Over at SEOmoz, Rand gives us a wrap up of the Search Engineers session from SMX East which includes the fact that all of the search engine engineers agreed with Sean Suchter of Yahoo that if affiliate links come from relevant and trust worth sources, then those links may assist with the passing of link juice which has a direct effect on search engine rankings.
…In no uncertain terms, that if affiliate links came from valuable, relevant, trust-worthy sources – bloggers endorsing a product, affiliates of high quality, etc. – they would be counted in link algorithms. Aaron from Google and Nathan from Microsoft both agreed that good affiliate links would be counted by their engines and that it was not necessary to mark these with a nofollow or other method of blocking link value.
In September, SEJ columnist and resident affiliate marketing guru Carsten Cumbrowski reviewed how Amazon leverages the power of affiliate links to assist with its SEO and the questions surrounding affiliate links and paid linking. I suggest giving this a read after checking out Rand’s recap of SMX.