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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.
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.
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]
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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.
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.
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.
[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 9:53 pm (utc) on June 26, 2002]
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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.
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.
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.