User Guides

Cloaking Affiliate Links

Discover what link cloaking is, how to do it, and best practices for using it effectively. Whether you have a WordPress site or a custom website, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to implement link cloaking in your content and affiliate marketing campaigns.

What is (affiliate) link cloaking?

Link cloaking means that you hide or disguise your (affiliate) links by using a redirect link. This redirect link will then lead the user through the affiliate link. The effect is that the user will not see the affiliate link when he hovers over the button or checks the code. It can only be seen when the cloaked redirect process is reviewed by for example a browser plugin like Redirect Path.

Do i need to cloak affiliate links?

Cloaking affiliate links is a good practice for optimizing visibility of your content, or to meet compliance standards. It essentially masks the original URL and replaces it with a link that looks more natural to both visitors and browsers. Depending on your marketing strategies, cloaking affiliate links may increase click-through rate, reduce the chances of being blocked by search engines, and improve efficiency of your campaigns. It also may help you abide by domestic and international compliance regulations. Ultimately, cloaking is up to your discretion; however, it may be beneficial to understand its full capabilities and the upsides and downsides of link cloaking.

Upsides of cloaking affiliate links
Downsides of cloaking affiliate links

Best Practices of Affiliate Link Cloaking

Use a reputable link cloaking tool: Choose a reliable and secure link cloaking tool or plugin that doesn’t interfere with tracking or cause other technical issues. Test your links regularly to ensure they work correctly.

Avoid keyword stuffing: Don’t overload your links with too many keywords or irrelevant content that could trigger spam filters or hurt your search engine rankings. Keep your links simple and relevant to your audience.

Respect affiliate program policies: Follow the terms and conditions of each affiliate program you participate in, including any restrictions on link cloaking or promotional methods. Don’t try to circumvent rules or engage in fraudulent activity.

Monitor and optimize your campaigns: Track your click-through rates, conversion rates, and other metrics to measure the effectiveness of your link cloaking strategy. You can use a tool like wecantrack which is compatible with most cloaking methods and can provide tracking, attribution and integration of all your affiliate conversion data.

Different methods for Cloaking your affiliate links

Cloaking Affiliate Links with wecantrack Plugin

For WordPress websites, one easy to plug and play method is using the WeCanTrack plugin. This plugin allows you to automatically create custom URLs that redirect to your affiliate links. With WeCanTrack, you can also track your conversions and revenue, and optimize your campaigns based on your conversion data.

Cloaking on WordPress with other plugins

Apart from WeCanTrack, there are several other plugins available for WordPress that offer link cloaking functionality. Some of these plugins include Pretty Links, ThirstyAffiliates, and Easy Affiliate Links. These plugins offer different features and customization options, such as redirect types, link categorization, link rotation, and link import/export. Depending on your needs, you can choose the plugin that suits you the best.

Cloaking on custom websites

For custom-developed websites that are not on a WordPress platform, there are different methods available for link cloaking. One option is to use server-side redirects with scripts such as PHP, which can help you create custom URLs and track clicks. You can also use standalone scripts or plugins that offer link cloaking functionality for custom websites.

Does wecantrack work when I cloak my affiliate links?

Yes it does. We have created different methods in order to be compatible with almost every cloaking approach.

In case you are using WordPress and cloak via cloaking plugins, our system is most likely to already be compliant with it. In case you use a selfmade solution for the cloaking. We have API endpoints and a function available that will allow you to set up a connection with our system. You can find more information below.

Pretty Links
Affiliate Links Lite

In-house cloaking solution – How to cloak affiliate links?

If you cloak your affiliate URLs through a self made solution, you will need to make use of our API endpoints to direct your users through affiliate URLs that contain our unique click IDs.

With each click you will send us an API request with which you send us your affiliate URL. Then we will place the necessary SubID parameter with a unique ID in that URL and send it back to you as a response. You will then need to lead the user through that affiliate URL. The whole process does only take a few milliseconds, so it won’t be noticed by your users.

You can set up a fallback function that will direct the user through your original affiliate URL if you did not receive a response from us within X milliseconds. This will ensure that the users will not experience any delays.

In the following document you can find all the relevant information you need to set up your API requests, it also contains sample codes.

WordPress cloaking (redirect) plugin

If you cloak your affiliate URLs through a WordPress plugin, e.g. Pretty Links or Redirection, you will need to use our wecantrack WordPress plugin. Our plugin will automatically detect your affiliate URLs, even though they are cloaked, and place the necessary SubID parameter with our unique WCT ID.

Overall, affiliate link cloaking is an essential technique for affiliate marketers who want to succeed in the competitive world of online marketing. By using advanced strategies and tools like WeCanTrack, affiliates can maximize their results and achieve their business goals.