For link building and SEO testing purposes, I try to find the edges. For own projects, I use the strategies that work best, regardless of what’s ‘allowed’ and what isn’t. When clients are involved, however, it’s completely different, especially when you’re dealing with big brands.
Most clients, and especially clients in very competing online markets, know who their competitors are and what they’re doing online. When it comes to link building, most of these clients usually want to do exactly the same as what their highest ranked competitors are doing, because they know it works. The problem is that, especially in those competitive markets, the majority of these competitors are using techniques that are either questionable or completely against the Google guidelines. In most cases like this, I’d advise these clients to mainly focus on improving the on-site content and on obtaining authoritative, editorial mentions. However, in such kind of situation, you can expect a (very understandable) reaction like
“why is it better to use a long term focussed link marketing strategy, when other techniques are much more efficient and can lead to excellent results much quicker?”
So, how do you explain that buying your way to the top isn’t allowed, although everybody does it? How do you make a client understand that it’s safer to make stories up than to rent a few sponsored spots on a news website? Why should you wait for good results, when it’s possible to get good rankings pretty quickly?
In some cases, questions like these are pretty easy to answer, but in other cases they really aren’t. How do you cope with situations like this? What are the reasons that made you choose for a specific approach or strategy? I’d love to hear your opinion and to make this post the perfect resource for every webmaster that’s struggling with the decision whether to follow Google’s rules or not.