Link-Cloak presentation transcript
How to Cloak Links and Redirect URLs
with the Abacus Link-Cloak
Redirecting a URL requires a knowledge of programming, and takes time and care.
’Link-Cloak’ obviates the need for programming skills, and is quick and easy.
Watch and see just how quick and easy it is to:
- Increase visitors by making complex, meaningless web addresses simple and easily memorable
- Increase clicks by making cryptic, “ugly” URLs intelligible and attractive to visitors
- Make long, coded URLs relevant to their page content and thereby search engine-friendly
- Increase page rank by optimizing back-links from external web sites
- Hide affiliate links to protect commissions from hijackers and cynics
- Defeat spam-bots that harvest e-mail addresses from web sites
To redirect poor URLs to useful web addresses, all you need to do is fill in a few blanks in a form. The Abacus Link-Cloak software creates coded files and uploads them to your web site to attain the desired result. (Actual URLs are unaffected.)
“www.zzounds.com/item–LUDLJR106” is a poor URL. A visitor cannot see what it is about without visiting the site. It’s irrelevant to search engines.
These fields change this URL into the useful one:
These fields specify the web page’s title and the anchor text to appear in a clickable link.
Click ‘Generate file(s)’ to create the coded files, ‘Upload’ to upload them to your web site, and ‘Generate link’ to create a clickable link.
Click ‘Copy’ and use the clickable link anywhere.
The redirection methods available are:
1. HTML metatag, 2. HTML iframe, 3. PHP,4. ASP, 5. .htaccess.
Use the method most appropriate for your requirements.
- HTML metatag: Use this where no security is required. The target URL can be seen easily.
- HTML iframe: The ‘Redirect’ URL appears in browsers, instead of the target URL. Use this where little security is required. If the Encode checkbox is marked, the target URL is coded in hexadecimal format, impossible to be read by casual observation in the source code.
- PHP: Web server must run PHP. (Most do.) High security. Source code cannot be seen.
- ASP: Web server must run ASP. (Windows.) High security. Source code cannot be seen.
- .htaccess: Can contain file names without extensions, e.g., “…/drums/juniordrumkit” instead of “…/drums/juniordrumkit.html“. High security. Source code cannot be seen.
You can choose:
temporary (302) or permanent (301) redirection with the PHP, ASP and .htaccess methods.
Temporary redirection is suitable if the target URL may change, such as an affiliate link, or a promotional link to a third-party web site, or to make an obscure URL more memorable and user-friendly (and thus more easily found in search engines).
Permanent redirection is suitable in most other cases, such as when a domain name changes, or when there are back-links from external web sites. (Search engines will transfer any page rank and “link juice” from the old URL to the new one, and will update its index with the new URL at its next visit.)
Features of the .htaccess redirection method.
The file extension (.html, .php, .asp, etc.) can be omitted from the file name by marking the ‘Omit page extension’ checkbox. This makes the URL look smarter and more easily memorable. In this case, the poor URL “http://www.zzounds.com/item–ALESR18” is shown as “http://www.zzounds.com/drums/alesisdrummachine”.
As many URLs as you wish can be coded into a single .htaccess file. One .htaccess file can exist in each sub-folder of your web site. So, for example, you can have a single file listing all your drum products’ URLs in a “drums” sub-folder, another file listing guitar products’ URLs in a “guitars” sub-folder, etc.
The ‘Generate link’ button creates a list of links for all the rows that are currently selected in the table.
Simplifying the URLs of category pages.
Let’s say that you have a web site with some pages that have content about a category of products, rather than a specific product: for example, “drums” in general.
Similarly to the .htaccess method for specific products, which can omit the file extension (.html, .php, .asp, etc.), there’s a way to omit the entire file name for “category” web pages. This makes the URL look smarter and more easily memorable.
Just call the file name “index” or “default” with a valid file extension, and mark the ‘Omit page name’ checkbox.
The ‘Generate link’ button creates a link for the name of the sub-folder only, but clicking the link opens the “index” or “default” file in a browser by default.
In this example, the poor URL “http://www.zzounds.com/cat–2463” is displayed as the excellent URL “http://www.zzounds.com/drums”.
Opening the redirected URL in a new window.
Sometimes you’ll want the cloaked web address to display the web site in a new browser window.
This ensures that the visitor stays on your own web site when the redirection URL leads to someone else’s web site, such as an affiliate link or promotional link.
To make the redirected web address open a new browser window, mark the ‘New’ checkbox.
This particular example will open the affiliate link
in a new browser window which will display the visible link
“http://www.cheap-drums.com/products/zzounds.htm” in its URL bar.
(This is because the ‘iframe’ method is selected. If any other method were selected, the URL bar would show the actual affiliate link.)
Adding tracking code to redirected web pages.
Tracking code tells you how visitors move through your web site and what they do there.
If you use affiliate links, you can check which visitors clicked your links, and when they clicked them. Then you can compare your statistics against those of your affiliate program provider.
Some tracking code needs to go into thesection of the page, such as Google Analytics, and other into the section, such as StatCounter.
Tracking code can be used with all ‘Redirection Methods’ except ‘.htaccess’.
To “www” or not to “www”?
It is important to decide whether you prefer your web site to be indexed in the search engines either with or without the “www.” prefix.
If you do not specify a preference, your web site’s Page Rank and “link juice” from external back-links will be diluted, lowering its position in the search results pages.
Mark the first or second ‘Domain’ checkbox to redirect the non-www version of your web site’s URL to the www version or vice-versa, respectively.
In this example, a visitor typing “cheap-drums.com” in the browser’s URL bar will be directed instantly to “www.cheap-drums.com”.
Clicking the ‘Why?’ link leads to full details of this subject at the Google web site.
Uploading and testing the redirected URLs.
By clicking the ‘Upload’ button, you can upload the generated files directly in the Link-Cloak software interface from your computer to your web site.
You can also test the redirection immediately by clicking the ‘Test’ button.
If the redirection does not behave as you want it to, just adjust the values in the form accordingly until it does.
It is very quick and easy to get the result you want.
Encoded URLs and e-mail links.
Everyone hates e-mail spam. If no one ever responded to the junk, it’d eventually die out… possibly. Until that wondrous day comes, we can reduce the amount of spam that we receive by cloaking all our e-mail links (or any sensitive text) that we display on our web sites.
Why? Because the Web teems with little creepy-crawly creatures, called “spam-bots”, that constantly scan web sites for e-mail addresses. They harvest them, store them in a database from which they are never removed, which is then sold or used over and over again by spammers, the scourge of the Internet.
You can, however, defeat the spam-bots! They cannot read an e-mail address if it is encoded, but humans can. All encoders we know use decimal coding. If spammers ever devise a decoder, it’ll be for decimal encoding. That’s why Abacus encodes in hexadecimal format.
Mark the ‘E-mail link’ checkbox to encode a clickable e-mail address, or unmark it for any other type of text.