Affiliate Link Cloaking: Importance & Benefits for SEO and Conversion

affiliate link clocking

Affiliate marketing is currently one of the most popular and effective ways to make money online. Serious affiliate marketers practice link cloaking to boost their sales. Link cloaking refers to the method that converts long and complex affiliate links to short ones.

For example, this long complicated link

https://home/samplesite/public_html.sample.com/products/?product_id=xxx&affiliate=xxx

can be turned into

https://samplesite.com/recommended/xproduct/

After cloaking your affiliate links, you will see a 301 redirect. It will help you make money through your affiliate links. You can even track cloaked affiliate links for the growth hacking of your site.

How Link Cloaking Works

Link cloaking works by sending visitors via URL redirection. URL redirects are dummy URLs that point the browser of visitors to another location. Basically, the page is merely a placeholder. It does not really exist on the site.

When you use link cloaking, your web browser goes through the following processes:

  1. When you see a cloaked link and you click on it, the browser will ask the site for the page content.
  2. Then, the site will say that the page does not exist. It will also instruct the browser to move to another destination in order to find the needed content.
  3. Finally, the browser views the response and goes to the new URL automatically.

Link Cloaking Plugins that You Can Use

There are a lot of link cloaking plugins you can use. ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Link Lite, and Easy Affiliate Links are just a few examples.

These plugins are typically used for WordPress sites. They allow users to add, remove, and modify affiliate links with ease. They also allow users to manage their links on just one dashboard.

If you are on a budget or you want to test plugins first to see if they fit your preferences and needs, you can use the following. These plugins are available for free:

  • Shortlinks by Pretty Links

With Pretty Links, you can make your links shorter by using your own domain name.

Having a unique domain name has much more advantages than using link shrinking services such as bit.ly and tinyurl.com.

Pretty Links can help you track every hit on your URL as well as provide you with a complete and thorough report of where such hits came from.

More often than not, these hits come from hosts and browsers.

Pretty Links is recommended to individuals who want to track email clicks, clean up affiliate links, produce Twitter links from their domain, and improve the reach of their website via blog comments and forum links.

  • Easy Affiliate Links

You can also use Easy Affiliate Links if you want to cloak your affiliate links. It has a simple and easy to use interface. It can help you manage the affiliate links on your site, whether they are cloaked or non-cloaked.

With Easy Affiliate Links, you can create shortlinks to cloak affiliate links or leave certain links uncloaked to make them compatible with Amazon.

You can also quickly access links in your HTML and visual editor as well as assign specific categories to your links.

Moreover, you can keep track of your clicks per month or for life. You can even import affiliate links that come from XML as well as export links to XML.

The Importance and Benefits of Link Cloaking

In essence, the primary purpose of link cloaking is to trick the search engines and not make them suspect that you are an affiliate.

Initially, link cloaking was developed to determine if the links are spam or affiliate. Oftentimes, SERPs catch long affiliate links and consider them as spam instead of affiliates.

Thus, link cloaking allows search engines to see the difference between spam and affiliate links.

  • Link cloaking reduces commission loss:

There are a lot of affiliate programs that warn users against viruses and malware that can infect your data and steal your links.

They usually replace their victims’ links with their own. This results in huge commission losses. With link cloaking, you can protect your data from these attacks.

  • Link cloaking makes affiliate links easier to track:

There are affiliate programs that offer tracking for their affiliate links. Then again, there are also affiliate programs that do not have such offer.

If you happen to have signed up for one of these programs, you can count on link cloaking to help you out. Through this method, you can track all of your affiliate links as well as all of your affiliate programs.

  • Link cloaking boosts Click Through Rate (CTR):

Most affiliate links are long and complicated, which is why they are often regarded as spam. This is not good because online users might mistake your links for infected links and avoid going to your site.

When people stop clicking on your links, the CTR of your affiliate links will decrease.

With link cloaking, you can have neater and better affiliate links with a 301 Redirect to long and complicated links without losing any money.

In addition, you will be able to gain back the trust of online users and boost your CTR when you cloak your affiliate links.

  • Link cloaking improves the rate of email delivery:

Some people have noticed that directly including their affiliate links in their email marketing campaigns have caused their emails to be blacklisted.

This kind of situation happens when long and complicated affiliate links trigger the spam filters of emails. As a result, such emails get blacklisted.

So, if you plan to do email marketing, you have to cloak your affiliate links in your campaign.

  • Link cloaking makes affiliate links easier to manage:

Say, your website has a thousand articles on it. Half of these articles contain affiliate links. Then, the affiliate program you signed up for suddenly changed the affiliate links.

What would happen next?

What would you do next?

Instinctively, you may have wanted to manually change your affiliate links.

However, this is not recommended.

Why would you waste your time and energy manually editing all those five hundred articles? You can simply turn to link cloaking to solve your problem.

If you have installed the plugin and included the cloaked affiliate links in your articles, you can simply change the new affiliate links in your link cloaking plugin.

This would only take a few minutes, and then you can resume to creating and uploading more content on your site.

  • Link cloaking bypasses ad blockers:

Today, you can find plenty of Adblocking browser extensions in the market. Adblockers examine the affiliate links on a website and label long complicated links to be spam.

Keep in mind that search engines, such as Google, do not link long and complicated affiliate links. Hence, you should get an Adblocking browser extension that prevents ads to be shown on your site.

  • Link cloaking promotes branding:

Each time you cloak a link by uploading a PHP or HTML landing page or using a plugin, your domain becomes more appealing. This boost branding for you and the merchant you are affiliated with.

Some people may say that link cloaking is merely optional.

However, if you are serious about being an affiliate marketer and you want to be rewarded for your efforts, you should make it a habit to cloak your affiliate links before you include them in your articles.

This way, you can protect your data and ensure that you do not suffer any commission losses.

With link cloaking, you can make more money. You can also make your links shorter and seem more trustworthy.

Then again, you should remember that there are instances wherein you have to have an affiliate disclosure on your site before you are allowed to implement link cloaking.

As much as possible, you should always include a full disclosure policy on your site so that you can help online users understand your linking practices as well as recognize your affiliations.

affiliate link clocking

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