Nofollow is a tool released today by UK performance marketing network, Paid On Results. It gives advertisers a way to control the links coming into their site, by offering the option to follow or ‘nofollow’ them.

Paid On Results explains that brands may choose to unfollow links based on the ‘dubious’ advice given to them by SEO agencies. Apparently, some firms are telling advertisers that the reason for ranking drops is down to affiliate links.

Graeme Sandwell, technical director at Paid On Results, believes publishers are being falsely branded as a scapegoat by SEO companies and that the murky linking practices undertaken by these agencies might instead be to blame.

“Affiliates’ links have always been an easy target for these agencies, despite the fact the cause is more likely to be the thousands of dodgy links that an SEO agency brought for the merchant last year to boost rankings,” Sandwell said.

Authority Information Blocked

Nofollow is a piece of code that asks a search engine to not follow a link. The net result is the link will fail to pass on page rank or authority information, which are both used by Google to calculate where a site sits in the search engine results pages.

The code adds the HTTP X-Robots Tag header to request search engines do not follow the affiliate link, but LBi’s media innovations director, Andrew Girdwood, feels the Nofollow tool might not actually be necessary.

“Paid On Results’ nofollow tool is a great idea even though I doubt the tool is really needed,” Girdwood surmised. “Google’s perfectly able to spot affiliate links and treat them accordingly. Affiliates know this all too well.”

Avoid Agency Clashes

However, Girdwood did go on to say the tool could avoid potential conversations between brand and agency on the state of the links being posted on a brand’s website.

“When an SEO agency starts to point fingers, blaming affiliate publishers, then brands need answers,” he said. “The nofollow tool gives clients that resolution and sidesteps a childish “Does not. Does too,” argument between network and agency.”

Paid On Results’ Nofollow tool is available to advertisers and publishers through the network’s control panel.