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I would like to know if anyone knows whether a text only mention in a post i.e. www.example.com (NOT placed in <a> tag) counts as a backlink and actually gets followed and carries any weight in terms of PageRank (link juice)?

According to this link from warrior forum they have made up their mind that it definitely does count, but not sure how knowledgable these folks are...

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Googlebot uses text links for link discovery. I've seen tests that show that Googlebot will crawl URLs that it could have only found through text mentions.

Google patent filings indicate that they use brand mentions to determine brand authority. That is text mentions of a brand name or of a domain name name are tallied to determine how highly regarded a website brand is.

I have not seen evidence that traditional link juice (PageRank) is passed when a URL is displayed as plain text. I would expect that it is not. Plain text URLs are easy to spam. There is no possibility with them to use the nofollow attribute to show that the mention was user created and not to be trusted.

  • Actually I have read somewhere may be in Google official hangout or from matt cutts, but did not found any source right now, tried to theshortcutts.com but did found. Actually it pass pagerank, just like when images are used with anchor tag. – Goyllo Oct 12 '16 at 17:30
  • Can you find a reference for that @Goyllo? That directly contradicts what you said in your answer. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 12 '16 at 17:32
  • No, I did not as I said. But I think we(Or I alone) can test it. What's your view about crawling that webpage? I mean <a href="test.com/some-page/"></a> that webpage will crawl by Googlebot, if we don't link them externally nor by displaying it on sitemap.? So if that webpage will be crawl and index then we can consider it will pass PR. Correct me if I am wrong. – Goyllo Oct 12 '16 at 17:41
  • Just because Google crawls and indexes it doesn't mean that it got PageRank. Google can index zero PageRank pages that have unique content. When I test for PageRank I measure the crawl rate for Googlebot. Googlebot crawls higher pagerank pages more often. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 12 '16 at 18:09
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No, it is not count as backlinks because there is no <a> tag. Reputation pass only when there is <a> tag.

The link you mention from WF is talking about this <a href="https://example.com"></a> Notice? There is no any anchor text. But there is <a> tag, so reputation will pass to destination link. So anchor link and anchor text are different thing, and you misunderstood that.

Too much backlinks with naked anchor text, consider as blackhat technique and you might be get penalize.

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If I understood your question correctly, this may answer it. if you just mention a single name without a hyperlink it won't pass any link juice as you need a hyperlink, but if you use a name as anchor text where there is a hyperlink underneath it will pass link juice.

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