This is one of those questions that there isn’t a definite answer to. It is frustrating thing to hear it depends or you need to test and find out for yourself.
I’m not going to answer it with a set number. Instead I’m going to discuss some of the “rules of thumb” I go by now.
How Do I Come Up With The Number Of Affiliate Links
Whether these are right for you depends on your site and anyway you might have much better ones.
My 2 main earning sites are in the style of Erica Stone’s Extreme Review course. They follow much of what is taught in that course as you’d expect.
Erica Stone in Extreme Review (see my review here) makes the point that you need to see how few you need to get the best result in terms of conversion.
In my reviews I normally have around 3 – 4 affiliate links to Amazon – 1 in the beginning section, another part down and the third one at the end. I might have a 4th one to an accessory mentioned and that will be where ever that is relevant in the content.
One of the reasons for having so few is to keep it from looking like just a page of affiliate links to Google which may decide it is just there to get people to click on the links and doesn’t add any value to the visitor. In that situation Google algorithm may “penalize” the page by reducing the rank to the bottom of the rankings or even de-index it completely.
There is a balance to find so that you get the click against getting the best ranking you can. So here it comes down to testing to find the point that is right for you on this.
When it is a top 5 list or more I’ll add more affiliate links to the post as that make sense. There is one affiliate link per product. If I were to do a Top 10 list that would result in 10 links to Amazon. This seems logical to me and I’ve not seen any issues with it at the moment in terms of ranking although I don’t do too many of them. There is also plenty of written content, although less than I would write for a full review of a product.
On this site I do have one type of post that doesn’t really follow these rules at all and that is my income reports where I have a link to the products I bought/paid for and the ones I earned a commission. I’m not really expecting them to rank anywhere so the additional links shouldn’t cause any issues.
Other Ways To Work Out The Number Of Links
But this approach is not the only one. The other Affiliate Marketing Course for beginners I recommend is Pajama Affiliates – Home Blogging and Affiliate Marketing Course.
The review posts you create on this may have more affiliate links without going overboard on them. The method is very effective in building a full time income.
Robin Cockrell of Pajama Affiliates does talk about what you want to achieve with your links and the content when creating the posts. In fact she was very to the point with this in the Facebook Group.
In general terms that you write content that is both valuable and relevant to the reader first.
Then comes the affiliate links. You add these as they are relevant and help the visitor in solving their problem or buying decision. You don’t want to stuff the page with links either in content or product image links so that you end up with something that looks like a shop.
That does sound a bit vague but it does depend on what is best for the visitor without forgetting you want them to click your link. Then of course there is making sure the post isn’t seen as thin by Google.
One of the great things about the course is that you get to see a site earning a six figure commissions from Affiliate per year which will help in assessing the number of links you need and more.
Conversions And Links
Amanda Craven in her course Red Hot Reviews talks about a maximum of 2 per review but this does depend on the length of the review.
When looking at the conversions it can sometimes not be the number of links you have but the type of link you have – a different picture of the product might work better, or a larger font or the link maybe better placed somewhere else on the page and so on (A great product on this is What Works Now by PotPieGirl which gives test methods to increase conversions – read my review here).
The answer to the question is: it depends.
Instead of looking for an exact number it is important to try it out for yourself. I take the approach that you see how few you can add and still get a good conversion rate with people clicking on your links to Amazon (or any other program).
You don’t want to stuff your posts with loads of affiliate links. When you first start your site keep them to a minimum and test to see how your conversions are and your rankings. You can then adjust from there until you get to the conversions you want.
Do you have any rules of thumb you follow as to how many affiliate links you use in a post?