5 Reasons to Start Cloaking Affiliate Links – By Victoria Galperina

by Jenae Reid on October 6, 2016

feedfront-35-cover-188x240Let’s get straight to the point: affiliate links are bulky, almost impossible to remember, easily noticeable, and give you out as an affiliate marketer.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can mask or cloak them to make them look more neat, including scripts and numerous plugins. If you are looking for a quick fix with zero budget, you can always use free online link cloaking services, but personally, I would recommend avoiding them altogether.

So what does link cloaking mean?

To put it simply, it is a way of replacing your given affiliate link with a URL of your choice, which redirects to the same place your original link leads to, without affecting cookie tracking.

So let’s say I’m a SEMrush Affiliate and I am eager to show my followers some basic stats for http://feedfront.com/.

My uncloaked affiliate link would look something like: https://www.semrush.com/info/feedfront.com?db=us&ref=123456789

And let’s say I have a website: http://victoriagalperina.com/

My cloaked link would look something like: http://victoriagalperina.com/loves/semrush

Here are the top five reasons why you should start cloaking your affiliate links today:

  1. Customization

The first and most obvious reason is customization. Affiliate links can easily be spotted when moused over, which makes readers question your credibility. Even if you wrote a brilliant post and your feelings towards a product or service you are recommending are genuine, uncloaked links give you out as an affiliate.

  1. Link management

You get to create a short URL, which you can actually remember and easily locate in the future.

Changing a single redirect, instead of fixing every affiliate link on your site, can come in very handy if a merchant changes links, linking methods, or networks. It will also save you time if you want to switch your current merchant.

  1. Commission leaks prevention

Some people deliberately remove your affiliate ID when making a purchase to prevent you from getting commissions. There is also a certain type of affiliate marketers who swap your affiliate ID with theirs in order to steal your commissions. Both of these actions become a lot harder when a link is cloaked.

  1. Social media advertising

Many social media sites have strict rules against the usage of affiliate links that can pretty much result in your account suspension or termination, so by cloaking your links, you don’t only get a chance to fit your link into a symbol limit, you can also avoid penalties.

  1. Improvement of your domain position in Google

By pointing back to your own site with your cloaked link from any external sources, you improve your own search engine rankings in Google.

Link cloaking brings you many benefits, which in the long run ensure that you get the commissions you deserve

Victoria Galperina is the Head of Affiliate Marketing at SEMrush. Find her on Twitter: @VicGalperina

This article appeared in issue 36 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2016. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-36

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