Affiliate Links Equal Paid Links. Yes or No.
It seems that my rant from about one month ago remained pretty much unnoticed, except for some people of the SEO community. But they were not the intended audience for it. Other affiliate marketers were and I did not hear anything from them. Yes, from you.
Flashback: Google engineer Matt Cutts opened last month at his blog a big can of worms. A can that is not only to be served to the search engine optimization community, but a dish that seems to be served to affiliate marketers as well.
Keyword “Paid Links”. While link buying and selling for the obvious purpose of benefiting from them in the organic search results are clearly matching the definition of paid links are other links not so easy to be classified as “paid” or “organic”/”natural given” as the opposite to “paid”.
I wrote last week a four part series to the general issues of the discussion, background information, suggestions for solutions and examples of alternative directions to solve the same problem. It’s long and four parts as I already said, but IMO opinion worth your time reading it.
To my question, which I asked repeatedly and directly, if Matt/Google considers affiliate links to be “paid links” and thus wants to force affiliates to add the NOFOLLOW attribute to all affiliate links to avoid possible penalties or search engine bans, did I not get any answer to this date.
He got the question, I am certain of that and I am also sure that he understood it too. He avoids the answer to that question on purpose and I do not consider this to be a good sign.
Would you have a problem with the requirement to flag all your affiliate links with the NOFOLLOW attribute or would you have no problem with this at all?
I expressed my opinion about this multiple times over the past 5-6 months already and will not repeat it here again, because this is not what I intend with this post. I would like to know what others in the affiliate marketing industry (and not search marketing industry) think about the whole thing.
Please feel free to comment below. Thanks.