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Identifying links that arenít links


Someone gets a link to his site from another site with a high PageRank, perhaps a perfectly related site, and is excited: Thatís a great vote for his site, isnít it? Then some jerk, perhaps me, has to burst his bubble and point out that, actually, no, itís not going to have the slightest effect on his site because it turns out the link is not a link. When is a link not a link? In cases such as these:

  • The link has been created such that the search engines canít read it.
  • The link points somewhere else, perhaps to a program on someone
    elseís Web site, which then forwards the browser to your site.


Here is an example:
http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6523085;7971444;q?http://www.yoursite.com

This link passes through an ad server hosted by an advertising company called DoubleClick. When someone clicks this link, which may be placed on a banner ad, for instance, a message goes to a program on the ad.doubleclick.net ad server, which logs the click and then forwards the browser to www.yourdomain.com. You may think this is a link to www.yourdomain.com, and it may work like one, but as far as the search engine is concerned, itís really a link to ad.doubleclick.net.

Related SEO Tips

Why are Links so Powerful?
Links from other webmasters are viewed by search engines as unbiased third party votes.

Importance of Number of Links on the Page
Any page only has a certain amount of link popularity which it can redistribute to other pages.

How many links do I need?
Your inbound link-building activities fall into two groups: active and passive.