Skip to main content

The Wrong Way to Build External Links for SEO


Anyone who's worked on search engine optimization (SEO) for any length of time understands the importance of building relevant external links to a website. But whether you do choose to SEO internally, outsource it domestically, or offshore the effort, it's important to get this process right. If you're doing it internally, follow established best practices for this effort (including the information below). If you outsource your SEO, ask your vendor exactly how they perform their SEO work.

I frequently receive reciprocal link requests for WebMarketCentral.com. Some of the requests are well-written, some inelegant, some spammy. But I recently received the following message, which was among the worst I had ever seen:

    Subject: Link exchange

    Dear Webmaster,

    My name is (name), and I run the web sites.:

    http://www.clickatest.co.uk/(PR>2)
    http://www.clickajob.co.uk/(PR>3)
    http://www.freshpromotion.com/

    I recently found your site and am very interested in exchanging links. You can add yours link there:

    http://www.clickatest.co.uk/directory/exchange_links.html
    http://www.clickajob.co.uk/directory/add-your-site.html
    http://www.freshpromotion.com/linkmachine/resources/exchange_links.html

    As you know, reciprocal linking benefits both of us by raising our search rankings and generating more traffic to both of our sites. Please post a link to my site as follows:

    Title: Online aptitude and psychometric tests.
    URL: http://www.clickatest.co.uk/
    Description: Job skills and personality profile assessments to determine your employees capabilities and minimise human resource recruiting costs.

    URl: http://www.clickajob.co.uk/catalog/accountancy_tax_1.html
    Title: Accountancy and Tax jobs in UK.
    Description: ClickAJob Job Centre UK - search for jobs in education, marketing, engineering, it, medical, banking, finance and other sectors

    URL: http://www.freshpromotion.com/
    Title: SEO services, Web Audit.
    Description: FreshPromotion is a web marketing agency that specialises in assisting companies to maximise the sales potential of the internet through promotional activities focused upon delivering new customers.

    Please, email me the location of the reciprocal link

    --
    Best regards,
    (name)

How many errors can you spot above? I should also mention that this message was sent to a group of site owners—and the entire email address list was exposed. Here was my response:

    (name):

    As an agency marketing executive who implements SEO programs for clients on a regular basis, I'd like to give you some advice:

    - First, send link requests to one individual at a time. You not only sent this message to a group, but you exposed all of the recipient email addresses in your message. This raises the risk of all of the recipients on the list ending up on a spam list somewhere, which I'm sure none of us appreciate.

    - Second, when you send individual emails, use the person's name whenever possible. My name (Tom) is very easy to find on WebMarketCentral.com. Addressing me as "webmaster" when my name is very easy to find makes it appear that you are lazy. (I don't mean to be harsh, it just does!)

    - Third, send requests for individual site links one at a time, not in groups. And make sure that each site for which you are requesting a link is relevant to the recipient and his or her website.

    If you are willing to take the time to do this right, I believe you will find that you have much more reciprocal linking success.

    Cheers,

    Tom

You may find additional missteps in the original message (and I may have been too polite in replying, but that's just the way I am).

My point is not a blanket condemnation of offshore SEO vendors; many are reputable and do solid work. Rather, it's that if you outsource your SEO effort, and particularly if you offshore it, check out the vendor thoroughly. Make sure that they use only professional, "white hat" SEO tactics and never shop on price alone—in SEO as in everything else, you get what you pay for.

*****


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

Comments

This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey, this is an awesome blog you've
got here!! I'm definitely going to
bookmark it! By the way, I found a
awesome site that has similar kind of
exchange links kind of stuff! If you get
time, check it out.

www.ExpressLinkExchange.com

All Time Greats

Digital Marketing for Law Firms, How Hard is it?

A lot of "verticals" or industries make sense for digital marketing and the whole process can be very easy and intuitive. For instance, if you are running a Search Engine Optimization company, it's very straightforward to content market:

1- Write blogs or articles about SEO
2- Try to answer questions people have about SEO
3- Optimize those blogs around what the questions are and what you are saying.



