Do you cloak your affiliate links?

11 replies
In terms of today's SEO, is it still beneficial to cloak affiliate links, or is it only done to increase click-throughs? If it is done to just increase click-throughs, does that mean your on-site SEO remains the same as not cloaking it (as in, it's still considered an outbound link)?
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian Alaway
    Yes it's still beneficial but not just for ctr. It can also facilitate tracking. It it's an outbound link, it's still an outbound link. You can use rel=nofollow but Google may choose to ignore it.
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  • Profile picture of the author plongmire
    not sure exactly what you are asking about SEO, someone smarter than I can answer that, but when it comes to cloaking, i dont do it for clickthrough, because I use a program where I can change the product that the link clicks to without changing the link...

    In other words, I can redirect any link to any product. So if I have 200 articles on an affiliate product, and that affiliate program quits delivering or they go away or something happens, I just re-enter the place where that link directs people to...

    So I can just change the location without losing all the work i have done...
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    You better, cause Google hates affiliates. True story.
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    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Cohen
    What free WP plugin do you recommend to do it?
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    • Profile picture of the author Psst
      Banned
      I don't understand why you connected link cloaking with SEO. But ya, as others said here, cloaking helps shrink long URLs, track clicks and click-through rates etc...

      Originally Posted by Brian Alaway View Post

      Ya, this little nifty plugin is my favorite.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Psst View Post

        I don't understand why you connected link cloaking with SEO.
        Some people believe that Google will "penalize" sites if it crawls bare affiliate links ... "go figure".

        I cloak all mine, always, but not for that reason. And not to try to conceal from anyone that they're affiliate links (that would be a strange approach, with an affiliate disclaimer on the page, wouldn't it?).

        Most of my affiliate links are actually hoplinks. And when you look at what they look like uncloaked, it's not easy to imagine that many people will be willing to click on them, is it?

        I prefer to use a redirected domain-name to cloak mine. That serves me well, too, just in case any of my affiliate links get onto anyone else's sites where I may not be able to edit them myself, in future, if I ever need to, because the domain-name's mine and I can always access it, and always change the redirect, put up an information-page there, or whatever else I might ever want to do.

        But the important thing is not to use any of those silly "shortening/cloaking services" which you don't own and control yourself, as a few tens of thousands of people who've had accidents with tinyurl, bitly, and many of those other things, will tell you.
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        • Profile picture of the author Palusko
          I second this. If it's a hoplink, a subdomain will work great, and as Alexa said, it gives you control and flexibility for future changes.

          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          I prefer to use a redirected domain-name to cloak mine.
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  • Profile picture of the author WPBounce
    I have sites with cloaked affiliate links with nofollow rel tag and it seems google has been nice enough with not following them.
    I'm on board with plongmire you can easily change links if you need to.
    Also another benefit would be hiding your data from affiliate networks (if you do a javascript redirect cloaking).
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  • Profile picture of the author stesnees
    Pretty Link all the time for me, there may be other better ones available, but for simplicity you cant go wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author Psst
    Banned
    Ya, you can either cloak using a top level domain or a directory on some domain name. You may use Plugins like 'Pretty Link Lite' that come with ease of use and analytics capabilities. But avoid any third party cloakers.
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