A Case For Non Linking Urls

Filed in Blog by on July 6, 2015

 

One of my peers received a notice in GWT (Google Webmaster Tools) whilst he was looking through for crawl errors on his website.

This is when he found a link (which was broken) and bizarrely, the link was coming from a site that only had his website pasted in as a raw url, ie. http://www.site.com within the body text of an article.

The point in question is that the link wasn’t actually clickable.

… but Google still picked it up and notified him of the link error (because it was broken, not because it was clickable) in GWT.

 
Note: To make a link clickable, you need to add some html code, i.e. < a href="http://www.sitename.com"> Anchor Text Here < /a>

 
 

How This Benefits You

 
Well, when it comes to local SEO, Citations (Name, Address, Phone number) are the one of the factors that Google is looking for to rank a business higher in the 7 pack – a.k.a. Google My Business maps listings.

But citations themselves are NOT clickable.

 

* Any light bulb moments going off? *

 

Put simply, if Google gives credit for a non clickable citation, would it also give credit for a raw url put into a non clickable link?

We decided to test it…

 
 

Test Results

 
Our results showed that:

1. There was no direct ranking benefit – which stands to reason as otherwise this strategy would get widely abused, e.g. in blog comments.

 
BUT
 

2. We do believe that it’s a user signal (along with click throughs, traffic, time on site) that Google monitors.

 
If you’ve followed me for a while then you’ll know that know if you want to rank for the long term, you need to build up your brand.

And it’s worth noting that real brands get mentioned on websites and talked about in social media even if there isn’t a clickable link involved.

 
Reference Point: we did a little digging and discovered that John Mueller from Google confirmed in a hangout in September 2013 that Google does crawl non clickable links.