Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I run a large publishing platform where authors post articles and most of the time, add sources. I use my own PHP redirector for these external links, so if they add a source, it will be linked like:

http://mydomain.com/l.php?r=http://source.com

I have been reading at numerous places that having redirects on the page, particularly if it is many, is very harmful for SEO. Is this true?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Redirecting external links in this day and age is a bit dated and to be honest it's best to avoid. While there is no evidence supporting that it does harm SEO its always best to avoid unconventional ways, you simple can't predict if Google or not will interment this as a slight slap at a future date.

Google has said a few times that they prefer transparent external links since this helps users estiblish where they are going before they leave. I know that redirecting using the ?="url" still allows people to see the end result it also takes a few seconds of thought and to be honest I don't think that's what Google wants - Sadly Google does what it wants and holds us designers/webmasters at there mercy and this is why I advise anyone to avoid redirects, cloaking, javascripts of any short. There is no reason why to use these types of links as there are legit and friendly ways of doing this which I will get on to.

The method you should think about

Most people want to use the redirect method because they believe it doesn't leak link juice. This is non-sense. Google can see it redirects and regardless of if its nofollow or follow still juice gets leaked. Now the problem with any links are they revalant to the page content on the page? it's not a matter of leaking juice, or anything of the sort as I've explained this is unavoidable unless your using blackhat cloaking.

Now the problem is people commenting, adding links which have no revalancy between the link and your page, in effect this can harm authorithy. Now the work around to this problem is simple, 2 methods.

Method 1) Administrate your pages and remove peoples URLS that is not helpful to your site, after all your after peoples comments and not their links.

Alternatively if you want people linking then this will help

Method 2) HTML5 - Still not many people are learning about the benefits of HTML5, with HTML5 it allows us to link out without harming the content of the page thanks to a call element called ASIDE which I'll give you an example of how this works.

Example of HTML5 With Links that are useful for users and about the article:

<article>
    <header>
        <hgroup>
            <h1>How to Use HTML5</h1>
            <h2>A beginners guide to HTML5</h2>
        </hgroup>
    </header>
    <p>I am the article about HTML5 Website Design</p>
    <aside>
        <ul>
            <li><a href="#" title="">USEFUL HTML5 LINK</a></li>
            <li><a href="#" title="">USEFUL HTML5 LINK</a></li>
            <li><a href="#" title="">USEFUL HTML5 LINK</a></li>
            <li><a href="#" title="">USEFUL HTML5 LINK</a></li>
        </ul>
    </aside>
    <footer>
        <p>You can use the footer to end the article with publish date, author</p>
    </footer>
</article> <!-- The Article has ended now you can links that you are concerned about
    <aside>
        <ul>
            <li><a href="#" rel="nofollow" title="">NOT USEFUL LINK</a></li>
            <li><a href="#" rel="nofollow" title="">NOT USEFUL LINK</a></li>
            <li><a href="#" rel="nofollow" title="">NOT USEFUL LINK</a></li>
            <li><a href="#" rel="nofollow" title="">NOT USEFUL LINK</a></li>
        </ul>
    </aside>

Right, so you can see the above if you notice I have 2 ASIDE elements one within the article and one without. Basically the one in the article will add value to the page while the ones outside are nofollow and since the aside is not contained within the article Google will see this as NOT RELEVANT links meaning that your page authority means unaffected.

Additional Notes: If your redirecting for monitoring of people exiting pages then I suggest you just use a GOOD Stats monitor ;)

share|improve this answer
    
This is a stellar respond, which is why I am marking this answer as correct instead. –  Christine Cooper Feb 20 '13 at 16:49
add comment

Using redirects to track external links is not harmful to SEO in any case that I have ever encountered.

If you put l.php in robots.txt it might prevent Googlebot from crawling the links and discovering these resources. Of course, if these links are submitted by users, you probably want to nofollow them anyway so that users have less incentive to spam your site.

Having some external links on your site that are crawlable could be an indication to Google that you are an authority site. This is because Google discovers which sites on the internet are the best sites by knowing who links to them. I believe that Google rewards sites that are willing to recommend other sites so that Google's algorithms continue to work.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you for the answer. Can you please define your last statement, Having some external links on your site that are crawlable could be an indication to Google that you are an authority site. I don't understand why...? –  Christine Cooper Jan 29 '13 at 17:01
    
Added more explanation in this area. –  Stephen Ostermiller Jan 29 '13 at 17:04
    
Alright of course, makes perfect sense. I do link external sites without redirects but those are not user submitted. –  Christine Cooper Jan 29 '13 at 17:05
    
Best to avoid to be honest, see my alternative method with reasons given. –  bybe Jan 29 '13 at 18:12
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.