Affiliate Linking

How do I find out if I am linking to a site offering an affiliate program?


See also "How do I know if my web site has been banned by Google?".
Google warns:

"Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects."
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35772

Some affiliate programs use redirects with links and if you use a lot
of affiliate programs with redirecting links, Google's automatic spam
recognition algorithms may think your web site is trying to trick
search engines.

1) If you are using an affiliate program you should find that out by
looking at every single page of your site for text like "affiliate
program", or "affiliates", or "15 % commission", or "make money", or
"get more traffic", etc.

2) Next thing to do is to go through every link on every page of your
site (unless you have too many, like thousands of links and pages,
then you might have no time to check everything). Do not click only at
text links, also click the image links and banners. Here is an
imaginary example situation: look at picture 1.
Affiliate Linking
Picture 1.
 
Let's imagine someone owns the site 1 (for example you) at the
middle of the picture. It's linking to four other sites, site 2,
site 3, site 4, and site 5.

Page 1 of site 1 might link to page 1 on site 2 (see the blue arrow in
picture 1 pointing from page 1 of site 1 to page 1 of site 2). Page 1
of site 2 might not mention an affiliate program, so you click a link
which sends you to page 2 of site 2. On that page you don't see any
affiliate programs mentioned on text, links or images, but you see
links on page 2 of site 2 and might want to try some of those links,
so you click a link on page 2 of site 2 to get to page 3 of site 2. On
page 3 of site 2 you don't see any links, so you go back to page 2 of
site 2 and click another link and end up at page 6 of site 2. That
page doesn't have any other links, so you go back to page 2 of site 2
and click another link and you might see page 5 of site 2. When you
don't see other links (text or image links), you go back to page 2 of
site 2 and try another link and end up at page 4 of site 2. You
continue to look for links on site 2 as long as you have time and
interest in doing so. Let's assume site 2 is OK i.e. it is not
spamming or offering an affiliate program. Let's continue to another
site.

So after you think you have seen enough pages on site 2, you go back
to page 1 of your site 1. You see another link on page 1 of site 1,
and decide to check it out by clicking it. That link might point to
page 4 of site 3 (see picture 1). On page 4 you might find a link
pointing to page 5 on site 3. On page 5 you might find a link pointing
to page 6 on site 3. On page 6 you might find a link pointing to page
3 on site 3. On page 3 you might find a link pointing to page 2 of
site 3. Page 2 might not link to any pages, so you go back to page 4
of site 3. On page 4 you might find a link pointing to page 1 of
site 3. Let's assume that site has only those 6 pages. Let's assume
site 3 is also OK.

You get back to page 1 of site 1. There are no more links on page 1
of site 1 pointing out from site 1, so you follow a link on page 1
of site 1 to page 4 of site 1. On page 4 of site 1 you click a link,
which sends you to page 6 of site 4 (see picture 1). On page 6 of site
4 you might find a link pointing to page 3 on site 4. On page 3 you
might find a link pointing to page 5 on site 4. On page 5 you might
find a link pointing to page 2 on site 4. On page 2 you might find a
link pointing to page 4 of site 4. On page 4 you see a link pointing
to page 1 of site 4. You might also find some other pages on site 4
by following links. Let's assume site 4 is also OK.

You get back to page 4 of site 1. You might see there are no more
links on page 4 of site 1, so you decide to go back to page 1 of site
1 and click a link on page 1 of site 1 to get to page 2, and then to
page 3, and then to page 5, and then to page 6 of site 1. On page 6
of site 1 you might find a link to page 1 of site 5 (see picture 1).
You go to page 1 of site 5, and then you might go to page 5 of site 5,
and then to page 6 of site 5, and then to page 3 of site 5, and then
to page 2 of site 5, and finally you end up on page 4 of site 5.

On page 4 of site 5 you might see text like "Join Affiliate Program!",
"$ $ $ $ ! ! ! !", "15 % commission", "earn money!!!!", and "get
traffic!!!" (see enlargement of page 4 of site 5 in picture 1). You
have probably found a web site (site 5) that is offering an affiliate
program. You might want to remove EVERY link from your site pointing
to the "affiliate" site.

The more there are web sites you link to, the more time it takes to
check the links, but it can be worth it! At the end, YOU decide if
you will remove some or any links at all.


Last modified: May 24th, 2006

Author: Tomi Häsä (tomi.hasa@gmail.com)

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/tomihasa/affiliate-linking

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