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Does rel=nofollow prevent Google from labeling you as an affiliate?



8:24 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

We have decided to use the rel=nofollow as opposed to some suggestions to use javascript on affiliate links in the hope that Google will stop penalizing us as an affiliate
only site. Anyone had any success in this respect?


3:53 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Since Google's official stance on that is that it's for use in blogs, I wouldn't expect the use of it in affiliate links to have the effect you hope for.

I have found that pages that have a small number of affiliate links relative to other content do not get penalized. One other way to deal with the problem might be to create affiliate-link free index pages that list and link to the affliate-link-heavy pages.... Basically, you need to beef up your other content.


4:01 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just use other methods of internal linking along with robots.txt and nofollow just in case.


9:18 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

if you examine the logic of that then the answer must be no. the tag is only meant to tell google its a low quality link and not a real 'vote'. It doesnt stop the link being followed therefore it doesnt stop google seeing the link just as without the tag. Except now your actually telling google its a low quality link yourself.


9:39 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well would a Javascript go link have the desired affect?
If so, how would you write one to accomplish this?


9:50 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Will the use of link cloaking be of benefit in any way?


5:49 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Will the use of link cloaking be of benefit in any way?"

Not trying to do anything deceptive here, just testing all
avenues in an attempt to rank higher than every other 2 bit site that ranks above us for OUR unique company name, that Google seems to ignore and penalize us for. Call is what you wish, we have exhausted all over avenues with Google.


11:28 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Not that I would ever do this myself ;) but, if you are going to use javascript, I would obfuscate the code. Don't just write document.write and then the link because I heard at an SES conference that bots may still follow it if they see a recognizable link in javascript.


11:53 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Instead of


Use .htaccess to rewrite


Then exclude the /aff directory in your robots.txt file


2:25 pm on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

now that's pretty cool. forget about what i said.


3:14 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

would that work for duplicate content as well?


8:01 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

does rewriting in htaccess allow your cookies to track?


9:06 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes it will allow your cookies to track. When the link is clicked the the proper URL is rewriiten in the address bar.


9:13 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

If the aim is to prevent being labelled as an affiliate, I would look elsewhere. Google tends to be sympathetic towards affiliates if they are providing unique and useful content. The indications are that they frown on "standard content" and also if the balance of affiliate links in a page outweighs the natural ratio of content to linking. Additionally, if and when they have this often-talked about level of "human eye" interaction, a balance of views is also probably an advantage.

That last one is in debate as to whether they use it, but if they do, or will in the future, then it's natural to assume they will look for a level of critique and unbiased opinion on products in my view. Even if they don't, this surely has to be the aim of any automated algo in the long run.

An affiliate should in my view accept a responsibility to ensure that potential customers end up with a good product and anything that one can do to achieve this will not only assist the way SE's view the site long term, but will also benefit the affiliate in terms of reputation and, consequently, revenue.

In my market, there are all too many affiliates who simply wax lyrical about a product without indicating any potential disadvantages/pitfalls (and believe me, they are many to the uninitiated)...they probably see it as a quick buck...but this is counter-productive in the long term, even the short term. An affiliate who can differentiate themselves by proving some knowledge and recognition that not everything is ideal for everyone will gain more respect and loyalty and should, in theory, gain the long term advantage. An affiliate site presented in this manner can actually enhance a product's offering.

Of course, this will only be fully appreciated once Google (etc) has found the way to represent this value added approach within SERPS which may be some time away, but it must surely be a goal.


[edited by: Simsi at 9:22 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2006]


9:27 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Simsi I agree with you and the above solution is not meant to deceive. We use this solution on a site that has thousands of unique articles, in fact we won't link to the product until we have done a unique product article and give shoopers the oppurtunity to write a review on the product.

I actually perceive our site to be better than that of the supplier we use.


2:28 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>Google tends to be sympathetic towards affiliates if they are providing unique and useful content.<<<<

Sorry but that's a crock...the only affiliates Google hasn't penalized as yet are those they haven't discovered


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