How To Use Affiliate Links Correctly 5 Best Practices

Affiliate programmes allow affiliate marketers to earn a passive income. For affiliate marketers, there is only one way to monetise, and that is to have their affiliate links clicked on.

Moreover, affiliate links are essential for monitoring campaign performance.

Since affiliate marketing is based on the concept of revenue sharing, and publishers get a cut of the pie, it is crucial to accurately identify, track and monitor affiliate marketing.

If you are new to affiliate marketing, read more about What is Affiliate Marketing & How Beginners Started? Affiliate Made Simple

So, besides creating content that sells, you need to understand exactly what affiliate links are so that you can utilize them to optimize your marketing campaigns and bring in more traffic, reach high-paying customers and increase revenue.

How To Use Affiliate Links Correctly? 

The more visitors your affiliate’s premium content gets, the higher chances your affiliate links will be clicked on. As chances increase, so do the incoming commissions.

So, what are the best practices for using affiliate links?

1. Use contextual anchors

The easiest links to click are those embedded directly in the text. For example, you are less likely to click on https://example.com than a link on the text.

In website terminology, display text is called anchor text, and updating it so that your article flows will greatly increase your click-through rate (click-through rate).

Contextual anchors are more attractive – they’re clear, user-friendly, and look appealing, compared to bare links (especially the latter that contains dynamic parameters—it simply looks messy).

Make your affiliate link’s anchor text descriptive and relevant to the link’s source. Your visitors should immediately understand where they will be directed after they click.

2. Keep your affiliate links organised

Even if your affiliate link is hidden behind a descriptive anchor, it is always a good practice to clean it up by making the link even more readable for your readers.

Experienced affiliate marketers will use “link cloaking” to shorten and beautify their links.

For instance:

Before: https://billing.exabytes.sg/mypanel/aff.php?aff=8200526&page=wordpress-hosting

After: https://go.exabytes.sg/wordpresshosting

The link is now tidier, isn’t it?

Both links go to the same destination, and they both correctly track the same affiliate cookie.

If you are a WordPress user, there are many plugins that can help beautify your affiliate links right away.

Typical link shorteners such as bit.ly are mainly to help shorten long links but don’t make them more readable. YOURLS, a free and open-source link shortener platform, on the other hand, helps shorten and beautify your affiliate links, i.e., go.yoursite.com/affiliate product name.

3. Density of affiliate links

It is encouraged to place only one or two affiliate links in a single content (article, post or page), and the flow has to make sense.

Remember, nobody likes a hard sell, your content has to be soft-selling, which means, your content has to educate or entertain your readers in some way.

So it’s a good idea to include the affiliate links when your readers are interested and hooked.

If you include an affiliate link into the image of your posts, such as WordPress hosting pricing and specs, it can make them more clickable.

This way, your readers can easily proceed to the target website and make a purchase or sign up.

We know it’s easier said than done. Many affiliate marketers are tempted to pack as many affiliate links as possible into their content to remind the visitors to click on the link.

From Google’s point of view, doing so will make the content appear “spammy” and Google may penalise your site in the search rankings.

The main point here is not to go too heavy on the links. The good ratio would be 1 affiliate link per every 800 words.

However, it is quite tricky to strictly follow this rule, as it also depends on what content you are presenting and how you can best support it.

This rule should only serve as a guideline for you to avoid keyword stuffing.

  1. Nofollow affiliate links

Another good practice is adding “nofollow” attribute to your affiliate links.

Nofollow links prevent spam and unwanted links from hindering your website’s SEO success.

SEO is an undeniably important part of digital marketing today; if your website isn’t showing up in the top search results for a search term, you’re falling behind.

Nofollow links essentially strengthen your domain authority, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website.

They also help normalize your link profile, so you don’t have to worry about spam or questionable links hurting your search engine rankings.

Ultimately, using nofollow links wisely is one of the best things you can do to improve your website’s SEO organically.

If you are a WordPress user, you can simply check the rel=“nofollow” option when adding the affiliate link to the descriptive anchor.

How To Use Affiliate Links Correctly - 5 Best Practices - Nofollow link

5. Apply the affiliate links in the right place

Affiliate links can be spammy sometimes, leading to a high chance of affecting the user experience.

Hence, your strategy for affiliate link placements should be compelling and balanced.

How To Use Affiliate Links Correctly - 5 Best Practices - Apply affiliate link at the right place

  • Sidebar

When placing your affiliate link in the sidebar, your content link should be accompanied by a clickable banner.

As long as your sidebar banners are limited in number and in the same style, this method can complement affiliate links in your copy and still look non-intrusive and user-friendly.

  • Blog posts

Insert your affiliate links into meaningful and relevant blog posts, as long as your main purpose is to help and provide information that benefits the readers.

Remember the affiliate link density we talked about earlier? It is best not to insert more than two affiliate links in one piece of content.

How To Use Affiliate Links Correctly - 5 Best Practices - Blog Post

  • Visuals

Last but not least, link related visuals so they are clickable, especially if you’re looking at your affiliate products.

This way, if a user clicks on an image added to your post, they will click through to a specific product page.

Summing up

We hope this post gives you a good idea of the nature of affiliate links, what they are used for, and how to properly apply them to your content and website.

If you’re a web developer or agency looking for a web hosting affiliate programme to join, then the Exabytes Affiliate Programme may be just right for you.

You’ll get all the promotional materials and sales templates you need, and a dedicated support team to assist you along your affiliate marketing journey.

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