June 15, 2012

Why should I nofollow my affiliate links

This post is a response to a comment by a reader.

"Joy said... Thank you for the fantastic tutorial! May I ask about the "no follow" attribute? Is there a link to what that is about? I made an attempt at looking it up in google and my head is spinning. :-) I'm curious as to why it is a good idea and when to use it. (I get the "no follow" thing for comments that could be spammy or paid for links, but I'm new and not understanding putting a no follow on my product links. Thanks again for the super helpful tutorial. I'm going to start implementing it as soon as I have an idea of how I want everything organized."

Thank you Joy! Another reason for adding nofollow to links has to do with Pagerank. Very basically pagerank is a measure of the importance or authority of a page. Part of how this importance is figured is by how many other pages are linking to it. A link to a page is like an endorsement. The higher the rank of the page giving the link the higher the value of the endorsement.

When you link to a page not only are you giving it an endorsement you are also giving it part of the rank of the page you are linking from. Why it is done this way I'm not entirely sure. In the case that a page is just sending out links to any old site especially if the sites aren't very good I could understand the page loosing some authority.

In the case of marketing your Zazzle products or any other affiliate marketing your site will have many links pointing to another site. All those outbound links can drain your authority/pagerank. This is where nofollow can help. It basically tells search engines not to rank to that link. So it's sort of like a patch or putty keeping your page from leaking all over the place :).

Some may think Well I want to pass on authority to my Zazzle shop. However you really want that authority for your website that you are using to promote your products. The reason being if your site has no authority/rank or it's all being leaked out then it will be harder to show up in search. If your page isn't showing up in search, especially the first page, then all the hard work is for nothing.

Customers may find your designs in the Zazzle Marketplace but not at the volume you need. This is why we put our efforts into marketing outside of Zazzle. It is hard enough to get our sites to show up high in search results. We don't want to make it harder will all our product links leaking the life out of our site. This is not to take away from Zazzle whom we love. Zazzle is doing a great job on their end to show up in search. Take a grocery store for instance. They aren't creating the food. They are selling product from another company. If their shelves were just lined with pictures of food with a map to the manufacturer they would just be in the business of promoting the manufacturer for free.

I hope this helps you Joy and everyone else. If I missed anything in these very basic explanations just let me know where you need help. Also remember that the web and search algorithms are ever changing so all this may not apply in the future.


Joy said...

Perfect! I get it now! What is the point of making a site if I give all of my juice to another site, even if the other site is mine too? Right? Plus, the other site in this case (zazzle) has enough juice already. So, I should make sure to use "no follows" and try for back links that direct to my weebly site.
Thank you for such a clear and detailed explanation!

Thomas Abernathy said...

Thank you Joy! I'm glad to have helped and didn't cause confusion. Often my thoughts don't come out as organized as I'm thinking them. Blessings on your new site and your Zazzle endeavor :)

Matt said...

I've been going back and forth with this too. So, I turn to Google to see what others are saying. Your blog came up, giving your control of your traffic - you made your case right there. :)

I think you make a many great points such as needing the volume of traffic. Zazzle does do a good job at SEO but that traffic get distributed to over a Billion products! I have one poster that made it on a main subcategory page and that product does well. The others, not so much. lol

Thanks for helping me make my mind up!

Thomas Abernathy said...

Thank you Matt! Yes Zazzle does do a good job at SEO but that helps the Zazzlw website as a whole. Each shopkeeper must use SEO on their own blogs or websites to help get exposure for their own products. Optimizing your site's SEO is also a great way to stay productive during times we may be suffering from designer's block :)

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