I found an interesting link building tactic today. For http://www.utahrealestatehelp.com we’re paying this guy who claims to have 50 pages with PR of 5 or higher that he will link to us. Well, he linked some of them to us and I visited them, but couldn’t see a link anywhere. Then I looked at the source, and sure enough the links where there. So back on the page I moved my mouse around and voila, Hidden Links!!!. TERRIBLE!!! Every SEO Article ever written advises against this as the search engines figured it out a long time ago. Putting text on your page in the same color as the background color is a sure way to get you banned from Google immediatly.
But I know he has some clients whos web pages are very highly ranked so I was perplexed. I emailed him asking about it, wondering what his experience is with having hidden links. Here’s his reply:
“The hidden links on some of my pages are hidden behind a image link and not a text link so the search engines don’t pick that up.”
It’s true. It’s almost genius except that it’s still deceptive so I’m still against it. But, the search engines just see a rather large image linking to another site. They’re not opening up images and seeing their contents….yet. I’d guess that someday google will start looking at images and seeing what’s inside them…or trying to at least. But for the mean time, a blank image linking to another page is one way to have a link that users don’t see but that still gets counted as a link on a search engine.