Affiliate Links - Things You Should Know

Affiliate Links – 22 Things You Should Know

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By Tomislav

Affiliates are often confused about these questions about affiliate links.

They either assume they know the answer to them or they deem them too basic to bother with.

Take a few minutes to find out some of the important things you should know about affiliate links and potentially save yourself a lot of headache in the future.

Let’s start!

What is an affiliate link?

Affiliate links are unique URL’s that enable affiliate program owners to track where the visitors come from in order to properly attribute sales and payout commissions to the right affiliates.

No two affiliate links are the same which is exactly what makes the entire affiliate marketing system possible.

How do I get affiliate links?

The process of getting affiliate links typically goes as follows – once the affiliate joins the affiliate program, they get access to the affiliate program dashboard where unique affiliate links are generated.

Once the affiliate logs in to the affiliate program dashboard, the process of creating the link comes down to simply pressing the “Create Link” or similarly named button.

The affiliate program will then generates a unique affiliate link that can be used immediately and store the link in a database for future reference.

What does an affiliate link look like?

An affiliate link typically includes a unique identifier or code that tracks referrals from an affiliate’s website to a merchant’s site. It often looks like a standard URL with added parameters, such as “”.

What does Amazon affiliate link look like?

Amazon Assosiates program still generates affiliate links that look like they were sent by Nigerian princes.

Here’s an example:

Amazon Affiliate Link Example

Amazon affiliate links will always have the product ID and the affiliate ID.

How long do Amazon affiliate links last?

Amazon affiliate links have a 24-hour duration, meaning that if someone clicks on your link, you’ll earn commission on any purchases they make within that time frame.

Do Amazon affiliate links expire?

Amazon affiliate links do not expire. However, the cookies generated by these links last for 24 hours. If a customer makes a purchase within this period, the affiliate earns a commission.

Should amazon affiliate links be ‘nofollow’?

Yes, Amazon affiliate links should be marked as “nofollow” to comply with Google’s guidelines for affiliate links, ensuring that they don’t influence search engine rankings.

How does an affiliate link work?

An affiliate link contains a unique identifier, allowing a merchant to track the source of traffic or sales. When a user clicks the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.

How do I know my affiliate link is working?

Most affiliate programs will have a dashboard that will track and report your performance metrics like Clicks, Conversion Rate, EPC, and more.

Affiliate Program Clicks Graph

To reassure yourself that your affiliate link is working, simply click on it in one of your live articles and see if the click registered on the dashboard.

Faulty links are not a major concern in affiliate marketing because the links are usually generated automatically and there’s not a lot of room for failure.

Where can I post affiliate links for free?

Posting a “naked” affiliate link is frowned upon on some platforms and downright prohibited on others.

Naked affiliate links are links that lead straight to the offer with no effort of creating a piece of content that provides value first, and links to an affiliate offer second.

The days of spamming affiliate links anywhere and everywhere on the internet are over.

The only place you can safely post affiliate links for free is a platform that you own like your website.

Posting affiliate links on social media platforms, for example, opens you to a range of undesired consequences ranging from removal of your links to banning you from using the platform.

Can I buy from my own affiliate link?

Clicking on your own affiliate links and buying products for either yourself or someone else through them is prohibited by most affiliate programs.

In many cases, the system will outright recognize this behavior through IP address or other checks and disqualify the purchase.

By doing this, you risk getting kicked out of the affiliate program that you might not be accepted into again.

Do I have to hide my affiliate links?

Hiding or “cloaking” your affiliate links is an advanced technique that’s not used to trick the visitor but your competition.

The idea is to make it harder for your competition to enter your site in an SEO tool, list all the outbound links from your site, and see all the affiliate programs you’re using.

People do this in order to find out what affiliate programs are popular and worth using in their niche so they can focus on what works for their competition.

Beginner affiliate marketers need not concern themselves with hiding or cloaking their affiliate links, however.

Once you’re at the point of earning considerable revenue from your affiliate marketing business, it might be time to consider ninja tactics like this.

Until then, it’s a waste of your time and effort.

Should I use nofollow on affiliate links?

Up until Feb 2020, there were “follow” and “nofollow” link attributes.

Many affiliates used and considered the “nofollow” attribute for affiliate links as best practice.

But then Google added the “sponsored” attribute into the mix.

Here’s Google’s John Meuller explicitly saying Google doesn’t mind affiliate links at all but they should clearly be marked with the “sponsored” attribute.

John Meuller on affiliate links

If for some reason you can’t use the “sponsored” link attribute, the “nofollow” attribute will do.

It’s noteworthy to add that you can even mark your affiliate links with both the “sponsored” and “nofollow” attributes at the same time if you want.

This means that rel=”nofollow sponsored” is valid.

Do affiliate links expire?

Affiliate links can expire based on the program’s terms. Expiration periods vary, and some links may not expire at all. Always check the specific affiliate program’s guidelines for details.

Can I put affiliate links in emails?

Yes, you can include affiliate links in emails. However, ensure compliance with the affiliate program’s terms and relevant email marketing laws, like disclosing affiliate relationships and adhering to spam regulations.

Are affiliate links bad for SEO?

Affiliate links are not inherently bad for SEO. However, overusing them or not clearly disclosing their nature can negatively impact a site’s credibility and search rankings. It’s important to use them responsibly and in moderation.

What is the best ways to promote affiliate links?

To effectively promote affiliate links, utilize a blend of strategies: create engaging content on blogs, websites, or social media; employ email marketing; leverage SEO to drive organic traffic; collaborate with influencers; and use paid advertising for broader reach.

What is affiliate link cloaking?

Affiliate link cloaking is the process of disguising affiliate links to shorten and beautify them, making them more user-friendly and less cluttered. This also helps in tracking clicks and protecting commissions from theft.

Do affiliate links count as backlinks?

Yes, affiliate links can count as backlinks. However, they often have the “nofollow” attribute, which tells search engines not to pass on link equity.

How many affiliate links is too many per post?

There’s no specific limit, but a good rule is to ensure affiliate links do not compromise content quality or user experience. Generally, 1-3 well-placed, relevant links per 500 words is advisable.

What are the best affiliate links shorteners?

Some of the best affiliate link shorteners include Bitly, TinyURL, Rebrandly, ClickMeter, and T2M. These tools offer features like link tracking, customization, and analytics, which are valuable for affiliate marketing.

Can you use affiliate links on google AdWords?

Yes, you can use affiliate links in Google Ads, but your ads must comply with Google’s advertising policies, including clarity and relevance of ad content, and the landing page quality and content.