What is an affiliate link?
An affiliate link is a link inside a promo that points to the merchant website. An affiliate visitor (the prospective buyer of the merchant) must click this link to go to the merchant website and be tagged by the affiliate software.
What does a standard affiliate link look like?
A standard affiliate link looks like:
<a href="http://www.merchant.com/affiliates/tracking.php?id=1-2"> Read More to know about product A </a>
Merchant tracking script: http://www.merchant.com/affiliates/tracking.php
AffiliateID : 1 (Unique identifier of an affiliate in the system)
PromoID : 2 (Unique identifier of an promo in the system)
Destination page URL : http://www.merchant.com/productA.php.
Please notice that the link URL does not contain the actual promo destination page URL. Instead it contains the tracking page URL where the "Affiliate ID" and the "Promo ID" are appended to it in some way.
When an affiliate site visitor clicks an affiliate link he is first unknowingly taken to the tracking page. From there he is redirected to the destination page that corresponds to the promo on which he originally clicked.
What is the problem with this?
There is no problem if we ignore the fraction of a second it takes for an additional redirection. The problem is created by the search engines crawlers.
- Search engines do not like redirected URLs. They may consider them as paid links and may penalise the affiliate for placing such links. Knowledgeable link-sensitive affiliates may not agree to place such links on their high traffic site for fear of being penalised by Google.
- You (the merchant) will likely not derive any SEO benefit for such redirected external links.
What is the solution? What is a direct-n-deep affiliate link?
The solution is straightforward. Get rid of redirected links. Your affiliate software should allow your affiliates to link directly to the sales pages without being redirected via a tracking page. A typical deep link looks as follows:
<a href="http://www.merchant.com/productA.php?id=1-2"> Read More to know about product A </a>
We call these direct links as direct-n-deep affiliate links.
Are "direct-n-deep affiliate links" better than "natural affiliate links" and URL rewritten links ( SEO links)?
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. However, natural links are the safest kind of link for both merchants and affiliates.
Nonetheless, natural links require additional ownership verification of an affiliate's domain. Many affiliates do not want to deal with this additional nuisance. In addition, natural links will not work if placed in an email or offline PDF document.
How do direct-n-deep affiliate links work?
Every destination page will need a tracking script. This is easily implemented by placing a tracking script at the footer of the merchant website. Since your affiliates will be linking directly to the sales pages they will be safe from any penalization from Google or any other search engine. You as the merchant will also derive SEO benefits from the affiliate links.
Do Direct-Deep affiliate links work from any source?
From an SEO standpoint natural links are always safer than deep links but deep links are more versatile. If the merchant sets up the tracking code properly, the links will be ready for placement on web pages, in emails, or in offline documents without any tracking point risk. Natural links only work when the source domain ownership has been verified by the respective affiliates.
Are all affiliate software products powered with this tool?
Not all affiliate software products are powered with this tool. Before you purchase any affiliate software, first view a demo to ensure that it has the capacity to generate deep affiliate links.