Are exchanged or reciprocal links okay with Google?
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Google about sites should hide affiliate links

Google about sites should hide affiliate links

Google’s John Mueller answers a question about affiliate links and whether it’s helpful to hide them from search engines.

This is discussed in the latest part of the Ask Googlebot series on YouTube. Specifically, Mueller addresses the following questions:

“Is it good to hide store / affiliate links?”

It’s an interesting question to tackle when considering hiding content from search engine crawlers is against Google’s guidelines no matter what the content is.

Nevertheless, Mueller answers it to the best of his ability. Before addressing the issue, Mueller briefly explains what affiliate links are.

Affiliate links are links to other companies. The website owner who places the links gets paid when the users go to these companies and buy products or services.

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As far as Google is concerned, affiliate links are just fine. It is acceptable to use them as a way to make money on a website.

That said, there are two important aspects to keep in mind in order to stay within Google’s guidelines.

Mueller goes on to explain what these aspects are, while addressing whether there is any benefit to hiding affiliate links.

Related: 11 amazing affiliate marketing blogs

Google’s John Mueller on the proper use of affiliate links

Google considers affiliate links to be an acceptable form of revenue generation as long as two conditions are met.

First, the site must deliver unique content and value all alone.

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It is easy to republish a generic product description or product description of low quality, but users can get them anywhere on the web.

Users also expect to find something useful on the site, especially if they are searching in order to purchase.

The second condition is that affiliate links must be declared. Website owners are required to declare affiliate links to both users and search engines.

For users, it is worth checking with local rules on what to do. Different rankings have different laws regarding the publication of affiliate links.

For search engines, page owners must use the attributes rel = ”nofollow” or rel = ”sponsored” to express that it is an affiliate link.

There is no need to hide or obscure affiliate search engine links, Mueller says.

There is no need to use any kind of automatic JavaScript, on-click handling or obscuration.

Link only to affiliates as usual, and declare them so that Google can process the links properly.

If you use JavaScript to add affiliate links, be sure to use the appropriate attributes there as well.

Mueller acknowledges that affiliate links are often used in the context of product reviews. If this is the case for your site, Mueller suggests checking for structured data that may be appropriate to implement on your pages.

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Mueller did not mention this part, but it is important to note here that Google rolled out an algorithm update targeting product reviews back in April.

In short, Google is getting stricter in terms of the quality of product reviews. Website owners who publish product reviews need to familiarize themselves with the details of this update in order to stay on the good side of Google’s algorithms.

Source: YouTube

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