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What do I check for to verify a potential link partner is exchanging links with me ethically?
Here are some examples:
- noindex in the page metatag
- nofollow in the href link
- using server settings to display 404 (not found) or 302 (object moved) to the search engine when it tries to crawl the page.
- disallow the page or directory the page is located in via robots.txt (not sure how to check this one)
- in reading other posts, it seems you can also cloak the links page. (not sure how to check this either)
Are there other methods I don't know to check for? Is there an easy way to verify ethical reciprocal links, without having to scrutinize the html or server responses?
Thanks for your help!
The only real way to catch this (sort of) is to analyze the backlinks of a site they're already linking to--and make sure that those links show up and they're getting credit for them.
The worst dirty trick I've seen recently is people using their root URL with a query string as their links directory, as in http://www.example.com/?cat=widgets&page=1492
The Google Toolbar database apparently canonicalizes all such URLs and displays the root URL's PageRank for these pages, even though their actual PageRank value is... well... who knows? The pages never seem to be cached, and the sites that use this little game seem to always have thousands of pages, so its hardly worth trying to find if these pseudo-link pages are even getting indexed. It just rubs me the wrong way when I see these scams.