msplinks.com kills MySpace link SEO karma
MySpace has been redirecting all external links in comments through msplinks.com for a couple of months. Msplinks turns any posted link into a redirect, supposedly in an attempt to cut down on spammer redirects and phishing.
Hey everybody, we just launched another program to stop dirty spammers from hasseling [sic] you. When you input a link in myspace it may be converted to a redirect link…. They still point to their original url, but let us easily turn off links to spam, phishing, or virus sites. booyah!
Until a week or so ago, only links in comments were redirected through msplinks. This fit well with the explanation given in Tom’s message. Now external links in profiles are redirected through msplinks as well. The effects of this change are drastic and somewhat sinister.
The average user won’t even notice the difference. Clicking a link on MySpace will take them to the destination page unless it happens to be on the MySpace blacklist. Search engines, however, aren’t quite as naive. They notice that the link points to msplinks.com. And msplinks chooses how the user and the bots are redirected to the destination page.
A quick check reveals that a recent link to my site is being redirected with a “302 Temporarily Moved” header.
Checked link: http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi... Type of redirect: 302 Object Moved Redirected to: http://justinhileman.info
A 302 redirect basically tells Googlebot and friends that “I put one of my pages over on that server temporarily, but you should keep linking to me.” This means that msplinks (aka MySpace) keeps the karma for all posted links, rather than passing them on to the destination site. Even if every profile on MySpace linked to my site, it wouldn’t affect my PageRank. Not only is MySpace able to filter links and track page visits easier than ever, they can also hijack the Google juice from every link posted by every single MySpace user.
Is this really how it works? It’s easy to tell. If MySpace allowed links to credit the target, Google wouldn’t index a single page on msplinks.com. But as of the time of this post, a Google search indicates that nearly 3,000 pages have been indexed in msplinks.com.
Google used to give the referring site credit for the contents of the destination page. Luckily they’ve stopped doing that. But they will still give msplinks credit for the link itself.
By rewriting all external links as 302 redirects, MySpace has effectively removed backlinks. Links from MySpace profiles are now worthless for SEO purposes. In their purported efforts to “reduce spam”, MySpace has rendered their site worthless for anything but human traffic. This is bad news for all the black hat guys, but it’s also terrible news for anyone with honest links from real MySpace users.