By now you should be getting a feel for how Google weighs up the value of a link. However, a link will only pass-on juice if it’s the right ‘type’ of link.

In an ideal world all inbound links would be static and text-based. Failing that image-based links come a close second; as long as you use the alt attribute.

The vast majority of links naturally fall into the above categories, but there are some types of link which are of little or no SEO value, avoid the following five:

  1. Robots.txt links The simplest way for webmasters to prevent search engines from crawling a page is by using robots.txt. And if a page isn’t being crawled’ it means that none of the links can be crawled…with the result that you won’t get any link love. You can check whether a page is in robots.txt by typing the root URL into your browser’s address bar and add /robots.txt to the end. Then check through the robots.txt file to see which pages have been blocked and approach the webmaster to see if your link can be moved to another location.
  1. No follow links The no follow attribute was developed by Google to help combat link spam. When optimisers started to understand the importance of inbound links to Google’s search algorithm the spammers weren’t far behind.Every type of collaborative website (from wikis to blogs and forums) was targeted by unethical webmasters hoping to drop links. And for a while it worked, until the no follow attribute came along. The no follow attribute allows spiders to follow a link, but ensures that PageRank is not passed-on.To check if a link has been no followed right click on a webpage and ‘view source’ in the dropdown menu. You’ll then be faced with a page of HTML code which you can search to find your URL.

    If you don’t yet have a link, and are thinking of approaching the webmaster to request one, search for an existing outbound link in a likely position.

    The no follow attribute is added to the end of the URL as follows:

    <a href=”http://” rel=”nofollow”>

    These days Content Management Systems often add the attribute automatically and webmasters may be unaware that they aren’t passing on any link love. You’ll also find plenty of backlink analysis tools that can slurp through your links and pinpoint any that are ‘no followed’.

  1. JavaScript & Flash links Google recently announced they had made some headway in their ability to process JavaScript and Flash. However, they have still got a long way to go. Add-in the fact that JavaScript links have long been used by savvy SEOs as a kind of homemade ‘no follow’, and you can begin to understand why JavaScript and Flash links should still be given a wide berth.To check if a link is in Flash or JavaScript hover your cursor over the link in question and right click your mouse. If the link is in Flash, the standard Flash menu will appear.Identifying JavaScript links is a much more complicated business. Again you start by right clicking to ‘view source’ and then you may have to call in the cavalry… or at least a technical brain who already knows what to look for.
  1. Framed links Google doesn’t like frames and has marked difficulty crawling framed websites. The result is that spiders often give-up and might not even get as far as the page your link is placed on.The easiest way to spot a website which uses frames is to navigate your way through the site while keeping an eye on the URL in the browser address bar. If the URL doesn’t change as you click from page to page; it has been built with frames.
  1. Redirected links From time to time you find links which are redirected through a third party website before arriving at the ‘intended’ destination. Typically such links are part of an affiliate marketing program, and while they won’t do your site any harm; all that bouncing around means they won’t do it any good either.To check if a link is redirected click on the suspect link while paying close attention to the URL in your browser’s address bar. A redirected URL will quickly travel through a third-party address en route to the destination URL. Be warned: it all happens very quickly.

    If you have any questions please get in touch with our link building team or feel free to add comments below.

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