Depending on who you talk to about SEO and affiliate links, some will tell you that they are bad and can hinder your rankings. Others will say they are totally fine to use and have no impact on how your site ranks.
The truth however about what is safe or unsafe with regards to using affiliate links in you site that’s doing SEO is in the middle and in this post, I’m going to share the 4 most important things you know need to know in order to successfully be an affiliate marketer in the SEO world.
This comes from my own personal experiences as someone who does affiliate mainly in the SEO world, and as someone who has direct access to some of the best SEO masters in the game who also happen to be affiliates.
We have built and continue to build our affiliate businesses in the SEO world and while both they and I diversify our marketing efforts in other realms, SEO and organic rankings remain as one of the top potential places to make it as an affiliate marketer (as long as it’s done correctly, which is why you’re reading this post). So let’s get started:
Here are the 4 most important things you need to know about affiliate links and SEO:
- Run a scarce but intelligent affiliate link strategy across your site.
- Most of the links you have across your site should not be affiliate links.
- Mark your affiliate links as sponsored link.
- Know Google’s policy on affiliate linking and SEO in general.
The context of these 4 things is to help you:
- Have high rankings.
- Get a lot of organic traffic.
- And successfully perform affiliate marketing on your site without suffering penalties or ranking losses.
1) Scarce but intelligent affiliate link strategies keep you safe in the SEO world:
Most affiliate marketers who attempt to succeed in SEO make a major mistake in spamming affiliate links across their site. If they have a 100 pages, those 100 pages are riddled with dozens of affiliate links and in Google’s eyes (and anyone with objective thinking), this screams one word: Spam.
And that also cascades into other things you can consider to be anti SEO which are:
People who often post their affiliate links very often across one or more pages on their site generally do not deliver good content period.
What should you do then?
A good policy to maintain (that I personally follow) is to have 10% or less of your website’s pages have affiliate links on them, meaning that if you have 100 pages worth of content, only 10 of them (or less) have affiliate links on them.
What about the other 90 then? Well those can funnel into the 10 pages and this is generally a much safer practice. You can look at my blog page here and what you’ll notice is that in most cases, I follow this principal.
2) Most of the links throughout your website should not be affiliate links. They should instead be:
80% internal links. 5-10% external links and maybe 5-10% affiliate links. Generally this type of link policy is very good for SEO.
Internal links are probably one of the best things you can do to help your website’s SEO grow because it will help visitors (and Google spiders) crawl more of your website as a whole, bringing traffic to other pages and helping them grow.
External links should also be considered (but rarely) and they are basically links pointing to none affiliate links outside your website. Generally pointing to authority websites is the best way to go. I rarely do this, but if I am writing a post on a specific subject and I find another website providing great content on the same subject, I’ll sometimes link to that page and tell people to visit it.
While I do risk losing traffic, the very practice of externally linking this way shows Google I am not trying to horde all the traffic to myself and it pays me in more SEO points and in the long run, getting more traffic from that is a way better investment.
3) Make sure to mark your affiliate links as rel=sponsored:
In recent weeks, Google came out with what is known as the Google link spam update, which I personally have some issues with, but besides that point, the important thing to note is the following:
All affiliate links on your website must be marked as rel=sponsored (no follows also help) to avoid getting a potential manual action against the site. For me, the process was tedious, but most affiliates do not know about this new update and could suffer ranking losses as a results.
So make sure to read up on the internal link I added above about this update and how to stay safe.
4) Here’s the general (safe) things to know about affiliate links and SEO:
Affiliate links in general do nothing to hurt your rankings. At the same time, having them on your site will not help your SEO improve either.
What can hinder your SEO results with regards to affiliate links is 2 things:
- Posting too many of them across your site.
- Not marking them as rel=sponsored.
And because I already shared how to avoid those 2 problems, you are now in a much better position to perform affiliate marketing on your website and grow your blog.
What to know about affiliate links and SEO moving forward:
Affiliate links and SEO are generally applied to blogging and in regards to affiliate marketing and blogging, there is still a lot of potential (and growing) in this business.
While many updates and evolution have come about in this world, some of it not so convenient, the fact still remains that it’s one of the best ways to operate an affiliate marketing business and for the foreseeable future, I will continue doing this.
There are many evergreen niche markets and opportunities to create high quality blogs, content and promote affiliate offers of all sorts in your blog and get a lot of high rankings, get amazing free traffic from it and scale that traffic to even bigger profits (email marketing, retargeting, pay per click ads and more).
It’s not easy work by any means, but for beginners, I would still advise those looking to do affiliate marketing to start with a blog and for personal help on that, Wealthy Affiliate is where you will learn the safe ways to do this right.