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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    rel="nofollow"
    OK so what exactly does the rel="nofollow" do....??
    I know it tells the SE spider NOT to follow the link...

    BUT

    Does that mean the SE will not be able to tell it is an affiliate link...??


    I mean if the spider has to "scan" the url to find the rel="nofollow" wouldn't it already know that it is an affiliate link regardless if it FOLLOWED it or not...??


    Just curious if any one actually knows what it does...??

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AddHandler
    OK so what exactly does the rel="nofollow" do....??
    I know it tells the SE spider NOT to follow the link...

    BUT

    Does that mean the SE will not be able to tell it is an affiliate link...??


    I mean if the spider has to "scan" the url to find the rel="nofollow" wouldn't it already know that it is an affiliate link regardless if it FOLLOWED it or not...??


    Just curious if any one actually knows what it does...??
    All I now is that:

    I tried that idea for about month on a page were on I get a lot of daily clicks, but, when I discovered how many clicks I was getting on that page after I added the rel="nofollow", I could'nt find a faster way to remove that rel="nofollow" idea from that page.

    That rel="nofollow" idea may work on some sites, depending on what links they are put on, but I have no use for that rel="nofollow" idea on any of my sites for now.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    So how would adding rel="nofollow" to a link reduce the amount of CLICKS you get...??

    That doesn't make sense to me... UNLESS.... it is ROBOTS that are registering clicks on the site and then once the rel="nofollow" was added they stopped registering clicks because they are no longer "following" the links....

    I do not think that those are "REAL" clicks but ROBOT clicks you are talking about....

  4. #4
    Plain Ol' Affiliate Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AddHandler
    it is ROBOTS that are registering clicks on the site and then once the rel="nofollow" was added they stopped registering clicks because they are no longer "following" the links....
    Yes. I'm sure that's what Mr. Sal was experiencing. Nofollow tells the bots not to follow that link. It also tells google "don't give this website any of my page rank".

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    I tried that idea for about month on a page were on I get a lot of daily clicks, but, when I discovered how many clicks I was getting on that page after I added the rel="nofollow", I could'nt find a faster way to remove that rel="nofollow" idea from that page.
    Mr. Sal... Did your sales go down also? That would be really really suprising. I'm willing to bet your conversion ratio went UP when you added the nofollow.

    ~Bob

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I'm not so sure it tells google not to give this page any pagerank. In fact, in some situations, I think it could increase pagerank.

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/quick-...t-on-nofollow/

    This seems to say nofollow is for "untrusted links" ie. those links you don't want to vouch for.

    If you are running a content site (let's say), and you regularly produce lists of links to back up your arcitcles (say further reading, helpful tools, other articles, etc...). Then, on the sides of these articles, you've placed relevant affiliate links. It would make sense that if your page was about your content (that's what you were looking to rank for in SE's), then you would want to differentiate between your content links and your affiliate links. Hence you tag your affiliate links with nofollow to show the SE's that the links you really want them to count are your content links.

    This post seems to confirm that:

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/text-links-and-pagerank/

    Selling links muddies the quality of link-based reputation and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results. When the Berkeley college newspaper has six online gambling links (three casinos, two for poker, and one bingo) on its front page, it’s harder for search engines to know which links can be trusted.
    Anyway, hope that helps.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainmaker
    Yes. I'm sure that's what Mr. Sal was experiencing. Nofollow tells the bots not to follow that link. It also tells google "don't give this website any of my page rank".
    ~Bob
    Like I said, I tried that idea for about a month on a page were on I get a lot of daily clicks.

    But while on that page I don't have a real interest on getting any targeted sales, I know that sometimes we get some sales from any content page. (I hope that Leader don't see this post.)

    Even if I decide to not link to any outside affiliate links on that page, I would hate to see a lower page rank, just because I used some links on that page with the rel="nofollow" tag, whether they are internal or external links.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainmaker
    Mr. Sal... Did your sales go down also? That would be really really suprising. I'm willing to bet your conversion ratio went UP when you added the nofollow.

    ~Bob
    To be honest, that page is not about making money (even tho I am not that stupid), so I can't say anything about my conversion ratio, but if by adding the rel="nofollow" tag to some of the links on that page, my total visitors count to my site will suffer, I rather leave my links the way they come out when I first make them.

    Side note:
    A real fisherman will never go out fishing, without a reel on the fishing pole.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AddHandler

    Does that mean the SE will not be able to tell it is an affiliate link...??


    I mean if the spider has to "scan" the url to find the rel="nofollow" wouldn't it already know that it is an affiliate link regardless if it FOLLOWED it or not...??
    If you mask or cloak your link and the spider doesn't follow it, there's no way for it to know whether or not it's an affiliate link. Although I don't think it really matters too much whether the spider knows it's an affiliate link or not.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
    Member HarveyC's Avatar
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    The only useful thing I have to say on this topic is it's also known as the link condom

  9. #9
    Plain Ol' Affiliate Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarveyC
    The only useful thing I have to say on this topic is it's also known as the link condom
    Oh! Perfect description That is funny!!

  10. #10
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    I tried this awhile back when we first discussed this here.

    Not only did my click-throughs drop dramatically, but so did my sales. Like a freaking stone!

    I removed all the nofollow's back in about September and everything has climbed back up again.

    I have NO use for nofollow.

    By the way I use a cgi script to deliver my afflilate links, so my links are not straight affiliate links.
    ~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
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I don't see how using this tag can hinder sales. Customers aren't going to stop clicking links because of the nofollow attribute. And it's not going to hurt your SE traffic because spiders aren't following the link.

    Michelle, when your sales dropped was it due to reduced SE traffic or because your existing customers stopped purchasing as much?

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I agree, if your page looks the same, why do the clicks drop? What were the traffic sources and their changes?

