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What is link cloaking, and how can it impact your SEO? More importantly, is link cloaking a form of black hat SEO? Let’s get to know link cloaking and its benefits with this guide:
Link cloaking is a standard practice of customising a URL or link, turning it into a link redirect for better branding. Regular URLs are typically a mishmash of numbers and letters like this:
When rebranded, a long URL can turn into this:
The word “cloaking” makes it sound like link cloaking is black hat SEO, and everyone should avoid it, but that’s not the case at all. Many affiliate marketers use link cloaking, which will not harm your SEO efforts. In fact, if you are selling different affiliate products, your website will appear more trustworthy by rebranding the URLs.
Link cloaking works to transform a complex link into something less intimidating. Unless shortened, regular URLs are long and, most times, an eyesore. Shortening or customising the long URLs makes them more attractive and easier to track. Also, brands that feature cloaked links appear more trustworthy to users, so the click rate improves.
From a technical standpoint, link cloaking is not harmful to SEO. Redirects are commonly practised – sending users who clicked on one link and redirected to a second link is considered a safe practice as long as it is set up correctly. Link managers use different cloaking tools to promote a range of affiliate products on business sites, and for many business owners, link cloaking is necessary. Services like PrettyLinks, for example, have been widely used by business owners to create attractive, on-brand links.
Many services could shorten and rebrand long URLs, but the best one to try for affiliate marketers is PrettyLinks. PrettyLinks is a URL-shortening plugin that lets you shorten links and make them easier to track. Below are some of PrettyLinks’ main features:
Many users often deem customised links trustworthy, which explains the higher click-through rates. By using PrettyLinks, you can create affiliate product links that are user-friendly and easy to remember.
Long, complex links can affect the look of a website. With a link-shortening tool like PrettyLinks, you can turn these links into attractive, shorter links that are easier to remember. Imagine creating a list of affiliate product recos like a typical Buzzfeed article – you wouldn’t want to ruin the article’s design with a list of long links. On social media, many users do not post long URLs because it makes their feed look suspicious.
On-brand links give the impression that you’re going above and beyond to make your website look good on your website or social media. You can also save space using platforms that limit characters in a post, like Twitter.
Affiliate links are long, yet the links give too little information about the page users visit. Most users want to know what webpage they’re being led to before they click on a link. This is normal because there are a lot of shady businesses online, and users are wary of these sites. If a site appears suspicious because of the long URLs, users will skip over them.
Shortened links enable you to customise the links to give users more information about the webpage they’re going to visit. This makes your website trustworthy, which will boost your click-through rates. Users are likelier to click on a link if they know it’s from a trustworthy website.
Tools like PrettyLinks enable you to manage your links effectively, which is a plus if you sell multiple affiliate links. The tool has its own analytics so you can assess the data to enhance your marketing efforts, improve SEO, and develop future marketing opportunities.
From the PrettyLinks dashboard, you can see your affiliate links at a glance. The service outlines the performance of every link, so you’ll know which are getting the most clicks and which are not popular among your core audience. These infos will be helpful for future promotions. For example, if a specific link isn’t getting a lot of clicks, you can try changing the link position, embedding it on a different word, or reworking the content itself to improve its performance.
Shortening links can benefit your email affiliate marketing campaign. Usually, messages with several product links will trigger spam filters. This means your messages won’t reach your subscribers. If your messages get flagged as spam, you might lose subscribers.
Shorter links could prevent any triggers that could cause spam filters to flag your messages. Even better, you can track the performance of the links you’ve embedded in your email messages, which allows you to determine how effective your email marketing campaign is.
Affiliate marketing is one of the quickest ways to make passive income online, and link cloaking is an invaluable tool for your marketing campaign. Services like PrettyLinks go beyond link shortening, providing analytics data to ensure the success of your marketing campaign.
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