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1x1 Pixel Affiliate Images

Google Penalty?

   
7:52 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have noticed that some of the affiliate programs I belong to have 1x1 pixel images that are inserted into the tracking link codes. Will Google interpret these "hidden links" as a way to manipulate SERP's and is there a possible chance of penalties?

It would be an enormous amount of work to go edit all these links and move the 1x1 pixel images so that they no longer fall between the <a> and </a> tags. Even if I did move all these 1x1 images, will the links still track properly?

Thanks,
Ted

8:01 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



>Even if I did move all these 1x1 images, will the links still track properly?

No, the aff reporting comes from these.

I know some that alter the gif, but you're usually technically in violation of the merchant rules if you do. Better to write your aff links w/ javascript if you're worried about this.

8:12 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



it depends on what program you use. I use cj and only use the part of the link that contains my id and the advert id....i then put this in my own links.....this has not been a problem for a year.....
8:18 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



To elaborate, the format of the links are

<a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123"><img border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http...widget-network?pixel123">text anchor or product image here</a>

Ted

8:23 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



your id does the tracking..the images are for stats and cookies i believe
8:51 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



1x1 images are fine, they are used for stats, table spacing, etc. Just don't use them as a link <a href=
9:20 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



yankee said
"1x1 images are fine, they are used for stats, table spacing, etc. Just don't use them as a link <a href="

My point is the affiliate network has setup the tracking code such that the 1x1 pixel is a link.

Ted

[edited by: nativenewyorker at 10:36 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2003]

9:34 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



no..its the title...
10:05 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



nativenewyorker,

I would find another afiiliate network then.

10:23 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



To be safe, just alter the html around a little to remove the 1x1 from within the link.

ie instead of <a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123"><img border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http...widget-network?pixel123">text anchor or product image here</a>

replace with <a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123">text anchor or product image here</a><img border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http...widget-network?pixel123">

I've also been using 1x1's for affiliate tracking in my sites with no problems at all, although as an extra bit of safety I remove the WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 part. Not sure if it makes any difference (probably not) but of makes me feel safer.

10:32 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



yankee said:
"I would find another afiiliate network then."

This is the largest of the networks, L........ and dropping them would mean getting rid of thousands of links that I've put up already. I guess I'll have to edit them and move the images out of the link.

futuresky said:
"as an extra bit of safety I remove the WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 part"

Good idea. Thanks.

Ted

11:13 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



<<To be safe, just alter the html around a little to remove the 1x1 from within the link.>>

This is bad advice unless you specifically check with the network and merchant whose link(s) you want to tweak. Check with them and

1) Verify that your links will still track accurately without those GIFs tagging along. Some will, some won't; it depends on how things are set up.

2) Make sure that the network and/or merchant won't penalize you in some other way for tinkering with the tracking codes. Taking out the GIFs can cause major abnormalities in your stats, and some merchants get upset about that. (Don't ask how I know that ...)

The bottom line: You want a page that ranks well, but you need to accomplish that with the codes -- and the relationships -- intact that actually put money in your pocket.

Additional comment: <<as an extra bit of safety I remove the WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 part>> -- Be aware that taking out the height and width attributes can slow down the display of the page. This does not usually help one's conversion rates.

11:58 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Even better, hide the height & width attributes in a robots.txt prohibited external CSS file.

.foo {
width: 1px;
height: 1px;
}

<a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123"><img border=0 class="foo" src="http...widget-network?pixel123">text anchor or product image here</a>

2:27 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)



I've had those 1 x 1-pixel affiliate images on virtually every one of my 2,300+ pages for nearly 15 months, and my pages do very well in Google.

IMHO, this is a non-issue. (Think about it: What would happen to the quality of Google's search results if it penalized every site that belonged to one of the Web's largest affiliate programs?)

2:29 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Back to his original question, has anyone been penalized by using 1x1 pixel images that are inserted into the tracking link codes. Can anyone answer this because he is right, Linkshare is one of the largest affiliate networks and they code the tracking that way. I've been using these tracking links for months now with no apparent penalty. Also I believe if this was a real problem, there would be thousands of websites who code the links this way and I haven't heard of any websites getting penalties from this. Has anyone from this board heard differently?
2:55 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This question, in one form or another, has been asked repeatedly over the years. To my knowledge, not once has anyone ever reported being dumped, demoted or otherwise mangled by the SEs for having small pixels in affiliate tracking codes.

As europe says, its a non-issue.

3:50 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Not sure if this point's been made already, but if there is text or another image within the HREF tag, then it's not a hidden link and Google probably recognizes this.
4:24 pm on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I am using CJ links...and i dont use the GIF image part in the links...its tracking well....

I think the only purpose of the 1x1 gif is to track impressions , nothing more ...

 

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