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For an example you can see it in Dvorkas's latest column - an interesting take on weblogging (seeing that there is a fine line between a weblogger and a columnist like Dvorak)
The url is written out, but is not actually linked.
There are some advantages that I can see. Importantly, it may help in not diluting theme-ing of a site, and secondly it may help in not having your site seen by Google for example as being part of a "ring" of sites.
It also means its not quite as easy to click on a link, meaning you may read the whole article, and not get distracted by linked content. In fact you may even read the article twice - firstly to read it, and secondly to go back and look at those links.
Im thinking its not a bad idea. If someone is very interested in the link and know just a little about computers and internet, its a simple matter to select, cut and paste into the address window. From a site designers point of view, it is a way of giving credit to say the designer or owner of multiple sites for which that site is only one, without incurring off-theme or cross-linking penalities. Again, if people are really interested, they will take the extra effort..
What say thou?
I didnt post the url initially as i didnt want the thread to get off topic. If there is an interest maybe its worth a second thread. But its actually a not very well researched article. I'm noticing columnists are getting worried that their content could be viewed as weblogging (aka amateur, free, etc) so they need to diistance themselves.
OK thats enough off topic stuff..
My major interest in the non linking URL's is when linking say from one of your sites to another. We know crosslinking is a major suspect for "page rank drops". Is this a way to make sure that people know who owns the site, designed the sites etc. without incurring penalities? Say in the case where you dont really want a link so much (in fact it could be detrimental) but would like people to find you if they really want to?
The key interest for me personally is in my post above - as a no-risk way to cross link when you have sites (like us) that are on different subjects but have a broad theme in common. Or when a site design firm wants to put their mark on sites they have designed for clients without worring about being seen as spamming.
Of course in the early days we saw a lot of this, especially in personal type pages and university like link lists. But the practice is now becoming a bit more mainstream.. not in a major way, but maybe significantly, and for different reasons (page ranke related is one as you say)
I'm thinking people won't make the extra effort, or it simply won't occur to them to copy and paste the URL into their browser address bar, if it doesn't show up as a clickable link it will likely be ignored. The other drawback is that you need to use the URL as a reference, you won't be able to use a company name or other more favourable text as you can with a clickable link.
I think that summarizes the problem very nicely, especially if you look at some of the threads here that describe the level of technical understanding as demonstrated by the average non-techie surfer.
Sites that present URLs without linking are really doing a strong disservice to their visitors. I'm sure pcmag wouldn't suffer in the Google SERPs by linking to those sites they write about.
Of course it could also be that Dvorak actually meant that to be a link, but the person who put the text on the site was too lazy to add the necessary HTML... ;)
our specific case is not so much links in context, but as header or footer material.
Branding without the linking.
We used to have footers to our other related sites. For a while now they have been taken off. But for one site we are starting to put them back on, but without the hyperlink.
Our site names are self explanatory. like, Mickeymouse dot com
Thats our specific case, but also interested in the broad trend of the naked link phenonmenom.
Actually, the link would have occupied less off-topic screen space as on underline of "Dvorak's column on weblogging" rather than the full-blown http.
I think the biggest gotcha would be inexperienced visitors, followed closely by hurried visitors. Another danger is the perception of playing games with your visitors and possibly other webmasters.
As for your cross-notlinking example, why not link in a way that will be read (and clicked) by people and ignored by search engines?