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Referring url captured on page I link to causes false return link data

 9:27 am on Nov 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wrote an article a few weeks ago in which I did my usual and linked to a couple of sites related to the subject that had also written about it. In checking my stats today through various popular online reporting services I noticed one site that was linking to mine but what caught my eye is that it was the same page in which I had linked to in my article. Knowing that the page did not link to mine at the time I wrote the article I investigated.

The site is running some javascript code to catch the referrer url but that code also has a noscript section below it that is attaching the referring url as a parameter in the source of a 1x1 pixel image. This, apparently, is causing at least two well known and well used site reporting services to consider the page a backlink. Nowhere on this page is there a link to my site, or even a mention of it at all.

My visitors went to the site and my url, being the referring url on these visits, became the current version of the pages cache on their server which, from what I can tell, lasts 48 hours before being refreshed with a new referring url.

I'm not sure what the purpose of this would be, if its normal behavior of some plugin, if it has negative SEO roots or what. What do you make of it and do you think it's impacting search results in the same way it is fouling up these seo reporting services?



 11:16 am on Nov 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

requests from googlebot don't include a Referer header.


 2:12 pm on Nov 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wasn't suggesting the referrer was Google.

Requests from top rated SEO "tool" sites not only contain their url but often the url of the site you were looking up in their urls and BOTH are being recorded by this site and stuffed into a 1x1 image pixel(example.com/image/some-pic-www.example.com/some-junk/www.example.jpg). When you then look into the SEO tool sites backlink sections you find this particular site which is not linking to any of the sites reported. The 1x1 pixel is fooling them.

e.g. when you visit this site from a popular SEO tool site the referrer is the seo tool domain with the site you were looking up in the url. When cached even Google is seeing this.

Also, if someone visits the site directly from a link on my site the noscript section adds my site to the image url causing the same problem in MY backlink profile.

[edited by: tedster at 4:12 am (utc) on Nov 19, 2012]


 4:17 am on Nov 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't understand exactly what purpose this set-up would serve for the site that is doing it, but what you describe does not sound like it would create a ranking problem with Google.

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