Overoptimization & Best Practice for Affiliate Links

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Hi folks,
Lurking around here for quite some months, now it's time to post.
Due to flexibility & performance I code my website projects on my own. During planning a new project a few topics popped up ...

Overoptimization
Let's say there is a website for a physiotherapist ...
Both "treatments" and "winged-scapula-surgery" are the exact search terms with volume.
.../treatments --> writing about the offered treatments & listing them all
.../treatments/winged-scapula-surgery --> writing about the issues, solutions & offering a specific treatment

What's your experience when using only the exact match keyword inside the url? Does this already look too clean for Google?

Affiliate Links
There are many affiliate plugins which are based on the out-directory method.
Like having a normal link inside the source code example.com/recommends/blabla (affiliate link) user clicks on it and gets redirected to the external site with the attached affiliate code in the url.

Is that still the best method for affiliate links or does google understand that anyway, after it is very common?

Thanks,
 

Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
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Google doesn't care that much about the URL slug. I think it was John Mueller recently said that it may be useful initially to help them gain an understanding of what the page is about, but once they process all the on-page stuff, the slug pretty much doesn't matter. It's one signal of many.

With that being said, I optimize my slugs and have never seen it contribute to being over-optimized. Of course unless your site is something like GolfClubs.net/clubs/best-golf-clubs. That can contribute to you having less leeway in other areas of optimization.

Your example not only seems fine but is exactly what I'd try to do. The main problem for local sites is they tend to cannibalize themselves everywhere. Make sure that every page is optimized for one completely separate set of terms.

For instance, mentioning "winged scapula surgery" on the "treatment" page is fine, but it should be a mention and nothing more. It should link with that phrase as the anchor text to the actual "winged scapula surgery" page.

Your affiliate link question seems inconsequential. Yes, Google understands it's an affiliate link because they crawl them. All you need to worry about is making sure you set those links as nofollow and you'll be fine. Using systems like you describe makes it very easy to manage the links, especially if you need to change the destination across many pages at once.
 
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Thanks, for your detailed answer.

True, if you use "best" more than once it also looks unnatural.
Exactly that was the intention behind that ... building directories / silos based on topics and fill them up with topic relevant articles / sub topics combined with a clean internal linking structure with exact & synonym-keywords (if there are any) anchors.

Seems legit, what do you think about hiding those aff links completely by using buttons with JS which GB isn't able to execute or using href with bas64 encoded urls? Do you think that's brings any advantages?
 
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Seems legit, what do you think about hiding those aff links completely by using buttons with JS which GB isn't able to execute or using href with bas64 encoded urls? Do you think that's brings any advantages?
What do you imagine you're gaining by hiding affiliate links from Google? I'm sure you've noticed that pretty much every site that ranks highly uses affiliate links in some fashion. What advantage is not having them supposed to bring?
 
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Speaking of, you guys/gals still defaulting to nofollow over the sponsored tags when publishing new affiliate links?
 
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to reduce the number of out-links ... if you build sites like a "best price search" or for "coupon codes", there is one category page for every keyword, and a lot of out-links. Therefore, the ratio between in- & out-links is pretty one-sided (doorway page)

and as @harrytwatter mentioned, to "bypass" the sponsored tag topic. ATM my impression is, that those sponsored tags don't have much impact. Of course G wants that everybody uses them - but since they introduced them we all know that the algo isn't that good at identifying paid links, otherwise they would not have done it.
 
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I don't think you should completely hide the outgoing affiliate links. In my experience you will not gain anything from that and it can be confusing to the visitors. When I see that a website hides the link of a button, I usually tend not to use it since it seems scammy to me.
Moreover, I read that many Search Engines actually punish websites that do this in case they find out. So if I were you I'd be careful in that regard and would rather cloak them via cloaking plugins or tracking plugins than completely hide.