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Penalties from affiliate links?

 3:45 am on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I'm in the process of setting up an affilate program for my site. I have just one main concern. Can having inbound links from affiliates with their link ids in the url affect my site negatively with search engines?

My site is dependant on having a decent pr and I don't want to jeapordize it. I am not concerned about gaining pr from the links I just don't want to get penalized.



 10:51 am on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

it should have no negative effects.

as I understand, it should actualy help. If you are really concerned about it and really don't care about the inbound links in terms of SEO, set up a 2nd domain name to handle the affiliate links and then just redirect traffic to the 1st domain.

You could also try making affiliate links point to a subdomain:

real site: www.example,com

affiliate: aff.example,com

just a thought.


 12:42 pm on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

What you might want to do is to set your affiliate cookie, then redirect (with a permanent redirect) to the page with the affiliate ID removed. For instance, if your affiliate uses this link:


Set the affiliate cookie "aff=aff36" and then redirect to:


Keep in mind that you'll need to have affiliate cookie-setting logic in every single page that affiliates can land on.

If you're concerned with your Google traffic, an even a bigger issue with affiliates will be the use of datafeeds. If you make datafeeds available, make sure that they are used appropriately, and not just used to make a mirror image of your site. While the affiliate will likely be penalized for duplicate content, it might be you who gets the penalty. You don't want to take that risk.


 1:11 pm on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's really something simple. There are only two products and the banners and text links will be for the site. What's going to be advertised is the site and not the products.

The landing page is the home page.

Here's an example of the affilate url

What I was thinking of doing is seting up a dummy landing page and from that page people would be 301 redirected to the official landing page. Would this work?


 1:26 pm on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

That would certainly work too.


 2:00 pm on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

So, just to make sure. If there is a page that's going to be penalized it's going to be the dummy page and not the official landing page, right?


 2:38 pm on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Neither should be penalized. Where affiliate links might cause penalties would be if they essentially created hundreds of pages with identical content, like:


Either solution would prevent that from happening, as the affiliate landing pages would set a cookie and then redirect to the normal page.


 3:52 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Where affiliate links might cause penalties would be if they essentially created hundreds of pages with identical content, like:


My goal is to have hundreds of affilates. Is there a way to avoid getting penalized?


 4:52 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess I'm not being clear. You shouldn't be penalized with either your method or mine, because those pages won't be indexed. They'll just be redirects, so the affiliate landing/rediret pages won't be indexed.

For instance, with your method:


This page would set a cookie (affid=1) and then redirect to the home page. The aff.asp page wouldn't be indexed since it's just a redirect. No possible penalty.


 6:00 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ahhhh, understood. Thank you very much.


 10:04 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

As long as you don't link BACK to any domain owned by an affiliate, you'll be ok.

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