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Great HOA from John Mueller this morning & I asked some questions about the new hyperlink embedded images feature here in Google+, as a few people had been asking me about this. As he mentions, I wouldn't look at [the links] mainly from an authority point of view.

There are more important aspects about and bigger designs for how your profile authority effectively works & next week I should be publishing the exciting story on that. Anyway, here's my question from Webmaster Central's HOA...

Joshua Berg:

We have a great new feature in Google+ with the embedded links that turn into a large image, which is very nice.

The first & second link, which is the image link & the title link are nofollow, and the third link is not nofollow, but it's closed off. So might this still be an authority passing link, or something like that?

John Mueller:

I don't know, I haven't looked at it in that detail. I can take a look at what's happening there, but I don't know.

Joshua Berg:

I mean I was wondering if it was uh, I guess it would be intentionally there, but it seems funny cause it was closed off. I mean it's a href link & then it's got the /a closing mark without anything in between.

So let's say on a regularly indexed page, would a link that doesn't have any title text in it, provide any kind of either authority or index following value to that link.

John Mueller:

I wouldn't look at it from an authority point of view, but generally if it's a normal link that does not have a nofollow we'll pass PageRank to that. So that's something that might be happening there.

I think it's always a bit tricky for us when we can recognize that it's a user generated content site & we're not really sure how to trust those links within there, but generally speaking if it's a link that doesn't have any anchor text in it, we'll still treat that as a link.

Sometimes we see that for example with images where an image is actually the link anchor & if the image doesn't have any alt text on there, then we don't have any text really associated with that link, but it's still a very visible link on a page. So that's something where we would still pass PageRank.

So for the time being, I'll let you make your own conclusions about that, but please remember what I keep saying here...

The real authority from Google+ comes from the people. What's effective here is never going to be about gaming the system, or turning your Google+ profiles into link farm wastelands.

You need to build real reputation & authority here by providing genuine value, interesting content & engagement. If the user likes it well... you can bet Google will like it too.

#GooglePlusSEO #SMOforSEO #SocialMediaOptimization  
Anthony Castelli's profile photoJustine OBRIEN's profile photoJean Layton's profile photoJoshua Berg's profile photo
Hi +Joshua Berg. I was watching when you asked that, but have to admit that I wasn't sure what feature you were talking about. I don't see anything that's changed when I look at, so was a little confused. Do you have a post example that includes the 3 links you mention? Just so I can be a bit clearer on what you and +John Mueller were discussing?
The youtube link wasn't up yet, but it's on John Mueller's page from this morning. I'm out on mobile right now.
Great questions and answers there +Joshua Berg - it makes sense that having a link in there to pass PR.
So... to be clear... is there a URL in this 'hidden' link?
+Ben Fisher Then I have a sort of pet theory.  I was waiting for confirmation there, I've been nursing it since yesterday.

Put simply, Google is rethinking how Google+ relates to SEO in dramatic ways.  Little by little they've nofollowed nearly everything that could pass authority.  Now they've got a nofollow link associated with a hidden dofollow link replacing the single dofollow link.  I'm thinking that Google is going to stop treating Google+ backlinks as normal backlinks, and develop a 'social backlink' system that thwarts at least the current group of blackhat SEO's from running up backlinks from this high authority site.  The lack of a true API has made this inherently more difficult, but I'm guessing they've figured out how to mass automate this in some circles.

They may not be using this for anything yet, but they may be able to scan for this type of 'hidden link' and integrate its effect into Search differently.  There are a lot of possibilities for how they could use this, and it could even improve certain things.  It simultaneously could wipe out all attempts to use Google+ posts as a traditional internet backlink system (like dofollow links in forum comments), and help usher in a true 'Social SEO' era.
I agree with your statements on many levels there +Eli Fennell , one thing I find interesting, is that the post was published last night and has yet to be indexed. My Gplus post is indexed but the blog post is not. More testing needs to be completed.
+Ben Fisher Good, because I knew I could either be onto something there, or dead wrong because I missed something obvious, e.g., "You moron, can't you read html?  This is clearly a blankety blank blank, which is nothing special at all!"
+Eli Fennell when I use whitespark for citation building is show's Google+ as a citation with 100% trust authority 
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