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  1. #1
    Member Jazz Times's Avatar
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    rel="no follow"
    Hi Everyone,

    I read in a forum at WMW that I could add rel="no follow' to affiliate links, if I thought the affiliate links were hurting my google ranking. I think this could be the case, so I would like to try it.

    But I'm not sure where to place the rel="no follow". How do you limit it to the link and not the text that follows?

    Has anyone tried this? How did it work out?

    Thanks for listening.

    Jazz T.

  2. #2
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Google, MSN and Yahoo have all formally announced that they recognize this attribute. It is intended to stop blog spammers who add comments to blogs just so that they can add a link to their site.

    Here's the Google link:

    http://www.google.com/googleblog/200...ment-spam.html

    I do use it for some links and I've seen sites that now use it on every outbound link. It is supposed to prevent spiders from following the link. The search engines say it means they will not give credit to the link, but that is kind of a vague explanation.

    To use it, just add it to any hyperlink as an additional attribute. For example,

    <a href="http://www.otherdomain.com/" class="link1" rel="nofollow">text</a>

    By the way, the attribute value is "nofollow" not "no follow". I am adding it to all the affiliate links on a few new sites I'm working on, just to see if it works.

  3. #3
    Member Jazz Times's Avatar
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    Tech Evangelist,

    Thank you for your very helpful response. I'm adding it to all my links on the new site I'm working on tonight.

    Jazz T.

  4. #4
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    Jazz Times, you have brought up an interesting subject that I have wondered about many times recently.

    In my case, I switched all my affiliate links over from affiliate code style to a cgi based redirect script to hide the URLS and make them smaller.

    Since doing that my google ranking has plummeted into oblivion. All my pages are indexed, so that is not the problem, but I noticed that even though I have Disallowed search engines to go into my /cgi-bin/ in my robots.txt file, google has and they have indexed every single redirect link. We are talking about 1000's of links here.

    I have to wonder if this is what is causing my site to be pounded.

    Does anyone have an insight into this?
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  5. #5
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Evangelist
    It is supposed to prevent spiders from following the link.
    They will still follow the link. [See note below]

    They say it just won't be used to rank sites.

    I think they should have called it "nocredit" instead of "nofollow" - but hey, they don't let me make the rules.


    Note: Everytime I have claimed that they will still follow the link, people quote articles to the contrary. So I ask that you check your server logs instead of just believing me (or them).

  6. #6
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    G is notorious for ignoring its own guideline recommendations. They penalized a lot of sites in their January-February updates for legitimate use of 301 and 302 redirects. You may have been caught up in that. I've also seen other reports stating that G has ignored the robots.txt file.

    It's interesting that you were penalized for hiding your affiliate links legitimately, while so many other feel that they've been penalized for leaving the affiliate links exposed. That makes it a no-win situation. Michelle, it appears that you may have nothing to lose by adding the rel="nofollow" attribute. If G does ignore that link, it may resolve your problem. If you try it, give us some feedback.

    Perhaps hundreds of thousands of sites were penalized in the last major update for heavily engaging in link exchange programs and the buying of site-wide links. If you have been engaging in these programs, its hard to tell what your site was penalized for. This type of issue takes a long time to resolve and a site may stay penalized for many months.

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Michelle
    Since doing that my google ranking has plummeted into oblivion. All my pages are indexed, so that is not the problem, but I noticed that even though I have Disallowed search engines to go into my /cgi-bin/ in my robots.txt file, google has and they have indexed every single redirect link. We are talking about 1000's of links here.
    Someone here:
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/25285.htm
    Said:
    google interps the robots.txt to mean: do not INDEX the files. Most webmasters interp it to mean do not CRAWL them. google routinely crawls pages blocked by robots.txt. (presumably looking for links). If they index them and show them in serps, then there is a problem.

  8. #8
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    You are right Donuts. The robots.txt file is also called the robots exclusion file. That can be interepreted as either exclude the file or directory from the crawl or exclude it from the index. I also add the following meta tags to any file that I wish to prevent from finding their way into indexes. It has worked for me thus far.

    <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
    <meta name="googlebot" content="noarchive">

    The noarchive attribute value prevents googlebot from saving a cached copy of a page. It's specifically mentioned here:

    http://www.google.com/webmasters/3.html

  9. #9
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Someone here:
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/25285.htm
    Said:
    google interps the robots.txt to mean: do not INDEX the files. Most webmasters interp it to mean do not CRAWL them. google routinely crawls pages blocked by robots.txt. (presumably looking for links). If they index them and show them in serps, then there is a problem.

    If I do a site:www.mydomain.com on google, it shows 1000's of the following types of links with no description or anything...

    www.mydomain.com/cgi-bin/go/a.cgi?ID=merchantname

    Only since those have been added into the mix has my placement dropped drastically.

    I think I am going to add the rel="no follow' and see what happens. At this point it can't really hurt anything.
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  10. #10
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that my robots.txt has the following in it:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /cgi-bin/
    Disallow: /cgi-sys/
    Disallow: /stats/

    and even though I have the following in my robots.txt, Google is still showing my images in their image search.

    User-agent: Googlebot-Image
    Disallow: /
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  11. #11
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    Try adding GoogleBot's User-Agent to your .htaccess file for your cgi-bin, excluding them from accessing the cgi-bin altogether with the bot...

    Of course, then GoogleBot would probably complain about 1,000+ broken links...

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