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Should hide affiliate links?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by system0102, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. system0102

    system0102 Regular Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I have been hanging out on the BHW for several months and learnt a lot about quality content, backlink strategies, SEO tools and methods, etc. Big respect to everyone on this forum! :You_Rock_

    At the moment I already have a website up with some decent unique content which I want to use with Amazon affiliate program. I have a backlink strategy I want to test and all tools that I need. But the only doubt that I have here is what to do with the amazon affiliate links? There are very mixed opinions in threads on this forum. Will it hurt my ranking if I just leave affiliate links naked? :scratchch
     
  2. prospect7

    prospect7 Regular Member

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    amazon you can leave naked because 95% of people wont know it's an affiliate link..

    but links that look like affiliate links: mysite.com/tracking/93299/loan?=track23sub=2332 etc you should really do a PHP redirect that will clean it up so afterwards it looks like this: mysite.com/go/loan
     
  3. parasitus84

    parasitus84 Regular Member

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    This is interesting to me also. Does Google dislike affiliate links in general and that's why we should hide them or is keeping them short enough?
     
  4. garrido

    garrido Supreme Member

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    I cloack them.
     
  5. aivaras

    aivaras Newbie

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    do general outbound links like out/123 which redirects to affiliate link and make them nofollow
     
  6. bignose

    bignose Power Member

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    Generally, Google doesn't like cloacking. But it doesn't like affiliate links either. So Matt Cutts recommends to leave an aff link as is but make it nofollow, to let the spider know it's not relevant.
     
  7. devault

    devault Newbie

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    I've run some experiments but at the end the results are that it doesn't really make any difference if you leave the affiliate links "as is"
     
  8. mike2000

    mike2000 Elite Member

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    Personally I don't cloak Amazon affiliate links. As prospect7 pointed, many visitor won't notice that they are affiliate links. Also you can use shorten version of Amazon affiliate links.

    But for others, I use cloaking.
     
  9. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    It's against amazon's new affiliate terms to cloack your links. However, I'd highly encourage it from the stand point of improving click through. Perhaps if you do something like www.mydomain.com/amazon/product-name it would be okay? Not 100% haven't read their full terms. Keep in mind, if you're in the US you need to comply with the new FTC rules about proper disclosure.
     
  10. prospect7

    prospect7 Regular Member

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    In my experiences Google doesn't care if you have affiliate links on your site as long as your content is good and you have some HQ outgoing links to high authority sites.

    The main reason you clean up your links is:

    A) certain users purposely won't click your link if they know you could make money from selling them something. This is only a problem in certain niches.

    B) aesthetics / trust

    UNCLOAKED::: http://mysite.com/loans/tracking.ph...niesoffu?sub-id=campaign1?sub-id2=paydayloans

    or

    CLOAKED::: http://mysite.com/go/loans --- or --- http://mysite.com/go/loans.php

    The cloaked version not only looks cleaner it also has a better trust value for the users clicking your links.

    If you guys want I can make a detailed tutorial on how to do a PHP redirect to cloak your links properly. For now here's the code and basic instructions:

    Code:
    
    <?php
    
       header( 'Location:[COLOR=#ff0000] http://YOURSITE.com/affiliatecode?=tracking2882?subid=campaign1blahblah[/COLOR]' ) ;
    
    ?>
    
    
    Just basically save that code in a text file, rename the file from mylink.txt to mylink.php, upload it to your server then use the php file as your link. (mysite.com/mylink.php) or you can put it in a folder on your server and it looks like this (mysite.com/go/mylink)
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  11. jr_sci

    jr_sci Senior Member

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    I 301 my Affiliate links using a page like, www.mysite.com/order-now-page

    It's not for Google but for visitor's. Most people won't click an external links. There's a trust issue involved.
     
  12. moonlighsunligh

    moonlighsunligh Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    So how is it breaking their TOS if you use cloacked links but also use anchor text like this "buy this product from amazon"?
     
  13. tompots

    tompots Elite Member Premium Member

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  14. danailo

    danailo Senior Member

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    If you are working with Amazon you should cloak the links.
     
  15. maecenas23

    maecenas23 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    It's written few posts above ( and it's true) that it's against their rules to cloack the links.

    If you used wordpress as your platform, it's very simple to stay fine. Use PRETTY LINKS plug-in. I am using them for more than 1 year, cashed a lot from them and never had any issues.


     
  16. system0102

    system0102 Regular Member

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    I'm confused about statements talking about the aesthetic side of affiliate links for potential consumers and a need to shorten and make them more appealing. So if I just put a link under anchor text like <a href="affiliate_link">anchor_text</a>, how potential customers would know how my links look like? Maybe I'm missing something here?
     
  17. SuaveSalmon

    SuaveSalmon Registered Member

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    I am wondering the same thing. I see it is against the TOS now, but I was thinking about prettylinking it :S
     
  18. system0102

    system0102 Regular Member

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    I mean, if my site has 10 unique and well written articles and I decide to put couple of affiliate links to amazon products with anchor texts in one of those articles, what are chances the site will get penalized by big G?
     
  19. garrido

    garrido Supreme Member

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    Bump!
     
  20. dubious

    dubious Regular Member

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    My advice would be to leave naked url for Amazon links.

    Anything else that would distort the links with appended requests (affiliate links, UTM parameters) in which you believe could hurt either conversion or reputation, do a simple 301 redirect.
    not
    TO answer the penalty question: Google will not be doing there job if they are penalizing you. You can do a nofollow as someone suggested earlier and if you are truly frightened then you may simply not use an anchor at all (javascript/button instead).


    The above will look like a normal link.

    Anyway, my advice is to stop worrying about it. It's really a non-issue other than concern that your readers might be wary of affiliate links.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013