[ic] Spiders and affiliate tracking

Jamie Neil jamie at versado.net
Tue Jan 6 11:57:39 EST 2004

We've recently been having problems with various spiders (Googlebot and 
Teoma in particular) following affiliate tracking links (like Google 
adwords) to our site.

Apart from the annoyance that these are PPC links and it costs money 
when a robot clicks through, we also end up with a number of affiliate 
links being indexed by the search engines e.g.:


which screws up the affiliate tracking and can cause problems with some 
search engines that try to eliminate "duplicate" pages (they eliminate 
the wrong page).

I'm currently trying out a possible solution, which I thought I would 
post here in case anyone is having the same problem. Please feel free to 
shoot it full of holes:

I've add the following code to the top of every page (I have a "TOP" 
template that is included in every page so I do it there):

<meta name="robots" content="[if type=explicit compare=|q/[data session 
source]/ ne ''|]noindex,follow[else]index,follow[/else][/if]">

The result of this (hopefully) is that spiders which come in on an 
affiliate link will not add the page to the search engine index, but 
will still follow links to other pages within the site. Session ids are 
already supressed for known spiders so that shouldn't be a problem.

If this doesn't work (for example if the search engines stop indexing 
the non affiliate page too) then I guess I'll have to find another way 
of tracking affiliate codes, like using doorway pages or action maps.

Jamie Neil | <jamie at versado.net> | 0870 7777 454
Versado I.T. Services Ltd. | http://versado.net/ | 0845 450 1254

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