Note: I will not be naming names or companies here, it is not my intention to harm or slander anyone, I just want to bring awareness to people about this horrible tactic that companies are using.
The reason I stated “Top Ranking SEO Companies” instead of “Top SEO Companies” is because a good, ethical, and noteworthy SEO Company would not be participating in this kind of link building tactic.
As an owner of a Florida SEO Company, it is my duty to research my competitors and their link profiles. I am constantly analyzing these companies to see where there links are coming from, and what type of anchor text they are using. While I was doing this a month or two ago using Ahrefs which is one of the best backlink analysis tools, I came across many SEO Companies doing this. I was completely shocked. Do the clients know they are doing this? I highly doubt it.
1) Go to your favorite backlink checker tool
2) Enter the domain you are looking to research
3) If you are using Ahrefs.com. there will be a “new/lost” tab at the top of the page
4) Click this and you will see the incoming new and lost links per day
5) Once you are there right click on the referring page URL and open in a new tab
6) Use you find command or keyboard shortcut and type in the anchor text that is listed for that referring page URL
7) If the find command says “0 of 0″ or “not found”, this means that the link is hidden
8) Next, right click on the page and choose “view page source”
I am almost positive that the owner of the site does not know this is there. There is the accepted practice of placing your link at the footer of the page if you’re a Web Designer or SEO Company. Most site owners are ok with this, but there are some that are not, and their decision has to be respected.
Do you think this is ethical? Is this stealing PageRank technically? How would you feel if you found out their were hidden links on your site that you have spent thousands of hours and money on? If you are curious or wondering what types of links are coming to your site or which are going out, use a backlink checker tool and use the steps above on your own site, but search for “a href” on your own page.