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Want to add Nofollow tags to affiliate links, partner says don't , who is correct?
JeffOstroff




msg:4298335
 4:27 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have some pages on one of our consumer advocate advice sites that like many of you were top 10 for 7-8 years, super high quality, never any black hat tricks, then during the 950 fiasco a few years back, we lost most of these pages rankings in the SERP, straight down to 900, some in the 300-400, etc. Bottom line is we are outside Top 20, been reading every post here for 5 years trying everything to no avail.

Came up with a good idea recently, I've been reading a lot about we should add No Follow tags to affiliate links leaving our web site, to retain the page rank juice to our web site.

Makes sense to me.

But my partner is paranoid that adding these will make Google suspicious, like "what do you have to hide?" Why don't you want us to follow it?

He thinks it will hurt us. Of course we are already way down anyway.

I explained to him that Google started supporting No Follow in 2005, but he seems inconsolable.

Who is wright, and are his fears base don anything real?

 

aristotle




msg:4298358
 5:13 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Came up with a good idea recently, I've been reading a lot about we should add No Follow tags to affiliate links leaving our web site, to retain the page rank juice to our web site.



This wouldn't save any pagerank juice on your own site. Nofollow tags used to save pagerank juice, but Google changed this in 2009, so they no longer do so.

JeffOstroff




msg:4298369
 5:35 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well I found this quote from MAtt Cutts on his blog:

"a good rule of thumb is: if a link on your website is internal (that is, it points back to your website), let it flow PageRankĖno need to use nofollow. If a link on your website points to a different website, much of the time it still makes sense for that link to flow PageRank. The time when I would use nofollow are when you canít or donít want to vouch for a site, e.g. if a link is added by an outside user that you donít particularly trust. For example, if an unknown user leaves a link on your guestbook page, that would be a great time to use the nofollow attribute on that link."

So it appears Matt is saying that adding the No Follow retains rank juice on my site, otherwise without this tag it would flow to a site that I am linking to.

jinxed




msg:4298376
 5:41 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its not retained - its just simply lost in a black hole.

chrisains




msg:4298431
 7:03 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Debatable in my opinion. Your quote from Matt Cutts says it all. A nofollowed link to an external url wont necessarily retain pagerank (debatable!) but it will 'supposedly' stop the flow of pagerank to an external website.

As you'll probably know, search engines, namely Google, were built upon link relevancy therefore in my opinion if you are linking out to affiliate websites then you are endorsing these sites therefore you should 'ethically' use do-follow links.

These videos from Matt my give a bit more relevant info:

Will Google penalize sites which only link using the nofollow attribute? - [youtube.com...]

How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow? - [youtube.com...]

netmeg




msg:4298439
 7:24 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I cloak and no follow all my affiliate links. Period.

JeffOstroff




msg:4298445
 7:29 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have seen both those videos in the past, which is why I was leaning on using them. But Matt also hinted more from a user standpoint that nofollows are actually a small percentage of links on the internet.

Karma




msg:4298446
 7:30 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Chances are they'll know what they are anyway, why not try making the change to a small selection of pages first and leaving them a while to monitor?

Keep in mind if you change them, you'll probably get hit by the next algo change ;)

c41lum




msg:4298451
 7:35 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I no follow all my affiliate links, but dont follow me i just got smashed off the face of the web by panda.

chrisains




msg:4298459
 7:53 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

@JeffOstroff
But Matt also hinted more from a user standpoint that nofollows are actually a small percentage of links on the internet


Not a user standpoint as such - just a general rule. In the grand scheme of things nofollowed links will be a very small percentage of weblinks. + Matt is talking about internal as well as external nofollowed links. The vast majority of webmasters/web developers probably won't even know what a nofollow link is let alone how to use it correctly/effectively!

+ from a user perspective - how will a user even know if the link is nofollowed or not? A user won't know/care either way - this is purely for search engine purposes, which in my opinion if you are endorsing a link you should follow it! Link trust was the foundation of search ranking so if you trust a link why not pass on that trust on via the link?


