In July of 1996, Amazon launched what would become the global revenue phenomena known as affiliate marketing. Although the very first e-commerce program to use the World Wide Web was Cybererotica in 1994, no company had truly developed the marketing model of affiliate marketing the way Amazon did.As the popularity of affiliate marketing began to grow exponentially, it seemed everyone wanted to be part of this almost effortless money making scheme. During the late 90s, however, website competition was still in its infancy. Anyone with enough money and time could get the visibility they so desired. Affiliate sites ran rampant.Google hired an army of technicians to surf the Internet and look for websites that only promoted another’s products or services. The Google gestapo eliminated hundreds if not thousands of sites, and the world of affiliate marketing slowed. Fortunately, Google along with other search engines found that manual monitoring was too costly and time consuming, eventually creating spiderbots to do the job of quality control across the World Wide Web.This was the birth of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).After the advent of SEO, website owners now had to use relevant keywords to define the rank of their sites. With it came a new way for affiliate merchants and marketers to sell their wares. But alas, Google defeated this again when they began assigning GoogleBots to be on the lookout for affiliate links.To combat these issues, Euraffiliates, (http://www.euraffiliates.com) the Next Generation affiliate software vendor has introduced three new types of Next-G linking mechanism branded as direct-n-deep affiliate links, natural affiliate links along with the quick-any-page links in addition to the traditional redirected link types, standard affiliate links and URL rewritten links. Here is a brief synopsis of the different linking mechanism types.Standard Affiliate Links :Standard affiliate links are basically a redirected link, delivering the customer to sales pages via a tracking page, which is an indication of a paid link, and a tracking string embedded at the end to identify the affiliate marketer. These links commonly look like this:href=”http_www_merchantsite_com/affiliates/tracking.php?aid=100-200″Problems with this kind of link arise out of the obviousness to humans and Search Engine bots that it is an affiliate links. Search engines frown on this kind of link and may penalize the referrer website with a poor SEO score. This link is commonly used by low-yield affiliates who are either new to affiliate marketing and don’t know any better or website owners who care little about SEO scores. Cross domain links only exacerbate the issue.Affiliate clearinghouses like ClickBank will offer these links to anyone who signs up for their services, regardless of the links ability to perform or the sanctions that may be met for using them.URL Rewritten Links :Also commonly referred to as “SEO Links”, they are nothing but URL rewritten links moving the tracking IDs into the page name. Below is an example of the difference between a standard link (top) and an URL rewritten link (bottom).href=”http_www_merchantsite_com/affiliates/tracking-page.php?aid=1-2″href=”http_www_merchantsite_com/affiliates/1-2.html”Please note, the final destination page is a different page in both case. The only difference is the very end of the URL. Although a bit more SEO friendly than a standard link, they are still redirected in nature and the website owner may be penalized or hardly get any SEO benefit for using them.Direct-n-Deep Links :Affiliate professional who know their way around the Internet will commonly use this kind of link because it is not an SEO un-friendly redirected link.Direct-n-Deep affiliate links are better than SEO links from an SEO standpoint. They are also more readily accepted by affiliates because they are direct links.href=”http_www_merchantsite_com/productA.php?aid=1-2″Notice that the affiliate redirect is gone but the string remains at the end. This is often an affiliates and merchants favored link because it does not redirect from a tracking site.Natural Links :According to affiliate marketers, the natural link is the most powerful kind of affiliate link to be hoped for. It is 100% SEO sage and friendly because it does not redirect from a tracking site and it does not have a tracking string at the end of the link URL. It is impossible for search engine spiders to detect the natural link as being a paid link altogether. So it is SEO safest both to affiliates and merchants.href=”http_www_merchantsite_com/productA.php”There is, however, one little glitch to using the natural link. The link must be published in a website (an email link will not work) and the website ownership must be a verified before linking. However, the domain verification process is quite easy and can be done from both merchant and affiliate end. Once a domain is verified, the affiliate can link to any page without adding the tracking string.Quick-n-Any-Page Linking Mechanism :An affiliate enjoys full freedom here. There is no need to login to the affiliate panel to create an affiliate link; he only has to remember his affiliateID. He can then link to any merchant page by adding “?aid=his_affiliateID” or “&aid=his_affiliateID” at the end of the URL. See an example below:href=”http_www_merchantsite_com/any-merchnat-page.php?aid=his_affiliateID”It can be applied to any text-link or image-link or any file-link.And Finally:Linking mechanisms may play a crucial role in an affiliate’s program success. Not only does it increase the SEO credibility of a merchant site, but it helps convert a high traffic website into an active affiliate. Normally, active affiliates with high daily traffic link sensitive. Their justification? They don’t want to be penalized for unsafe SEO linking. Euraffiliates ultra-safe linking options, (deep, quick & natural links) will greatly improve a merchant’s ability to succeed.For more information on the software, contact the Affiliate Solutions Specialist, Lutfal Hoque, at http://www.euraffiliates.com/contact-us.php or visit http://www.euraffiliates.com. You can learn more about Next-G affiliate software tools at http://www.euraffiliates.com/features.php.
Affiliate Marketing, Search Engine, Linking Mechanism, Affiliate Links, Rewritten Links, Natural Link
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lutfal Hoque is basically an MBA in marketing. He joined his career as sales professional in 1996. After 3 years he started his own web & e-Commerce development business in 1999. He played the affiliate marketing consultant role of a big UK e-commerce site for over 4 years using his own developed affiliate tracking software. This has helped him a lot in getting deeper understanding of affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing software.
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