In the wake of this Fred thing I've been thinking about Amazon capsules and the risk/reward to using them vs Amazon text links.
When Fred came one of my top articles took an unexpected tumble. I went in and switched out my Amazon capsules for text links. I also added a few hundred words of new text.
The article seems to have mostly recovered, but as with most of these things it's impossible to know which, if any, of my actions made a difference.
Amazon capsules look like little ads. Whether they are treated as little ads by Google, or just as links, I have no idea. This is a question I asked many years ago on this forum (or maybe it was the Squidoo forum, I don't remember) and it resulted in a circular discussion that ended up with me feeling like nobody else really knew either.
Links just look like links, with a little A near them of course. Where capsules attract more attention, the links make the article look more seamless and cleaner. Better UX? Probably.
But the real question comes down to click-through and conversion. How do text links perform compared to capsules? Because I would happily swap out all of my capsules for links if they result in similar conversions.
If Google can create search rankings based on semantic differentiation of text displayed on a website I think it's quite capable of identifying whether a link has got the word Amazon sitting behind it irrespective of whether it looks like a module or looks like a text link.
Let's be very clear BOTH are affiliate links rather than advertisements per se. One just looks a bit more like an advert then the other
I've never doubted they realize they are both affiliate links. The question is not whether or not we can fool Google into thinking something is an not affiliate link when it is.
The question is more of whether search engines identify one as more like an "ad" for the purposes of UX, rather than a link that makes the page look less spammy.
If search engines care about users, it is reasonable they might prefer one above the other. A product image with an affiliate link and a big, red BUY NOW button could certainly be treated much differently than a text link.
You may not have read the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Regulations relating to e-commerce Eric - or any of the other regulations relating to e-commerce (i.e. affiliate links).
The reality is that virtually all governments are now VERY EXPLICIT about the fact that ALL AFFILIATE LINKS must now be absolutely and totally transparent
To put this in plain words - they made it clear before and are making it even more clear now that
1) statements at the bottom of the page as to the presence of affiliate links are no longer acceptable or adequate for the identification of affiliate links.
2) all affiliate links are required to be identified clearly as affiliate links right next to the link.
Guess which affiliate links will get their sites downgraded in future unless text next to or very near the links is explicit as to what the link is!
I'm aware of the FTC Guidelines.
I'll check you off as a big ol "No" on the text links, at least the way they are used here on HP.
I use text links - just not on HubPages and not in the way that seems to happen on HubPages. Mine all have (affiliate link) after them if in a blog post and/or it's clear that the link takes people to Amazon if included on one of my websites.
I don't see the problem with observing the letter and the spirit of the regulations.
My view is why take the risk of Google not liking it being done in a way which is not completely transparent.....
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