There was a time when SEO friendly affiliate links used to be a great rage. They still are but there are various shades of success and failure when you try to improve your search engine rankings using SEO friendly affiliate links.
What are SEO friendly affiliate links?
SEO friendly affiliate links are URLs that contain recognizable and preferably keyword-rich words rather than tracking IDs and cryptic alphanumeric strings. These are supposedly good for your search engine rankings (as they contain actual words). Besides people are more prone to clicking links that contain familiar words. SEO friendly links will also pass ‘link juice’ and add SEO value as with standard link building.
Is it really worth it creating SEO friendly affiliate links?
It may or may not but the whole point is most of the links that track affiliate performance use 302 redirects rather than 301. A 301 redirect tells the search engines that it is a permanent state of affairs and the 302 redirect signifies a temporary state. This is the reason the search engines might not take such links seriously and hence you may not get the desired SEO effect no matter how SEO friendly your affiliate links are.
Can search engine friendly affiliate tracking URLs be created?
var isSSL = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://www.” : “http://www.”); document.write(unescape(“%3Cimg src=’” + isSSL + “example.com/affiliatetracker.php?affiliate=” + self.document.location.hash.substring(1) + “‘ />”));
Another method is using the actual website of the affiliate partner to track traffic. For instance affiliate traffic can be measured from the referring URL rather than the tracking IDs. Of course it can generate problem if multiple affiliates use the same domain.
Both these methods can become cumbersome if a merchant is going to have thousands of affiliates and hence they are not feasible (the merchant may have to accommodate various affiliates manually). Besides, these methods can suddenly generate a ton of incoming links to your website and the search engines might think that you are trying to spam your way to higher search engine rankings.
Google authored patent application takes into consideration the age of your incoming links. A legitimate website gradually grows the number of incoming links it has and most of these incoming links come from trusted websites. When you try to maneuver your URL links it might create a sudden flash of incoming links and this may send a message to Google that you are trying to spam.
Therefore, instead of spending your energy on creating the so-called SEO friendly affiliate links you must invest time in building affiliate relationships and educating your affiliates on how to improve their search engine rankings by legitimate methods.