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Manual Action and having lots of inbound affliliate links
AlmostHuman




msg:4613711
 6:30 am on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

So, here is the situation:

We've got a manual action against our website so we started researching our link profile.

During the investigation we found out that we had a good amount of affiliate links pointing to our site (all of them, naturally, have special parameters so that it would be clear they're affiliate ones). What concerns me is that a good chunk of those links are on inferior sites and some of them, for some weird reason, have an anchor text that can easily be taken for manipulative one.

I've heard Google handles affiliate links and doesn't give them too much value, but I am not sure of it.

So the questions I want to ask are:
1. Is it true that Google doesn't count affiliate links in your link profile
2. Can a site be penalized for manipulative affiliate links.

I would like to have some proof too, whatever your opinion might be on the situation. God, there is so much useless information around as far as SEO and manual actions go.

 

austtr




msg:4613854
 9:42 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't have answers for you... just adding my voice to the same topic.

I never knew until a year or so after the event about Google deciding that links out to the affiliate site had to be rel="nofollow" (there are probably many thousands of site owners who don't belong to forums who still don't know that). So that is something that you can do yourself and the sooner the better if not already done.

There are two affiliate merchants I was no longer willing to partner with so I removed all my links to their product pages. But GWT says there are hundreds of merchant links still in existence to my site like:

www.affiliateID.merchantsite.com/product_page.html

I have asked the merchant to delete/404/no follow these links, which they have not done and instead they are redirecting the 404 event to their home page.

The fact that GWT is still seeing these as IBL's a year or more after leaving the merchant, and now having been hit by Penguin (unnatural links), I am wondering if these links are the problem.... and if so, then Google is apparently not disregarding all affiliate links.

EditorialGuy




msg:4613858
 10:39 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

I never knew until a year or so after the event about Google deciding that links out to the affiliate site had to be rel="nofollow" (there are probably many thousands of site owners who don't belong to forums who still don't know that).


Last year, Matt Cutts said that Google was pretty good at recognizing affiliate links and handling them "appropriately." See:

[youtube.com...]

He also said that you might want to nofollow affiliate links if you were "worried."

crobb305




msg:4613864
 11:14 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

There are two affiliate merchants I was no longer willing to partner with so I removed all my links to their product pages. But GWT says there are hundreds of merchant links still in existence to my site like:

www.affiliateID.merchantsite.com/product_page.html

I have asked the merchant to delete/404/no follow these links, which they have not done and instead they are redirecting the 404 event to their home page.


austtr,

You might try to 410 all requests for a link containing the affiliate ID. That should tell G that the page doesn't exist and those links will no longer count.

C

JesterMagic




msg:4613869
 11:40 pm on Sep 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the link about Matt talking about Affiliate links and rel="nofollow". This is something I haven't done yet which I think I should.

austtr




msg:4613927
 9:04 am on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy

Thanks for the video...

I seem to recall Matt doing a more recent video pre Penguin 2 launch and one of the things I took from that was to no follow affiliate links. I seem to recall comments that if a link can possibly be interpreted as an attempt to manipulate Page Rank then you are likely to get a Penguin hit..... or words to that effect. I think he was speaking in the context of what was coming down the line ... what we could expect to see in the near future.

I'm trusting to memory here which at my age is not always wise. It might be worth chasing up that video and seeing if you see the same message.

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