Most bloggers eventually get to a point where they have hopes that their blog will provide them with a little side (or more) income. Many times this entails setting up banner ads and advertising affiliate products like you see in this blog’s sidebar on the right.
Be warned: take caution when linking out to too many affiliate landing pages, doing so could get your site severely penalized in Google’s returned results.
You see, there’s been a lot of talk lately about Google penalizing websites for being “too affiliate”; sales page sites only; paid link sites; and more. Just check out all the talk on the Google Search, is Google penalizing affiliate sites.
The First Thing You Need To Understand is Google
To start, you need to think like Google.
Once you understand the thought process behind the creators of Google’s search algorithm, then you can not only know what you should do… but understand what you should do.
See the difference?
So what does Google want?
It’s simple. They want to be the best search engine on the Internet.
And how do they get to be the best search engine you ask?
By providing the best and most relevant content (preferably free) to anyone who uses their search engine.
If you were to sit down at your computer and use, say Bing, to do a search on “How to make a paper airplane” and all you got back were one page affiliate sites which gave you nothing but a sales pitch on why you need to buy this ebook for ten bucks which will show you how to make a paper airplane…
You go to Google and type in the same “How to make a paper airplane” and all you got back were a number of websites showing you (for free) in text, video, and images how to make paper airplanes…
Which search engine would be your search engine of choice?
So how should you link out to affiliate offers?
Okay so now you understand why Google doesn’t like sites which are “too affiliate”. It prefers informational websites over sales pitch websites (and sites which are created in its eyes as solely built around linking to those sales sites).
There are 3 ways to ensure Google won’t penalize you for your affiliate links.
- Use the rel=”nofollow” tag in your links
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
- Use the meta tags nofollow
Here’s an example of how to properly use the rel=”nofollow” tag:
Here’s my affiliate link for Niche Profit Classroom which I put in a text widget:
By using the rel=”nofollow” in the link, I’m telling Google that I’m not voting for this site to be pushed up in the returned results… and by doing this, you’re telling Google to effectively “ignore this link”.
Therefore, if all your affiliate links are nofollow, then Google
won’t shouldn’t consider your site to be an affiliate based website (assuming you have valuable content on it).
And just in case if you’re wondering, yes you can have lots of content plus lots of affiliate links and still get penalized. In other words, just because you have lots of valuable content it doesn’t mean you won’t get penalized. It happened to one of my niche sites.
Yep… that’s what inspired this post. I got penalized on one of my niche sites which has a ton of valuable content, but I had too many affiliate links which I forgot to make nofollow. Here’s my Google Analytics screen shot of the day it happened:
This particular article, The Different Types of Corporations, LLCs, Partnerships, & More went from getting about 25-30 hits a day to around 2 or 3. It also went from being in the number two spot in Google for “types of corporations” to somewhere around 6 pages deep.
So if your blog contains a number of affiliate links, keep in mind Google doesn’t like to see too many of them without the nofollow tag.