John Mueller Explains How Google Deals With Naked URLs
Regardless if it’s for a big or small business, SEO services may involve the use of links that do not have anchor texts. In a Google Office Hours SEO hangout, Google’s John Mueller informed webmasters and providers of SEO services how the search engine giant handles these bare URL inbound links. He also answered a follow-up question concerning the effect of the text surrounding these kinds of URL links.
The person who asked the original question said that while they were auditing links for their clients’ websites, they see URLs coded as naked links, which point to valuable resources on the website. Because of this, they got curious about how Google deals with naked URLs.
Mueller answered the question by first defining what a naked link is. Simply put, there are different types of links. There are branded, keyword optimised, and no-followed links, to name a few. In the case of a naked link, it is a hyperlink that uses the URL itself as the anchor text.
Mueller then explains how Google handles naked URLs that do not have anchor texts. According to him, Google treats those URLs as the anchor text itself.
He goes on to say that Google’s systems try to recognise them as links. However, the system can’t use the anchor text for anything in particular because naked links do not really have one. This means that from Google’s point of view, naked links are just regular links but without context.
Many SEOs find it interesting that Mueller said naked links do not have any context. This is because some providers of SEO services think that if there are no anchor texts, then the keywords in the URL will function as an anchor text, as well as give Google some kind of information.
This means that Mueller’s statements oppose the opinions that most SEO agencies have. Because of this, another SEO made a good follow-up question.
The person who asked the second question wonders if Google receives context for the texts around the naked links, such as keywords.
In response, Mueller said that Google does receive contexts from the texts, but that only comes second. He said that Google prioritises that strong piece of context from the anchor text.
But in the absence of anchor texts, then they turn to the text surrounding the links, but they are only “small things around the side”. The good news is, it does not harm websites in any way, so Mueller said it does not matter most of the time.
The person then repeated the question, but this time, asked whether the content around the link or the topic of the article plays a role. Mueller replied that they do consider these things, but once again, they are treated as secondary factors.
He said that the content or the topic of the articles do not really hold a stronger context compared to anchor texts, which are more obvious.
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