Published on Thursday November 18, 2010 by John Oliver Coffey
Link Exchanges and Link Buying: Businesses Beware
As you already know, finding new clients online is very competitive. So much so that online marketing companies go to great lengths to ensure that their clients’ websites rank highly in search engines.
And some go too far.
You see, the search engines want to promote websites that are relevant to and useful for users. It’s a meritocracy in which search engines essentially ask the question, “why should your website rank highly in our search engine?” Search engines do not want to promote websites who buy the trust and popularity that puts them at the top of the first page of Google (unless you're willing to buy ads from Google, but that's a different story).
So how do unscrupulous marketers bend and break the rules? One commonly used tactic is to buy links and do crass link exchanges. Link buying is a gray area but it’s not difficult to understand the uselessness of having your site listed together with hundreds of other websites on a web page that nobody ever visits. The same principle applies to link exchanges; in some cases it makes sense, but, in its most egregious form, it puts the website in danger of being penalized.
The fact of the matter is that this form of cheating works at the moment. You can get great traffic and search engine ranking for your keywords by doing exactly what Google explicitly prohibits.
So why not then? In 2007, Google cracked down on this practice and a lot of websites lost a lot of traffic and business for a long time. And it could happen again, at any time. As the web becomes a main channel for new business, you don't want to take this risk.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
Most importantly, don't cheat because it pollutes the web and spoils the experience for lots of people. But, if you’re not swayed by moral argument, then consider that at most, link fraud/corruption/abuse may work in the short term, but chances are your web marketing company is probably not going to outsmart Google's engineers.
And the downside is ugly. If you get caught, your site might disappear from the first page of Google (ever heard of the -50 penalty? - that's right, page 5) and with it will go an important source of new business.
There are lots of Dos and Don'ts in SEO and online marketing, but, as a website owner, you should be aware of what is done to promote your website and your business.
Here’s a quick way of checking the link profile of your website:
. type in your full website address in the space beside the button ‘Explore URL’, then click the button
. when you see the results, click ‘Inlinks’
. where it says ‘Show Inlinks’ select ‘Except from this domain’
. where it says ‘to: Only this URL’ select ‘Entire Site’
Then, scan the resulting list of links and see if there are sites that fit the ‘links that don’t make sense’ criterion I described above. And if they don't make sense to you then they will hardly make sense to a google engineer who visits your site because, say for example, a competitor of yours reported spam tactics on your website.
In short, links are very important for high rankings in search engines and there are plenty of great ways, including some types of link exchanges and link purchases, that adhere to search engine guidelines. If in doubt, ask your marketing company about what links they have obtained to your site, or contact us for a free, short conversation. Beware though, we will probably try to convince you to use us as your web marketing company - you have been warned!
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Published on Sunday August 29, 2010 by Admin
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