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Google: Lots of Affiliate Links OK if Content is Valuable

Google says there's no harm in having a lot of affiliate links on a page if the main content adds value to the web.

Google’s John Mueller says the number of affiliate links on one page is irrelevant as long as the main content is useful to searchers.

You can place as many affiliate links on a page as you want without worrying about a penalty or demotion.

This is stated during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on August 6, 2021.

A question is submitted to Mueller asking:

“How many affiliate links are safe or good to have on a single page? Is there a perfect ratio of links to article length to maintain here?”

It’s likely no coincidence this question comes within weeks of Google rolling out the link spam algorithm update, which may penalize sites for placing untagged affiliate links.

When affiliate links are used correctly, however, “there is no limit” to how many a page can have as far as SEO is concerned.

Here’s exactly what Mueller has to say on this subject.

Google’s John Mueller on Affiliate Links

Mueller clarifies that Google isn’t trying to send a message that affiliate links are bad. They’re perfectly fine, provided they’re placed within useful content:

“There is no limit. From our side it’s not that we’re saying that affiliate links are bad or problematic. It’s more a matter of, well, you actually need to have some useful content on your page as well. So that’s kind of the angle that we take there.

The amount of affiliate links that you have on a site is totally irrelevant. The ratio of links to article length is also totally irrelevant.”

Mueller goes on to say that Google needs a reason to show a site in search results, and that reason is usually because it has valuable content people are looking for.

Beyond tagging affiliate links with rel=”sponsored”, attempting to further optimize these links is “wasted effort.”

“But, essentially, what we need to find is a reason to show your site in search for users who are looking for something. And that reason is usually not the affiliate link but the actual content that you provide on those pages.

So from that point of view, trying to optimize the affiliate links or trying to hide the affiliate links, or whatever you’re trying to do there, I think is almost wasted effort because that’s not what we care about.”

If the content on a page isn’t what Google considers valuable, it won’t rank regardless if it has dozens of affiliate links or none at all.

Mueller says content that copies what’s on a retailer’s site is an example of something that will have trouble gaining ground in search results.

“What we care about is the content and kind of why we would show your pages in the first place. And if the content of your page is essentially a copy of a description from a retailer’s site then there’s no reason for us to show your site even if you had no affiliate links.

So you really need to first have that reason to be visible in the search results. And then how you monetize your site, or what links you place there, that’s essentially irrelevant.”

For more on the type of content Google would find valuable in this situation, it’s worth reviewing the guidance Google provided when it rolled out the product reviews algorithm update.

Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google: Lots of Affiliate Links OK if Content is Valuable

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