Just over a month ago I decided to start looking at click tracking using heat maps. Heat maps track the mouse movements and clicks on a page which can help with usability. I found a free one here http://www.labsmedia.com/clickheat/index.html by someones recommendation. The install was easy and the data started pouring in. Now I kept this running for a good month before deciding to remove the code from my site. The data was useful and I was grateful to the site by providing good content – right? Well not at all unfortunatly, as I decided to look at the code “through the eyes of a search engine” using SEO Browser I noticed something odd.
As you can see there was a link appearing to the search engines, now sometimes I get a bit of flack for having a short term memory but I would remember adding a link at the top of my own blog right? So to investigate further I looked at the site, no visible text.
So I obviously checked the source code too, nothing visible either.
So looking at the source through Plesk I located the header file for the blog where I had originally included the tracking code and to my surprise a little piece of code had appeared!
This was swiftly deleted with stern presses of my keyboard. I looked at other websites I had once used this tracking for and sure enough a succession of hidden links popped up, most IT related or Russian links.
I do warn people not to use these guys at all costs. I consider myself lucky that I wasn’t penalized by the search engines for this even though it was not my fault. I think I was more annoyed that I had been leaking link juice to these random websites for a period of time!
The other side of the coin suggests this method is obviously working for them and it was not detected by Google at all – guess the guys at the “Big G” should download a copy and try it out lol!