Hide Links From Your Visitors & Competitors
The act of trying to hide links could mean a few different things: cloaking URLs, masking URLs, and hiding backlinks. Because “hiding links” could mean one of those 3, I’m going to quickly cover all 3 in this article.
3 Ways To Hide Links
Hide Your URLs With Link Shorteners
If you’re an affiliate marketer, a common practice employed by many affiliates is cloaking your long affiliate URLs by using link shorteners. If you don’t know what a link shortener is, it’s a website where you can input your affiliate URL, or any URL for that matter, and receive a shorter URL that 301 redirects to your affiliate URL. Most people use link shorteners such as bit.ly, especially for its tracking features, but other affiliates use their own websites and 301 redirect their custom links to their affiliate URLs.
Hide Backlinks From Sites Like Moz & Majestic SEO
I noticed this trick after I switched this site’s protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. When I checked my current rankings for a keyword in Google using the Moz Toolbar, I noticed that my page, which previously had over 150 backlinks pointing to it, suddenly only had 1. I then checked my other pages and noticed that the Moz Toolbar didn’t pick up the links (this subsequently lowered my Domain Authority from 21 to 12 as Moz can no apparently not detect these URLs).
However, this gave me an idea: if, for some reason, I felt link hiding my links from tools like Moz and other people using these tools, I could either build tier 2 backlinks or build baclinks pointing to the HTTP version of my site (thus varying my link profile in the process).
Hide Your URLs Through Masking
Now, before I go over what URL masking is, it’s important to know that URL masking violates the Google Webmaster Guidelines, the Google Adsense TOS, and various other TOS’. Now, URL masking is the act of displaying a different URL in the address bar from your real URL. Some webmasters use an iFrame tag and others use an Apache Rewrite to accomplish this. For more information on URL masking, you can reading this article about masking URLs here.