    I'd love to see a more detailed test of this.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  13. #13
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    The best I can see from studying my stats and the search results while the links were and were not in place is that with the nofollow tag, search engines stopped indexing all my individual links to merchants.

    Prior to and after removing the nofollow, the amount of pages/links that the search engines has indexed for my site is a drastic difference.

    When the nofollow was in place those individual links slowly dropped off the search engines.

    So I have to assume, based on that and my stats, that a good amount of my paying customers actually came to the merchant through my individual links that were indexed.

    Once I removed the nofollow, and those links have slowly been added back into the index, my sale have climbed.

    For example, on one site with the nofollow in place if I searched for site:www.myurl.com it gave results of 343 pages. Once I removed the nofollow and stuff was added back in, now I get results for my site into the thousands.
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    OH... I see....
    You mean that the SE's do not index anything with rel="nofollow" and those links in the SE's that go directly to the merchant are no longer there... That makes sense... I see a lot of links in the SE's that are affiliate links directly to the merchant... so yes adding rel="nofollow" would stop that from happening and probably reduce your sales and click throughs seeing as those links are not in the SE's any more...

    So yea it does make sense to NOT add the rel="nofollow"... seeing as getting a direct affiliate link indexed by an SE and listed in the results is a GOOD THING.... and this stops that from happening...

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Hmm, why would the search engine index your affiliate link rather than your page containing the link? Seems like an error on the behalf of the search engine to be indexing like this. Maybe I'm confused here, but this is how I interpreted what you said.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    Snib - "why would the search engine index your affiliate link rather than your page containing the link? "

    I don't know but I see them in the SE's and always wondered the same thing... and I always wanted a bunch of mine to get listed... I have a few but not as many as others I see...


    Also if this is known as the LINK CONDOM then wouldn't that bring down the value of your site..?? I mean if you have to use a condom on every link then how is that adding value...???

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AddHandler
    Snib - "why would the search engine index your affiliate link rather than your page containing the link? "

    I don't know but I see them in the SE's and always wondered the same thing... and I always wanted a bunch of mine to get listed... I have a few but not as many as others I see...
    I did see this on MSN when they first introduced their engine, but I think they've since fixed it. I'd be surprised if Google wants this to happen or allows it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AddHandler
    Also if this is known as the LINK CONDOM then wouldn't that bring down the value of your site..?? I mean if you have to use a condom on every link then how is that adding value...???
    You just don't want to put it on links to your internal pages. I can see how this would cause some serious indexing problems. But I don't really see too many pros or cons for doing it on outward merchant links. I guess one pro would be to prevent our internal click tracking from being triggered by spiders.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  18. #18
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    MSN, Yahoo, Google... all of them have a ton of my individual links on them. Why? I have no clue. (And certainly not going to complain)

    They do not grab my straight aff links, but they do grab all of my aff links that are linked masked.
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Michelle
    MSN, Yahoo, Google... all of them have a ton of my individual links on them. Why? I have no clue. (And certainly not going to complain)

    They do not grab my straight aff links, but they do grab all of my aff links that are linked masked.
    Then you're definitely the exception. I guess the moral of this thread is by not using nofollow you might have a chance at free merchant bound traffic. But I don't necessarily agree that this traffic is something to rely on. It seems to me to be more of a loophole than anything.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Agreed with Scott (as usual )

    Search engines are for indexing PAGES, not links. Why they index these links is beyond me...
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    MINDsprinter - "Search engines are for indexing PAGES, not links."
    They are indexing the pages.. the pages that the affiliate links lead to...

    Now I would think that the SE would stop on the redirect through the network the link is from... how they manage to follow it all the way to the merchant site AND index that page is beyond me...

    ---------------



    So the moral of this thread is to NOT use rel="nofollow" right...???

  22. #22
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    Hello, I can also confirm that using this tag looks like it can really hurt your website seo. I never realized this until last week I placed the tag on a site, the next day my traffic dropped by 70% and it has until now.. I'm now going to take the nofollow tag off and see what happens...
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  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    glinted!

    Before you take them off, can you give us some reports on where the traffic was coming from? I'd be interested to know what kind of traffic dropped off.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  24. #24
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    I currently use nofollow on my outgoing affiliate links, and I also have my stat-tracking redirects restricted in robots.txt.

    Before using nofollow, I had two occasions where my affiliate links were the only results that Google displayed when searching for a merchant's domain name. One of the merchants asked that I disable the link. I did, and within a couple of weeks, they were back to normal at Google. Apparently, that was some sort of indexing issue with Google and duplicate content maybe? This was a couple of years ago, or longer.

    The obvious question: Why would a redirect link be indexed instead of the page it points to? Apparently, there are situations where Google feels that indexing a shortcut URL that redirects to a page is preferable for the customer experience. And, sometimes, affiliate links draw the benefit of that process.

    This issue led to lots of message board discussions about 302 redirect indexing and page hijacking by unscrupulous webmasters.

    Back then, I chose to implement nofollow, and give up any accidental benefits of indexing quirks. But now, I'm thinking of removing nofollow for a bit to see what happens. If I landed a direct-to-merchant search engine placement with an affiliate link, is that unethical? Unfair to the merchant? Or A-OK?

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    glinted - "this tag looks like it can really hurt your website seo. I never realized this until last week I placed the tag on a site, the next day my traffic dropped by 70%"

    I don't think that it hurts your SEO... I do think it stops robots from registering "CLICKS" which may seem like your traffic is dropping off.. but it is the same amount of REAL traffic just not as many robot clicks being made...

    "the next day my traffic dropped by 70%"

    I don't think the search engines work that fast... I doubt that all your SE listings dropped by 70%... just that -- like I said the rel="nofollow" is stopping robots from registering "clicks"...

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