How to Protect Your WordPress Website from Hotlink Images
A hotlink image is an image that is linked to somewhere else on the web. When a user clicks on a hotlink, they are taken to the source page. Usually, when someone clicks on a hotlink, they are unaware that they are being directed to another website and perhaps stolen data.
When someone clicks on a hotlink, they expect to be taken to the source page and not another entirely different page. This can potentially damage your SEO and bring down your traffic. Not to mention, how embarrassing it would be if the source page was something lewd or suggestive.
To protect your website from getting penalized by Google for having bad SEO and/or being associated with questionable websites, you need to remove all hotlinks from your WordPress site. There are plugins that can do this for you, but we’ll teach you how to do it manually so that you can have complete control over what is being done to your site.
Stop the Leeching
If your site is being leeched off, we need to stop it. A site is being leeched off when a third party accesses your site and steals your content without your consent. Sometimes, site owners don’t even know that their content is being stolen until much later when it is too late. This is why it is essential to remove all hotlinks from your WordPress website. Doing this can reduce the amount of content that is being stolen from your site. Sometimes, the leecher will try to cover their tracks by changing the links, but you can usually tell when this has happened because nothing on your site functions properly. For instance, you can’t access your blog posts because they have been deleted or the permalink structure is corrupted. You also can’t access your site’s dashboard because the hyperlinks have been intentionally blocked by a third party.
Removing all hotlinks is not as difficult as it seems. WordPress has a built-in function called ‘nofollow’ that automatically strips any existing links on your site that were not designed to point to your own content. If you use this feature, you can ensure that no links point to your own content. Let’s say, for example, that you have a blog post about mountain climbing. If you use the ‘nofollow’ feature for that post’s permalink, when someone clicks on it, they will be directed to a page that does not contain any of your content.
Safeguard Your Metadata
Even though we try to keep our content the most important part of our websites, we can’t ignore the fact that Google’s algorithm considers metadata to be very important as well. Metadata is data about data, and it gives important clues to search engines about your content. When a user submits a question to a search engine, they expect the engine to provide them with the most relevant answers possible. Having the right metadata can help make sure that happens. For instance, if you have a blog post about mountain climbing and you enter the name ‘mountain climbing’ into the search bar, you will see that your post comes up first because it has the most relevant metadata for that search query. Without the right metadata, your awesome post on mountain climbing might not even show up in the results at all!
Although Google considers metadata to be important, there are some situations where using nofollow features can actually hurt your SEO. One of the most common cases where this occurs is when an image is linked with nofollow and the text around it has an internal link. If you put a nofollow on an image linked to a product review, that image will never be considered for SEO because the search engine cannot follow the link back to your site. This can potentially hurt your traffic a lot if you have a lot of images on your site to begin with. Another case where this can hurt your SEO is when you use the nofollow attribute on a standalone link in a content snippet. For example, let’s say that you have a blog post about mountain climbing and you want to include a link to an external encyclopedia article about the subject. If you use the ‘nofollow’ attribute on the external link, the crawler will not be able to follow that link and will therefore not be able to find your blog post about mountain climbing.
Reduce The Amount Of Data You Are Sending To Google
As we discussed in the last point, using the nofollow attribute on an internal link or an image’s link can hurt your SEO. One way to prevent this from happening is to reduce the amount of data you are sending to Google with each page load. This is a situation where using a cache will become extremely useful. A WordPress cache will store all the content that you have on your site offline so that it can be accessed faster by your users. In addition to storing content for faster access, a cache can also improve your site’s performance by preventing certain elements from being rebuilt each time a page is requested. If you use a caching plugin for WordPress, like WP Fastest Cache or W3 Total Cache, you can set up automated nightly backups so that you don’t have to worry about losing any content when your website is hacked or attacked by a virus.
Manually Cleaning Up Your Site’s Backlinks
Even if you use a content caching plugin, sometimes, you will have to manually clean up your site’s backlinks. A backlink is simply a link that is positioned on another site so that when someone clicks on it, they are directed to your site. When someone clicks on a backlink, they are not necessarily being tricked or cheated, but it is still unsavory to have your site associated with controversial or harmful websites. A quick way to remove backlinks is to use a tool like Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker to search for links to your site that are no longer functional. One of the great things about Ahrefs is that it makes finding and cleaning up backlinks easy. Simply search for your domain name and you will see all the links that point to your site. You can click on the backlinks to see where they originated from or if they were manually created by a third party to point to your site. If you want to remove them, just click on the trash can next to the backlink and they will disappear. This tool is a great resource for finding and removing backlinks that you don’t want to have on your site.
Protecting your WordPress website from hotlink images is very easy to do. All you need to do is remove all the links to your site from anywhere on the web and make sure that the nofollow attribute is placed on all the remaining links. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to make sure that all of your backlinks are functional and then remove the nofollow attribute to keep the links as they are. Doing this can help improve your site’s performance in search engines and allow you to grow your audience. In the next section, we will discuss some helpful tips on how to build a successful podcast.