Are You A Link Whore?
By Eric Ward
Updated November 2010 (Originally written May 2006)
Today I received the below email. I have not made any changes to it other than the X’s to spare its author from public embarrassment
In years past, I’ve received RFPs from agencies (who ought to know better) who wanted to know how much I’d charge to get their site 500 one-way Pagerank 2 or better links. Another wanted to know how long it would take me to seed 1,000 blogs with a link to their site in the blog comment field. And another wanted to know how many links I could buy for their site on a budget of $25,000.
What am I, a link whore? For the right price, you think I’ll engage in sleazy link building tactic? Nope. And it’s not because I think I occupy some sort of high moral ground. It’s because these tactics make everyone’s web experience worse and also don’t last. And the sooner everyone stops being link whores, the better, in my opinion. Quit trying to fool Google already.
There are many ways you can be a link whore. You might not even know you are one. Here are a few example of link whore behavior
- You have multiple social bookmark accounts you never use except when you are posting client’s URLs.
- You comment and link drop on blogs not based on subject interest but based on the blog’s Pagerank
- You buy links from sites that have nothing to do with your site but do have a high PageRank. Example? Look at the links on the bottom of this school newspaper site. Total link whoredom.
- You have a links page with a link to an Alaskan halibut fishing charter business even though you are an insurance salesman from Poukepsie.
- You have asked sites already linking to you if they would change the way they link to you so that the link will include text.* (Yes, in certain instances this is only marginally slutty).
- You send out press releases every week even though you have no news, and those press releases have anchor text links.
There are other far more nefarious tactics that make some link whores look like Girl Scouts. Link hijacking. Form injection.
I’ll admit I’m tempted. Even I, the self-proclaimed whitest of the white hat link builders will sometimes ponder doing something that is just a little slutty, like maybe using digg for my own (or a client’s) site, or submitting to a bunch of directories that few have ever heard of and even fewer use. I’m not ruining your web experience that way, so no harm no foul, right? Well, yes and no.
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I can say with 100% confidence that you can be successful and rank well without having to resort to link promiscuity. I know this is the case because I have first-hand experience at it. Want to see an example? Have a look at this search result. The site at position #1 was at position 5 or worse for a decade before I created and executed a linking strategy for them.
My comments and columns sometimes spark negative responses from people selling bullshit linking services. I can live with that. I can also live with the results of this poll rating the top link building experts.
Lastly, over the years I have never once used any linking tactic that was not based on content merit. NEVER. So how then can I possibly rank so well for the phrase link building expert at Google, Bing, or even Ask.com?
I think the answer is pretty simple. Over time, the algorithms reward good linking behavior. They don’t like link whores.
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