A linking strategy should be part of every SEO planâ€™s roadmap. But, â€œbuyer bewareï¿½?, even if you are trading links. Below are some things to look out for when another website wants to sell you a link, or trade links. These things will devalue your links SEO benefit, if not completely eliminate it.
Before agreeing to anything, you should analyze their website for the following:
Robots Meta Tags â€“ If the noindex and nofollow appears in the meta tags, then that means the search engines will not index the webpage. Thus, even though you have a link on the page, it doesnâ€™t count for SEO purposes.
Rel=nofollow Attributes – This tells the search engines not to follow that link. And is a big fat zero for SEO.
Redirected Linksâ€“ Your link wonâ€™t point directly to your webpage.
Rotating Link List â€“ As more links appear on the page, your link gets pushed further downward. Thus, reducing itâ€™s SEO value.
Old Cache – If the cache is old, then it means the SEâ€™s havenâ€™t visited the page in a while. The page your link is on is probably worthless.
Link Farms â€“ These typically have a large amount of links grouped into categories on the same page. The search engines consider these types of webpages spam. A link on a link farm can actually hurt you.
Cloaking – cloaking is the process of providing a page to people while providing a different page to search engines. You could be seeing your link on the Web page, but the search engines could possibly never see the link because they are provided with a different copy. Checking Google’s cache is the only way to catch this. Or check to see if they have a ROBOTS NO ARCHIVE meta tag. Thatâ€™s a clue that they might employ cloaking.
Robots.txt â€“Make sure the webpage your link is on isnâ€™t being excluded by the robots.txt file.
Meta Tags and Robots.txt Confusion – which instructions have the most weight? If they conflict, the page Meta tags are typically considered the rule to follow.
Link in the Header or noscript Tag â€“ This is a trick to fool scripts or programs designed to verify the links exist. The programs read the code, and will see the link. However, a human will not see the link on the page.
Empty Anchors â€“ This can be an honest mistake. The link exists. But, no one will see it.