Leveraging Your Affiliates for PageRank

Affiliate networks like CJ use 302 redirects, even though they know that blocks the flow of PageRank to the merchant. And that’s not going to change anytime soon — if ever — because the networks’ loyalty is to the affiliates, not to the merchants. If merchants profited from affiliate links in terms of rankings improvements, the affiliates would not be happy. There would be mass revolt and a bunch of affiliates would leave the network. Luckily, for you merchants, there are a couple workarounds you could utilize to capture some link juice from your affiliates…

  1. Bring your affiliate program in-house and utilize an affiliate tracking solution that uses 301 redirects and therefore passes PageRank. Here’s a blog post of mine about this: Affiliate Programs That Pass Link Gain (PageRank). Amazon.com is one such merchant with an in-house affiliate program — and it serves up 301s to capture PageRank from their “associates” (affiliates).
  2. and/or, simply require your affiliates to post a disclosure statement on their Legal Notices page (or their About page if they don’t have a Legal Notices page) stating that they are an affiliate of the merchant and that neither party is an agent, partner, joint venturer, franchisor, franchisee, employer or employee of the other. And of course require that the affiliate include a straight link to the merchant in that statement. Pretty sly, eh! :D And the great thing about a Legal Notices page is that it is typically linked site-wide and has very few other links on it compared to other pages, so your link gets a bigger slice of the PageRank that is divvied up among the links!

Bear in mind that affiliates can always add rel=nofollow to any and all links to the merchant, so the power still rests with the affiliates.

9 Comments

  • lurker says:

    Heh at least at Amazon links we put rel=nofollow also always use our own jump pages that are disallowed with robots.txt with javascript redirects to prevent old-fashioned crawlers/bots/scrappers to generate artificial clicks.

    About Amazon link, eBay links I will raise discussion at Matt Cutts blog ASAP

  • Everett says:

    I would advise against either of those tactics in most cases. As an affiliate, I don’t like dealing with 20 different programs and waiting on 20 different tax forms to come in the mail each year. So unless it’s the most kick-ass, high-converting, killer-commission program I’m not going to bother applying for it separately when there are so many just like it on one of the networks.

    Second, I’m not going to link to a merchant from anywhere on my site. Again, unless it’s the best darn affiliate program on the interwebs, you’ll lose me as an affiliate if you REQUIRE me to link to your site, however sneaky you think you might be.

  • Paul says:

    Are you saying that all CJ ads do not pass on PR. I am pretty new to affiliate ads and am using CJ, though really do not want to lose hard built up PR to these ads

  • Everett says:

    Paul – It is a common mythconception (yes I spelled it wrong on purpose) that you “lose page rank” when you link out to other sites or pages. The amount of page rank you can pass on to other pages may decrease with each outbound link, but the amount of page rank you keep for your own page and ranking purposes does not.

  • Everett says:

    Paul – and BTW, the CJ link goes to CJ not to the merchant. Many people add a nofollow tag to those links and others, such as myself, go the extra step and send them through a redirect first, which is located in a folder that is disallowed in the robots.txt file – or that goes through javascript, etc. I think CJ does have a javascript link option actually. It’s been awhile since I’ve put up links from there.

  • Ryan says:

    Gret post Stephan.

    I know there are affiliate networks, such as LinkConnector (which isn’t in your older post) which use a “naked link” technology which allows the PR to be passed on.

    I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to enforce option 2 of requiring a disclaimer; and that I don’t think many affiliates would like links off their site if they aren’t compensated for it.

  • Jon Janke says:

    This is the most idiotic thing I’ve read in a long time.

  • Amrendra says:

    Ya this is right but How much is it effective or is there any drawback of it for not getting higher page ranking?

  • Mark R says:

    Again, I am late to the party here, but my two cents is that you might have a “standard” commission percentage to all affiliates, and give a “preferred” commission (maybe one or two percent higher) to those affiliates who also provide a contextual “straight” link as well.

    Also, with google’s canonical link tool (and a tool to ignore URL paramter’s in google webmaster tools), I am not 100% sure that you really need to mess with the url structure of incoming links behind the scenes (e.g., thorugh an htaccess re-write) any more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.