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Link Buying Tug of War – Buy ’em if you got ’em!


Seoblackhat
I realize that this blog is mostly
about SEM (paid search) but often I have encountered the art of link buying
when doing some SEO work for clients. As alot of you may already know, Matt
Cutts from Google created a little controversy regarding his proposal for Link buying
sites to identify themselves or for the people to identify them. In fact,
here’s a post from April 14, 2007 on Matt Cutt’s Blog on how to report paid links
which basically make it easy for anyone to "rat out" these sites for
Google’s advantage. Of course, this created an uproar within the Industry and
here is a great SEW Forums posting orginated from Kevin Newcomb, News Editor at
SearchEngineWatch entitled: Matt
Cutts Goes after Paid Links

Personally, I view
Link Buying as only a possible part of an SEO Strategy.
When I
propose link buying to a particular client, I have to
carefully evaluate a number of different variables before providing them with a strategic
plan as well as setting the ever-popular “expectation of success” of how, what and why
they will benefit from it.
I also make it clear that
Link Buying is not for everyone and it depends on their current rank, current site structure, industry,
competitive saturation, and simple supply and demand of participating sites to
purchase links from. Oh yeah, there’s that win-ability factor on how successful it’ll be for them. Here’s a brief example of what I look for before
approaching a client:

  • Client’s current organic status
  • Client’s SEO competition
  • Size (critical mass) of the website
  • Link strcuture of
         the client website (deep linking, hierarchy levels)
  • List of all Product/service categories
  • Keyword evaluation (volume, saturation, etc…)

Now suppose the client is a
candidate for link buying, and the million dollar question is: How do we make it
happen?. Well, in order to take advantage of link buying, we need to be very
methodical and strategic in how we do it.

For example, I
would perform some the following tasks:

  • Start off the process slow and gradual. (1st week=3 sites, 2nd week=8 sites, etc..)
  • Choose highly relevant sites (jewelry specific, etc…)
  • Look for "no follow" tag sites (useless for SEO)
  • Identify "on page" characteristics of prospected site (content, anchor text, number of links
         around)
  • Construct highly relevant url strings, anchor text, reffering landing pages, etc..
  • Develop initial 3-6 month plan covering selected categories, products, etc…

My
view on the politics of this:

I believe that these websites should keep themselves anonymous
because honestly, they have earned their right in this market to profit from
all of the work that it took them to get to that level of organic rank. I say
if Google has the right to constantly change algorithms as well as have the
audacity to ask us for this information, we as the general audience, have the
same rights to take advantage of their algorithm(s). Were not asking them for
the details of their algorithm(s), we are simply using our own collective
knowledge and constant “trial & error” to get the most out of it for ourselves
and our clients.

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