If you’re trying to earn money with affiliate marketing, you must wonder how many links should you include in each page, as well as the general affiliate text-linking strategy.
Read this guide and you’ll save potentially thousands of dollars in affiliate transactions. I’ve learned these things the hard way, but by reading this article, you’ll avoid making the same mistakes.
The quick answer is that you should include around 1 affiliate link per 250 – 300 words, with around 8 links maximum in the whole piece of content.
There are a couple of reasons and things you need to know about the density and nature of affiliate links.
1. Google recognizes an affiliate link as such and can devalue your page if you overdo it
When you place an affiliate link on your site, Google knows. Each link has a unique structure first provided by your marketing partner. It’s usually a long string of random letters and somewhere in there, you can find your unique affiliate ID.
These links are easily recognizable by Google as affiliate links and are treated as an advertisement.
You probably use an affiliate link plugin like Thirsty Affiliates, or even an affiliate tracking software like ClickMagick to cloak your links and make them prettier. These links also go through a 304 re-direct and have a “no-follow” tag on them which is recommended by Google.
These links are also safer because they protect you from click fraud as well as hackers stealing your commissions. But Google still knows it’s an affiliate link. And if you put too many of them in a tight space, you’re asking for trouble.
I experienced it myself when my most precious affiliate post was devalued because I got too greedy. I included more links at the top and throughout the article to get more clicks and higher earnings.
But I ended up being pushed down in the rankings and the traffic on this precious post dropped dramatically.
When researching this topic, I’ve found many other stories of this happening to other people. A few webmasters (for example, who stuffed their homepage with affiliate links) even got penalized and dropped out of the rankings entirely.
2. Don’t put the affiliate link at the very top of the page
Yes, you may skim a few more clicks in the short-term, but remember, Google’s goal is to satisfy the users by serving them great, valuable content in the search results.
If the sole goal of your content is to transfer users to your affiliate partner, you’re working against Google’s goals and you’ll most likely be punished.
Include the links below the fold and if your content is good, users will find them and click on them.
3. Online users are savvier and can recognize a promotional link
At some point, I started experimenting with different types of affiliate links to optimize them for more clicks. I made them bold, I highlighted the text before the link to draw attention to it, I made the anchor text longer, etc.
This didn’t work at all, and in fact, the number of clicks I received decreased. Nowadays, people can recognize a promotional link and don’t want to click on it if it screams “click on me”. The highest yielding links you’ll ever have will usually be simple, unobtrusive text links.
4. What to do when you get penalized by Google for over-monetization?
Just like when you get punished for black-hat SEO strategies, you need to find the exact reason for penalization and fix it.
In SEO, that would mean disavowing your spammy links, creating a healthy link profile, and re-submitting your site index to Google Search Console.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, you need to find the over-monetized content stuffed with affiliate links and make it look natural. Delete all the excessive links and wait to get your rankings restored.
5. Use a more subtle, under-the-radar affiliate marketing strategy that’ll work long-term
Top affiliates work to achieve long-term success. The key is to not overdo affiliate marketing and insert links only when it makes sense. After you produce 200 or 300 pieces of content for your site, you will naturally get lots of affi-clicks. This is long-term thinking that requires a lot of hard work and dedication.
But once the domain authority of your page increases, you’ll naturally start getting more traffic, and this, in turn, will translate into more clicks.
What best affiliates are doing is that they interlink like crazy in all of their posts. By decreasing the bounce rate, and increasing time-on-page, they’re more likely to receive more clicks without being spammy. One technique that’s working extremely well is linking to your highest converting affiliate page from dozens of other posts.
6. What matters most in organic affiliate marketing is the user’s intent, strong pre-sell, and the quality of your traffic
You can’t just slap a few affiliate links for a piece of content that’s totally unrelated to the offer and hope for the best results. Once I did that on a high-traffic page. I received over 150 clicks in one month and zero sales.
Why? Because there was a mismatch between the search intent and the offer I was promoting.
Matching user’s intent with your offer is the key to success in affiliate marketing. It’s best if the readers you’re bringing to your content are already in the final stages of the buying journey. They’re just making final research and they’re likely to buy within one or two days.
This kind of traffic will convert like crazy. That’s why reviews are one of the best ways to earn with affiliate marketing. They convert because the customers are already aware of the options available on the market. They just want final confirmation to make a decision.
And the last part of this puzzle is the so-called pre-sell. It means that you need to somehow nudge the reader to buy the specific product you’re promoting.
If your brand and reputation are strong, your recommendation will be worth much more. Simply linking to an offer will bring some results, but honestly recommending the offer in your content will bring great results.
I hope that you got some great information from this affiliate linking guide. I wish I had this information before I started my full-time journey with online marketing.
Remember, you’re working for the long-term so play a natural, organic, and subtle game and you will be rewarded. The main ingredients of success here are patience and determination.