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 an SEO perspective.

One 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.

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 a 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 handles affiliate links and what should we do if we are worried about such affiliate Links.

Though this video is short, 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 the 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:

In the past 10+ years, I have tried more than eight best WordPress affiliate plugins, and I have found the one that works best in all situation, including handling SEO. There are many paid and available free Affiliate plugins, and one of them is ThirstyAffiliates. You can get detailed information about this plugin in one of my earlier post:

In the plugin settings, you can add a no-follow attribute to all links cloaked using this plugin, which will help you to stop passing link juice to affiliate links.

Additionally, I recommend you to add the affiliate URL trigger in your robots.txt as disallow.

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

Though, this is a solution for those who use ThirstyAffiliates plugin and for others you should start adding nofollow tag to such links. For old posts, where such links are added, you can use No external links to add nofollow attribute quickly.

Anyhow, I suggest you to use any plugin like Thirsty Affiliates or any other to mask your affiliate links, as default links look ugly and might lower down CTR. If you are new to Affiliate 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?