Link building: Short term vs Long term strategies

I read an unusually philosophical post from Joost about not getting ahead of yourself in being too visionary. He started after Roy started talking about being visionary in the first place. Everyone on Joost’s blog seems to agree with Joost that you should do what works today in SEO, to do the best for your client.

Joost – Someone’s gotta disagree with you 🙂

I agree with Roy. But before I make my argument, paid links are still working. I was alarmed to see a significant but smaller competitor to a client of ours hit number 1 for a BIG “PPC” volume keyword (Porn-Pills-Casino for the uninitiated). In the last three months, the competitor’s backlinks from sites CONTAINING the target keyword increased… from hundreds… to 70,000.

Now that smells of paid links to me, and the number one slot has ensued. Certainly artificial links. But when we PROPERLY explain to a Brand savvy client how the competitor did it, the client doesn’t say “yum, I’ll have some of that”. They just don’t want to risk their brand reputation and to be frank, nor do we. In fact – the opposite.

Roy is right – big companies are so darn useless at understanding and implementing SEO recommendations, you cannot make recommendations that won’t outlast the latest fad. Link manipulation still works – but every link brings with it an association with the web page it is on. That can be a bad thing. We have a client asking legal questions about backlinks they didn’t ask for (and we didn’t provide them with).

Back in 2000 I was looking at Links (well before the Google reason) and found Shell Oil linking to Friends of the Earth on its corporate responsibility pages. Probably not in the FOE’s interests I would wager.

The same goes for “bigbrand*com” getting links and recommendations from “dodgysite*com”… unknown quantities that may one day come home to roost.

So it’s not so much about being visionary, as it is about building on principals that will be as long term as the brands we represent.

Gordon Brown was at a Google Zeitgeist forum yesterday. When asked about the industry he paraphrased someone else saying “the first 500 years of any institution are always the most difficult

 

 Dixon.

8 thoughts on “Link building: Short term vs Long term strategies

  1. I recon paid links still works but in the same time google are becoming better at identifing them and penalizing sites.
    Have seen quite a few web directories loose all its PR for having sitewide links.

  2. Who said paid links stopped to work for one moment?
    They always worked but not everyone knows how to buy links I believe. Staying under the radar is the solution. Is harder than buying links from 1000 blogs at once but it works.
    Cheers

  3. Discretely and manually buying links still seems to work fairly well since there’s not really much anyone can do to trace what looks like a natural link. Link buying will be around for quite some time, so it’s mostly a question of avoiding the shadier tactics of SEO to prevent site penalties.

  4. Paid links worked fine for me untill I bought a sitewide link from a website that had more than 9000 pages indexed in google and i dont know what happend but my organic traffic dropped down and my pages are slowly being excluded from google index

  5. Be careful about “cause and effect”. That could be like saying “I fed a cat, then it died” and blaming the food, but ignoring that the cat got run over by a car.

    If it is your problem, that’s certainly a vote for the long term approach. But I have mostly seen the guy SELLING the links getting penalized. Rarely the guy buying the links, so far. That said… buying 9,000 sitewide links will change the CONTEXT in which Google sees your site if those links are in the majority. Are your pages dropped from Google? or just dropped from ranking for decent words? type in site:yourdomin.com to see if the pages really are dropped. My guess is that they are still there, but have lost focus and meaning in the backlink structure.

  6. Man for the long term deal though it is not smart to go with paid links. It is way smarter to build a solid farm network that you only know about and be selective on the links you use from it. Think about this you pay for a link today and can you guarantee that link will stay up but yet if you own the site the link comes from as long as you pay your hosting and domain registration that link will be there. And if you are smart in your link building they will not be found.

  7. Paid linking is ok if you just want to get on a friends Blog Roll. However, in the long run it’s better to gain links by doing a few of the following things.

    1) Using Fast Blog Finder
    2) Holding Contests
    3) Writing Ezines
    4) Squidoo and Hubpages
    5) Being a guest writer
    6) Linking out w/ a nofollow tag.

    If you do all of the following listed above, you’ll begin to get high page rank inbound links.

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