Hidden Links

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Someone is linking to me like this:
<a href="http://www.mysite.com "> </a>. That's all: no title, no anchor text,
just nothing. The guy has at least 20 outgoing links presented in the same
fashion on his PR6 main page that he is using for backlinks.  If we forget
about the ethics (this guy has anyway), do I get any PR from this kind of a
blank (blind, hidden, fictitious, etc.) link?  Also, can I be penalized for
linking to that kind of a page which manipulates the very idea of linking?
It is so easy for search engines to spot...  Thanks for your input.

Re: Hidden Links

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The link includes a space character as the anchor text so I suspect that it
works technically and may also initially credit some PR to you.
As you point out it is link spam and this may mean that the net benefit may
be nullified in some way either by reducing the PR credited to zero or
perhaps by multiplying the PR by zero 'information' value.  It is not your
fault that someone has linked to you like this and you will not be harmed by
this.  However you run a real risk of being harmed if you link back to such
as site, as this is an active action by yourself which may be interpreted as
participation in a link scheme.  If you need to send your visitors to that
site because it has content that your visitors need to see then use
rel="nofollow" on your outgoing links.   The same concern applies to fan
sites that put links to you from every page on their site.  Never active
link back TO such a site as it looks like you have paid for the links, even
though the web owner has done it out of innocent and seemingly over-generous

Best regards, Eric.

Re: Hidden Links

Such an exhaustive reply!  Very informative and useful.  Thanks Eric!

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Re: Hidden Links

On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 18:26:04 GMT, "John Cluster"

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I don't know, my guess would be you'd get the PR, but only time will

Penalty wise, I doubt it will result in a problem, loads of webmasters
uses WYSIWYG type editors that add links like this by accident, I see
them all the time on new client sites.

I've assumed they'll add a link, move it in someway that creates a
copy lacking anchor text, possibly by trying to delete a copy of the
link, but only deleting the anchor text. Then they delete the copy
with anchor text and since they don't see the anchor text free link
they are left with a hidden link!

If every link is like this though sounds like the webmaster is trying
to add links without his visitors seeing them. I'd not exchange links
with them.

I wouldn't link to a page with a (accidental) hidden link to my site,
from the site the page is linking to, just to be on the safe side. I'd
also let the webmaster know they have those links as well.

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