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Google On Whether Sites Should Hide Affiliate Links

Google On Whether Sites Should Hide Affiliate Links
Written by publishing team

John Mueller from Google answers the question about affiliate links and whether it is useful to hide them from search engines.

This was discussed in the last part of the Ask Googlebot series on YouTube. Specifically, Mueller addressed the following question:

“Is it a good idea to hide store/affiliate links?”

It’s an interesting question to address, since hiding content from search engine crawlers goes against Google’s guidelines regardless of the content.

However, Muller answers them to the best of his ability. Before addressing the question Mueller briefly explains what affiliate links are.

Affiliate links are links to other businesses. The site owner who places the links will get paid when users go to those companies and buy products or services.

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As far as Google is concerned, affiliate links are perfectly fine. It is acceptable to use it as a means of monetizing the website.

With that said, there are two important aspects to consider in order to stay within Google’s guidelines.

Mueller goes on to explain what these aspects are while addressing whether there is any benefit to hiding affiliate links.

Related: 11 Amazing Affiliate Marketing Blogs

John Mueller from Google on the correct use of affiliate links

Google considers affiliate links an acceptable form of monetization as long as two conditions are met.

First, the website should provide unique content and value all on its own.

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It’s easy to repost a generic or low-quality product description, but users can get it anywhere on the web.

Users expect to find something useful on the website as well, especially if they are searching with the intention of purchasing.

The second condition is the advertising of affiliate links. Site owners are required to advertise affiliate links to both users and search engines.

For users, it is worth checking the local regulations regarding what you need to do. Different sites have different laws about the disclosure of affiliate links.

For search engines, site owners should use the link attributes rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” to express that it is an affiliate link.

It is not necessary to hide or obfuscate affiliate links to search enginesMueller says.

There is no need to use any sort of automatic JavaScript, on-click processing, or anonymization.

Simply link to affiliates as usual and advertise them so that Google can handle links appropriately.

If you are using JavaScript to add affiliate links, remember to use the appropriate attributes there as well.

Mueller acknowledges that affiliate links are often used in the context of product reviews. If this is the case for your site, Mueller suggests checking to see if there is any structured data that might be appropriate to apply to your pages.

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Mueller didn’t mention this part, but it’s important to note here that Google rolled out an algorithm update targeting product reviews back in April.

In short, Google is getting stricter about the quality of product reviews. Site owners who post product reviews need to be familiar with the details of this update in order to stay on the good side of Google’s algorithms.

Source: YouTube

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