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Redirecting affiliate links -- good idea or bad?

   
8:11 pm on Jan 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



when i got hit by panda way back in April one of the ideas floating about was to get rid of all the affiliate links.
i wasn't in a position to do that unfortunately, so i decided to send them through a redirect script instead, to try and hide them.

so all the links went through another page on my site (with a query string attached) and that redirected the user to the relevant affiliate URL. i nofollowed and noindexed the page as well.

but after having a detailed look through my stats (i know its 8 months late... but i'm slow) im thinking that was not such a bright idea after all. i'm thinking about getting rid of the redirect, and just changing everything back to normal links -- pointing where they should. and i will nofollow them.

what is your opinion on sending affiliate links through a redirect? does it do more harm than good?
9:09 pm on Jan 2, 2012 (gmt 0)



We run several successful sites that utilize redirected (we use a 307) affiliate links with no issues at all. High traffic, great exposure in serps for high value 1-2 word keys, etc.

All affiliate links are: - domain.tld/go/trackedlink

We track clicks locally, and block spiders from the /go/ directory as well. We also follow a rule of no more than 2 affiliate links per page.

MH
9:24 pm on Jan 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



its basically a cloaked link though, thats what im worried about - although you've got perfectly legit reasons for using it. and google can obviously tell where it ends up. but can they tell the reason why you are redirecting it is to track it? doubtful. how could they tell that?

blocking spiders from the directory doesnt stop google getting hold of the link in other ways (through chrome, or their toolbar) so it's not like its hidden.

all of a sudden i've just been getting the feeling that its a bad idea
2:57 am on Jan 3, 2012 (gmt 0)



Yes... just a basic cloaked redirect. Not sure if Google tracks anything on it or not, but we are very above water on the fact we are a lead generator site, and affiliated with the partner(s) we promote. Google adsense is also one of our partners.

We are up front about everything-affiliate related, to the point of giving direct, non-tracked-non-compensated links from several places as well, including the footer of every page in a boilerplate menu. On our company info and privacy pages, we even include the name and address of our partners, links to their privacy policies, etc etc.

I have crossed lines and been deindexed on other sites over the past many years... 3-4 years ago, we decided to put everything up front and in the open for anyone (including the manual reviewers) to see. Haven't regretted it yet.

MH