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Would affiliates promoting our site affect our Google rankings?

     
9:02 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We are thinking of starting a new affiliate program. Our concern is: what will be the effects on our Google ranking of our site (that will be promoted by our affiliates)?
3:13 am on July 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It works for Amazon quite well.

Give your affiliates unique product URLs and use rel=canonical to your primary non-affiliate product page.
3:02 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Their affiliate links to you will have to be nofollow or trouble will eventually follow.
3:21 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you don't have your own strong authority now, you could conceivably be outranked by one or more of your affiliates for your own products / content. That may or may not be a concern to you.
3:49 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There is no reason that affiliate links would need to be nofollow since the links do not normally go directly to a merchant's site. Some affiliates always nofollow their links and others never do, but since the links travel to a network where they get redirected and are not links to a merchant directly it is not normally a negative.

A relatively small number of merchants do use some proprietary in-house system that goes directly to their sites, but google knows what affiliate links are and since Amazon's in-house system doesn't seem to have hurt them I would consider nofollows to be a non-issue. It is not viewed as a link scheme or paid links.

I would be much more concerned about keeping up to date with the FTC regulations that make a merchant responsible for the claims your affiliates publish in regards to your products. It's one reason most informed merchants prefer to work via networks. A lot depends on your brand, your product line, and how professionally your program is managed. It is not a part time job for an existing employee who has no experience dealing with affiliates.
3:59 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I would consider nofollows to be a non-issue. It is not viewed as a link scheme or paid links.


It IS a non-issue... TODAY.

Will it be a non-issue tomorrow?

Is it really a risk you want to take?
4:16 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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After having 3 sites crash from affiliate abuse. I left them all.

I even tried a 3-rd party affiliate firm to handle it and they all came back with bad links that hurt all sites at some point.
5:45 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@ Pjman:

Would you mind elaborating a bit on what the abuse was?

Were the affiliates creating spammy sites?
6:50 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Planet13

Spammy sites, republishing my content causing duplicate penalty headaches, utter black link tricks.

Basically any organic traffic I created was burned by their methods after 18 months, like clockwork.

If you rely on any of your own natural traffic, kiss it goodbye the minute the start accepting affiliates.

If you choose wise partners and monitor/trust them, it might be a different story.
8:50 pm on July 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you choose wise partners and monitor/trust them, it might be a different story.

That's the basis of affiliate marketing on both sides of the equation.
4:56 am on July 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you don't have your own strong authority now, you could conceivably be outranked by one or more of your affiliates for your own products / content. That may or may not be a concern to you.


That happened to ebay which is why the ebay partner network forced affiliates(under threat of ban) to change all redirect links to be 301 redirects instead of the browser default 302.
7:45 am on July 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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browser default 302


to be technically accurate, there is no such thing as a "browser default" redirect.
the HTTP Response status code is generated by the server, not the browser.