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Does Starting An Affiliate Program Kill Your Rankings?

Your ranking on Google can be affected either positively or negatively depending on how relevant your affiliate link is to visitors of your site. If you have an appropriate link to your web, it will help to boost your affiliate relevance and hence your ranking while on the other side, thin and low-quality affiliate links can drag your ranking down.

It is very common to have many affiliate links linking to your website and these links as time goes by will start to show their impact on your internet ranking depending on the relevance of those links to your web or your target visitors.

At this point, you should ask yourself, “what kind of links is an affiliate link to your website?” according to the Goggle guidelines on the affiliate links, an affiliate link could either be “unnatural” or “paid links”. You might be wondering, “what are paid links?” Relax and learn.

Unnatural affiliate links are those links that have been manipulated by web owners such that they can improve their link profiles so that they can improve their ranking. So if you buy an affiliate link so that you improve your ranking, you are likely to kill your ranking instead of improving it.

So, how can an affiliate link affect your rankings? Here are some of the ways through which your ranking can be influenced by an affiliate program that you link with to your website.

affiliate program affiliate links

Allow Command

Your ranking is likely to be affected by the affiliate links that you allow to be linked to your website. Inbound links can have an impact on your site’s link profile if they do not have the disallow command.

Allow commands are those affiliate links that allow the search engine to follow the affiliate link to your vendor’s website and give it the ranking instead of your site. So, if the affiliate link that you link on your web has an allow command, it will kill your ranking because the search engine will be allowing your retailers’ websites to receive the ranking on your site’s behalf.

To overcome this problem, ensure that all the affiliate links you link to your site have a “disallow command” which means the search engine will not follow the affiliate link to your vendor’s web or give it any value. So, the question might arise, “how will you know a link has a disallow command?”

Well, an affiliate link that has a disallow command should contain the “/r.cfm” in the link. Affiliate links that have this will not influence your ranking in a negative manner because the links will not allow the search engine to index past your network and it cannot pass your ranking to another.

Paid Links

Your affiliate websites can negatively impact your ranking if they are paid links. To avoid this, hereunder you will find a statement by the head of webspam engineering at Goggle, Mr Matt Cutts on how paid links will kill your ranking, “A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. To prevent paid links from influencing search results and negatively impacting users, we urge webmasters use no follow on such links. Search engine guidelines require machine-readable disclosure of paid links in the same way that consumers online and offline appreciate disclosure of paid relationships (for example, a full-page newspaper ad may be headed by the word “Advertisement”).”

To overcome this problem, ensure that all the affiliate links that you intend to link to your site have a “rel =nofollow” attribute on their links. If that attribute is missing, you can be sure that your ranking will be affected.

Bad Coding

Another factor in affiliate marketing that is likely to kill your ranking is bad coding. Bad coding is the greatest website ranking killer than any other.

You can overcome the bad coding problem by using an HTML editor like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression or any other free content management software that will help you to code your web well so that it will do well in the internet ranking.


Microtexting is the act of using tiny texts in your links that are not clearly visible you’re your viewers. Be sure if your affiliate links are not visible to your readers, your ranking will be affected because your web will be deindexed. Microtexting according to the Goggle rules is the same as hacking, and your site will be poorly ranked or deindexed from the internet.

To overcome this problem, ensure that you use texts that are clearly visible to all your visitors without struggling to locate or see them.

Rapid Affiliate Link Expansion

Beware of the number of links that you are adding to your link more especially if your web is new. Google is on the watch on the number of new connections that you are adding and if they are similar. That is not all; they also monitor how many links are deleted from your website and how relevant they are to your site.

According to Goggle, “Google watches how fast new connections to a site appear as a way to detect and penalise search engine spam. If too many new links appear in too short a timeframe, the site may be penalised, or even banned, by Google.”

If you get connected to an affiliate program that makes all your members link to your website overnight, your site is likely to raise danger flags to the search engines and Goggle, and this is likely either lead to a decline in your ranking, or your site will be banned.

It is not just the affiliate links that you link to that will affect your ranking the time it takes for your affiliate links to connect with you also matters. Whichever the case, it takes time and money to develop websites, so a too rapid affiliate link expansion is likely to affect your ranking.

To overcome this, be cautious and grow your affiliate marketing. Do not just link with an affiliate that will increase your links and then your ranking, link your website with members that are of high quality and your ranking will improve with time.

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Editorial Staff

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