Answering Difficult Link Marketing Related Questions

10 Jun

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.

6 Responses to “Answering Difficult Link Marketing Related Questions”

  1. Eduard Blacquière June 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm #

    Good post and I think a lot of questions are frequently asked in competitive markets.

    First I think everyone involved in the project (also the non-SEO people) should know all the pro’s and con’s of the different SEO options ranging from white to black.
    That’ll lead to one of several important choices: are you – and mostly the client – willing to risk a ban?

    Secondly I think that SEO should have a long term approach. Rankings don’t change overnight and that’s a good thing.

    Furthermore I think that a focus on gaming the search engines – and therefore not focussing on your most important stakeholder: the visitor – isn’t a wise strategy.

    In the end I think the search engine always wins and figures out how to block the short term black hat tricks.

    So my advice is – also to my clients – focus mainly on the user and provide them with quality content which is of value for them. The search engines will sooner or later find a way to translate the user value into rankings. And the user value is much more than a short term value of high rankings.

  2. Wiep June 10, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    Great input, Eduard, thanks. I couldn’t agree more with you.

  3. debra mastaler June 10, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    I simply point out and say there’s far too much at stake to risk losing an established money making site for a get quick link scheme. Throw away domains yes, no problem but a main corporate website? Just because your competitors are doing it doesn’t mean you have to rise to their level of mediocrity. I mean, if they started producing crap products would you do the same just to keep up? It’s interesting to note a company doesn’t consider it’s good name and established web presence a viable asset worth protecting. :)

  4. Wiep June 11, 2008 at 8:06 am #

    “Just because your competitors are doing it doesn’t mean you have to rise to their level of mediocrity. I mean, if they started producing crap products would you do the same just to keep up?”

    I couldn’t have said it any better, Debra. Also, like you said, it’s funny to see that lots of companies don’t see the value of their established website. Some companies literally put millions at stake by using questionable tactics.

  5. Ramon Eijkemans June 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm #

    ‘it’s funny to see that lots of companies don’t see the value of their established website. Some companies literally put millions at stake by using questionable tactics.’

    That is not really odd, now is it. We see that all the time, for instance with tv commercials (tv ads are not so well measured as internet ads, but still many millions more are pumped into this kind of advertising)

    But anyway. This isn’t really a question of technology, or linkbuilding in particular, but more about the kind of advice you wish to give as a consultant. In my experience, it usually means choosing long term startegy for established websites for corporations that are not willing to risk a lot of money

  6. Wiep June 11, 2008 at 3:49 pm #

    Ramon, a bad tv commercial probably won’t cause your brand to get banned on national tv.

    I agree with you on the second part, though ;)

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