How Google Treats Affiliate Links For Search Engine Ranking

One of the primary concern of most of the Affiliate marketer is dealing with affiliate links from SEO perspective. One major way to make sure your affiliate site grows and doesn’t get penalized due to affiliate links is by making sure you are adding value to your layer of content. An affiliate site should also be promoted and maintained like any other high-quality site.

Affiliate links and SEO

I have a Webhosting affiliate site and most of the time, I have 1-2 affiliate links within the blog post. Somehow, with recent panda update, traffic increased and now it’s ranking on top 10 for many of money keyword. Lucky me, but to make sure Google doesn’t penalize me for using affiliate links, I take care of few things, which I will discuss below after the video.

Matt Cutts statement on Affiliate links and SEO:

Now, those who keep an eye on SEO and Google search update, must be knowing Google’s engineer:  Matt Cutts. In recent, SEM Expo conference, Matt Cutts talked about how Google handle affiliate links and what should we do if we are worried about such aff. links.Though this video is short, but after the video read my technique to avoid any SEO penalty due to affiliate links.

As mentioned by Matt in this video, in most cases, Google handles affiliate links without any issue, as they know about majority of affiliate networks, but if you are still worried, you can add a nofollow link to such money links. Now, if you are new to nofollow term, you can refer to our earlier guide on How to add nofollow tag to a link.

How to deal with Affiliate links, SEO in WordPress:

I have played with only a few WordPress affiliate plugins, but luckily I stumbled upon one of the best one. There are many paid and free Affiliate plugins that are available, and one of them is Gocodes. You can get detailed information about this plugin in one of my earlier post:

Now, in this plugin settings, there is an option that let you add nofollow attribute to all links cloaked using this plugin, which will help you to stop passing link juice to affiliate links. Also, additionally I highly recommend you to add the Gocodes URL trigger in your robots.txt as disallow.

For example, my URL trigger for affiliate links are /recommended/ and in my WordPress robots.txt file, I have following lines:

  • User-agent: *
  • Disallow: /recommended/

This is to make sure Google doesn’t crawl such links, and your affiliate site is not penalized for any kind of affiliate links penalty. Though, this is a solution for those who use Gocodes plugin and for others you should start adding nofollow tag to such links. For old posts, where such links are added, you can use Outbound link manager plugin to quickly add nofollow attribute.

Anyhow, I suggest you to use any plugin like Gocodes or any other to mask your affiliate links, as default links look ugly and might lower down CTR. If you are new to Aff. marketing, you should start reading:

How do you handle your Affiliate site and which method are you using to take care of SEO of your such money links?

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 12 )

  1. amsh says

    Deear Harsh,
    May I see eaxmple of your posts or pages where you have inserted the affiliate links? This will be helpful for all of your readers.

  2. Nora Lamarti says

    Mr. Ankit @ Why you are commenting in such manner ? We all respect Harsh Agarwal as he is one of the unique professional blogger from India.I highly request you that please don’t make noise in such way as i have seen your comments with same style like here in several blogs .Stop it .

  3. Albert Paul says

    I use NoFOLLOW and NOINDEX to such pages to prevent google from crowling and being indexed.

    • says

      Nofollow is a good practice but no index is not great, as you miss out the opportunity to get traffic from search engine. Though if publish quick deals kind of posts which are for readers only, no index is a good practice.

  4. says

    I agree with adding a nofollow attribute or using “recommended” or “go” links by disallowing them via robots.txt file. We don’t want search engines to crawl those links in anyway so it is wiser to hide the affiliate links from them.. :)

  5. Taswir says

    Hi Harsh, how about using any paid redirect script like easyredirectscript for affiliate link cloaking. Aren’t they more effective then free wordpress plugin? I am thinking to buy such plugin. If you have any idea, please share with us.

  6. sureshpeters says

    Great info harsh. How to deal with the amazon affiliates ? Since most of the blogger don’t add just a hyperlink but we use some call to action buttons like “buy at amazon ” or widget provided by amazon .

    • Tushar says

      Thanks for this Harsh. Also I second this!
      How do we deal with affiliate links with such buttons or even links with tracking pixels?

      • says

        @Suresh @Tushar
        There are plugins for Amazon which helps you to do that. I’m not sure about the name of plugin, but there is one which automatically converts all your amazon direct link into your Amazon affiliate links. Do a search, and you will be able to find this one.