Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn money online. Normally these links are not attractive and clean. It’s better to make them cleaner and track each link status. Apart from that, if you need to stop search engines crawling your affiliate links, pass page rank and hiding you are an affiliate marketer to readers, it’s better use link cloaking system. In another work mask links.
There are several ways to do this. In this post I’m going to use one of the best free WordPress affiliate plugin called Affiliate Link Cloaking . There’s no much configurations. Once activated it though the WP dashboard we can start using it. In this post, I’m going to show you how to install and properly configure links. Keep remembering, this plugin will not automatically convert your existing affiliate links to clean and nice look. Each link should configure manually via it’s settings page.
Unlike other systems and WordPress affiliate plugins, this one gives a better picture about your links and their status. In its dashboard it shows each of the configured links, its short link, their daily and monthly hits and created date. This WordPress affiliate link cloaking plugin not prevent search engine bots indexing your link, you have to do it in your robots.txt file. Therefore when you are making a short link using this WP plugin, it’s better make a virtual folder contain links. For an instance www.digitalreborn.com/out/linkmethod. In order to add that type of virtual folder, WordPress installed root directory shouldn’t create a folder. This post, I added all the necessary configuration methods.
How to cloak WordPress affiliate links.
- Install the WordPress Affiliate Link Cloaking plugin though the WP dashboard (Plugins>Add new) or download and upload the plugin zip file using cPanel to wp-content/plugin directory.
- Next activate the newly installed WP affiliate masking plugin.
- Then you can see it’s settings page as “Link Cloaking”.
- Go to “Add new link” page.
- Under the Short Link, first type virtual directory something like “out”, “ref” etc. This is an optional, but I personally recommend.
- Next right after the virtual folder, type suitable name slug for your link. For an instance “free-dropbox-2.5gb”.
- Then under the “Affiliate Link(*), type your link. (any web link)
- Under the title, type a suitable title for this link.
- Click “Add link”. Now almost completed.
- Next add that short link to your necessary posts, pages or sidebar. Then this plugin will automatically redirect it to the targeted site relevant page.
Once added an affiliate link, this WordPress link masking plugin can automatically replace all the existing same link to short link in posts. In order to do it, while adding hyperlinks, make sure that “Auto Replace Affiliate Link to Short Link” is checked (enabled). It’s not necessarily mean that, this plugin converts all the affiliate links to short link. Now you have configured the link masking.
How to block search engine spiders crawlers mask links.
After configuring the plugin using the above steps, you have to start following these steps. In addition to that, you have to create your short/cloak/mask links to a virtual folder (virtual or real). In this method, I’m going to use block spiders using robots.txt file. Almost all the popular crawlers including Google bot, respect this file commands.
- Log-in to the cPanel account.
- Click on the “File manager”.
- Next “File manager directory selection” flash window make sure that “Web Root” checked and click “Go”.
- Then you can see the WordPress installation directory.
- Browse the “robots.txt” file in there. If there’s no such a file, create a new file and name it as “robots.txt”. (Top of the file manager has “new file” link).
- Right click on that file and next context menu click “Edit”.
- Next text editor flash window click “Edit”.
- Then under the “User-agent: *” add following line to your robots files.
Disallow: / name of thevirtual folder
In case if you need to take rough idea, you can check my blog robots file in here.
- Click the “Save” button and check if it’s updated. (If you enabled CloudFlare CDN service, it takes a while to update)