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Just wondering what people think about redirecting affiliate links in order to protect the code.
Link text: Visit [Company name] for widgets in Ambrosia
Link destination: http://www.mysite.com/Ambrosiawidgets.html
Redirects to: Related page about widgets in Ambrosia on company website.
I've nofollowed the link as well as the page with the redirect but I'm wondering what Google might think about this. I used to think it was ok, but now I'm not so sure.
Any input would be much appreciated.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:20 pm (utc) on July 22, 2009]
[edit reason] deactivated link [/edit]
The words 'sneaky redirect' reverberate in my head! Also am worried that the Google powers-that-be may think I am trying to hide my affiliate promotions or something. I guess it's just indicative of my obsessive efforts to try and restore my penalised site to its previous position in the rankings.
I've fattened the site up by adding about 300 words of good content to over 100 pages, removed links to dodgy sites, redesigned the site, refined the existing content by removing keyword repetition, removed signature links from travel forums, removed nofollows from image pages.
Don't know what else to do. The site is of much more value to visitors now, but I'm getting impatient and frustrated. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the site, my backlink profile is fine and I'm still stuck in either the 40s, 50s or 60s, depending on the time of day I check.
Sorry, it's just SO frustrating! (Rant over)
Prudence, is the problem that you feel you have a penalty?
The words 'sneaky redirect' reverberate in my head!
As I understand it, "sneaky redirect" refers to doorway type pages that rank in the serps but which take users to another page when clicked.
If you're using Ambrosiawidgets.html simply as an internal redirect page, one that isn't indexed and whose purpose is for click counting and bot blocking as well for redirection, then I don't think that's a "sneaky redirect" in Google's eyes.
If you were promoting Ambrosiawidgets.html, either for organic search or as an AdWords landing page, then that would be a "sneaky redirect."
I think if you used the robots "noindex,nofollow" meta tag on Ambrosiawidgets.html, there would be no ambiguity about organic. If it had an "index,nofollow" meta tag, then Google might rightly wonder about the purpose of the page.
Thanks Tedster, yeah I think I have a penalty. The whole site dropped to 40 + in March for its prime keywords and now yo-yo's between 40 and 70 on a random basis. (never below 70 though) Search for the domain name is fine at number one.
Quite a few of my backlinks point to the domain name, which itself is a popular two word search term for my niche. But I figured this was ok because its the actual name of my site!
I did however notice that the updated GWT shows about 160 backlinks instead of the 250 it displayed in its previous incarnation. (Sorry if I'm going a bit off-topic).
I have run some larger information based websites for years with affiliate programs on them and have never redirected or masked links. I think the fine point here is offering unique content, considering the user first, and not setting up pages for the sole purpose of redirection to an affiliate (which is in the google webmaster guidelines)
I think some affiliates cross the line by literally adding so many banners, top products and marketing items that it appears as through their sole purpose is simply to redirect traffic (and maybe it is)
I agree totally with what you say CainIV, but my main reason was to protect the affiliate code. I'm still unclear even now after 5 years of site admin about the risk of affiliate hijacking and whether or not it is something that should be guarded against.