If you’re new to affiliate marketing (or just a curious person in general) then you may have found yourself checking out websites or social media posts & wondering if they contain affiliate links.
But the question is, how can you tell if a link is an affiliate link?
Meaning, how can you tell the difference between a normal link and an affiliate link?
Well, thankfully there are quite a few easy ways to spot affiliate links & we’re going to show you exactly how to do it & what to look for in this post.
First off, though, let’s start from the top.
What Is An Affiliate Link?
An affiliate link is pretty much just like a normal link, except that it contains an ID that’s unique to the person (aka the affiliate) that shared it.
And the reason the link contains the ID is so that if anybody happens to click on it & buy something, the sale can be traced back to the affiliate who shared it & the company they were promoting can pay them a commission.
But affiliate links can come in many different shapes & sizes. For example, you might see an affiliate that looks like the one below (the most common type):
Or you might see one that looks like this:
Or, just to make things a little harder to spot, you may even see one that simply looks like this:
So, given that they can all look so different and can also look just like a “normal” link, how can you actually tell if a link is an affiliate link?
And what if it’s just some hyperlinked text – how can you even see the link in the first place (without clicking it)?
Let’s take a look.
How To Tell If a Link Is an Affiliate Link
First off, you just need to start by actually getting the link from the page, or whatever it is you’re viewing.
So, for example, if it was hyperlinked text like this, then you have 2 options to grab the link.
- On a computer or laptop, you could right-click on it & click on “Copy Link”.
- On a mobile device, you could tap & hold it & then click on “Copy Link” once the menu appears.
Once you’ve got the link you can then begin to decipher whether or not it’s an affiliate link.
So, the first check you should make is to see whether or not the URL contains any parameters after the domain name & specifically, anything containing the word “affiliate” or “affid”.
So, for example, a normal domain would look like this:
A domain with parameters would look like this:
website.com?aid=123 OR website.com/aid/123 OR website.com/#aid_123 (etc)
Now, what I’ll point out here is that ultimately without going into extreme technical detail there’s no “sure-fire” way to confirm an affiliate link, but if it contains parameters & has a mention of the word affiliate, you can be 99% certain that it’s very likely an affiliate link.
And remember, context is important here too. If the person sharing it appears to be trying to encourage you to sign up for or to buy something, that can also affirm your suspicion of it being an affiliate link.
But, next question – what if the link doesn’t have parameters? Could it still be an affiliate link?
The answer is yes, it could. The affiliate could simply be using a redirect.
So they may have shared websiteA.com, but websiteA.com may redirect to websiteB.com?aid=123 when clicked.
In this instance then, how could you tell the link is an affiliate link?
Well, what you’d need to do is use a redirect checker like WhereGoes to find the URL destination.
All you need to do is simply paste in the link & then that’ll run the redirect & tell you all of the different URLs it encountered. Simply look to see if one of them looks like an affiliate link (as we explained above).
But realistically, you shouldn’t actually need to do any of this digging & I’ll explain why below.
Affiliate Links Should Have a Disclosure
If somebody is promoting something via an affiliate link then they should be making it very clear to you that the link you’re clicking is indeed an affiliate link.
And they do this through the use of something known as an affiliate disclosure.
So basically, somewhere in close proximity to the link, there should be a disclosure that reads something along the lines of “I may be compensated if you make any purchases as a result of clicking this link“.
Therefore, one of the easiest ways to find out if a link is an affiliate link is to simply look for a disclosure on the page. Or on social media, check for the words “promoted” or “ad” alongside the content.
The Bottom Line
Unless you get into some really technical wizardry, there’s no sure-fire way to determine if an affiliate link is an affiliate link just by looking at it.
However, if a link contains parameters & the person sharing it appears to be encouraging you to sign up or make a purchase, you can certainly make a good guess.
And as mentioned above, even if they try to hide it through the use of redirects you can still use free tools like WhereGoes to find the hidden destination.
But the best failsafe is to simply always treat links as affiliate links because despite what you might think, even private browsing doesn’t block affiliate links.
And if you’d like to learn how to leverage affiliate links to make money online then do be sure to check out our free affiliate marketing course before you leave.
We hope you found this article insightful & if you happen to have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them below.