Affiliate Link Tips

July 9

1 comments

Affiliate Link Best Practices, Tips and Tricks

By Nate McCallister

Last Updated July 9, 2020


Wait! Please don't share another affiliate link on your blog without doing these reading this article.

Tip #1 Make Links "noFollow"

Always make your affiliate links no-follow. Google has admitted that their algorithms don't favor pages with lots of affiliate links. 

Why? It makes it seem like you're only out to make a buck and aren't adding relevant links to help your readers. 

Seriously, this isn't SEO paranoia, it's a real thing. Watch this video from back in 2012 with Google's Matt Cutts where he encourages web masters to make their affiliate links 'nofollow.'

Another reason to make your affiliate links nofollow links is because you don't want to leak Page Rank to your affiliate's pages. Your job as an affiliate is to make affiliate sales NOT to make the affiliate's page grow a huge backlink profile off of its affiliates.

After all, your top organic competitor on search engines is typically the company themselves that you're promoting. You are actually helping them outrank you.

Don't get me wrong, I won't complain when my affiliates give me direct dofollow links, but I don't expect them to and wouldn't hold it against them for making their affiliate links nofollow. It would just show me that I had smart affiliates. 

How to Make Affiliate Links NoFollow

On Thrive Themes, this is very easy. I just click one radio button.

Add nofollow links

If you prefer not to use Thrive Themes and your current blog platform doesn't have a way to easily add no-follow links, there are some plugins that will help.

You can do this easily yourself if you want to make life difficult 🙂

The code of a traditional link looks like this:  

<a href="youraffiliateproduct.com/referrer-ID"> Click here to buy now </a>

Making this link a no follow would be done by adding rel="nofollow" after the site address. Like this...

<a href="youraffiliateproduct.com/referrer-ID" rel="nofollow"> Click here to buy now </a

All of this is done on the back end. You and your readers can't tell the difference.

Note: If your site is using HTML banners, be sure to check if the URLs behind them are 'nofollow' or not. If they aren't, you can edit the code yourself (it isn't much more difficult than the example above) or hire someone to do it for you. 

For more on making links nofollow, check out this article

Tip #2 Create Domain Redirects 

Creating shortened redirect URLs isn't just for aesthetics (although it is nice to turn an ugly, mile long URL into something short and memorable). Creating redirects with link management software (like Clickmagick) can save you tons of time and prevent lost commissions down the road. 

Here's why. 

Affiliate program changing

Affiliate programs change all the time! This email above was just one recent example. One of my top affiliates, ConvertKit, switched platforms and it could have been catastrophic for me if I hadn't set up redirects for my links. 

Do you know how frustrating it is when you have dozens of links spread out over dozens of blog posts that are now dead?

Very frustrating. 

Using a link management tool like Clickmagick (my recommendation) you only need to update the redirect link once and it will change wherever the short tracking link is shown.

If I've lost you, here is an example of what I mean. 

When ConvertKit switched programs, my affiliate link changed from this link https://mbsy.co/convertkit/nmccallister to this one https://convertkit.com?lmref=imaEvw.

Luckily, instead of pasting https://mbsy.co/convertkit/nmccallister whenever I wanted to link to ConvertKit, I used a link (redirect) http://tools.entreresource.com/convertkit.

Clickmagick

All I had to do was log into Clickmagick and edit the end URL of that link. Now http://tools.entreresource.com/convertkit goes to the proper link. This means I don't have to go and replace every appearance. 

Note: I originally feared that redirects could lead to Google penalties. I have yet to receive any penalties as I'm not trying to deceive the reader. These aren't cloaked links, they are just redirects. If you're uncomfortable with this, you can skip this step and replace all of your links manually when platforms change. Your call! 

There you have it. Now, go share some links and make some money! 

Keep in mind, Clickmagick is far from the only option for creating redirects or tracking clicks. I just find it to be the best and it hasn't ever let me down. You can go with a free, but complex alternative if you want. 

Tools for Managing Your Affiliate Links

You can save time AND monitor what happens with the links you share with just a couple of desktop apps.

Here are the three I use and think you should too!

#1 FastLinqs

Fastlinqs

Me and two friends had Fastlinqs built in 2017. We realized we were wasting time finding the links and text we used over and over. So for around $2,000, we hired a developer who created a simple Google Chrome extension that let us store and retrieve whatever links we wanted. 

Fastlinqs

I'm biased but Fastlinqs is absolutely one of my most frequently used tools.

 I've used it a handful of times already while writing this blog post!

Fastlinqs has a built in search feature that lets you quickly locate things you need from an unlimited number of items. I type in the word "lead magnet" and I quickly see my post on lead magnets. One click and I've copied it. Boom.

The only downside to Fastlinqs is that it is limited to the Chrome browser only.

#2 TextExpander 

Textexpander logo

TextExpander is a tool that allows you to turn any text into a shorter abbreviated code.

For example, I type "$thrivecart" (without the quotation marks of course) and it autofills this "http://tools.entreresource.com/thrive-cart"

The ability to store my unique affiliate links (as shown above) is awesome but TexExpander goes far beyond just short text like that. You can create templates as long as your heart desires. I have several 100+ word email replies I send simply by typing just a couple of letters.

TextExpander also has a mobile application and works on your device directly instead of on a particular browser like Fastlinqs. 

TextExpander serves a similar function to Fastlinqs. However, I still also use Fastlinqs because I find it easier to grab my blog post and YouTube URLs. Since I have combined hundreds of both, I don't want to have to create a bunch of unique short codes and there is no way I could remember them all if I did. 

TIP: EXPORT BLOG AND VIDEO URLS FAST

If you have hundreds of blog posts and you want to grab the titles and URLs, check out the free WordPress plugin called Export All URLs. If you want to export all of your YouTube video URLs and titles, check out the free software TubeBuddy. Here is a video I made showing how to export URLs with TubeBuddy. You can easily upload these titles and URLs into Fastlinqs and TextExpander.

Logo


Last but definitely not least is the link tracking powerhouse, Clickmagick. 

ClickMagick provides a suite of features appealing to digital marketers. Here are the most important ones.

  • See how many people click your links, when and from where.
  • Weed out fake bot clicks.
  • Pixel people who click your links.
  • Track conversions on your own products AND your affiliates. 
  • Receive notifications when links are down.
  • Turn ugly URLs into more professional, branded ones.

The tool is too powerful to summarize in a quick blurb here, so read my full ClickMagick review if you're interested (like I know you should be).

I turn almost all of my links into Clickmagick links before sharing them. 

I Convert Almost All Of My Links Into ClickMagick Links Before Storing Them In TextExpander Or Fastlinqs

Anyone who has any online business presence (especially affiliate marketers) owes it to themselves to try out ClickMagick. Readers get an extended 30 day trial of Clickmagick by clicking here.

There you have it, the three tools I use to manage my links. What do you use? Tell me in the comments!

About the author

Nate is the founder and main contributor of EntreResource.com. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his four kids Sawyer, Brooks, Van and Lua with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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