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Affiliate Links inside PHP redirect script - spam?

8:00 pm on Oct 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We know "sneaky redirects" are a hot topic with Google. Even the Quality Rater's manual, on page 136, uses a CJ link as an example of a "sneaky redirect". I am now worried about housing my affiliate links in a php script (which I have done for years).

In my niche, I still see at least one website ranking very, very well for a very competitive financial phrase, with nearly 10 affiliate links on their homepage. They are nofollowed, but they aren't housed in a redirect script. This tells me that some affiliate links may be ok, but the method of implementation could cause problems. I did notice Google trying to spider my php script several times back in April/May as if it were analyzing the redirects and their intent. This also showed up in my WMT spider data as extremely large spikes in "time spent downloading a page". Then, I was hit by Penguin 1.0, and possibly even the Panda refresh that came 3 days later.

I want to hear from affiliates who house their links in a script, to see if you were hit by Penguin or Panda (I am not sure if this would be a Panda issue or a Penguin issue -- I could see it as either, because it might be construed as "shallow content" or a webspam technique).

I did notice that one of my affiliate links not only got redirected in my php script, but also did two or three redirects at the affiliate network (which I have eliminated as of about 10 days ago).
2:14 am on Oct 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have always found that direct affiliate links are fine with Google as long as you nofollow them. However I have friends who do what you do and that seems to work for them.

I personally prefer not to be caught out cloaking.
4:21 am on Oct 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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I cloak affiliate links for the simple reason that it allows me to track and filter the clicks as needed (i.e. geo location, banned bots etc). I haven't had a problem with the actual cloaking yet.

Affiliate links in general however, wow, it seems if you have too many on a page or too many pages with them then Google will throw the site to the curb in a heart beat.