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Protecting Your Affiliate Links

Posted on June 27, 2007 by Tim Schroeder

Google may be getting smarter at detecting affiliate only type websites and unfortunately they don’t care for them much. Because of this, it seems to be more difficult for affiliate websites to rank well in the natural search engine rankings. In addition, obvious affiliate links may also play a role in your Google Adwords quality score.

So what’s the solution? Don’t let GoogleBot know it’s an affiliate website!

One way to do this is to redirect your affiliate links. Here is how this is done:

FIRST : Setup a new directory in your website files where you will place all of your affiliate redirect pages. I usually name my new folders “/go/” but you can name the directory whatever you would like (jump, go-to, land, etc.)

SECOND : In this new directory create a new file (HTML page) for the affiliate product or service you want to link to. I usually name the file so that it matches the website in which the link is going to take them to.

In the new file you just created you can use the following code:

How does the code work?

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”

This code will prevent Google and most other major search engines from indexing your redirect pages. These are not content pages and they do not need to be indexed by the search engines. You can also block the /go/ directory in your robots.txt file.


The code shown above is a simple JavaScript code which will change the webpage that the code is on to the URL used after window.location.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1; url=PutTheAffiliateLinkHere”>

This code is basically a backup to the first and uses something called “meta refresh.” The content number is the amount of seconds until the meta-refresh will occur. You know how you sometimes see those pages they say “we have a new website, you will automatically be redirected to our new website in 10 seconds.” This is how they do that. In our case, we want it to happen instantaneously so you should set it to “1.”

<div align=”center”><font face=”Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”><strong>You are being <font color=”#FF0000″>automatically redirected</font> to Name of Site..<br><br> Page Stuck? <a href=”PutTheAffiliateLinkHere.com”>Click Here</a> </strong></font> </div>

If all else fails and neither of the two redirects work, the person who clicked the link will see the redirect page which will show something like this:

You are being automatically redirected to Name of Site…

Page Stuck? Click Here

Once these pages are setup you will then simply upload the new directory and files to your server.

THIRD : Then on your affiliate product or services page instead of linking directly to the merchant with your affiliate link, you will link to the file in the new directory you just created.

Example Link: http://www.YourSite.com/go/affiliateproduct.php

This will then automatically and instantaneously redirect them to the merchant’s website, via your affiliate URL.

Live examples you ask? 😉

Here are a few to test: AzoogleAds | SEO Book | Text Link Ads | Wordtracker

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10 Responses to “Protecting Your Affiliate Links”

  1. beno

    - 27th Jun, 07 09:06pm

    Great..I’ve been doing this for years…

    The only issue I see with this is:

    A lot of the aff URLs that redirect people to the merchant’s site will put your aff id in the url after they’ve been redirected…It’ll come out looking something like


    and the clickER will see that and sometimes, and to this day, I don’t know why, rip off the end affid part (I’ve always been unsure whether they’ve been cookied). Either to get their own commission or relieve you of yours.

    Not sure how wide spread this is though…

    Thanks for the tutorial..

  2. nate

    - 27th Jun, 07 11:06pm

  3. Andy

    - 1st Jul, 07 01:07pm

    Perfect! This was actually on my to do list for tomorrow – you’ve saved me from searching how to do it.

  4. Wes Mahler

    - 1st Dec, 07 02:12am

    Very very very, informative, thank you.

  5. Marc Kantoori

    - 1st Oct, 08 05:10pm

    Why don’t you use a real php redirection method:

    It executes without a pause and works like a charm.

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