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Other posts seem to say that use of nofollow is discouraged.
I am interested in whether google might penalize my site by having inbound affiliate links being followed, since they might see me as trying to manipulate page rank.
I can confirm this, but I cannot give details as it was given to me <off the record>. And I can also confirm that the other item they were caught doing is most CERTAINLY in violation of the Google guidelines.
I was also confused somewhat as there was no 'smoking gun' with the EDU stuff. I've gotten clarification and most certainly ANY website would have been nuked if caught doing what they were. I wish I could tell you more, but I respect my sources.
Sorry for that off-topic diversion - we were talking about affiliate links.
Affiliates are not linking to give an unbiased "editorial" citation to their program's home site. There is compensation involved, so the links should not be passing any equity - whether you accomplish that through a nofollow or a scripted solution. At least that's what I get when I think with my Google brain filter turned on.
the merchants with the real blue widgets are outranking me. Am I passing all my link juice to them?
linking to them without using some kind of script masking or nofollow
Using a nofollow will not change the "PR bleed" situation. If the link is there, it takes a share. Nofollow links used to be removed from the equation that divides total PR on the page, but Google changed that a while ago.
"Using a nofollow will not change the "PR bleed" situation. If the link is there, it takes a share. Nofollow links used to be removed from the equation that divides total PR on the page, but Google changed that a while ago. "
What is it you are trying to accomplish? It's not likely you're going to outrank the merchant.
FWIW, as a general rule I cloak and nofollow all affiliate links.
So what happens when you have a page with "ten PageRank points" and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let's leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question.
Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn't count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.
PageRank Sculpting [mattcutts.com]
Sites that dont use them at all. (Signal that they are noobs, how can they haven`t heard of this they must be clueless and probably dont even know what Blackhat is, so leave them alone for now)
Not my understanding at all.
The issue is how much PR circulates back through your site from the other, regular links on the page. Here's the article from Matt Cutts that explains the 2008 change in PageRank calculation when there are nofollow links on the page