There was a trend in SEO a few years ago where people tended to semi hide links within the body text of articles and page content so that the links were on the pages for search engines but not necessarily there to be clicked.
This was often achieved by making the link the same colour and font as the surrounding text with no hover effect and no text decoration.
Although not necessarily against the Google Webmaster Guidelines it is a bit of a grey area and Google themselves say,
“Hidden links are links that are intended to be crawled by Googlebot, but are unreadable to humans because:
- The link consists of hidden text (for example, the text color and background color are identical).
- CSS has been used to make tiny hyperlinks, as little as one pixel high.
- The link is hidden in a small character – for example, a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph.
If your site is perceived to contain hidden text and links that are deceptive in intent, your site may be removed from the Google index, and will not appear in search results pages. When evaluating your site to see if it includes hidden text or links, look for anything that’s not easily viewable by visitors of your site. Are any text or links there solely for search engines rather than visitors?”
As we can see this doesn’t specifically say that blending links in to body text is against the guidelines but it does hint that it isn’t really best practise.
Why not blend important links in to body text?
OK, so the Google webmaster guidelines don’t say it is outright wrong, but one other important thing to realise is that as Google moves more towards social interaction and trust, added weight could be placed on links that are clicked on more by your visitors.
For this reason alone if you have a paragraph of text with an important link in it, don’t blend that link in to the text, make it more prominent and give your visitors a reason to follow that link as the more natural clicks a link receives the more weight it could gain in the eyes of the search engines.