But what about an industry that is a lot more complicated and not very straight forward? What about marketing for lawyers?

ACE, one of Philadelphia's top Law Firm Marketing companies, just posted this extremely helpful blog about why SEO is important for Law Firms. It delves into exactly how to do the job for a complex industry like the law and its practitioners.

One of the key points in the entire article is: "If your customer journey does not have a use for search services, then you'll never see SEO campaign results."

We recommend reading the whole thing. …

Tip #3 to improve your digital marketing

Do Your Research You may have ideas for what is going to work best for your audience based on past experience with your ads, but taking the time to conduct thorough research and have data to support your actions is important. You may anticipate that your customers will behave a certain way, when in fact they go in a completely different direction. It’s essential to be prepared for this ahead of time and use the information you collect from research to planning your marketing strategy. Elliot Simmonds explains this concept below:

“ A lot of people use sponsored posts and other paid advertising, and it seems that many are happy to simply pay the money and watch the views and clicks roll in - even if some of those clicks are from individuals tangential to the product or service they're promoting. Most platforms allow you to specifically target your sponsored posts and ads, and my tip is to do so following a period (even if it's only a short period) of actual research. Your gut i…

Tip #2 to Improve your Digital Marketing

Spend Wisely Each platform used to market online provides you with a different value. You need to analyze which outlets you should invest more time and money into, and which ones are not as important. Some platforms that work well for one company, yield little to no results for another. You need to find the one that suits your business goals the best. Digital Marketing is all very specific to your brand, and you need to plan your budget accordingly. Determining what each platform is going to do for your specific advertising efforts should be the basis for the decisions you make with your campaigns, explains Hitesh Sahni, Marketing Consultant at Smemark:

“It’s imperative to understand the value each channel offers. Search advertising platforms, such as Google Adwords, work best when there is a clear demand for your product or service, and you want to target people who search for your product or service online. Search advertising is less effective for a startup that has created a new an…

Does SEO Actually Work?

I wrote this for my new Doctor Digital column over at Results Driven Marketing's Blog. But I wanted to share it here too.

It's the most basic question of all: Does SEO Actually Work?

Yes it does! But not like you think it does.

This graphic should explain it pretty well:

Tips to Improve Digital Marketing: Tip 1

Digital advertising has become a major component of modern day marketing strategies. Here are tips on how to improve your digital marketing strategy:


1. Be Creative Your business has visual elements that make it stand out from your competition. Use that to your advantage in your marketing efforts. Whether it is a logo, mascot, font, or color scheme, having it included can help make your brand recognizable. You want to catch the eye of the audience, but you also want to maintain their attention and have them remember your brand. Incorporating unique and creative visual elements into your ads is crucial to the success the ads will bring you. Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager at Shutterstock points out that you want a variety of creative images, but they should be consistent: "When advertising on social media, it's important to refresh your creative often so that it is relevant and so that users aren't seeing the same post more than once. When testing variations and tryi…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!

AHREFS tops the marketing blunder list of 2018

It’s Early in 2018 and AHREFS tops the marketing blunder list It’s only the first week in February and you are reading about the Metrics/Data supplier that has provided us with fodder by creating a huge marketing blunder, Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is world's biggest third-party database of search queries with refined monthly search volume and research metrics.  Their data is used by untold numbers of digital marketers across the world.  Arguably they are the industry leader in this type of data.  The only thing that they changed was how a tiny item in their metrics was being calculated. 
About a week prior to the effective date of the change, Ahrefs notified users that a change was coming to how they calculated a domain rating or DR.  They also stated that many sites would see their rankings drop.  I agree that a need for change was warranted.  What I don’t agree with how they calculated the change and its ramifications for roughly 75% of all websites.  

This past Friday evening around 11 P.…