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Sitewide Sponsors
Better to display with javascript?

 9:32 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have a site with about 1000 pages. We have a limited number of site sponsors who pay to have a text link placed at the bottom all of the site pages.

We've been doing this for years (before we even knew about Pagerank etc.), and are not trying to sell PR to sponsors, the purpose is just for the actual traffic it delivers to them (which is very good).

After reading several posts here about potential problems with these types of sitewide links to advertisers (identical text link on hundreds of pages on a site, purchasing PR), I'm getting concerned.

Right now we use server side includes to put the sponsor links on all of our pages, so the links are indexed by google as part of the page content.

If we displayed the site sponsor links through javascript, would this eliminate potential problems for us or our sponsors, since the links and sponsor text ads wouldn't get indexed, and there is clearly no intent in selling PR?


troels nybo nielsen

 3:55 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I may be wrong, but if that is the only problematic aspect of your website I do not think you need to worry. One of my domains has hundreds of pages and every single one of them has a link at the bottom to one specific page at another domain. No problem for any of the domains.


 4:18 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks very much for the feedback. Our site has a lot of inbound links, and ranks well with google, and the other major search engines. We are very careful about not doing anything that would seem to be spamming or questionable in terms of optimization.

One of our sponsors recently dropped out, not because of the level of traffic they were receiving, but because of the worry about being penalized for buying links as an artificial means of inflating PR.

So, I'm wondering if there is anything wrong with displaying the links through javascript, and if this would basically eliminate any doubt from google or anyone else that we are trying to sell PR.


 4:26 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd leave it alone to be honest.
If you make it javascript then you are likely to get more sponsors pulling out.


 4:37 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd love to say 'don't worry' but our experience suggests that there might be some risk. We had a nearly identical situation and changed things because partner sites we linked to got hurt in the SERP's. After the change, they came back. Can't say for certain that it was the change that fixed the problem since it happended post Florida and lots of things were in flux then...but it sure looked like that was the issue. FWIW.

We converted their links to graphics btw.


 5:03 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all of the input. I kind of knew that like most of these issues the overall answer wouldn't be certain.

I don't worry too much about sponsors pulling out based on PR issues, because the traffic to their sites is very good irregardless of any PR effect. (I do understand that some might not like it if the ads are done through javascript, but if they feel that way then they are clearly trying to buy PR as well as traffic, which is something that could possible backfire on them anyway, and something we don't really want to be associated with).

It seems like javascript is the most straightforward way, as these are advertisements, and this seems to be method that google delivers its own Adsense advertisements on so many sites now.

I just wonder if there is any other negative effect of displaying content through javascript from the google point of view. (e.g. you're trying to hide page content somehow).


 5:22 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

One of my sites dropped in the rankings when an I added a banner linking to an advertiser's site on the homepage. The advertiser's site was new and had no PR.

When I changed the link to a redirect (e.g. redirect.asp) instead of linking directly to the advertiser's site, my page came back up the rankings very quickly.

Total Paranoia

 5:24 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)


Do you think it could have been coincidence or a temporary glitch?

Have you ever thought about experimenting with this?

How long did you "suffer" for the last time?


 7:06 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it would be ridiculous to hide any links from the spiders. The internet is all about links.


 1:56 pm on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

The issue is not ideology - it is a whether Google might wrongly apply a penalty.

I would devise a javascript alternative that can be dropped into the existing SSI slots. Having an alternative available, I would consider offering it to sponsors if I thought they might prefer it. Otherwise, I would keep it in reserve in case my own site appeared to be suffering.


troels nybo nielsen

 2:04 pm on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Precise and appropriate post, Kaled.


 8:38 am on Jul 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hm, a lot of blogs repeat internal and external links site wide since they keep the same menu bars throughout, and we know there're just a few blogs out there... I can't see Google applying some blanket penalty to all sites using/receiving site wide links. My guess, and it's only that, is a site would be more likely to be penalized if those were the only links it received.


 4:25 pm on Jul 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

The issue is not ideology - it is a whether Google might wrongly apply a penalty.

I would devise a javascript alternative that can be dropped into the existing SSI slots...

Thanks Kaled, you hit the issue right on the nose, and thanks for that suggestion about the javascript alternative.

I'm sure that Google takes into account that there are a lot of legitimate sites that aren't trying to sell PR with their sitewide links, but I don't know if some competitor might try to bring us to the attention of Google as trying to sell PR (although we have no interest/intention of doing so).

So, I'll prepare the javascript alternative, and might just go ahead and implement it, to get rid of any doubt about it. It seems that using javascript in this way isn't a problem for Google in terms of any penalties, shady behavior, etc.

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