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Link Development Forum

Does this Link Pass PR
Strange link coding

 7:55 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am about to complete a link exchage with a related site, but I looked at the code and it seems like some weird coding going on:

<p align="left"><a href="http://www.mydomain.com/mypage.htm" onClick="window.location.href='http://www.hisdomain.com/cgi-bin/counter.pl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mydomain.com%2Fmypage.htm&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hisdomain.com%2Fhislinkspage.html'; return false;">

Can anyone tell me if this link will give me a benefit?



 8:10 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

none at all


 8:33 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why is that?


 8:39 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Because the link is only visible through an onclick event, which is JavaScript. Search bots do not run JavaScripts.

Download Firefox and disable JavaScript. Then visit your link and try to follow it.

(it can be done in IE, but it takes several steps).


 8:40 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Actually, that should pass PR. In general, the SEs will ignore javascript so the "onclick" code should be ignored. That would result in the engine seing a simple "href=" tag with your link.

Now, I haven't tested that, and the engines are definitely getting smarter at parsing javascript, but I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe the link you show shouldn't pass PR.

Edit: I am assuming the link in your original post is on the OTHER persons site linking to you correct?


 9:01 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

You can correct. It is on the other site. I just thought it looked strange. I was going to ask them to give me a straight HTML link if possible.


 10:21 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

The "onmouseover" is another giveaway.
This is done so you will SEE a straight link at the bottom task-bar,
while masking the real link (or trying to) from the Engines.

I don't swap links as such.
If I did, it sure wouldn't be with someone like that. -Larry


 10:28 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sorry, my post in #4 is not correct. Moving too fast.

That link definitely won't pass PR. The link is to the CGI-BIN, not to the person's website. It then gets processed by the CGI-BIN and on to your website. People use a counter script to "count outbound links" but that's just an excuse to hoard PR.


 10:41 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think this might be the first time ever I've disagreed with Martinibuster, but the link structure shown in the first post is like what Encyclo recommended here.


The tracking URL is only invoked on the click, and users without javascript enabled ... including spiders ... would see the direct link.

I'd be happy to accept a link like that if the guy were linking to me.


 10:56 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think this might be the first time ever I've disagreed with Martinibuster

We don't often get the opportunity so let's make the most of it - jump on him - BUNDLE!


Buckworks and Philosopher are correct - that link should pass some link love for SE's.

Bots do not execute javascript....



 11:16 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey, who ran off with my shoe!


 2:15 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why the hell would anyone link to someone else like that? I could see the reverse (linking within his own site and masking it to make it appear that it was a direct link - to fool novice link exchangers) but why would someone give a direct link and mask it to look like a cgi redirect on mouseover?


 2:21 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

You've seen the recent discussions on Natural vs. Unnatural links. Well, the above would definitely qualify for one of those Unnatural Links.

Can anyone tell me if this link will give me a benefit?

No benefit whatsoever. I'm 99% certain your link is going to end up buried deep somewhere on a site mixed in with 50, 75, 100 other links, mixed in with 10, 20, 30 pages like that linked together. Where's the benefit? And, even if it does pass PR, what is the value of that PR based on the environment the link is in?


 2:42 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm missing something here ... i don't see any "on mouseover" in the original post, only an onclick event.

The purpose of the onclick URL is for tracking clicks, but doing it in a way that lets spiders see the destination link clearly.

There's an informative discussion about it in the thread I referenced earlier.


 5:56 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

This link definitely passes PR. The javascript is ignored by SE's, and it looks like it is used for analytical tracking of clicks.

Robert Charlton

 6:29 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

The different interpretations of this suggest that there may be some confusion between whose domain "mydomain.com" is and whose domain "hisdomain" is.

Assuming that Scott_F's domain is mydomain.com, it looks to me that the link would give him a straightforward href link to mypage.htm on his site. The onclick code does appear to be a click-counting script, and it won't be seen by the spiders.

