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Direct links vs. redirects to client sites - directory owners

Looking for help with big directory decision

     
3:42 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Do direct links do more harm than redirects?

I currently give direct links and am considering switching over to redirects. I know that there are threads that expound why directories that offer direct links are "better" than ones that use redirects. I'm curious what other owners of directories think about that.

I have a short list of reasons why redirects might be a better route and am interested in feedback on them:

Giving away page rank to clients by using direct links helps them to compete with the directory. The result can be that they come to outrank the directory in search results, and thus weaken the directory as an advertising medium, and ultimately could cause the directory to fail.

Redirects give the directory the capability to count clicks to visit clients' websites and gather more information about the effectiveness of the directory. This information can be helpful in getting new clients and in keeping existing clients.

Most directory clients have no idea what page rank is and don't know the difference between a direct link and a redirect. They do understand having stats about the effectiveness of their advertising and appreciate being able to view those stats. They often have no idea how to get referrer stats for their sites, so redirects give them a way to get important information that they might not be able to obtain with direct links rather than redirects.

Directories are in the business of generating leads for sales. The use of directories by SEO people to buy page rank can give less useful sites an advantage over more useful sites, degrading the quality of search results in general, and making the Internet less useful.

I understand that I'm playing devil's advocate here, but thoughful responses will be sincerely appreciated.

6:37 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The use of directories by SEO people to buy page rank can give less useful sites an advantage over more useful sites, degrading the quality of search results in general, and making the Internet less useful.

Just reread my initial post and decided that the previous statement sounds a bit extreme, so let me rephrase that...

SEO people also work hard to have good sites recognized more quickly by search engines. Sorry if I sounded like all SEO is bad. I don't feel that way at all.

11:15 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



If you do redirects, then block the redirect page from being crawled by search engines.

There's still a lot of 302 redirect hysteria out there, so beware.

With that said, I do redirects and have been doing it that way quite successfully since '96, but being you're starting a new directory it might be a problem.

Guess it all depends on who's opinion matters to you most, the SEO crowd you're hanging around with here or the actual members and visitors to your site that like stats?

Last but not least, with a directory your links are your entire business. I'm inclined to protect my property as best I can from those that would just scrape my site and build a copy to get into business. With redirects you can easily monitor scraping attempts in the redirect code and block abusers.

1:06 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



incrediBILL, thank you for your reply. I never said that it was a new directory. It's been up and running for 5 years and doing very well. I'm considering making a change in linking policy. I don't plan to change the existing listings, but am thinking of new listings that I add in the future.

Yes, I have seen all the excitement over 302 redirects. What kind of redirect do you use?

1:17 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Yes, I have seen all the excitement over 302 redirects. What kind of redirect do you use?

I use a 302 redirect of course!

But I use "Disallow: /redirect.php" in my robots.txt file to stop it from being a problem.

1:32 am on Feb 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks! I use the 302 plenty myself.

Is your reason for blocking search engines that you don't want to be accused of something nefarious?

I've never had a problem with 302s - they work nicely.

4:00 am on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If you are selling ads it is essential to know what you are doing. Rather than a 302 redirect why not use an onmousedown or onclick script activation of a logging script.

Google uses an onmousedown in the results - look at the code - and for their analytics they use onclick.

When I tried both on my directory at the same time on the same link (one for me and one for Google Analytics outbound tracking) the onclick had consistently higher clicks by 5-8%. Any ideas why?

2:40 am on Mar 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Some folks surf the web with javascript disabled and that will prevent onclick() and onmousedown() from being triggered. Giving a direct link also gives away page rank, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. The direct link also opens up your directory to theft by scrapers.
 

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