I don’t think anyone with a blog or website needs to be told how important search traffic can be to your blog – and Google is pretty much the giant in the field.
Google has a bunch of complex algorithms that they use to determine how important a site is, and how it should rank in the search results. The number of links that go to a site are one of the main ways Google determines how important that site is.
When you link to another site – even with an affiliate link – it tells Google “Hey! I like this place enough to link to it!” and then the Google spiders follow that link to the other site and start checking it out and pass some “Google Juice” along to it from your page – which helps that page rank higher in the search engines.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog workshop, NoFollow is a little piece of code that tells Google to ignore the link. The spiders literally don’t follow it, and it doesn’t pass along any importance to the targeted site.
Now over the years, people have found all sorts of crazy ways to game the system and get tons of links to their site – I’ve done it myself in the past, because I thought it was the right thing to do if I wanted my site to rank.
But Google is doing their best to change that – they’ve started de-indexing blogs and websites they find that have what they call “unnatural” linking patterns. You know, the kind where you go to Fiverr and pay someone for 500 backlinks to your site.
What Google wants to see are natural linking patterns, the kind you get when people come to your site, love something they see, and share it with other people.
So What Does Google Say About It?
So, Google is getting REALLY strict about link schemes – especially the kind where you get paid for linking to something.
And technically, an affiliate link IS a way of getting paid for linking to something. Think about it – why do you think Amazon ranks so well in the search engines? Do you think that the millions of affiliate links pointing to it have anything to do with it? And then – if your link creates a sale, Amazon pays you.
And it’s not just affiliate links! According to this post from Robin at Pajama Affiliates, all of these should be no-follow:
- Paid links inside of sponsored posts
- Links where you are paid per click
- Affiliate Links
- Links to companies where you are paid to blog about
- Link parties, blog hops or blog round ups
Now Google understands how affiliate sales work, and that you aren’t actually sharing the link to boost Amazon’s ranking. In fact, here’s what Matt Cutts (he was the head antispam guy at Google for several years) has to say about it –
Since Matt says it’s a smart idea (and remember, it’s more about protecting your own site), let’s make those affiliate links no follow! Kind of like the old oatmeal commercials – It’s the right thing to do and there’s an easy way to do it!
Here’s the regular way of making a no-follow link:
When you link to something, the code looks a lot like this –
<a href=”thisismylink.com”>Target Text</a>
In order to make it no-follow, all you have to do is add rel=”nofollow” into the code like this –
<a href=”thisismylink.com” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>
(If you copy and paste that code, you may need to delete and re-type the quotation marks)
Now, that’s not hard to do, but there is an easier way – it’s a simple WP Plug in. (Here are more plugins I love!) There are several that will help you with this, the one I use is called Ultimate NoFollow. Just go into your Plugins menu in your WordPress dashboard, and choose “Add New”. Then, you can search for it by name to upload to your blog.
When you go to create a link in your blog, you bring up this “Add Link” box –
After you install “Ultimate NoFollow”, the box will look like this:
When you want to “nofollow” a link, all you have to do is check the box, and it’s done!
It can be tricky, keeping up with the things that have to be done to give our blogs a fighting chance. But if you are determined to build a profitable blog, it’s in your best interest to stay on top of the latest SEO developments.
I hope this post has helped you understand why you should use the nofollow attribute on your affiliate links – and inspires you to start taking action!