I agree with what pageone is saying, though, about the likely value of the link. Chances are that any site with such an automated click-counting script is linking out on an assembly line basis, and Scott's link is likely to be buried. So, while it will pass PageRank, it's not likely to pass much.

Scott_F - What about the other links on the linking page? Are they topical to your site, at least?

Robert Charlton

 6:58 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

A PS to the above... to qualify what I said about the assembly line style of the link.

In a link exchange situation, the click counting script probably does suggest an assembly line operation.

In a topical directory situation, though, I've had discussion with directory owners about why they do want click counting... and their reasons generally are that they want to justify the value of a listing by counting traffic, and they also want to confirm that a link will return a page. I don't know whether this particular script will confirm that the link is good... I'm not a programmer... but it looks like it might be doing that.

Some topical directories are also well-organized and have good PageRank... and those aspects of the situation are considerations should be part of any link evaluation process. So a counting script doesn't always suggest that a link is not going to be useful.


 11:29 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm missing something here

If you are Buckworks, then I am too, as I'm seeing it in exactly the same way as you.

There are a lot of reasons you might want to track outbound clicks (for the benefit of your own website statistics, to show a "number of hits" counter to encourage others to submit links and prove traffic flow etc).

Let's just get the facts straight here:-

1. It's an OnClick event, not OnMouseOver. It's not designed to fool a user/browser. It's designed to send the actual click via a script.

2. Bots will ignore the OnClick code and only see the <a href=""> element of the tag. It's a plain old HTML link to a spider.

The presence of that JS script does not, in itself, suggest it's a link farm.

It's right to at ask the pertinent questions, but to make an assumption from the facts stated that the link is probably "valueless" is dangerous.



 12:24 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can anyone tell me if this link will give me a benefit?

I think that is the question that remains. Based on the title of this topic, the first line of the opening post, the link code and the closing question, I personally would assume that it is probably some sort of boilerplate directory link exchange.

Personally, I don't think the value of the PR is of any significance if the link resides in your typical directory style format. So, that kind of negates the PR value.

This sounds like your basic run of the mill directory links exchange. If I were a search quality engineer (fortunately I'm not), the type of link format shown above would be something I'd be looking for to determine quality.

Yes, I am well aware that many use this type of script to track. The problem is, when you use click tracking like this, you may be inadvertently causing a flag because of all the abuse that has taken place with directories over the years.

Again, these are just my opinions based on my experience.

I never got into the whole link exchange thing. If I find a quality site that I feel would be of benefit to my visitors or those of my clients, we're going to link to it. And, its going to be a natural link, not one that requires an exchange or tracking script. I'm going to give them a clean http link as that is what the web was built on.

If you want to add all of the other code, go right ahead if it serves its purpose. I've seen some of those tracking scripts cause severe damage due to 302s and such so be careful. ;)


 3:32 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

This site is very related and all the links are related. It is in the DMOZ/Yahoo Directory category I am so a very good link. There are currently about 20 links on the page, which I know can easily increase.

I asked him about the code and he told me the site was built by some template company and he has no control over changing the code.


 3:42 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>It's an OnClick event, not OnMouseOver

I, sugarrae, do solemnly swear not to read and post in the middle of the night in the poorly lit living room while hopped up on caffeine and listening to bakedjake play a John Lennon midi for the 346th time. ;-)


 3:49 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)


And give MartiniBuster his shoe back!

Robert Charlton

 8:40 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

This site is very related and all the links are related. It is in the DMOZ/Yahoo Directory category I am so a very good link. There are currently about 20 links on the page, which I know can easily increase.

Scott - I generally don't do link exchanges, but if the page has decent PR and you can get a link with good anchor text to one of your inner pages, I'd go ahead.

The hesitation I'd have would be the possibility that a 302 or meta-refresh from his click counting page might still give one of the engines problems. I haven't seen any discussion about this recently. I'm assuming Yahoo has taken care of it, and, with Big Daddy and prior efforts, Google should have taken care of it, which leaves maybe MSN as problematic. I'm hoping this era is behind us. If you're in contact with this webmaster, you might ask him whether anyone has complained.


