I’ve had some spare time while out of the office and have been reading a couple of interesting posts on work people have completed surrounding building affiliate programs that pass SEO weight.
As you’ll most likely know, affiliate programs are all about gaining advertisements (or links) from other websites through to your own to promote your product.
What you may not have considered is what affect this could have on the SEO for a company if the affiliate program is designed in such a way that all of the in-bound links to the website being promoted are also passing SEO weight.
As a side note, generally Google frowns on allowing advertising from one website to another to pass page rank (if you don’t know what that is, have a read about page rank although if you’re reading this I’m sure you do).
Here’s one post from 3DogMedia from some time ago that describes it quite well. Basically, if you give affiliates static URL’s that they can promote your product through (e.g. http://yoursite.com/affiliateid/) then they’re linking directly to your site on a link that Google can track and pass SEO weight for.
There’s also a post from Stephan Spencer around that describes this with the focus covering the need to make sure that the links used are also 301’s (permanent redirects) so that the search engines know the weight should pass to the resulting page (e.g. the homepage).
Overall the above posts cover some good advice if you’re looking at running your own affiliate program and have the ability to select the URL structure that the program runs on. It’ll help pass SEO weight to your site and is a more user-friendly structure anyway.