Affiliate links. They’re everywhere. I admit, I use them too. It helps me keep providing free content while keeping the lights on at home. My list of affiliate links, however, is growing and let’s face it…
So ugly, with all those random letters and numbers, there’s no way I could ever remember a single one of them. This leads me to copying and pasting every time someone wants my link, or I’d like to use my link. They just aren’t memorable.
Then I remembered a little trick I’ve seen other affiliate marketers using. One where they have their normal root domain, like “vallemedia.com,” but then they use a path that’s super easy to remember, like “/clickfunnels.” I really wanted to use this technique, but I got pretty overwhelmed very quickly.
Turns out, there are a lot of different ways you can “cloak” an affiliate link. No matter which method you use, there are always 3 things to consider:
- Page Ranking
- Pretty Factor
When it comes to ease of management, having all your affiliate links in one place is not a bad thing. Especially as your list of affiliate links grows, one central location for all the original links lets you know you’ll always be able to find your list should you need it, and quickly make changes without having to find every single link across your entire website.
Page ranking and SEO are important if you want to show up in search engines. The problem? Major search engines, like Google, really don’t take kindly to sites with a ton of affiliate links. Cloaking the links helps deter search engines from indexing them and there’s also a way to add a “nofollow” rule to all the affiliate links, something else that will help your page rank. While not every link-cloaking method does these two things, the way I’m going to show you does with just a little bit of code.
Of course we can’t forget the pretty factor! It’s super easy to remember my links when they are cloaked and I can type them quickly when sharing. My copy and paste days are over!
What about plugins?
By this point you may be asking, “why not just use a WordPress plugin?” It’s true, many plugins exist and work well to cloak affiliate links. However, time is money in the online world and using code to build your affiliate links is faster. If you use a plugin, the site and the plugin have to load, causing an extra step that takes time. Of course we’re talking about milliseconds, but sometimes that’s all it takes.
Personally, if I can figure something out with code and not add an extra plugin to my site, I’m all for learning about it.
After a few hours of research, I decided the method described by Yoast was the one I wanted to use. Only, I encountered a problem when I could only find written instructions and not visual ones. So, I decided to make the visual version for you. If you’re into written directions, here’s the post on the Yoast blog. Regardless, you’re going to need that link to get the necessary code.
The structure of the links is simple:
Here’s an example:
What’s with the /p/??? By adding all of my affiliate links in a folder in the file manager, I’m able to set code to make sure the entire folder is not indexed by Google and also all the links are “nofollow”. If I didn’t have the /p/ in there, I’d have to add this extra stuff to every link, every time I set a new one up. I decided I didn’t want to have to remember all that stuff. I went with the letter /p/ to stand for “product” or “promotion”, but you can choose anything you like! Yoast uses /out/ in their example.
Without further ado, here’s the video tutorial on how to use Yoast’s method and scripts to cloak your affiliate links. Be sure to go to Yoast’s post to get the the scripts.