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  1. #1
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    nofollow external links
    I've heard people using "nofollow" on external links (either at meta tag or indivdual link level) to reduce external link count. Some (e.g. Wikipedia) do that to discourage spam links.

    Just wondering whether it's a bad idea to implement nofollow on affiliate links?

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    i don't know that this is effective to reduce the number of external links as seen by the search engines. the links are still in the code right?

  3. #3
    You are in, or you are out ... choose!
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    No-Follow was originally implemented as an attempt to stem Blog-Spam, the idea being that it be used on link in comments that would have questionable trust until verified.

    Unfortunaly it has since been misunderstood and misused for many additional purposes, both well intentioned and otherwise, from blind-faith to PR conservation (hoarding).

    In its original intention, it should only be used for link that the webmaster does not trust. But then, if the webmaster is in complete control of their website, then presumably no links would appear that would have any question as to trust. Therefore there should be not need to use it. Indeed, it could even be suggested that such un-needed useage might then raise red flag as to intent.
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  4. #4
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    Some affiliate links are being generated with nofollow as default, but there's a difference between outbound affiliate links and other links on a site. The engines can tell the difference with "advertising" links which affiliate links are.

    There's absolutely no need to put nofollow on outbound links, it could do a lot more harm than help in the long run. There's a whole scare myth going around on that now, I'd take it with a grain of salt and do what's honest and natural.

  5. #5
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    "There's a whole scare myth going around on that now"

    One that I've been fighting:

    http://www.revenews.com/carstencumbr..._paid_lin.html

    You don't need to put nofollow on your affiliate links.

  6. #6
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    Thank you, Trust.

    And they do NOT need to be put on decent recips either. And shouldn't, that's welching on agreements and if the "partners" catch it, goodbye links.

  7. #7
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    noindex
    Thank you all for your comment. I, too, have reservation on trying anything that might be perceived as opportunistic.

    Problem is that the ever-evolving search engine algorithms are (and will continue to be) far from intelligent. Even though Google, et al, advises people to build websites not for search engines but for human visitors alone, it's hard to simply ignore the way all these pseudo-intelligent search engine algorithms superficially assess a website's so-called quality. New and often opportunistic SEO theories come out left and right just to confuse people more.

    On a separate note, how would you interpret uses of "noindex"? One reason to consider using it is that often times there are needs to navigate down a website to a product detail page down the different paths of product categories.

    For a relatively static html website, a given product detail page often turns out to be split into multiple static pages with almost-identical content but different URLs in order to maintain hierarchial navigational info (e.g. breadcrumbs). So, one approach is to tag all detail pages of a given product "noindex" except for the one under a chosen primary category.

    For human visitors this multi-category product navigation obviously has value. But again, pseudo-intelligent search engines might consider the website full of dupe content. Or, is such concern unnecessary?

  8. #8
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    Matt Cutts just so happened to add an update a couple of days ago:

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links/

    Update, May 12th, 2007:
    Q: Are you interested in things like affiliate links? Are you interested in hearing about directories in this report?
    A: Nope, Id be most interested in feedback like the examples that I mentioned above, or things like paid posts that might affect search engines.

    You can just read the whole thing and can get a pretty clear picture of what they're talking about.

    And this is the original one, where people got confused. Matt Cutts talks about paid links and adding nofollow:

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

    Again, it's pretty clear to what he's talking about. Not affiliate links.

  9. #9
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    Xdude, I was wondering about "nofollow" recently, too. Someone pointed me to this article, which I thought was pretty good: http://searchengineland.com/070420-111550.php

    At any rate, this thread has been really useful for me. Thanks guys!

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I've modified my blog so no-follow is not used. I was never clear on its purpose, and it seems really useless to me anyway.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for the relevant discussion links. Unfortunately I can't really make out a clear conclusion from the articles. (Have to admit I did not read through Cutts' entire lengthy blog and feedback in detail.)

    As to whether it's necessary to use "noindex" (or "noindex + nofollow") for avoiding dupe interpretation by search engines, I don't seem to see any remark about that in those articles.

  12. #12
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    You don't have to do it, I don't know of any affiliate (that I'm aware of) putting nofollow on their affiliate links. Don't see the point.

  13. #13
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    I am just implementing a 'link cloaking procedure' and I'm running into a strange problem - a few (not all) of both Google's and Yahoo's spiders are following my cloaking text links and clicking on through to CJ and LS. CJ appears to ignore them (I don't see any excess clicks) but Google's click throughs to LS appear on my LS reports - several hundred extra clicks daily.

    Should I implement some 'rel="nofollow"' addition to my cloaking - maybe wait for a while to see if these particular spiders 'wise up' or ...

    Charles

  14. #14
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    >Should I implement some 'rel="nofollow"' ~ to see if these particular spiders 'wise up'

    Nofollow has nothing top do with spiders, it has to do with implied trust or lack thereof, or at least the engines interpretation and opinion thereof.

    What you are experiencing may be a redirect issue. You might be well to look into the differences between 302 and 301, and/or possible some cloaking to stop spiders seeing the link destination.
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  15. #15
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    There is a school of thought that I have found that says rel="nofollow" should be used along with <meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow"> to ration link juice. They go under the theory that PR (not TBPR) trickles down through your site and is less as it goes. They say that anything you can do to ration it within your site and going out is a good thing.

    The idea being that you tell Google that some pages don't need to be in the index like your privacy or contact page. I have a Contact page that's TBPR 4.

    So now I'm playing with quite a bit of internal nofollow and external when I'm linking in content where I don't think they need it. A link to Google or CNN would get a nofollow, and a helpful exchange would definitely not.

    I'm willing to use the meta noindex to cut some of my pages that don't add to the bottom line if it will boost the PR for pages that I want to rank for.

    As far as affiliate links go I must be the only one using it on those. It's experimental as I just want to see the effect, and they are all redirect links.

    I still have an open mind on the topic since it's too early to tell what the efforts have done.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw

    As far as affiliate links go I must be the only one using it on those. It's experimental as I just want to see the effect, and they are all redirect links.

    I still have an open mind on the topic since it's too early to tell what the efforts have done.
    I'm doing the same thing that you are.

    I don't know what the results will be yet either.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    I'm doing the same thing that you are.

    I don't know what the results will be yet either.

    I've been toying with this idea for redirects ... be very interesting to hear your results
    CharPaula
    Staying focused on the bottomline

  18. #18
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    i had the nofollow set on affiliate links and found no change, although this was based on a catalog that was already supplemental on g.

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