Google Penalty for Affiliate Links in a website – How to avoid?

When i started getting visits initially for this website, some persons suggested me affiliate marketing.So i started researching the best ways to add affiliate links. When we start something new, whatever it is, there will be some advantages and there may be some disadvantages too. So i started researching on Advantages and Disadvantages of using Affiliate Marketing in my website.

When i went through, the Best methods of adding affiliate links in a website, i found most were worried about google penalty on the affiliate links, as most of these links were considered by google as paid links. Also google may symbolize your website as a website used just for affiliate marketing and penalize you. so here are the reasons why google hate affiliate links, how to avoid google penalty and other important software that might be of use.

What are Affiliate Links?

Affiliate links are the links from a website to another website, containing either the user id or the username of the referer. Most affiliate links are made from a review or discount page to a sales page. The source website or the user will get a 20-30% commission of the sales made.

Why Users hate Affiliate Links?

Almost 70% of the users who purchase products online hate the affiliate links. This is because,

  •  Fake review :Affiliate links from review pages act as a witness to show people, you are profiting from the sale. so they will never buy the product you recommend.
  • Fake Products : When it comes to affiliate marketing, most products are not even worth the money.

Why Google hates Affiliate links?

  • Simple, It’s because users hates them.
  • Google tries to give the best review they can find. And as of them, Affiliate marketers are promoters of products. So they tend to remove those links.

How to avoid Google Penalty??

Limit Affiliate links :

I have seen lot of affiliate marketers make the same mistake again and again. When they write about a product, they will put the affiliate links all over the article, thinking that, the more the links, the more the sales. This is completely wrong. Moreover, when they see too much affiliate links, they are going to run out of the website.

So limit the number of affiliate links per page to 3-4. I would recommend a maximum of 4. Not more than that.

Adding rel=”nofollow” tags:

This is the universally accepted (so far) way of adding affiliate links without google penalty.

It’s just simple, as shown below,

<a href="" rel="nofollow">Buy the product</a>

Though there are some discussions going on in the SEO forums, that too much nofollow tags inside a website gives a feeling, that the website is not confident of the links it provides. So avoid adding too much of nofollow tags.

Affiliate Link Cloaking :

This is the best way recommended by the SEO professionals and worst way recommended by some SEO guides but. Though no one has proved (as far as we know) that they got penalized for cloaking affiliate links, some say that it’s against terms and conditions of google. No worries.! For now, its safe

You may either create your own affiliate link cloaking URLs by PHP redirects or use any plugins (In case of wordpress) for the same.

Creating PHP directs :

Here is the brief explanation and step by step tutorial of cloaking links using PHP by Joost de Valk of We are not experts in this field and so we have left the tutorials to the ones who are. 🙂

Plugins in WordPress :

There are some wordpress plugins which do the above for you, free of cost and with low cost (Improved features)

Some of them, which we use for our various websites are

1 Pretty Links Lite 1. Free
2. Easy Group Setup
3. Nofollow Option
2 Pretty Links Pro 1. $37 Only
2. Redirection Types – Selection
3. Social Sharing
3 Affiliate Link Cloaker 1. Free
2. Geo Targeted Link
3. 5 star plugin

Still have any doubts or comments regarding Affiliate Links??? Comment below..

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3 thoughts on “Google Penalty for Affiliate Links in a website – How to avoid?

  1. I have good position of more than 20 keywords, then it now out of top 300s google, i didn’t build much more links, so i think it happened cause affiliate links. Thank you for your articles, i will remove it, hope that works.

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