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…
- 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).
- 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! 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.