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Link Cloaking & Geolocation Basics

In the affiliate marketing business, every single conversion matters.

That’s why more and more affiliates are using affiliate link cloaking plug-ins and apps; as well as geolocation databases to help defend every hard-fought sale.

While some affiliates may shrug off a lost conversion or two as no big deal, experienced partners know better. When you’re looking at the long haul, that’s a lot of money left sitting on the table when protecting is simple and cost-effective.

Here are the basics every gaming affiliate needs to know about affiliate link cloaking and geolocation software.

What Is Affiliate Link Cloaking?

Affiliate link cloaking is the process of changing affiliate links to make them less noticeable to search engine spiders. It’s no secret that Google isn’t crazy about affiliates and the more you do to disguise your business model, the better off you’ll be.

But paranoia isn’t the only reason you might be interested in these products. Cloaking, and shortening, links helps build link juice by attributing that link to your sites, rather than the affiliate link.

How Does Link Cloaking Work?

There are dozens of link cloaking programs and WordPress plug-ins on the market and, if you’re more hands-on, you can also do it manually.

Most link cloaking plug-ins are pretty simple to use and can be had for free, or for a fairly low price. Most of the common applications, like Affiliate Link Cloaker, allow for a good deal of customization based on keywords and even user location.

Because plug-ins tend to come and go, some affiliates prefer using their own scripts to mask links. The main advantages to this approach are an increased level of control and no worries about developers abandoning support for the plug-in.

Geolocation Basics

Geolocation applications allow affiliates to market specific content to users based on their IP address. (IP ranges are determined by location.)

In Nevada, any company that’s offering online poker is required by law to have geolocation software that prevents out-of-state users from signing on. Affiliates can expect to hear a lot more about geolocation software and databases as intrastate poker takes off in the US in the coming months.

The good news about geolocation software is that you can spend about as much, or as little, as you want and still have something useful. For example, the WordPress GeoTargeting Plugin is only $25 and offers some pretty robust functionality.

If you need something more advanced, there’s no shortage of companies and consultants ready with some very sophisticated geolocation and targeting software. These companies cultivate advanced IP address databases that can help clients looking for more sophisticated targeting.

If you like tinkering with your own code, check out Affiliate Link Cloaker by James Huggins for step-by-step instructions.


Have you implemented link cloaking or gelocation software on your sites? Share your experiences in the comments section below.