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Thread: can google follow links inside forms?

  1. #1
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    can google follow links inside forms?

    I want to hide a link going through a banner ad.

    Will this hide the link:

    <form method="GET" action="http://www.othersite.com">

    <input src="bannerad.gif" name="I1" alt="go to other site" width="468" height="60"

    type="image">

    </form>

    If it will, why isn't this a more commonly discussed method for hiding links rather than javascript?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Because you need some pretty crazy CSS to get a form to look like a text link (its possible though).

    The best way to do this is to run it through a redirect script though.
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
    Content Sites: ABCDFGHIJKLMNOP|Forums: ABCD EF|Ecommerce: Swords Knives

  3. #3
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    No Google does not follow forms. Allow ways of doing it is using Javascript

    Cheers

  4. #4
    Registered fatnewt's Avatar
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    Relying on JavaScript for links isn't good for usability/accessibility concerns.

    Aspen's right, a redirect script would be the best way to go.

  5. #5
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    Just to make sure to allay my google penalty paranoia ...

    Are you saying that google cannot follow a script that reads a database to find a URL?

    So if you have a URL http://www.mydomain.com/gohere.php?id=23

    and then in 'gohere.php' you read the database to get the URL matching '23' and then use this URL for a header/location transfer.

    Is this enough to hide from google?

    My apologies if this seems simple but in this case I am not so much worried about PR leak as I am about attracting some penalty from google (which would hurt me a lot).

  6. #6
    Registered Member incka's Avatar
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    I think google might tranfer PR to gohere.php...

  7. #7
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    >>I think google might tranfer PR to gohere.php...

    In my particular case that is ok because gohere.php is still on-site and the main thing I am actually trying to achieve is to stop google knowing where I am linking to.

    However, if my example does transfer PR to gohere.php then how can you have a transfer script without this happening and without javascript which as fatnewt points out can cause usability issues for those with javascript switched off?

  8. #8
    Registered GCT13's Avatar
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    You could put gohere.php in a directory that is disallowed by robots.txt.
    ....

  9. #9
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Yes, and if you do that no PR will be lost.
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
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  10. #10
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    Originally posted by GCT13
    You could put gohere.php in a directory that is disallowed by robots.txt.
    Another solution I thought of for this is to not have a specific 'gohere.php' to handle the redirection but instead just include the redirection as part of your index page or another regular internal page or directory and then there is no worry about losing PR.

    You could just put it in an include file if you were worried about it cluttering up your code.

  11. #11
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    Just to update this, on two separate sites I put the destination URL inside a MySql database and then had an image redirection link with the key of the record containing the destination URL.

    These links are showing up in the backlinks so google is following the link even though the URL is being read from a database and redirected.

    My sole aim in this is to avoid a cross-linking penalty, not to avoid PR transfer, and so far the sites have got a good PR boost and not suffered a penalty. In fact it is even possible that they have received a 'boost' because of being in a particular 'neighborhood' (if such a thing happens).

    Anyway I just thought I would let you know.

    I might hide the image inside a form next and see if that can hide the link from google.

  12. #12
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Did you block the redirect script with robots.txt
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
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  13. #13
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    No, unfortunately I did not use robots.txt to block the redirect script. I should try that before I move to the forms method. Thanks.

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