Just recently, someone asked me what automated link software I would recommend. When I asked him if he meant useful tools like Link Diagnosis, he made clear that he actually was looking for software that sends out a bucket load of unsolicited link request emails with the speed of sound to use for his main link building strategy for a white hat site. I really thought stuff like that had already died out, but apparently (and unfortunately) not.
Sure, link software may get your niche affiliate website a few nice rankings for a few days, but that usually doesn’t last longer than Milli Vanilli’s singing career. For everyone who’s still looking for software that inflates their rankings, here’s why these kind of tools just make my skin crawl…
1. Far from personal
I have received link requests that started with “Dear Sir/ Madame”, “Hello Webmaster” or even “Dear [NAME]” in more than one occasion. Not only does sending out link trade request emails that mention the term ‘PageRank’ more often than Larry and Sergey’s original patent to the owner of a link building related blog already makes me think that you possibly haven’t taken a thorough look at my website, but if you also can’t even find my name on this blog…
2. It results in an unnatural link profile
If you use link software as your main strategy, you’ll end up with a link profile that’s more artificial than Michael Jackson’s nose. Sure, Google doesn’t mind a few anchor text rich links on links.htm pages, but even Live frowns upon the kind of pattern that software can build for you. Okay, maybe that last part isn’t entirely true :)
3. Sensitive to flaws
You just hit the ‘send’ button and realize that you misspelled both your own URL and your company name. The problem is that you didn’t send out just a single email, but you sent it to nearly a thousand website owners. Doh!
4. Easy to copy
Automated link software is easy to get and easy to use. Any one of your competitors can copy your entire linking strategy within an hour, which means you’re already at the same level again.
5. Bad for your image
Imagine what would happen if someone from Dell would start spamming with link requests? Maybe you’re not as big as Dell, but if you hit the wrong person, you might need online reputation management more than you need links.
6. You only get low quality links
Just to let you know what you may expect from link software: the so called link partner -that you’ve carefully selected- links back from a robots.txt’ed out resources page, and you may find another one of your links ending up on a page with nothing but viagra and poker crap. Absolutely not worth the trouble…
7. The big boys don’t use it
Do some research on SERPs for keywords like ‘car insurance’, ‘celebrity news’, or even ‘seo’ and I will assure you that you won’t find a single one that uses automated link software in the top 50. Seriously, there’s a reason why…
8. It shifts your focus the wrong way
Although it usually doesn’t take a whole week to find out what your brilliant piece of software can do for you, you could have used that time more efficiently. By creating killer content, by networking with the best or simply by serving your customers, for example.
9. You always miss the links you want
And this is the most important reason. Automated link software won’t bring you the links you really want and/ or need. Do you really think that using link software will end up in getting a link from the NY Times, Wikipedia (one that stays in :) ) or that niche portal you’re dying to get a link from? Or that it will result in a Digg front page and thousands of StumbleUpon referers? Think again.
Oh, and if you happen to own or use link software (and I don’t mean link tools) that you do think will bring in valuable links, feel free to drop me an email and prove me wrong. But I don’t think that will happen ;)