WordPress, Blogger, Movable-Type, Typepad, Yahoo 360, Mambo, Joomla, and other platforms have allowed us to start profitable sites with minimal programming. Some of you have already been able to make money online, and some of you are investing your time so that you can eventually reach that goal. These open source platforms have made it a lot easier to make money with the internet, but have also opened up our online businesses to attacks from greedy, selfish individuals.

I have put in a lot of time to create the search engine optimized WordPress themes that I offer to everyone free of charge. To make it worth my time, I have placed a link in the footer. I don’t get hardly any traffic from those links, but at least it gives me something for my work.

Link Spammers Are The Scum Of The Earth

Spammers will take that idea to the next level, and that’s where it starts hurting people. When they create WordPress themes, they don’t only place a link in the footer – they place hidden links everywhere in the theme. I don’t have any problem with people taking credit for their work, they should do that. I do have a problem with the scum-bags placing all of you at risk. Hidden links scare me more than just about anything out there. Hidden links get people banned by Google, and most of the time people don’t even know what hit them because they didn’t know that the links were even there.

As I have gone through the WordPress themes I have optimized, I have been very disappointed to find that about half of them had hidden links in them. I removed those links so that the themes are 100% safe to use. The people I worry about are the ones that haven’t used the themes I have gone through. About 50% of you are at risk.

Methods Spammers Use To Get Hidden Links Into Your Site

  • They put them in themes.
  • The put them in plugins. One such plugin is the Kontera control plugin for WordPress. If you’re using it you probably have hidden links in your site.
  • They put them in widgets.

This lesson will show you how to check your sites to make sure there aren’t any hidden links in them. Here’s the step-by-step:

View The Source Of Your Homepage And Check For Hidden Links

  • Go to the homepage of your site.
  • If you’re using Firefox, go to ‘View’ at the top of your browser and select ‘Page Source’. If you’re using IE6, go to ‘View’ at the top of your browser and select ‘Source’. If you’re using IE7, go to ‘Page’ at the top of your browser and select ‘View Source’. You will then see the HTML code for your site’s homepage.
  • Hit ‘Ctrl F’ on your keyboard. This will allow you to search through the code.
  • Type ‘<a’ into the search box. (Thanks Matt for coming up with a better search than my original.) This is the code that starts a link in HTML. By searching through the links, you will be able to identify links you don’t know about.
  • Hit ‘enter’ on your keyboard. Your computer will find the first link in the HTML code. If you look at the code directly following the ‘a href’, you will find the URL that is being linked to with that link – it will be in quotation marks.
  • Make sure you know about that link. If it’s a link to another page or post, it’s fine. If it’s a link to a site you don’t know about, you’re in trouble.
  • Hit ‘enter’ again, and your computer will take you to the next link.
  • Hit ‘enter’ repeatedly until you have gone through the entire page of code.
  • Repeat the process by going through the code for an individual post on your site, and through a regular page like your ‘About’ page. You need to do this because sometimes the hidden links will only appear on one of the page types, without appearing on other page types.

If you find hidden links, you will then have to figure out where they’re coming from. By looking at the content around the link, you should be able to determine where in the code the hidden links are. If they are in the sidebar, you will know to look in the sidebar.php file of your theme. If they’re in the footer, you’ll know to look in the footer.php file. If anyone has any trouble removing the links, please let me know. I would be more than happy to help.