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I am making a site which is designed to contain a large amount of links to other sites, much like a search engine. I have seen two different approached with regards to linking to external sites.

  1. Simply to link directly to the external content directly from the links on my own site
  2. To redirect to the content via an internal link, such as www.site.com/r/myref123 -> www.internet.com/hello.php

Would anyone be able to tell me what the advantage is with each approach? I am stuck at a crossroads here and can't find much information on which approach I should be using.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you link directly then:

  • You will pass pagerank to other sites (although you could nofollow the links to prevent that)
  • Googlebot will see that you link to other sites which can be a positive quality indicator
  • You won't know when users click the links (although you could add javascript onclick tracking to the links if you needed to)

If you link through a redirect:

  • You will pass pagerank only if the redirect isn't in robots.txt and only if it uses 301 permanent redirects (as opposed to 302 temporary redirects).
  • You can control whether Googlebot sees that you link out (by choosing robots.txt for the redirect)
  • Users clicking on links will hit your server and you can keep logs of clicks.
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A redirect can also make it unclear where the user will end up, when hovering over a link. –  DisgruntledGoat Sep 8 '13 at 2:04
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