Link cloaking is a popular black hat SEO technique used by webmasters who want to increase website traffic. Because the potential of achieving higher traffic and boosting conversation is much easier through link cloaking, many affiliate marketers are starting to integrate this to their marketing technique.
But the question is, should you ignore all the risks and join the bandwagon?
Difference Between Link Cloaking and Link Directing
Link cloaking is a type of black-hat technique meant to mislead the website visitors into going from one site into another.
Link cloaking works by urging a site visitor to click an adjacent link on a webpage, usually READ MORE texts. Once clicked, the reader will be taken to an entirely different website completely unrelated or from the one that was being previously read by the visitor.
This practice is prohibited by Google and those who violate the rules will be penalized through lower search engine rankings. Once caught, webmasters may even lose their Google account and the funds that come with it.
On the other hand, link directing is a process used by affiliate marketers to send the readers on to another page or website. Although this method might be similar to link cloaking, the difference is that the visitor is sent to a page or website that has a relevant topic or subject matter.
Why Affiliate Marketers Use Link cloaking / Link Directing
One of the common reasons why affiliate marketers resort to link cloaking is that there are some customers who intentionally avoid clicking an affiliate link, knowing that the marketer will earn money with each click. Instead, they just hover over the permalink or hyperlink then spell out the link address on the browser’s address bar.
Another way to view this is by doing the same thing and the destination link will be shown on the bottom section of the browser’s window. By not clicking the affiliate link, the reader knows the marketer won’t profit off them.
Disadvantages of Link Cloaking
- The biggest disadvantage of link cloaking is the absence of relevant or related content that the readers want
- Some may think that the only penalty for this kind of technique is only limited to the lowering of ranking by search engines. Additionally, violators may also be banned or blacklisted from search engines permanently
- You may be able to get away with it now, but sooner or later robots programmed by search engines will definitely spot you
Black hat marketing may seem like a good thing in the beginning but in the end, the risks just might be too great to risk it especially now that Google’s new algorithm just made it smarter than ever.