Google Confirms Unlinked URLs are Followed to New ContentWritten by Michael Levanduski
September 12, 2013 # 9:46 am # Industry News, Marketing Insights, Specials # 6 Comments
John Mueller of Google was recently seen in a video in a Google Hangout, and in this video he discusses how Google uses unlinked URLs to find and index new content. Unlinked URLs within content will appear just like regular text, and aren’t clickable (no a href attribute). If, for example, I was writing about Perform Insider and provided the URL as http://performinsider.com, it is not a clickable link, meaning most people can’t browse to the site without copying and pasting it into their address bar. According to Mueller, however, Google will still follow that link to find new pages to index.
He did mention that there would be no PageRank or trust flown from an unlinked URL, and it will typically only be used for the discovery of new content. That content would then be indexed just like any other pages found by Google’s crawling of the web.
This is definitely something that marketers, and others, will want to keep in mind when writing content. Especially if they are writing about a new website they are still working on. If, for example, I were starting a new project called Perform Insider 101, at the domain of http://PerformInsider-101.net (sorry for sending you down a rabbit hole Google!), and I wanted to email a friend about it, Google may then start crawling the site for indexing. (Remember, Google crawls your personal email!) Since the site is not yet ready for the public to see, I have no interest in Google crawling it at this point.
While it is unclear how Google would treat an unfinished site with little content in these cases, it seems unwise to take the risk. Even if the site were completed, there are some reasons for not wanting a site to appear in the search results at a given time. If Google crawls through your site, there is a chance that it would be found in the SERPs before you are ready.
Of course, this is likely nothing new for Google, and this just happens to be the first time someone was able to find an official acknowledgement of this crawling method. What do you think about Google crawling unlinked URLs? Personally, I think that if people are intentionally leaving their URLs unlinked, that means they don’t want them followed. By people or Google spiders.
You can read more about this on the site where this was originally published, HERE.
You can see the full video (it is quite long) HERE.