website, you may have noticed that there a lot of crappy affiliate sites. These sites have nothing but copied content and are full of bad links. Just because of such lazy players in the business, Google has to be very careful while ranking sites.
Affiliates- Yes or No?
Always remember, affiliate links will never ever hurt your rankings unless you don’t have unique content on your website. All of the affiliates, whether they are full links or short links, pass through a temporary redirect. These redirects are never followed by any search engines, they always follow a set pattern and all the search engines are capable of determining this pattern. So now you know that affiliates have absolutely no SEO value. You just need to follow some guidelines and you are good to go as an affiliate.
Take care of the following things-
- Make sure you have the best quality of content depending on your niche.
- Make sure you don’t have a large number of links on a single page.
- Do not stuff too many keywords. No one wants too much of a good thing.
- Add a ‘no follow’ tag to all your affiliate links. These tags help search engines differentiate between affiliates and normal links.
- Your website’s backlink profile must be as strong as possible. Backlinks are one of the most important factors considered by search engines.
- Make sure that you don’t have any links to low quality or spammy websites.
- It’s a big no to copied or spun content.
- Try to avoid shortening those links, even if they look very bad. Search engines are not big fans of shortened links.
- Place the links in a place where the visitors can find them easily without getting too confused.
Few Tricks to help you get the best of both worlds
Cloak the affiliates
Google has always been very reassuring when it comes to affiliate links affecting the SEO of a web page. But if you do not want to take any chances, you can always cloak them. There are many free plugins available on the Internet that allow you to hide the affiliate links. When you hide the links, you are preventing Google from crawling them and thus preventing it to penalize you for having the links. Cloaking the affiliates is also a great way to stop them from lowering your Click through Rate (CTR).
Make it clear that you are using affiliates
If you do not want to suffer the wrath of Google, try to make it as obvious as possible that you are using affiliates on your website. If your website is about backpacks, you have to be very vocal about the backpacks you are showcasing. The best scenario will be if you have actually used the product but even if you haven’t used it, try to find out as much information about it as you can. Do not be lazy and copy content from some other site, go to every length to get the best information. After all, it is your own website and only you will earn the benefits from its rankings.
Landing Pages for biggest affiliates
Creating a dedicated landing page for all of your biggest affiliates is another great way of keeping the search engines happy. First of all, you will have to do a bit a research and find out what are your biggest affiliates. You find this out on the basis of traffic and search engine results. Initially, you can do this for your best-sellers and if this works out well for you, you can do this for your entire network. Yes, this will take a lot of time but your efforts will be worth their while.
Remove bad backlinks and get cleaner backlinks
Backlinks play a major role in building a good authority for your website. If you are using affiliate programs, you have to focus on getting as much traffic as you can. For getting more traffic, you need more and more backlinks. But if the links pointing to your website are some sort of spam, this is going to hurt you in some way or the other. The safest steps you can take here remove all the spammy backlinks and try to build a cleaner backlink profile. This will help you out both ways- more business and better ranking.
Affiliates are not as harmful as they are often made out to look. You just have to be careful about the types of links you are obtaining and how you are obtaining those links. If you take care of these things and the other things I mentioned above, you will be on a much safer side in terms of your website ranking. The first and foremost purpose of a website is relaying information. Earning money is just the secondary purpose. Once you make note of this fact, you will have a much better understanding of affiliates and your rankings.