What is an URL Rewritten Affiliate Link (SEO link)?
A URL Rewritten Affiliate Link is a standard redirected affiliate link but in an SEO friendly (URL rewritten) format.
A standard redirected affiliate link appears as follows:
<a href="http://www.merchant.com/affiliates/tracking-page-name.php?aid=1-2"> Read More to know about product A </a>
An URL Rewritten Affiliate Link (SEO link) redirected affiliate link looks as follows:
<a href="http://www.merchant.com/affiliates/1-2.html"> Read More to know about product A </a>
Merchant tracking URL : http://www.merchant.com/affiliates/tracking.php
Destination URL (Product Page) : http://www.merchant.com/productA.php
AffiliateID & PromoID : 1 & 2
Why is an URL Rewritten Affiliate Link better than a standard link?
A URL rewritten affiliate link is better than a standard affiliate link because some search engines crawlers do not like query strings. Query strings are often an indication of both temporary and paid links. After an URL rewritten affiliate link is placed, the trailing tracking code (affiliate ID and Prom ID) becomes part of the page name (technically HTTP_SCRIPT_NAME) and reduces the chances of being treated as paid or temporary link.
Are URL Rewritten Affiliate Links (SEO links) 100 percent SEO friendly?
The answer is a big, "no".. Even though some affiliate software vendors have termed URL Rewritten Links as SEO links, it is never safe from an SEO standpoint for the following reasons:
- An URL Rewritten Affiliate Link is a redirected link. Search engines hate redirects. Although moving the query strings from query string to page names does reduce the chance of being treated as a paid link, it cannot hide the fact that it is a redirected link. Link-sensitive affiliates may never agree to place a redirected link on their site for fear of being penalised by Google or other search engines.
- It does not solve the problem of content repetition. Rather, the movement of query string parameters to the page name increases the possibility of this bad practice being discovered and the site will be penalised.
Is it better than other types of affiliate links?
The answer is again, "NO". It is better than standard redirected links but not better than deep links or natural links.
Technically, natural links are best from every aspect. They are 100 percent safe for merchants and affiliates (assuming the affiliates is not doing any other link crime such as link spamming). However, they will only work when links are placed on the merchant web page and the affiliate domain ownership is verified by the respective affiliate.
In addition, deep links with a trailing query string are better than an URL rewritten redirected link (SEO link). However, this type of link still does not fully solve the content repetition issue. It does ensure tracking from any source (a web page, email, or offline documents).
Do popular affiliate software products come with this tool?
Yes, most popular affiliate software products normally come with this tool. However, be aware that some affiliate software vendors charge additionally for it.