Should I be careful with affiliate links on my blog?

SEO Wednesday

Most bloggers live of advertisements in different ways. Some people get money from Google ads, from banners or for example from affiliate links. A question that many still have is whether or not affiliate links might harm the Google ranking of my blog?

SEO and affilliate linksBefore continuing I know that this is a topic handled by lots of other bloggers, and you might ask why I am writing this article still? Well, the truth is that not everyone read all blogs, and I believe that some of my readers will find this information useful and interesting, because they have not really read any of the other blog posts on the subject. So, if you find this question about whether or not affiliate links will have a negative effect on your blog interesting, keep on reading!

Will affiliate links harm my Google ranking?

There are lots of arguments existing in this discussion, but I will simply share some of them, and then you will have to decide for yourself afterwards. Let us start with the number one authority on the Google Algorithm and SEO, Matt Cutts. What he said on the topic a while back was the following:

[stextbox id=”info”]„We handle the vast majority of affiliate stuff correctly because if it is a large enough affiliate network we know about it and we handle it on our side. Even though we handle I believe the vast majority of affiliate links appropriately if you are at all worried about it, I would go ahead and just add the nofollow because you might be earning money from that. „[/stextbox]

Therefore if you are nervous about using affiliate links and afraid of harming your Google ranking, add nofollow to your link and be safe.

Some other perspectives on affiliate links

affilliate linksIt is a fact that linking to bad sites or so might harm your Google rank. However, linking to good sites might have a good effect on your site. The fact that a blog is linking to sites with good Google ranking and high authority on the subject should not really harm your own ranking, rather improve it. However, as I have been reading about SEO strategies on the Internet I remember running into the affiliate SEO strategy. This means to create a site, run an affiliate program and the main goal of the affiliate program is to get links to your site, and thus improve the SEO of the site linked to.

My personal opinion is that I would be careful joining affiliate programs linking to sites with little or no Page Rank, or with little authority on the subject. It is also useful to link to sites that are related to the content of your own blog.

Recommend stuff worth recommending

A while back I wrote my article telling that it is not all about the money. That is important with affiliate links as well. It isn’t all about earning money. We should only refer to sites and products worth recommending, and which we believe will actually help our readers and visitors. And if you believe that what you refer to (and work together with as an affiliate), then what is more natural than a dofollow link? If something is good, then why would I add nofollow to the link? After all the site and the product actually deservers the Page Rank sent together with the link.

The safe way is to add rel=”nofollow” to your links, but based on the comment of Matt Cutts on affiliate links and also common sense, you should not really not to be afraid that affiliate links will harm you, at least as long as you play fair and recommend and write about products worth referring to.

Do you agree or disagree? Any further comments and insight on the subject? I would love to hear from you!

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