What is Cloak Affiliate Links and how to Cloak URL?

What does it mean to cloak affiliate Links?

Cloaking an affiliate link means that you are hiding the real link by creating new shorter URLs which will redirect to an original affiliate link. A cloak technique is widely used for tracking the click-throughs Rate (CTR) and measuring their effectiveness.
Example of cloaked Links and Uncloaked / Normal Links:
original link
amazon.com/laptop/ref=8588?a23dsd?sddef4585001510
Cloaked link
yourdomain.com/deal/amazon/laptop/

How to Cloak my affiliate links in WordPress

Cloak
There are two methods of link cloaking

  • Using WordPress Plugin
  • Using .htaccess or Yoast Method

Note: you should never play with .htaccess file unless you’re well versed in using it because making an error within it could take down your whole site. Advice: Better take the back up first before trying this method or take help from professionals.

Decide which url snug you what in your url e.g. /refer/, /i/ , /out/, /deal/, /go/, /i/ etc. we will be using /deal/ in our example. make the list of all the alates link and choose your related URL name.

Open your .htaccess file located at your blog’s base directory. Commonly located at under public_html folder.
we recommend using HTTP 302 redirection for cloaked URLs since the redirected page will still retain its Pagerank, Moz rank, Page Authority, and track Value.

A 302 redirect, or also known as a temporary redirect, should be put in place if you want to redirect your site visitors into another webpage but you plan to bring the redirected page back after some time.

Open the robots.txt file and disallow all /deal/ URLs,You don’t want Google to index all your Cloaked URLs.
User-agents: *
Disallow: /i/
Sitemap: http://abc.com/sitemap.xml (replace abc.com with your domain name)
make sure to add rel=”nofollow” in a cloaked hyperlink.

There are several affiliate link cloaking plugins on the market, but we use the Pretty Link Pro or ThirstyAliate WordPress plugins to cloak my affiliate links in our number of websites.

How to Cloak Custome Links

Why you should cloak your links?

If you are using some valuable services and wanted to share the same with your users then it’s always a good idea to refer using an affiliate link. Over usage of affiliate links on the blog may kill your blog and user base. If you decide to change which merchant you’re using to promote a product, you can edit one redirect instead of needing to edit every instance in which you linked to them throughout your entire site. Aliate links are usually ugly and impossible to remember without doing a copy/paste

Why shouldn’t you cloak your links?

Many services don’t allow their links to be masked or cloaked since they want a user to know well in advance that they are about to click an affiliate link Have a suggestion on an article? Please chime in and share it as a comment.

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