href destination URLs

href destination URLs are the web addresses of the resource being linked to within any HTML link. In the majority of instances (though not exclusively) this destination URL will be a HTML webpage within a websites domain.

Commercial landing pages

Whilst in isolation the destination URL of link is not necessarily indicative of a manipulative link, the destination URL can often be used to help identify a manipulative link in conjunction with other factors. The destination URL can be indicative of a larger manipulative link practices.

The common pattern to look for are links pointing to commercial landing pages. Commercial landing pages are pages that have been created and optimised to rank for a particular keyword target. A typical commercial landing page would be a product listing category (such as mens shoes) with an e-commerce store.

There are a number of questions that you can pose to help identify if a destination URL is a commercial landing page and if the link pointing to it is manipulative.

  • Is it likely that the linked to page would naturally earn any external links?
  • What other pages link to the destination URL? Are the only other links pointing to the URL also likely un-natural?
  • What anchor text does the link have? Links with both commercial destination URLs and commercial anchor text are likely to be viewed as manipulative.

Remember, website homepages can also be viewed as commercial landing pages and shouldn’t be discounted from a destination URL analysis.