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Does Having Affiliate Links Hurt SEO? Here’s the Truth

Does having affiliate links hurt SEO? Discover the truth behind this common myth and learn how to use affiliate links to your advantage!

Gene Schleeter March 7, 2023
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If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably been told you should monetize your niche site with affiliate links. But you may be wondering if having affiliate links will hurt your site’s SEO?

Well, don’t fear, because affiliate links don’t hurt SEO. In fact, they may help in some situations.

In this article, I’ll explain all about affiliate links’ effect on search engine optimization, and why affiliate marketing could be the best way for you to monetize your blog content.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about affiliate links and SEO, keep reading.

The short answer is no.

Contrary to popular belief, affiliate links won’t send your site to Google purgatory.

In fact, since Google’s primary goal is for your content to help searchers, affiliate links present a great opportunity.

But it’s essential to use them correctly.

As with anything in life, balance is key. Too many affiliate links can make your site look spammy, and if they’re not helpful and positioned at the right place in your content to help your readers, this could lower your search engine rankings.

On the other hand, relevant and helpful affiliate links can add value to your content and boost your SEO efforts.

The Importance of Relevant and Helpful Affiliate Links

When adding affiliate links to your content, always ask yourself: “Is this link helpful and relevant to my readers?”

If the answer is yes, go ahead and add it. If the answer is no, skip it. It’s as simple as that.

For example, let’s say you have a blog about organic gardening and want to write about “how to grow organic tomatoes.” You could make organic fertilizer an essential part of growing organic tomatoes and link it to your favorite brand.

Example of helpful affiliate link placement

Remember, your readers come first, and your content should always provide value to them.

Don’t stuff your content with irrelevant or low-quality links. If you do, your readers will quickly leave, and then it won’t matter what Google thinks of your content.

Does Google Penalize Affiliate Sites?

No, despite what you may have heard from affiliate marketing gurus, Google’s algorithm doesn’t specifically penalize affiliate websites.

Think about it, huge sites like NerdWallet and Wirecutter are made of almost all affiliate content, but they have no problem getting traffic.

What Google cares most about is that you use the proper link attributes and disclosures, so your readers know your links are sponsored.

This makes sense because for your readers to have the best experience possible, they need to know whether or not you have a profit motive attached to your recommendations.

The most important aspect of this transparency is using the appropriate link attributes, namely rel=”sponsored” and rel=”nofollow”rel=”sponsored” for affiliate links.

According to Google’s SEO liaison John Mueller,

So, from our point of view, affiliate links fall into that category of something financial attached to the links, so we really strongly recommend to use this setup.

But, for the most part, if it doesn’t come across as you selling links, then it’s not going to be the case that we would manually penalize a website for having affiliate links and not marking them up.

That tells you all you need to know. Create great offers with clear product descriptions, then insert your affiliate links with sponsored and nofollow tags, and you won’t have any need to worry about falling down the SERPs (search engine results pages).

NOTE: If you use Lasso, you can automatically set affiliate links to have nofollow and sponsored tags, so you never need to worry whether you’re compliant.

And that’s just one of the ways Lasso makes it easier to be a successful affiliate marketer.

Lasso also generates affiliate disclosures, makes it easy to create Displays, Lists, and Tables, and gives you a central location to manage your affiliate links.

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A WordPress plugin that lets you add, manage, and display your affiliate links from any program, including Amazon. Increase conversions. Find new affiliate link opportunities. Earn more revenue! Less than 5 minutes to set up.

Yes, they can! When used correctly, affiliate links can boost your site’s authority and increase traffic.

By linking to high-quality products or services, you’re providing your readers with valuable resources that will help them solve their problems or achieve their goals.

As an example, imagine you are searching for a product review. How would you feel if you found a website with an excellent in-depth review written, but didn’t tell you where to get the product. Wouldn’t you feel let down?

If your readers find your content helpful, they’re more likely to share it on social media or even link to it from their own sites.

That, along with signals you’re solving users’ problems, is why Google loves affiliate links in the right situations.

Balancing Affiliate Links and SEO

While affiliate links can boost your SEO efforts, they can also harm them if not used correctly.

The key is to find the right balance between monetization and providing value to your readers.

Make sure that your content is the best and most helpful it can be and that its helpfulness is not reduced by your affiliate links. They should complement your content, not ruin it. Affiliate links are a great way to maximize your content’s earnings, but if you destroy your page’s experience with them, you’ll lose your rankings, traffic, and earnings.

Focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to your audience, and add affiliate links as a supplement to your content. Don’t make them the star of the show; instead, make your content the star.

Tip: Judge your link placements by clickthrough rate. Properly placed affiliate links generate a lot of clicks. If your links don’t get any clicks, there’s a reason.

If you’re having trouble tracking which of your affiliate links are sending the most clicks, you should use Lasso.

With Lasso, you can connect your site to Google Analytics and see exactly which links and Displays get the most clicks. Every time a reader clicks a link, Lasso will send a tracking event to GA.

And, since Lasso Displays have been proven to increase conversions, you’ll be sending more clicks than ever before.

Using Lasso is the easiest way to quickly increase your site’s affiliate revenue.

Why Lasso Is The Best Affiliate Marketing Plugin For WordPress

Tired of using 3-4 plugins to manage your affiliate links? Lasso is THE all-in-one WordPress plugin made for affiliate marketers.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Do Affiliate Links Count for SEO?

Affiliate links certainly can count for SEO, but it depends on how they are set up. Since a lot of affiliate links are shortened, they don’t actually pass authority to the final website.

However, when you link directly to high-quality products or services, you’re essentially link-building to the business’s website. This can signal to search engines that your site is a trustworthy source of information.

More than anything, if Google thinks your site needs to link to a retailer in order to hit the search intent, then you better do it.

However, as with everything in SEO, quality trumps quantity. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your readers, and the backlinks will come naturally.

Are affiliate links legal?

Yes, of course! Affiliate marketing is a totally legal and legitimate form of online advertising.

However, it’s essential to disclose them to your readers, so they’re aware of the relationship between you and the business. Disclosures are also required by most affiliate networks, like Amazon Associates.

TIP: If you use Lasso Displays, your affiliate disclosures will automatically appear next to your CTA buttons, so you don’t even need to think about them.

How many affiliate links can I add to my content?

There’s no set number. As with everything in life, balance is key. Add affiliate links that are relevant and helpful to your readers, and don’t go overboard.

Will adding affiliate links harm my readers’ experience?

Not if you add them correctly. Always make sure that the links you add are relevant and helpful to your readers and that they provide value to them.

Can I use affiliate links on social media?

Yes, you can promote affiliate products on social media as long as the affiliate program or affiliate network is ok with it.

However, disclose them to your audience, so they know you’re promoting a product or service.

Can I use affiliate links on my e-commerce site?

Yes, you can. Affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to promote products or services that complement your offerings.

Do Affiliate Links Count as “Link Spam”

No. Google’s Link Spam Update doesn’t have anything to do with affiliate links. Updates like that set out to devalue external links that appear to be irrelevant or bought as a part of link schemes.

Basically, unless buying links is part of your SEO strategy, you should have nothing to worry about.

Affiliate links don’t hurt SEO. In fact, the two often go hand-in-hand.

The ultimate goal of search engines like Google is to provide helpful and relevant information to searchers. If a searcher’s question can be aided by a product, then affiliate links are appropriate.

When used correctly, affiliate links can not only boost your search engine rankings, but also help you monetize your site and fund more content production.

Remember, your readers come first. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides a great user experience, and the affiliate links will practically place themselves.

Capture the full value of your existing links.

Use Lasso product displays and automations to earn more with your blog.

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