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As I mentioned before in my questions I'm doing an SEO analysis of a rather large adult site. I've so far analysed 20 of our competitors (often 2 or 3 at a time owned by the same company) and their outlinking policy is really strange...

All of these websites work with thumbnail galleries that link out to other sites. I understand this is some kind of trade, where the owner of a gallery submits their thumbs to a bigger site and has them link to his site, in trade for a link back from him to the bigger site. All of these links go through an out.php (or similar) script, probably tracking the statistics and stuff.

However, none of these have a nofollow, but instead do a 302 redirect. This surprised me, because it doesn't pass pagerank but it also doesn't tell google these are traded (affiliate-like) links. What's up with that?

As expected most internal links are direct links (one or two exceptions, where the same 302 is used... they must not know about SEO), but also ALMOST ALL advertisers links are direct links?? Where a gallery is 'regular content', albeit traded, an advertisement is not at all worth spilling pagerank to and not setting a nofollow is severely frowned upon by google (if we must believe the SEO experts).

Are these people unaware of common SEO practice? Do totally different rules count for adult sites?

Is it advisable to follow their example, or should I stick to the rules I've always learned (some content-related outlinks are ok, ads & affiliates should be nofollowed)? Any insight in this is welcome.

(Obviously I don't really want to provide links here, but take your favorite gallery site and I can almost guarantee you they have the same strange outlinking strategy...)

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

SEO isn't everything. The sites that are linking out almost certainly aren't concerned about their rankings. They want top dollar for those links and nofollow is how you do that. The revenue they make from those links is probably a better ROI then trying to rank well and derive revenue from ads or some other method.

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Hmm, that's an option I hadn't looked at yet. Do you think there are many advertisers that actually request followed links? –  Stephan Muller Jan 20 '11 at 15:51
    
Yes. Many websites request links for SEO purposes rather then hoping to receive traffic nowadays. That's why Google is penalizing sites that don't nofollow paid links. They don't want people buying their way to the top of the rankings. –  John Conde Jan 20 '11 at 16:02

The adult industry does an incredible amount of research to associate average income with people who like (genre). I'm not going to go into specifics, but they know that someone who likes [stuff] and [otherstuff] from [country] probably makes approximately [income].

This puts a premium on traffic trading. It isn't just the link, it's the expected quality of traffic that any particular thumbnail will produce. SEO has very, very little to do with this.

The end goal is to increase affiliate conversions. They want traffic that is likely to go to their partner's site and sign up, thus making money for everyone involved. Traffic that does little more than burn bandwidth is actually costly and undesirable.

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