Do affiliate programs harm your SERP?

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Do affiliate programs harm your SERP?

A lot of websites offer affiliate programs where you will get paid if you refer someone. Normally, you get paid only when the person you refer buys something but in other cases you can get paid for simply referring someone and gets extra money when they buy something. The most popular way to advertise their affiliate links is to post their links online on forums and social media. Some people may even start spamming links everywhere hoping that someone will join, which may result in a large quantity of low quality backlinks being generated. My question is, do you think affiliate programs harm your SERP because people can spam their affiliate links on low quality sites? However, lots of websites seem to use affiliate programs.


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This is a great question and I'll be honest here that I have not really read anything up on this, but I have just recommended to a friend of mine to go into affiliate marketing to get his services out there. I never thought about this, but yes I would think affiliate links would count as backlinks and could potentially have a negative effect on your SERP.

But there are affiliate programs you can sign up for that don't point directly to your website. I think Commission Junction and Shareasale work like that. For example the Shareasale affiliate links start with http://www.shareasalecom and not your website.

Thanks for this question because it is not something I thought about when I made that recommendation to my friend. I see how some people spam their affiliate links all over and if I had an affiliate program linking directly to my website url I would be worried.

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Good point made here and i didn't thought about it much, but it makes sense, so as @Beverly said it's not bad idea to have subdomain to point your affiliate links to.

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Using a different domain is such a good idea and it will add a lot of security for rankings for websites that use affiliate programs. However, this also brings a disadvantage and that is the affiliate program will not generate your main site any backlinks. It is better to be safe though and it just isn’t worth it taking the risk. I think it will be a good idea though if Google can recognise affiliate links and know the difference between these backlinks and normal backlinks and don't penalise affiliate links. Then you don’t need to use a separate domain or a subdomain.

Kind regards,

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Google doesn't really care if you're the one posting the links or not, you can still get the penalty if the link is posted too much in a spammy way by your affiliates.

Possibly you could do what SEOClerks has done, which is to build an affiliate subdomain and then point affiliate links at that.
For instance,

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They can, especially if setup incorrectly. You should have your affiliate links on a sub-domain or even a entire separate domain. As your website grows, you'll attract affiliates who spam their affiliate link on everything! We are talking low quality blog comments in every country in the world, forum profile spam links, PBNs, Twitter, Facebook, every social media network on the planet, etc.

As a result, you'll get unnatural link warnings from Google and possibly delisted from the SERPs if left unchecked. You'll get banned from social media networks, you'll get blocked from URL shortners, email servers will block messages with that domain, you'll get spamcop emails for spam you didn't send, etc.

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Hi MasterA your starting point really very nice,. People doing affiliate for making such commission any ways. And many of websites provide very good amount of commission. And for earning affiliate marketer create link here and there to attract client. And as a result that affiliate link get much backlink from outside. I think link is just link, does not matter is it affiliate link or normal domain link? Google may get you penalty, if you make mass low quality backlinks for your site. And I agree with Bev, Google does not care which way you have created backlink, you will get penalty, if you create backlink spammy way. And I also agree with Bev last sentence, it is really good idea to make sub domain for affiliate, which SEOclerks doing.

Thanks by Ajlancer

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This was a very interesting point and I did a lot of reading about it. Affiliate links are important to get traffic, but it seems that when a site gets a Google penalty the first to be blamed are generally the affiliates. The reason is that they think that it is because of the numerous links and where they were posted, which could have led to this. However there could be other reasons for such a penalty. In reality one needs to take into account what type of link it is as direct links with parameters and network links should not hurt SEO. The problem are direct links with no parameters.

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