Google has specific webmaster guidelines when using affiliate links for monetization. Google states that paid links should not be used to pass PageRank.
Google offers 2 recommendations on how to be compliant:
- Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
The first option is easy to use, but also must be implemented on every affiliate link of your WordPress site. Option 2 is also easy to add with the help of the WordPress Simple URLs plugin. This plugin uses custom post types to manage affiliate URLs. It creates a short link in the form of http://mysite.com/go/affiliate-link/ that you can use as the link in your posts that redirects to the real affiliate link.
The plugin is incredibly simple to install, and all you have to do to configure it is to navigate to Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard and click Save Changes so that these new links are recognized.
To block these links from the google bot you need to add some code to your robots.txt file:
I hope that this post has given you some easy ways to comply with the google webmaster guidelines regarding paid links on your WordPress blog.