Friday I received a very interesting Email from Jordan Bass of nRelate. His Email was a pitch on why I should use nRelate instead of Link Within to offer readers related content when they read articles on my blog. At first I was a little taken back by the approach but the very first thing he mentioned was something I didn’t know:
I noticed you are running Linkwithin on your site and many publishers do not know that on each click, Linkwithin first sends readers through their own site and then back to your site, which negatively affects your SEO, making your site more difficult for readers to find on Google (article on this below).
So I decided to check to see if this claim was true though I didn’t use my history as his Email went on to suggest, I just right clicked the link and pasted it into notepad. While the URL renders properly when you hover over one of the links, when it is copied you get a different output and it turns out Jordan is correct.
but when I right click the URL that is highlighted in the picture and paste the actual link into notepad, this is where it really goes:
Now I understand that Jordan wants me to use nRelate because I might allow adds that they (and I) would get paid for (sorry Jordan, I have zero plans to put ads on my blog). But what about LinkWithin, why would they want to hurt my SEO? How are they cashing in on that traffic? Turns out they aren’t the only way I can tell that they benefit is by the back links which I suppose places them in a strong position when/if they roll out a advertising product (I would love to hear a more official SEO analysis of this effect beyond the obvious). According to the LinkWithin site they plan to add revenue sharing features in the future, but they will be optional:
There are two real alternatives to Linkwithin that I could find. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) and nRelate. I’ve used YARPP before and I am not warm and fuzzy about nRelate based on a number of people in the very blog post that Jordan referred me to have commented that it doesn’t always render the thumbnails, etc. I don’t actually mind a plugin publisher getting some benefit out of me using their free plugin, but I want it to be reasonable and above board. I am not strongly convinced either way that this is quite as big of a deal as Jordan would like me to think it is.
Mind Helping me Out?
What would you do if you were me? Do you even use the related posts options? Do you think anyone is actually clicking those links? Hard core SEO types, what is your take? Is this being blown out of proportion by their competitor?