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Affiliates Forum

Affiliate links and Google PR leakage
How much damage?

 2:59 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

I haven't been able to get a good handle on the impact of outbound affiliate links on Google's page rank.

I think it's important to know how Google handles affiliate links because so many sites use them.

Maybe some other forum members have a good handle on it. I would like to understand ...

1. When I place the same affiliate link on many of my web pages, say as a banner link on the bottom of the page, does Google discount the multiple copies in calculation of page rank?

2. When I place several copies of the same affiliate link on the same web page, say at the top and bottom of the page, does Google discount the multiple copies in calculation of page rank?

3. If I were to "hide" the affiliate links in Javascript would Google ignore them, or would they still parse through the Javascript looking for links?

4. If I were to "hide" the affiliate links in Javascripts would Google consider this offensive and penalize the page or site?

5. If an affilite merchant's landing page has PR0, will I damage my site's page rank by putting their affiliate link on my site?

I will appreciate any ideas or discussion on any or all of the above. Thanks.



 3:22 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think whatever you do with your affiliate links Google will soon sniff them out.

mayor - I too would like to hear the answers to these questions. All I can add is that I have affiliate links on low pr pages that still do well on google although they for non competitive phrases.



 3:24 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

I do all mine through forms and JS, it's my first go at it so I've no results to tell of but we know that Google doesn't follow those kinds of links so I reckon there's no problem.



 3:47 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here is what I think are the answers to your questions. Feel free to disagree:)

1. An outbound link is an outbound link, no matter whether it is an affiliate link or not. If Google can see it, it will include it in its PR calculations.

2. Multiple presence of the same link on one page means you change the proportion of PR allocation for all links on that page. The multiple-linked page gets more, other links on the page less. (Again, affiliate character does not play any role).

3. Google (at the moment) does not parse JS and JS links are ignored by Google.

4. JS links do not offend Google.

5. If an affiliate merchant page has PR 0 because there is no link to it, there is no way it can hurt you. If an affiliate merchant site suffers from the "bad neighborhood" penalty, linking to them might hurt you.


 4:13 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

My experience indicates that Google itself does not penalize for affiliate links, assuming it likes the page otherwise.

The big way that affiliate links can create problems is if they cause DMOZ to turn up its nose at your site. That has indirect Google consequences and it's harder to build your web presence without benefit of DMOZ. That's not the same as a penalty, though.

Page rank is based on links that *come in* to that page, not the links that go out. The number of links on the page will affect what proportion of the available PR gets passed on to each of the pages being linked to, but the PR of the page itself does not change whether there's a few links or many.

Weeding out unnecessary links will increase the proportion of PR that the remaining links receive. If your page had ten links, each linked-to page would receive one-tenth of the available PR. If you took out a link, each would receive one-ninth, and so on. This can mean, for example, that the link back to your home page is "worth" more from some of your internal pages than others. I'm honestly not sure how duplicate links affect this, but I've always assumed that they get treated like any other when outoging PR is being divided up. This would make it wise to be cautious about duplicating links to merchants etc.. A certain amount of duplication can make the page more user-friendly, but I've seen pages where every single mention of the product was turned into a link, and that's simply pointless regardless of PR side-effects.


 4:50 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Buckworks >> Page rank is based on links that *come in* to that page, not the links that go out

Now that is really enlightening! I thought all along that page rank was a function of both incoming links (+) and outgoing links (-). I thought you could loose page rank by having outgoing links.

Buckworks, let me apologize for questioning you, but are you sure outgoing links don't leak page rank? I thought I've read many other threads/postings in the Google forum that say outbound links degrade page rank?

I sure hope you're right. Then outbound affiliate links would not be expected to have any effect on my Google ranking, no matter how many times I repeat the links.


 5:02 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Outgoing links do not leak PR.

Not from the page they are on anyway, they just deprive your other pages of a little PR because the value of the outgoing links is diminished due to the off-site links.

Where I think the confusion lies is in that yes, outbound links can diminish PR but, no, they don't bleed it off a page.

Is that clear? I've confused myself!



