crobb305 - 3:15 pm on Dec 8, 2012 (gmt 0)
I've noticed an interesting trend in a sector that I watch (finance). Many of the top-ranking sites have affiliate links on the main page, above the fold, with no navigation to inner pages. The internal pages have no navigation except for, perhaps, a link back to the homepage. In terms of site metrics, I don't see how visitors could possibly stay on these sites for long. Furthermore, how is it that Google doesn't see those internal pages as doorways (given that many aren't linked from within the site, I can only see them by doing a site: search).
If I search "best widgets", the #1 result on this extremely competitive financial phrase is the homepage of a website with 10 affiliate links above the fold, all "nofollow", target="blank". Not a single link to an inner page. I see several other sites with this same structure. Site metrics? The user comes in and clicks an affiliate link...that's it. The only factor that could possibly keep the visitor on the site longer is that the affiliate links open in a new browser window, but I doubt this has a big influence. What bothers me is the lack of usable site navigation, which many of the pandalized/penguinzed established sites had.