There is a measured pause of panic some days when you try to find your site in the search engine rankings, and you miss it at first glance. The first thought that shouldn’t cross your mind – but probably does – is
“Has Google penalized my site for being an affiliate site?”
You shouldn’t think that, because Google are okay with affiliate sites in general, its just the ones that offer no real substance to their users that they don’t like. If you have taken the time to write fresh and appropriate content, then you are going to see the fruits of your labor on the rankings, it’s usually that simple.
There are cases where a site has been so heavy with affiliate links that they were penalized by Google, but this is just seen as spam sites, or very poor content. Nobody wants to see sites like that anyway, and the trust rank of a site like that is very low.
The smartest thing you could do is take a good long look at Google’s terms of service, and webmaster guidelines, then take a look at your site. If you are just concerned that the amount of links or the affiliation on your site could be too heavy, check out Sitonomy’s tool that can check your site over.
Affiliate cloaking with platforms like WordPress is quite simple, and if you wanted to just cover yourself for certain ad networks and affiliate networks, you could use cloaking that they recommend. This way, you are not breaking any terms of service, or risking your account in any way.
A good website should have advertising that cannot be spotted – either by Google or its visitors. For example, you would only like to follow text links in a blog post, rather than big, gaudy banners that are too busy, so why put them on your blog? They don’t necessarily convert better, and contextual ads work just fine when you have actually presold the visitor with great content in the first place.
If you are starting right at the beginning, as an internet marketer, then this article caught you just in time, before you overload your blog with affiliate links, and panic every time you are checking your rankings. If you take one sentence away with you, let it be – do it right first time, and you will never have to worry again.