 5:26 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Reread starec's post and mine. I was writing when starec posted, so some of what I said is repetitive, but it's said in a different enough way that I thought it was worth leaving.

Page rank is based on the links coming in to a page. That will include links from within your site, as well as coming in from elsewhere. Where the number of links on a page comes into play is in how it affects the "hand-me-down" PR that can be passed to other pages. Lots of links divides that up into lots of little chunks. This will not affect the PR of the page itself, but depending on how you set up your links it can affect *other* pages in your site. I think that's where the concept of "leakage" arose.

Conversely, if you're concerned about building PR for a certain page, look beyond the page itself. If you can streamline some extraneous links *on other pages in your site* the target page will receive more of the available PR. Getting 1/9 of the available page rank is worth a bit more than getting 1/10, and if you multiply that by numerous instances within your site the difference can add up. Every bit helps.

You've probably read that a link from a lower-PR page where you're one of a handful of links can be worth more than a link from a high-PR page where you're just one link among dozens. You can take advantage of this dynamic within your site. Careful planning of the links *throughout your site as a whole* can lift target pages to higher PR than they might achieve otherwise.

There's a limit to what you can achieve by tinkering with the link structure of your own site, but it's clearly possible to focus PR on some pages more than others. Ultimately, though, there's no substitute for drumming up links from other sites.


 5:53 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ok, Buckworks and Nick_W, I think I'm starting to see through the smoke and haze.

What I'm seeing is a model where the home page feeds pr to the subpages and the subpages feed it right back with a return-home link so there's no net pr leakage. However, if some of the subpages pass their pr out to other sites, that's less to feed back to the home page ... so the whole site pr degrades a bit.

If this model is correct, we can preserve page rank by having a number of content-only subpages with nothing but a link back to the home page. This would reduce the pr weight of all site pages so that the ones with outbound links would have little weight and therefore minimal impact on the site's overall pr.

My, what a web we weave! Add a bunch of content-only pages to our site ... not only can they create themes and draw inbound links to raise our site's pr but they can stiffle the loss of site pr from outbound links on other pages.

Sorry, moderators, if this is looking more like a Google thread but it's really about not loosing pr from affiliate links.


 5:59 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

And thanks for your input too, Starec and Smiley


 6:03 pm on Aug 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think you're getting it ... and yes, adding new, link-worthy content pages can be a positive step. Each new page brings something to the PR party.

Give some thought to whether you might want to channel some PR to a sales page, not just the home page.


 1:24 pm on Aug 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey Everyone,

This is something that I have been working on for some time. I have played with the idea of using a java link to "keep" my pagerank on my site rather than passing it on to an affiliate site which in theroy would help them with the same kinda of key phrases searches that I am trying to build apon. In the end I have decided to use straight links but to link out in a thought out way.

1) my home page has no outbound links, afterall this page out of more than 250 pages has the highest pagerank. Each link on that page contains a very high amount of pagerank "wieght" so I link to try to keep it on my site. Again no outbound links on my homepage.

2) I try to minimize my outbound links on each page wheather they be sites I think my visitors will enjoy or affialite sites most of my pages (85%) contain no more than three outbound links. Most pages contain just one or two outbound links. One of these links is my banner rotation code from my banner network burst. Any other outbound link on the page would be for a product which ties into the page (such as a thermometer for a recipe page). Speaking of affilaite programs I usally drop the banners and create some text with a link and this seams to work well.

3) Some affilaite programs such as art.com or allposters let you create "poster stores" which infact will create links to the merchants site .... the more posters you add the more links you add as well. I see value in this type of page as my visitors are able to see several different products from my page and it gives a nice professional look. At the same time I have been toying with droping each link and replacing it with one bolder link at the top or bottom of the page saying "buy any of these prints here".

4) Anyway, this is how I have been trying to keep the pagerank on my site and my referral logs smile ;-) Also note that once you get past a pagerank 5 (I am a mid 6 right now) your google referrals will really start to pour in (depends on your theme of course). But work hard to become a pagerank 6 or 7.

Hope this helps,

Chef Brian

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