Hiding Affiliate Links in WordPress

Pretty Link WordPress PluginAffiliate links just look plain ugly and there is always the chance that someone will be petty enough to gyp you out of your commission by stripping out the tracking code. As a tangent I noticed a while back, these days Clickbank has a new URL that no longer include the Clickbank username (but still a tracking id). Wonder whether that is working out any better. To avoid this problem you want to hide the original affiliate link with a pretty link. This is what many mean by “affiliate link cloaking”. But cloaking has another meaning, which is showing different content and links to the search engines versus to the humans. That’s really not what I’m talking about here, nor am I going to touch on the topic of hiding affiliate links because Google doesn’t like them. I don’t really have a lot of affiliate links compared to all the content I have, so I’m not worried.

I was looking for a couple of features:

  • Ability to redirect a pretty link to an affiliate link
  • Ability to add a nofollow to the link

I had heard good things about GoCodes and was planning to install it. However it is no longer available via the plugin WordPress repository search and hasn’t been updated since 2009. Too bad as it was a nice solution.

One nice alternative is the Pretty Link plugin, which comes in a free version (Pretty Link Lite) and an enhanced version (Pretty Link Pro) which gives you the ability to use javascript to mask your links which might be attractive to the “cloaking” crowd. Not only does it satisfy the above requirements but it gives you tracking and a bookmarklet.

It’s worth pointing out that Google will still follow the link, even if you put a nofollow tag on it (confusingly nofollow doesn’t mean “don’t follow” but rather “don’t pass page rank”, so you aren’t “hiding links from Google”. If that is your goal, you can check into the paid version’s javascript feature.

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About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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2 comments
Kay Jays says August 28, 2012

Hi Kathy, I enjoy reading your review. I have read some sites mentioning that the pretty link pluign have some flaws on how hackers can steal cookies on affiliate links. I’m not sure on this as I am not a very technical person, do you have any opinion on this?

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    Kathy Alice says August 30, 2012

    Thanks – I will look into this and let you know what I find out.

    Reply
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