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Meta Tag also can be use by selfish web masters to hide link. Actually it is not hide link, but instruct search engines' spiders to ignore any link on page. So spiders will not consider link as a point of importance of other page. The meta tag use for this action is "nofollow".
As a way of precaution to increase your link popularity (and PageRank) by link exchange is you have to make sure:
1. The directory which link is located is not restricted to any spider (robot). On web browser's address bar type http://www.websitetocheck.com/robots.txt. Check restricted directory.
2. Always check source code, make sure link is directly pointing to your web site by 'a href='http://www.yourwebsite.com' rel='nofollow'
3. Check those links in weekly or monthly basis, if link which is pointing to your web site is missing, delete their link on your web site.
4. Check meta tag of page and try to find ' meta name="robots" content="nofollow" '
Azani is the developer of http://www.pc24hours.net and http://www.ccautosoft.com