Hiding Affiliate Links For Better SEO

While most bloggers make money with Google AdSense, more and more are discovering the power of affiliate marketing. Affiliate sales was my number three biggest moneymaker last month, accounting for $1,005.00 of the $7,011.05 income.

With the income potential of affiliate marketing, many would be affiliate whores have set up MFA site to take advantage of it. In this case, MFA stands for Made for Affiliate and not Made for AdSense. However, the concept is the same – instead of making sites just for AdSense, the marketer make sites just to promote affiliate deals. The advantage of an affiliate site over a MFA site is content – the affiliate site normally has more, and therefore has a better chance of showing up in a Google search.

Google tends to frown on affiliate only sites because they just try to sell you something while offering very little useful information. In the last year, Google and other search engines has gotten a lot better at detecting affiliate only websites and removing them from the search index. If you run a blog and you offer some affiliate links, the changes of Google removing you is very small (unless your blog is nothing but affiliate links). However, depending on the number of affiliate links Google finds, they may place less trust in your site. That could affect your search ranking. Here is an evil method to remove all the affiliate links from your blog but still take advantage of affiliate marketing.

Doing The Affiliate Wrap

The easiest way to prevent the detection of an affiliate link is with a redirect. Create a new page on your site and link to that page instead of your affiliate link. The page you link to will then redirect the reader to the affiliate site. Here is an example for my affiliate redirect to Text Link Ads (aff).

<title>Text Link Ads</title>
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="1; url=http://www.text-link-ads.com/?ref=35183">
<p align="center">You are being taken to the correct page.
<br>If the page does load after 5 seconds,
<a href="http://www.text-link-ads.com/?ref=35183">click here</a>.</p>

I saved the above to a file call tla.php and uploaded it to my redirect folder. Now, instead of linking to http://www.text-link-ads.com/?ref=35183, I link to https://johnchow.com/go/tla.php.

The redirect has a line of code that tells the robots not to index or follow the link. Since this is not a content page, there is no need for Google to index it. In addition to the above code, I also added the code for my Google Analytics tracking script. This allows me to track the number of clicks I am sending my affiliate pages.

The other advantage of this setup happens when/if your affiliate network changes codes on you. Instead of having to go through your entire site to change all the codes, you just have to change one HTML file. I highly doubt Google will place less trust on me for having a few affiliate links on my blog. However, why take the chance? I’m aiming for a PR7 on the next PageRank update so anything I can do to increase trust will help.