It’s no secret: Google isn’t a big fan of affiliate websites.  Look at it from their point of view.  They’re trying to rank the site with the best information.  An affiliate site’s primary purpose is selling a product, so they know you’re going to be saying damn well anything to get people to click on those affiliate links.  Which is likely far off the mark from “quality content.”

Leaving your affiliate links looking how they usually do (i.e.: long and sloppy) is a dead giveaway that you’re an affiliate.  Not only to Google, but to your visitors as well.  If you site is a “unbiased” product review site, you’ll lose credibility when a reader sees that you’re directly making money off the product you reviewed.

So whats the solution?

Cloak those Affiliate Links

Step 1: Create a Sub-folder on your site

This can be easily accomplished by going to your cpanel, opening your file manager, and creating a new folder at the root level of your site.

This is the directory where we’ll place your links, so name it something relevant.

Some examples:

  • www.site.com/products/
  • www.site.com/recommendations/
  • www.site.com/links/

Step 2: Edit your robots.txt

Add a “Disallow” line for the directly you just made

User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-admin/
Disallow: /wp-includes/
Disallow: /products/

Note: Some WordPress XML sitemap plugins interfere with the robots.txt by overwriting it.  You don’t want that to happen.

Step 3: Open WordPress and Install the Plugin: Redirection

Redirection can be found here.

Once installed, go to Tools > Redirection

For each of your affiliate links, specify how you would like the links to look in the “Source Url” field.  Specify your gnarly affiliate link in “Target URL“.

That’s it.

Note: If you’re an Amazon Affiliate, cloak at your own risk.  Amazon is pretty unforgiving about Terms of Service volations and this is definitely a bannable offense.

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