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I have an affiliate program that is hosted on a different site and server. It is an eCommerce site that accepts payments for my products. So all my affiliate links are pointing to this eCommerce site and then subsequently 301 redirected to my site. The route is "link->eCommerce->301->my site".

I read that it's okay for ranking and Google considers this as a backlink to my site (correct me if I am wrong). However I don't see these links in my Google Webmaster Tools account and that's what I am concerned about. I can see other (direct) links, but not these with redirect. Maybe it is because I added my site to WMT only about 20 days ago?

When I test affiliate links with HttpFox I see that eCommerce site also does some POSTs to ocsp.verisign.com while redirecting to my site. Not sure if this can be a problem?

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From Google's help document about links to your site in webmaster tools:

Not all links to your site may be listed. This is normal.

I've seen many webmasters complaining about how incomplete this data is.

Googlebot does follow links through 301 redirects and even passes Pagerank across them. Links through 301 redirect should show up in the link report according to their help document:

Link counts now include links redirected using 301 or 302 redirects.

When links don't show up, it is probably worth doing a little more investigating. You may want to check the following:

  • Is anything in the path blocked by robots.txt. Either the place where the link is located, or the URL that does the 301 redirect? If either of those block Googlebot from crawling, Googlebot will never find the links to your site.
  • Bots don't usually submit POST requests. The POSTs that you mention may be a problem. Check that the links on the eCommerce site are normal <a href links and are not submitted through a POST form.
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