There’s a post on Search Engine Journal about a new Amazon policy of not paying out commission to Amazon Associates who drive a referral (sale) using a “shortened” URL. The post focuses a lot on implications to social media marketing, but it may be about something different – PageRank and natural search.
Amazon leverages it’s inbound Associate links improve its PageRank, which determines natural search listings. I’m not an SEO expert, but another post at SEJ talks about how Amazon uses a 301-redirect “bot” to change affiliate links into a more “natural” type of link and pass PageRank.
If Amazon commissions on shortened link it leads to a slippery slope, that over the long term could jeopardize an important value of their vast Associate program – improving Amazon’s natural search results. This is not a decision about social media as much as natural search and affiliate links.
The question of affiliate links and PageRank/SEO is a fun debate I’ll delve into in more detail in a later post. The big question – does the fact a Pubilsher is using an affiliate link compromise their objectivity?