Use the NoFollow Attribute for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We can agree that we want the same thing: to attract the most relevant web traffic to our sites as possible. To this end, search engines continually develop ways to make search result pages as relevant and objective as possible.

As a publisher, you are the most crucial component in this continuum, as search engines can only drive relevant traffic when they know where the most relevant content a person might be looking for is.

In this article, you will learn how easy it is to use the “nofollow” attribute in your affiliate links to ensure that search engines do not penalize your blog.

Are Affiliate Links Bad for SEO?

Plainly, no. One of the signals search engines use to determine how popular a particular web page is by counting up the number of quality incoming links (links pointing to the page) it has. A quality link is usually one that comes from another web page that offers valuable content and hasn’t been flagged by the search engine crawlers as trying to manipulate the search engine algorithm for ranking. For the longest time, a debate on the quality of affiliate links raged on.

Google has stated that using affiliate links from a reputable network wouldn’t negatively impact a site’s ranking. However, this didn’t exonerate anyone from following all the other SEO rules. You still need quality content. You still need quality traffic. And you still should use something called “nofollow” on your affiliate links.

I do not speak code. What is “nofollow”?

All the “nofollow” attribute does is “tell” search engine crawlers that a specific link shouldn’t be followed, or factored into the page’s quality score. Due to the fact that all affiliate links point to the same top-level URL ( in the Rakuten Affiliate Network case), crawlers could assume you are trying to game their algorithm by pointing all traffic to that domain, and thus, negatively impact your page rank.

Not overlooking the fact that content providers have to make a living, the adoption of the “nofollow” attribute is the approved way to maintain site quality and use affiliate links. Everyone wins. And here’s how you do it.

Let’s look at a sample tracking link:

<a href=”″ >Shop Great Styles from Top Merchant now!</a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src=”″ >

All we need to do to make this link nofollow is add rel=”nofollow” at the end of the opening <a> tag:

<a href=” id=AbCd3f6&offerid=99999.10078&type=3&subid=0″ rel=”nofollow” > Shop Great Styles from Top Merchant now!</a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src=”″ >

That’s it. Same should be done with banner codes:

<a href=” id=AbCd3f6&offerid=99999.10079&subid=0&type=4″ rel=”nofollow” ><IMG border=”0″   alt=”Top Merchant Sale” src=” id=AbCd3f6&offerid=99999.10079&subid=0&type=4&gridnum=13″></a>

You can do this manually for all affiliate links as they are added to a post, or if you have a WordPress site, you can use one of the many plugins on the market.

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