Reasons to Cloak Your Affiliate Links

Posted on Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Affiliate Marketing Tutorials, Computer Tutorials

Why Cloak Your Affiliate Links


When you sign up to become an affiliate marketer and begin learning how to generate your affiliate links, one of the first things you will notice is how long and ugly your affiliate links look.  Your affiliate ID is a long string of random numbers and letters. Notice the two links below:

The first one here is my raw affiliate link:

The second link is a cloaked link:

Notice how much neater the second is from the first.  They each point to the same website and I will receive my commission just the same with each one, but the second one looks so much better.  I am going to discuss why it is important to cloak your affiliate links in this article.

Hide Your Affiliate ID

The first reason is you want to conceal your affiliate ID.  With so many scams out there, you will lose trust when someone sees your affiliate ID and figures out that you are writing a product review for profit.

Hide Your Affiliate Links from Social Media Sites

If you post affiliate links on your social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ your beautiful post either will not get viewed or you might even get your account suspended.  Google is very strict about this. I have had friends who had their Google account suspended because they were considered a spammer for posting affiliate links in their postings on Google+.

Prevent Your Affiliate ID from Being Stripped

Rather than allowing you to earn your commission from writing your well-thought out review, some people will strip the affiliate ID from your link and than buy the product you recommend.  There is no reason for doing this because they do not have to pay more from stripping out your affiliate ID.  They are simply being childish and not giving you the credit you deserve for your hard work.

Prevent Affiliate Swapping

There are unscrupulous people however, including other affiliate marketers.  Some people will remove your affiliate ID and replace it with their affiliate ID and then they get the commission even though it was your product review you slaved over for hours.  This process seems more common with ClickBank products, because ClicBank does not require you to place an application with the vendor before getting approval.  Therefore, anyone with an affiliate account with ClickBank can swap out your affiliate ID and replace it with theirs. Next, they use their affiliate link to purchase the product.

Avoid Problems with Google

The last thing you want is to be Google slapped, which means being penalized by Google.  One way Google ranks websites is on the basis of link popularity.  That refers to how many websites link to that particular website.  Google, however, does not consider affiliate links a good measure of link popularity.  The reason is because those links point to websites for the sole purpose of making money.

Improve Search Engine Rankings

Affiliate links that are cloaked which point back to your own domain from social media networks and forums actually will help improve your search engine ranking within Google and the other search engines.

How Do I Cloak My Affiliate Link?

There are a number of different ways to cloak your links but the way that I currently cloak my affiliate links is through Pretty Link Pro which will cost you $37 on one website or $97 for unlimited websites.  You get access to members only training.  With Pretty Link Pro you can track your links through Google Analytics as well as redirecting links and import and export URLs.


If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will reply shortly.  Thank you for reading this article.  I hope it was helpful.




Steph Hill

Greetings! It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Stephanie and the aim of this website is to help newcomers to the field of internet marketing by providing free easy-to-follow tutorials, product reviews and resources. I hope you find the information useful and down-to-earth. My background is in librarianship, technical writing, special education, software training and web design. Please leave a comment with your questions and I will be happy to answer them.

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24 thoughts on “Reasons to Cloak Your Affiliate Links

  1. Incredible. I have been circulating around without knoledge of all the perils waiting to jump on me.
    Thank you very, very much.

  2. Hi Steph, I have just read the bit about cloaking affiliate links and as I am nearly at the stage of adding affiliate programs I will give the free version a try , I have been very impressed with your site and I will definitely come back to it as I build on my knowledge through WA.

    1. Hi Gary:

      Thank you for visiting today. There are many articles and tutorials on my website which may help you with selecting the right affiliate programs. I am not sure what your niche is but some of the programs to look into include E-Bay Partners Network and Amazon.


  3. Stephanie,

    This post is awesome! I had no idea that if I cloak affiliate links that could have a positive impact with the search engine rankings with Google, that is huge!

    I love how you show us the difference between a raw affiliate link and a cloaked link. After seeing that I realize I need to change mine ASAP. Thank you Stephanie!

    1. Hi Juan:

      You are most welcome. The cloaked links make for a much neater and cleaner look instead of the raw affiliate link which has a long numeric string of characters which is not very crisp and organized looking.

      Please visit again soon. Have a wonderful day!


  4. Hi Steph
    Another great post! Thanks for this – I had no idea that people could even do this! How pathetic eh! So cloaking it like you suggest, will stop people being able to strip the information from your link and use it? I just don’t understand how that would help them…if they used your affiliate ID, wouldn’t you still get the commission?
    And I didn’t realise that google penalises you for having affiliate links! Weird!
    Thanks for this information and please keep it coming!

    1. Hi Ellie:

      Thank you for checking out my most recent post. It is good to see you again. In answer to your question and to offer more clarity, people may strip your affiliate ID from your link and purchase the item you are promoting anyways. You are right that it does make sense why someone would do that because the price is the same for them either way. They do not pay a higher price for the product. The only reason is because some people are simply mean-spirited and will cheat you out of your commission, not realizing that they are robbing someone of how they make their money.

      Also, other affiliate marketers might cheat you out of the commission too by stripping out your affiliate ID and putting theirs into the link instead. Thus, they are stealing your commissions. Not all affiliate marketers will do, but there will be those that will.