 4:50 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

<blockquote>302 or meta-refresh from his click counting page</blockquote> whether the engines have issues with 302's or meta refreshes shouldn't matter in this case because the onclick action shouldn't be followed.

I have used this type of activity tracking on links before without an issue, my PR still passed on to the other's websites.

I would think that if a site isn't going to pass PR it would have less to do with the way in which they track users and more to do with the purpose of the site (or page) as a whole.


 7:29 pm on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Conversely, I would assume that if the href="" is blank, then the page is not crawled or passed any pagerank?

There is a directory site in my niche that is burying it's own link exchange directory behind such a javascript link, e.g. <a href="" onclick='msgWindow=window.open ("http://www.othersite.com/linksdirectory"); return false'>Links Directory</a>

I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but is there any conceivable legitimate reason someone would do this with their outgoing links directory?

It seems to me that a site that sells expensive ads on the main page, and wants link exchanges in which it returns a free link on a page referenced by a javascript link can't be acting very ethically. However, I'd appreciate a second opinion to make sure I'm not any more paranoid and suspicious than I think. Plus I've been told by a 3rd party that they're "good guys".

They also have the nerve to charge for a "premium listing" on this page.


 8:46 pm on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just a note as to the "why" of coding a link this way:

For web standards compliant sites using the XHTML 1.0 Strict doctype, the target attribute on an anchor tag is not valid. Whereas in the past target="_blank" has been the most common method of opening a link in a new window, best practices now dictate using rel="external" and this particular bit of Javascript. So long as the href attribute is set, this link will pass PR and will in fact, for non-javascript-enabled browsers, open the link in the same window.

In my opinion, from a programming perspective, this is the ideal way of coding a link.


 4:55 pm on Apr 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think it would pass PR, but it might. I'm a little confused about the coding used there. I think the SEs would pick it up as a link to your site, but the act of following the link would take the SE to an internal page of his site and not directly to your site.


 12:29 am on Apr 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

To further clarify, this is a link to the other site's own internal links page.

The code is literally <a href="" ... >, the href field is blank. The only link mechanism is in the javascript string part of the code.

The actual outgoing links on the resulting page are normal html links <a href="http://www.mysite.com">, but that's beside the point. The issue is that they are making their own links page difficult or impossible to crawl, and devalued compared to the other pages on that site.


 12:49 am on Apr 15, 2006 (gmt 0)


No, that link would not pass PR to any page, as you correctly assumed. The href attribute is blank, so the SE spider will see it as a link to nowhere - a dead end. A person with javascript enabled will get a popup window opened to the link in the window.open() call (I think). People with javascript disabled, which for all intents and purposes includes the SEs, will have nothing happen when they click the link.

I'm not sure if gellydonut is referring to the original post, or highstepping's question. I can understand the point about opening a new window from a standards compliance POV, but that solution may be blocked by some of the more enthusiastic popup blockers, and I can't see having no href as being a good practice for a link to another document.

I can see no problem with the original linking code - it will pass PR, as others have said, but I do wonder about the quality of the linking page (and site).

Edit: It's like being back at school - I need to read the question!

Yes, that method will effectively hide their links page/section; unless there is another way to get to that page. Of course, they could be denying or obfuscating access to their page in other ways (robots.txt, meta tags, etc); but if the links on the page are genuine and the robots can access it, they would be beaten at their own game.

[edited by: BertieB at 1:03 am (utc) on April 15, 2006]


 12:57 am on Apr 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>I can see no problem with the original linking code - it will pass PR
Absolutely Correct.

>but I do wonder about the quality of the linking page (and site).
Wonder no more, it is a simple click tracking script implemented on many high ranking and/or authority sites for many uses, from just counting to ranking. No evil intent necessarily inherant.


Woz looks down and wonders who belongs to the extra shoe ...

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