Google: Lots of Affiliate Links is OK if the Content Adds Value 

John Mueller talking about affiliate links and SEO

If the main content of your pages is valuable, then having a lot of affiliate links might just be okay

Google’s Search Central SEO hangouts are often the perfect opportunity to pick up useful information, the latest recorded on 6th August was no exception with Google’s own John Mueller casting light on the topic of affiliate links, potential penalties and demotions.

In fact, if your page’s content adds value to the web then you can place as many affiliate links on that very same page as you see fit.

That is stated in response to this question submitted during the hangout:

“How many affiliate links are safe or good to have on a single page? Is there a perfect ratio of links to article length to maintain here?”

While it is no surprise that the question comes only a few short weeks after Google’s rollout of the link spam algorithm update which many believe penalises sites for untagged affiliate links, John’s response may be met by a few raised (and welcoming) eyebrows.

The reason..?  When affiliate links are used correctly and certainly as far as SEO is concerned “there is no limit” to how many of those links a page can have.

Mueller’s message

The Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst took the opportunity to clarify an important point; That Google isn’t trying to convince the world that affiliate links are bad, in fact it turns out they’re fine.

- If they are placed within useful, valuable content...

Here is what he had to say:

“There is no limit. From our side it’s not that we’re saying that affiliate links are bad or problematic. It’s more a matter of, well... You actually need to have some useful content on your page as well. So that’s kind of the angle that we take there.

The amount of affiliate links that you have on a site is totally irrelevant. The ratio of links to article length is also totally irrelevant.”

Mueller went on to state that Google needs reasons to show a site in search, that reason is usually the strength of its content and its value in terms of what people are looking for:

“Essentially, what we need to find is a reason to show your site in search for users who are looking for something. And that reason is usually not the affiliate link but the actual content that you provide on those pages.

So from that point of view, trying to optimize the affiliate links or trying to hide the affiliate links, or whatever you’re trying to do there, I think is almost wasted effort because that’s not what we care about.”

So value on a page is everything. If Google doesn’t consider it to be so, then it won’t rank, regardless of whether it has an abundance of affiliate links, or none at all.

Mueller gave an example of copied pages as one possible example of value-less content that would have serious trouble gaining a foothold in search results:

“What we care about is the content and kind of why we would show your pages in the first place. And if the content of your page is essentially a copy of a description from a retailer’s site then there’s no reason for us to show your site even if you had no affiliate links.

So you really need to first have that reason to be visible in the search results. And then how you monetize your site, or what links you place there, that’s essentially irrelevant.”

For deeper insight into the types of content Google thinks is valuable, creators should review the guidance Google provided back in April along with the product reviews algorithm update.


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