Did you know that the main reason most affiliates fail to generate commissions has nothing to do with the amount of traffic they generate?
Even sites with little traffic generate clicks.
You might be surprised to learn that one of the main hurdles holding affiliates back is how they have set up their links! That’s right, your links could be set up to your satisfaction, but there could be code within the link structure preventing cookies from tracking clicks. And without clicks being tracked, your sales will not track.
Doesn’t this sound like something essential that every affiliate looking to successfully promote brands should check up on? Not sure how to do it?
No sweat! That’s what this post is all about. Let’s make sure your links are set up properly so you always get credit for your referral traffic.
The <a> tag defines what is used to link from one page to another, also known as a “hyperlink.” Within the <a> tag are several possible attributes that you can add, the most important of which is the “href” attribute which tells the browser where the link destination is when it is clicked.
The href tag is fundamental to telling browsers that a given element the <a> tag wraps should send a visitor to somewhere else when clicked. All links should have this attribute added and all WYSIWYG editors automatically add this attribute. Here is an example affiliate link in HTML markup with href.
<a href="https://performancelab.com/aid=1234567">Check out Performance Lab Here</a>
This link is foundational. It will definitely get the job done when set up properly to ensure your clicks, sales, and commissions are tracked. In a perfect environment, this would be all that you need. However, most people do not have the time or resources to hand-code every HTML element on their sites. Most marketers use WYSIWYG editors to format their links. Each of these editors have a different set of parameters and attributes they will natively add to every link.
Let’s look at a few other attributes that could be added to your link and explain what each one is.
The rel attribute specifies relationships between the page the link is placed on and the page page or document the link points to. Search engines use this attribute to get more information about the link. Within the “rel” syntax, you can specify a few values to tell search engines what your link represents. Here is an example affiliate link in HTML markup with rel.
<a rel="dofollow" href="https://performancelab.com/aid=1234567">Check out Performance Lab Here</a>
This link is properly setup to track clicks, sales, and commissions, but it also tells search engines that you want the search spider to crawl the link as an endorsement to the content that exists on your link’s page. This is specified with the value after the “rel” attribute. In many cases, you will want to use different attribute values to control how search engines interpret your links.
Let’s look at a list of “rel” attribute values that you may find related to your affiliate site:
links to a document that supports your content. For example, any references, citations, or authority pages you want to endorse to bolster your content in the eyes of search engines. This attributed value will pass the authority of your page to the link’s endpoint.
links to a document that you do not endorse. This tells search spiders to not follow the link and to not pass the authority of your page to the link’s endpoint.
tells search spiders that the content you are linking to is sponsored content that you have been paid to endorse. This is commonly used for advertisements and is required for paid endorsements.
makes the referring page (your page) unknown to the data passed on to the resulting link’s endpoint.
The target attribute specifies where to open the linked page or document. This is not a required attribute to create, but can come in handy in certain environments. Let’s take a look at how this looks in our link markup:
<a rel="dofollow" href="https://performancelab.com/aid=1234567" target="_self">Check out Performance Lab Here</a>
Just like before, this link is properly setup to track clicks, sales, and commissions. It tells the search spider that you have endorsed the content on the link’s endpoint, and that you want the link to open in the same frame in which it was clicked. This is specified with the value after the target attribute. By default “_self” is the attribute without you having to specify it.
Let’s look at a list of “target” attribute values that you may want to use on your affiliate site:
opens the linked page or document in a new window or tab.
opens the linked page or document in the same frame as clicked, and is the default option.
opens the linked page or document in the parent frame. This is only needed in environments where multiple frames exist.
opens the linked page or document in the topmost frame. This is only needed in environments where multiple frames exist.
Within your hyperlinks, you will need to ensure your rel attribute does not say “noreferrer” as this will prevent UberNet from attributing your affiliate information to the cookie. Since you are telling the browser to not include your page’s information, there is no way for the system to attach your affiliate link to the cookie.
Therefore, your clicks, sales, and commissions cannot be tracked. Ensure that your links do not contain this rel attribute value. Here is an example of how this looks.
<a rel="dofollow noreferrer" href="https://performancelab.com/aid=1234567" target="_blank">Check out Performance Lab Here</a>
This link appears to send page authority, but the noreferrer rel attribute value tells the search spiders to not include information about your page within the cookie.
If you are reading this, you are potentially leaving commissions on the table if your links contain “noreferrer.” Please check each of your links to ensure they do not contain this value. If they do not appear, then you are fine.
It is pretty easy to check your links for this. You can either visit your page in a Google Chrome browser and right click on the link to “inspect” it and then check the syntax of your link for “noreferrer” or you can right click on your page and “view source” then use the cntrl+f button combination (windows) or cmd+f (mac) to search for “noreferrer.” If this does not appear in the code, you are in good shape.
If you are having trouble with this step or would like some assistance looking over your site, be sure to reach out to your affiliate manager at [email protected] and we will make sure you are set up correctly.