      I hope that clarifies what I was trying to say. My sincere apologies for any confusion. I hope you come back and visit soon.


  5. It is funny what you said about people who strip your affiliate ID just for the fun of it. I had no idea that people really did such stupid things like that, what is the wrong with these people and what do they gain from it?

    I have really learned a lot and I have tried pretty link lite before but have not always used this plugin. By reading your post, I think I have to start doing this again as I now see how important it is to cloak my links.

    Thanks again Stephanie.


    1. Hi Jason:

      I am glad you learned a lot. Thank you for letting me know that is was a valuable post. I agree with your statement about wondering what is wrong with people. There will be unethical and unkind people no matter where you go and yes, someone people will strip your affiliate ID for the fun of it, just because they can. However, if you cloak your affiliate links, such as using Pretty Link Lite, which is free, you can prevent that from occurring. If you tried it in the past and did not use it as much as you should have, I recommend re-installing it and using it regularly to protect your earnings.


  6. Hi there. This is a great post and something that I did not know. Just one question. – how does a person cloak their affiliate ID?

    1. Hi Fathima:

      Thank you for visiting my website today. I was going to cover how to cloak your affiliate link in my next post. But, to let you know the easiest way that I have found to do is through installing the WordPress plug-in called Pretty Link Lite. It is a free plug-in that will easily cloak your links. I hope that helps.


  7. Hello Steph,
    I found your website to be very interesting. i found out things that I had not got the concept of yet. I am a beginner and into my joining i had an accident that also lead to 4 by pass open heart surgery so i am recouping from all that and working on my site when i can get up to sit . But i enjoyed your post and all of your pages with tons of info . I will be back again and again . I love the way you have explained the small but important things to consider and understand especially about my affiliate link . Thanks again . That’s awesome! I look forward to seeing you grow with WA

    1. Hi Brenda:

      Thank you for visiting my website. I am glad you found it interesting. Be sure to bookmark it so you can follow my posts. I have computer tutorials, product reviews and other resources.

      I am sorry to hear about your accident and having four bypass open heart surgeries. I think you are so brave to to want to keep motivating yourself to do more and what a great place to start a new chapter in your life – by joining Wealthy Affiliate.

      I do try to provide tons of information for my readers within all of my posts. If you have any questions, please leave them in one of my comments and I will gladly answer them.

      Look forward to hearing about your success as well.


  8. Thank you so very much for sharing. Kyle has warned us about some of these but it is so important to be reminded. You have explained what to watch out for and I am so glad.

    1. Hi Marilyn:

      I am glad to provide this short and easy to understand post that explains the importance of cloaking your affiliate links. I know Kyle from WA discusses it, but there are times that in order to understand fully you have to know the why behind it. I will be writing more on this topic to include how to cloak your affiliate links in my next post.


  9. Hi Steph, this is very good post. I have never know that there is so many things can be done with a non-cloaking affiliate link. I am new to affiliate marketing. May I know how can we have our affiliate link cloaked? thanks.

    1. Hi Sammy:

      Thank you for visiting my website today. If you are new to affiliate marketing, you can come to the right place. I will be covering how to cloak your affiliate links in my next post, but in the meantime, I will tell you that if you are using WordPress, my recommended web building platform, you can download a plug-in called Pretty Link Pro which will easily cloak your affiliate links. There is a cost of $37 for installation on one website. If you are on a tight budget, you can download the free version Pretty Link Lite.

      Thank you for visiting today. Have a wonderful day!


  10. Well thank you for posting this! I can honestly say this is something that I haven’t thought of until now!

    Thanks so much!


    1. Hi Sal:

      You are so welcome. This is a topic that many new affiliate marketers sometimes forget to do and it is so important. I will be writing additional posts as a follow up to this post that discuss the different ways webmasters can cloak their affiliate links, because if you are to affiliate marketing, you will learn that people will not trust you when they discover you are promoting products for profit.


  11. Good post Steph. I knew that cloaking your affiliate link looks better to your visitors and makes you appear less spammy. But I didn’t know that it could actually be good for search rankings. The question I had was how can you cloak a ClickBank link that it will appear like the link of your example?

    1. Hi Guy:

      I am really delighted you have visited by website today and I will writing a follow up to show people how they can best cloak their affiliate links. My first recommendation is to use a WordPress plug-in called Pretty Link Pro. It costs $37 for use on one website. If you are on a tight budget, you can use Pretty Link Lite. It is a free plug-in.

      For a quick video tutorial on WordPress, click here.

      I hope you will be visiting again soon.


  12. Um, Steph, I might have missed it, but how do we do this? I don’t see how you got from the first link to the cloaked link. Can you explain?

    1. Hi Rawl:

      This was the first post of a series of posts covering this topic. I was going to write my next post tonight which will show you how to cloak your link. I use Pretty Link Pro which provides valuable information such as how many clicks and where those clicks came from. It is kind of like Google Analytics built in to your cloaking plug-in. If you are on a tight budget, you can download the free version which is Pretty Link Lite. It will cloak your links but you will not receive as much information as with the Pro version.

      Thank you for visiting my website once again and I promise to have that post ready for you soon.

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