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Tracking Clicks on Outgoing Links

Possible Google Problems With My Low-Tech Idea?

     
8:25 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to track hits on some of my outgoing links. The only way I've seen to do this involves CGI script and lots of opportunities for an amateur webbuilder like myself to mess things up. So, I'm thinking that one way to do it would be to have the links point to internal pages with counters and redirect scripts. But like a lot of the people on this site (I'm a lurker), I'm afraid of making an innocent but stupid mistake and getting popped. I'd be very grateful for any input. (And couldn't some smart guy write an easy-to-use clickthrough monitoring program -- preferably adware -- for us dummies to use?)
8:35 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I track clicks on my site with a simple redirect.asp page that executes a stored procedure to add to the click count.

I'm certain there are lots of pre-fab CGI sripts you can use that won't take much modification and can't be messed up.

I wouldn't suggest a lot of blank pages with hit counters though - seems unnecessarily complicated and potentially dangerous as far as the SE's are concerned.

9:35 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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This question came up some time ago and amoore posted what seemed like a nice solution. here [webmasterworld.com]

I studied and studied the referenced material but just couldn't make it work. Don't know enough, I guess. I would like to know what the consensus is from the general population here as to what would be the simplest and safest way to track outgoing links.

10:18 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks mbennie, and pshea, I'm in your camp. I'm trying to figure how to use redirect.asp, but what is painfully obvious to someone with a clue can be pretty confusing to complete non-techies. I'm up for the easiest and safest way to count those clicks (though we may have already heard it).
1:24 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm just installing this;
<url snip>

But not for tracking (although that is its design purpose). This hopefully will keep Google PR on my site as it is a cgi redirect script too.

Hopefully, with my external links pointing to a cgi redirect script, Google will not be able to follow it, nor will give any PR away to it from the main pages.

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 9:54 pm (utc) on June 26, 2002]
[edit reason] url edit [/edit]

1:40 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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im seeing so many sites with external links having these types of solutions now. Add to that more and more sites behind passwords (subscriber only content), and google must be noticing that people are starting to become.. like.. real selfish!

Not sure how Google will counter this trend, but at the moment it looks like it could be a challenge to the utility of PageRank.

2:24 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>>google must be noticing that people are starting to become.. like.. real selfish!

I don't think I'm being selfish when I guard my outbound links. I just don't want to be unfairly penalized for linking to other sites.

It's the utility of PageRank that has provoked this response from webmasters and Google can't fight it.

7:51 pm on June 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've been using a very nice free redirect tracker by DesignWerks (I'm not affiliated with them at all).

<url snip>

I'm using it to track links out to third party affiliate offers and news. It's nice to know what kinds of offers and articles readers are interested in.

My main outbound links do not have any redirect attached to them because I'm hoping Google will see them as a related to my site theme.

FWIW,

dave

[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 9:53 pm (utc) on June 26, 2002]
[edit reason] url edit [/edit]

9:59 pm on June 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Mod Note:

In order to keep this thread in line with our TOS, and to also be fair to all the script authors who don't get mentioned, I would suggest that anyone who is interested in setting up a click tracking script start your search here [dmoz.org].

Many of the top script directories have extensive sections dedicated to link mangement and tracking.

11:13 pm on June 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Counting of click throughs to client sites is a big deal for me... it shows clients if they are getting bang for the buck they spend with me.

One of my sites is hosted on a unix server and I use a script called REDIR.PL. (You can get it from most of the script library sites.) Typical syntax is :

<a href="/cgi-local/redir.pl?url=http://www.targetsite.com" target="_blank">

Every time the script is activated, a corresponding line is written into the raw logfile. It is then a simple matter of setting filters in the log analysis programme to collect these lines.

BUT...... there is a catch!! Referrals from my site via REDIR.PL do not show in the client logs. I have never been able to get to the bottom of this.... and it is sometimes difficult to convince the client you are not feeding them BS.

Another site is hosted on a NT server and this time I had an ASP routine written. Typical syntax is:

/cgi-bin/counter.asp? URL=http://www.targetsite.com" target="_blank">

The script simply writes the name of linked URL, date and time into a MSAccess database which I can download whenever I choose.

These are hardly rocket science solutions but for the small operator looking for some level of control over clickthrough counting, they may provide some food for thought.

12:03 am on June 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Jango,

Getting back to your original question, I don't thing you need to go to all that trouble. Running a click track script in order to collect visitor behavior data is an extremely common practice that was invented long before Google or PageRank existed.

You are not going to get penalized for tracking outbound links.

 

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