Marketing 2 min read

Mueller Explains How Google Handles Naked Links

astel design / Shutterstock.com

astel design / Shutterstock.com

In a recent episode of Office Hours SEO hangout, Google's resident trends analyst, John Mueller, explained how Google treats naked links.

There are several ways to implement links in a post. However, <a> links are one of the essential tags for SEO.

That’s why publishers use this HTML tag to create the majority of internal and external domain linking. It involves adding a hyperlink with the ahref attribute, stating the link’s destination, and an anchor text to hold the clickable link.

Here’s an example of a <a> link:

<a href=”https://www.example.com”>Visit Example.com!</a>

The general belief is that search engines use the anchor text to measure the destination page’s relevance.

With that said, not all links are buried within a text. Unlike regular links, naked links exist in a regular URL form.

Here’s how it looks:

<a href="https://www.example.com">https://www.example.com</a>

In a recent Office Hours SEO hangout, an SEO asked Google’s John Mueller how the search engine handles naked links.

The question reads:

“When auditing links for my client’s websites I see some naked URLs that are pointing to valuable resources on the site. How does Google treat such links when there’s no anchor text?”

Here’s Mueller’s response.

How Google Handles Naked Links

In response to the question, Mueller started by describing a naked URL.

“I think by naked URL it’s basically just someone is linking with the URL as the anchor text,” he said.

After that, the Google trend analyst stated that the search engine treats the URL as the anchor text. Google takes the bare URL into account as a link but doesn’t use the anchor text for anything in particular.

Mueller explained:

“From what I understand, our systems do try to recognize this and say well, this is just a URL that is linked, it’s not that there’s a valuable anchor here.”

So, there’s no downside to coding a link without anchor text — even though it’s a strong signal.

In response to a follow-up question, Mueller admitted that Google could use a surrounding text or page to give meaning to a naked link. However, it was “very secondary.”

Read More: Google Ignores Meta Descriptions over 70 Percent of the Time

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