How to Add Nofollow Affiliate Links in Squarespace
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure statement here. Thank you!
Guys. I have been on quite the odyssey. An odyssey to figure out how to add 'nofollow' affiliate links in my Squarespace posts. If you are a blogger and you don't know that Google 'penalizes' your site for using affiliate links without making them "nofollow" links, surprise: there goes your afternoon!
Google doesn't want the destination website of your affiliate link to get 'free link juice' that will "up" their SEO ranking for free. That's like the destination site getting 'free SEO' points with Google.
Google doesn't play that way.
Self-hosted Wordpress site users can simply install a 'plug-in' that will automatically recognize an affiliate link and add in a 'nofollow' code so that the destination site doesn't get the free SEO. Not Squarespace!
I'm on Squarespace. And I love Squarespace. I had a self-hosted Wordpress site a few years ago and the learning curve was steep. Plus, I had to pay for someone to build my site.
Squarespace is so intuitive and easy to use. You can change your template within minutes for a completely new look and they've designed it so that you can't screw it up--it will always look good.
But their backend is on lock down. They want their sites to have a clean and cohesive look--and that means not giving users and designers a lot of wiggle room with fonts, etc. I totally respect this and I'm grateful that I can't screw up the look of my site because of endless tinkering.
They have a strong design sense and I love them for that.
BUT, because of this, there is no universal or easy fix to making sure your affiliate links are compliant with Google's 'nofollow' rule.
After hours of internet research and reading, a live chat with Squarespace customer support, a lengthy email exchange with Squarespace customer support, and questioning other people in my private Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Facebook group, I FINALLY have a solution.
At first, I used Code Blocks in Squarespace. While Code Blocks made my links nofollow affiliate links, the links themselves didn't take on the design style of the rest of my links in my normal Text Blocks--they weren't highlighted thus reducing my click rate.
This was maddening (and part of my back and forth with Squarespace--I wanted to know if there was some additional code that I could add in front of my nofollow link code in the Code Block that would change the link color to match the rest of the links in the Text Blocks of my blog posts. No dice.
I was lamenting this issue in one of my private Facebook groups and one of the other group members said this very issue was the reason she switched from Squarespace to Wordpress. Which basically gave me a pit in my stomach. The thought of having to change over from Squarespace to a Wordpress site sounded daunting, to say the least.
BUT, what she did offer up was my ultimate solution: you could add in the nofollow affiliate links into a Markdown Box. The best part? It maintains the same link formatting as a normal Text Box, so everything looks cohesive.
Is it a pain the butt to have to manually add in these links for every affiliate link? Yes. Yes it is. Is it less of a pain than switching over to Wordpress? For me, that's a big fat yes. :)
Here's how you do it!
How to Add a Nofollow Affiliate Link in Squarespace
1. Write your post as you normally would
I write my blog posts completely and then at the end I go back in to add the nofollow link in a Markdown Box. I do so much editing that I don't want to add in the Markdown Box and complicate things by switching sentences around, etc.
Plus, I like batch tasking :)
Note: you may wait until you are ready to do the markdown box to paste in your affiliate link. I am showing you how to do this if you have already inserted your regular affiliate link and you need to change it to a 'nofollow' link. However, the instructions apply, regardless. You may be able to skip some steps. Take what you want and leave the rest :)
2. Find the paragraph with your affiliate link
I often write blog posts with multiple affiliate links for different products (i.e. roundup posts), so this step is what you would do for each paragraph with an affiliate link.
Copy the paragraph onto your clipboard and right above (or below) this paragraph, insert a "Markdown Box". It is directly to the right of the text box option.
Paste your paragraph into the Markdown Box and save it.
3. Open up a new page in your Notes app, Text Edit app, Word, Google Docs..whatever you want.
Copy in this code:
<a rel="nofollow" href="YOUR AFFILIATE LINK" target="_blank"> TEXT THAT YOU WANT LINKED </a>
4. Find your affiliate link code and copy and paste it into the YOUR AFFILIATE LINK part of the above code.
After you insert your affiliate link, change "TEXT THAT YOU WANT LINKED" to the name of the product or course that you want linked.
5. Copy your new code that includes your affiliate link
Open up your Markdown Box. Paste your new nofollow affiliate link code into your Markdown Box over the word(s) that you want linked. And save your work.
6. Double check affiliate nofollow link
Make sure the link in the Markdown Box is working perfectly and that it looks correct and then delete the original text box paragraph.
7. Delete old text box paragraph
Sure, it adds some extra time to your blog post creation, but if you're going to earn some extra cash for it, it's worth it.
If you primarily only utilize Amazon affiliate links, you can use the Amazon Block when writing a post. The aesthetics of those blocks are limited, so I prefer to add in my nofollow affiliate links using the Markdown Box--especially since I'm hoping to expand to other affiliate programs who don't have an interface block within Squarespace like Amazon does.
The downside of using Squarespace if you use affiliate marketing
This is not a great solution for someone migrating from Wordpress to Squarespace since there is no universal way to change links to be compliant nofollow affiliate links. Switching from Wordpress to Squarespace sounds like a royal pain in the rear--especially if you rely heavily on affiliate links for income.
But, you can, with a little extra time make individual affiliate links, nofollow links when you are writing a new post in Squarespace.
Originally, I thought I had found my solution by using a Squarespace Code Block (it's basically the same process), but the link wouldn't highlight. Using the Markdown Block is a much better solution to adding in nofollow affiliate links in Squarespace.
My long, frustrating saga of seamlessly adding in nofollow affiliate links to my Squarespace site has finally come to an end. All thanks to an awesome Facebook group community member.
As an aside--and I will do a separate review post on this in another 3-6 months--Michelle's course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing , was insanely useful. I thought affiliate marketing was just finding products you love, slapping some affiliate links in your post, and boom: you're a millionaire! Haha. Just kidding, but seriously, I had no idea the ins and outs of it.
Michelle makes over $90,000 a month from affiliate marketing. You read that right: A MONTH. I'm still new to it all, but I have started a great foundation and know that I'll be making money from my affiliate marketing soon!
This class gives it to you straight and I thought it was worth every penny. I know I'll make the $197 back and then some! Check it out if you are thinking about getting into affiliate marketing!
Let me know if you have any questions!