Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.231.228.109

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Linking to untrusted sources

     
5:30 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:May 9, 2007
posts:876
votes: 0


I run a community, for which we have "competitors" and I put the term in quotes, because I don't really see them as competitors anymore, actually I am quite content with the fact they exist. Historically we have not allowed our members to post links to these competitor websites and vise-versa. Some of the websites actually go to the extent of changing our website name to something childish. Imagine Pinterest of Facebook doing this?!

Moving forward, I want to give members the freedom to link to their other profiles if they wish. It's not as though our members do not know about the existence of these other sites and many are members of multiple communities.

However, not all of the communities are trusted and do some questionable things. I don't want to link to these websites and pass link juice on to them, largely because I don't want Google to frown upon the fact we're linking to questionable sources. Obviously we can add "nofollow" to the external links. But is there a smarter way to do this? a redirect of some kind?
7:08 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 30, 2008
posts:2630
votes: 191


You could link to a script with target URL being passed as a parameter. This script can then redirect to target page and should also be blocked in robots.txt

For example, if you want to link out to www.example.com/some-page , then the link on your page would point to:

<a href="/redirect-script.php?target=www.example.com/some-page">some outbound link</a>

The /redirect-script.php would be blocked in your robots.txt.

Your redirect-script.php would get the URL from target= parameter and respond with 301 redirect to www.example.com/some-page
7:26 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:May 9, 2007
posts:876
votes: 0


Thanks Aakk999, I did this once for an affiliate website I ran, but wasn't sure if it was totally above board. So this wouldn't trigger any issues with Google?
8:30 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 30, 2008
posts:2630
votes: 191


There will be no issue with Google. In fact, Google recommends this as one of methods (bolded by me):

[support.google.com...] can prevent PageRank from passing in several ways, such as:

- Adding a rel="nofollow" attribute to the <a> tag
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
10:52 pm on Aug 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:May 9, 2007
posts:876
votes: 0


Thanks a lot, perfect!
5:49 am on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 29, 2007
posts:2014
votes: 215


Almost perfect, all of your intermediate links will be indexed in Google with a 'we can't crawl this page because of robots.txt' type description.

The other option is to simply nofollow user generated external links which is also something recommended by Matt. He suggests that you only allow trusted members to post links without nofollow once they have proven themselves on your site. User generated links in general are a danger to your rankings, Google doesn't trust them.