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Is affiliate link cloaking OK for white hat?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by samarina, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. samarina

    samarina Newbie

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    Hi All -

    I am a newbie building a website with affiliate links to various products relating to internet marketing. I want to make sure to stay on the good side of Google. Years ago I got the Google slap when I had an online education site with links all leading to the same education affiliate network. I guess Google didn't like so many links with relatively so little text. Anyway, it made it so I couldn't use Google. :(

    I am trying to learn about link cloaking. I understand from the Link Cloaking forum that there is link cloaking "type A" shall we say that just changes your affiliate URL to look better (eg I want it to look like the vendor's website, not my affiliate link) versus link cloaking "type B" that makes it so that Google and spiders can't read stuff that they care about (maybe IP address, etc - not sure I am too newbie).

    My question is: is the link cloaking "type A" that changes my affiliate URL considered OK for white hat?

    If so, can you recommend a software that does this? I have a WordPress site.

    Thanks all! Best wishes for a happy and profitable 2012.
     
  2. daveguy

    daveguy Power Member

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    type A won't change the risk, so you are asking the wrong question.
     
  3. samarina

    samarina Newbie

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    Thanks Daveguy. Darn. So in order to be white hat is the best practice just to show your normal affiliate link? Or, what do you recommend?
     
  4. samarina

    samarina Newbie

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    Also, since my site will specifically review products/services to help people in internet marketing (from Wordpress themes to SEO) would it be OK (advisable) to link directly from the review on my site to the product landing page? I am hoping this would be OK...

    Or do I need to send the link to another site in the middle which will then link directly to the product landing page? In this case, it sounds like I need to create a whole bunch of websites...? And then do I need to worry about them all coming from the same IP address or webhost?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  5. wpbacklinks

    wpbacklinks Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I can recommend you one. its a plugin for your wordpress site.

    Code:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/affiliate-link-cloaking/
     
  6. samarina

    samarina Newbie

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    Thank you WPBacklinks.

    I checked out Affiliate Link Cloaking and it looks good... Below is the description.

    "Affiliate link cloaking can hide affiliate links from visitors so that you don't worry about visitors remove your affiliate id and visit product website directly. It also can be used as link shrink plugin. It can shrink link and make it to be short url/short link. When visitors click shrinked link, it will redirect to your original link. Affiliate link cloaking also tracks the hits and unique visitors of each link. You can find which cloaked links perform well and which need to be modified or removed."

    What seems especially good is that it can be used to simply shrink links (like bit.ly), which according a conversation I found in the Google webmasters forum (Keyword: "pretty links") should be in keeping with Google policies.

    I guess there is no perfect solution if I am understanding the situation - totally cloaking puts you at risk with Google, while just shrinking your links put you at risk of visitors going directly to the site or putting in their own affiliate IDs.

    Is it true that the shortened link may at least help if the user clicks it and gets a cookie for your affiliate ID before they then erase it to go to the company's site directly?

    I really don't see anyone using the direct affiliate links out there... I'd love to know the percentage of affiliates who are using which solution... What solution are you all using??

    Thanks for the very helpful information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  7. Execute

    Execute Supreme Member

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    What I usually do is just use a php redirect file, it is a bit more time consuming but I can uniquely name the files so the link looks ok to both my visitors and to Google. :)
     
  8. Sharon Martin

    Sharon Martin Newbie

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    First thing, Google consider affiliate links as paid links (in short, it doesn't like affiliate links)

    On top of that, you are trying to cloak it... Not a good idea.