@c41lum
I no follow all my affiliate links, but dont follow me i just got smashed off the face of the web by panda.


Not good to hear mate! I somehow doubt that's Panda/nofollow link related though! Let me know if you need any advice!

Chris

tedster




msg:4298470
 8:13 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

An affiliate link is not a freely given editorial citation. It is a link given because of financial considerations. To me, a nofollow attribute makes plenty of sense in all such situations.

chrisains




msg:4298487
 8:33 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster that's a bit of a generalised comment - an 'affiliate' does not necessarily constitute any financial consideration.

JeffOstroff
some pages on one of our consumer advocate advice sites


This does not necessarily indicate paid affiliate linking; too me it indicates general external links to other relevant advice websites where JeffOstroff is deeming this as an affiliation (I will stand corrected if this is not the case).

Either way the term 'affiliate' does not necessarily imply financial implications IMO.

Chris

koan




msg:4298507
 9:00 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I also add nofollow on all affiliate links as a standard procedure.

TheMadScientist




msg:4298511
 9:03 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

You can 'fine tune' what the definition of an affiliate is and whether there is any direct financial considerations involved, but it doesn't really matter what we think, all that matters is how it looks to an algo.

They're affiliate links ... In my experience people don't use an affiliate code unless they want 'something' from the link. IMO they should be nofollowed.

JeffOstroff




msg:4298598
 10:51 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

The link for our consumer advocate sites are paid affiliate links, to very well known high quality sites which we have checked out to make sure they are hones, and we know most of these people or the company founders. Whenever a customer issue arises, we are usually there to forward the issue to the proper higher level manager at the affiliate company to get it resolved quickly. founders. So yes we have lots of consumer advocate advice and we link them to the better sites in the area of the topic on a page. So if we are reviewing a wedding book, for example, we would have a link to amazon. Whether Google can really look at all links and tell if they are afifliate code is hard to say. Amazon has a unique look to it's affiliate code. Other sites might have ?aff_id-example.com at the end or something like that. The code to some affiliate sites ar ejust no that obvious, so it's a matter of am I transferring page rank juice to that site, or is Google letting me keep it if I use a nofollow.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4298637
 11:30 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

NEVER pass an affiliate link from your site directly to the affiliates site. You are much better off, for many reasons, redirecting all links through a single page on your site first. On that page you can implement filters, block IP's, monitor bots etc and you don't need to append your affiliate code until the click reaches that redirect page. You don't need to show the world your affiliate account name/number from every page. You can also better handle robots by making the page a noindex/nofollow page or display a blank page to robots instead of sending them to the affiliate or... you get the idea.

If you use a redirect page the subject of linkjuice is moot, all links point to yourself first and should pass none anyway.

JeffOstroff




msg:4298675
 12:31 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sgt_Kickaxe, We do have some links that do exactly as you mentioned above. We have also left the affiliate codes in some of the other pages. We have a huge problem with scraper losers stealing our content, and sometimes when they do, they don't change the affiliate code, so we still get credit for any sales that were obtained by a visitor of the scraper site clicking on of our links.

It sometimes may be wise to just leave your affiliate codes in place.

Robert Charlton




msg:4298808
 8:22 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

My emphasis....
...so it's a matter of am I transferring page rank juice to that site, or is Google letting me keep it if I use a nofollow.

No, Google is not letting you "keep" PageRank if you use nofollow. Under Google's treatment of rel="nofollow" since June 2009, if you use "nofollow" on a link, you're no longer reserving the PageRank from that link for transmission by other links on the page. The nofollowed link juice simply evaporates. See discussion here...

Google Changes Treatment of PR 'Saved' by rel=nofollow Sculpting
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3925952.htm [webmasterworld.com]

One implication of this is that when you link off your site, there's essentially no difference... in terms of PageRank flow within your site... whether you nofollow an external link or not.

The consideration becomes whether you want Google to follow the link to the destination page.

I agree with those who say that you shouldn't allow Googlebot to follow an affiliate link, but it's a "discovery" issue. It's not a PageRank issue at all.

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