Growing your affiliate marketing business and increasing sales require a lot of hard work. When you want to earn more from your affiliate marketing website, you’ll need to optimize your business. One of the key things that you must do is link cloaking. You must know how to cloak affiliate links, why it is needed in the first place, and how it impacts your affiliate marketing business.
If you are an affiliate marketer, you must know the ins and outs of affiliate link management. This article covers everything you need to know about affiliate link cloaking and much more.
What is Link Cloaking?
Link cloaking refers to hiding a URL using redirection. It is used to hide lengthy and complex URLs that aren’t user-friendly. Link cloaking makes your links brandable, short, easy-to-remember, and trustworthy.
Affiliate marketers use link cloaking to mask their affiliate links in order to make them user-friendly, trackable, and trustworthy. Here is an example of a cloaked affiliate link:
You can see the normal affiliate link isn’t user-friendly. It contains a lot of digits and it clearly shows affiliate ID and affiliate network domain (shareasale.com). The cloaked link is user-friendly, readable, and looks trustworthy (as it contains your domain name).
Why Do You Need to Cloak Affiliate Links?
Why do you need to cloak affiliate links? Can’t you use affiliate links in the normal form?
Well, you can use affiliate links in any form you like. There aren’t any restrictions. However, cloaking links provide you with multiple benefits such as:
- Link management
- Visitor trust
- SEO benefits.
1. Affiliate Link Management
As your business grows, you’ll deal with hundreds of affiliate links. You’ll be promoting several affiliate products and it gets hard to manage them over time. One of the best things about link cloaking is that it helps you manage affiliate links.
And this is a major reason why the majority of affiliate marketers use cloaking plugins and tools.
For example, you have been promoting an Amazon affiliate product on your blog. You have added its link in several posts and articles throughout your affiliate blog and other marketing channels. What if the manufacturer discontinues the affiliate product?
You’ll have to manually replace all the affiliate links. This gets too tedious and complicated.
If you are using link cloaking, you’ll just have to replace your affiliate link from the backend and that’s it. Link cloaking gives you full control and flexibility over affiliate links. You can change them, redirect links, track performance, check analytics, and more.
2. Visitor Trust
Affiliate links aren’t fancy. This is a reality. They don’t look nice. They aren’t readable. And they point to another domain.
When you share such a link on your website or blog, it doesn’t look professional. Needless to say, most affiliate links are lengthy and they look spammy. It makes website visitors skeptical.
Imagine you are on a website and about to click a link to buy a product. As you hover over the link, you see a long spammy-looking affiliate link. Would you dare to click such a link?
Now compare this with a cloaked link that leads to the same domain. This is more trustworthy, professional, and credible, right?
Cloaked affiliate links look trustworthy to website visitors and they’re more likely to click them.
3. SEO Benefits
Yes, cloaking affiliate links help you improve the SEO of your website.
Here is how…
All the cloaked links are internal links since they point to your domain. This helps you maintain a balance between internal and external links. The quantity and quantity of internal links is a Google ranking factor. And outgoing links (uncloaked links) pass link juice to sites you are linking to. Internal links retain link juice and pass it to your own site.
How to Cloak Affiliate Links
With so much to offer, link cloaking seems to be a great option for your affiliate marketing website. But how do you cloak affiliate links? How does it work?
You shouldn’t cloak affiliate links manually. You need a tool for it or preferably a WordPress plugin. If you want to do it manually, it isn’t worth the time and effort. So, your best bet is to use a reliable WordPress plugin to cloak affiliate links.
Here is a list of the top WordPress plugins and link cloaking tools:
You can use any URL redirection tool or link shortener tool for link cloaking. You just need to permanently redirect affiliate links to a sweet and short link.
I have always loved Pretty Links. It is simple, free, and extremely easy to use. Here is how it works:
- Give a title to your link. Keep it descriptive so you can remember it
- Select 301 (Permanent) redirection
- Add your affiliate link in the Target URL
- Add a cloaked link in the Pretty Link text box. This is where you’ll name your cloak link. Keep it natural
- Click Update to save your new cloaked link.
Once saved, this is how your cloaked link will look like: https://yourdomainname.com/cloaked-link/
You can tweak affiliate links hassle-free as per need without having to change the pretty links you have added throughout your website. This is what makes link cloaking ideal for large affiliate websites.
If you switch to a premium link cloaking plugin or tool, you can track clicks, CTR, impressions, and other metrics. Free tools usually offer just link redirection features.
Is Affiliate Link Cloaking Necessary?
No, it isn’t.
You can always go with natural affiliate links. However, if you want to boost affiliate sales and get more control over affiliate links, you must cloak links.
It isn’t just about superficial masking but it provides you with tons of benefits including an ability to take full control of your affiliate marketing business. Change links, tweak them, set attributes, track link performance, and more.
If you are a serious affiliate marketer, you must use a link cloaking tool or plugin – sooner or later. The earlier you do it, the better.
Featured Image: Pexels