How to build links for crappy websites

11 Jan

Warning notice: while this post is easy to digest, it also contains a lot of crap.

I’m sure almost every search marketer has been in the situation of thinking “so how am I going to tell this friend/ prospect/ client that his website is crap in a polite way?” in at least more than one occasion. Some people are in the situation of being able to decline such opportunities while others even publicly talk about the fact that they won’t do work for certain websites. However, numerous companies will happily accept to build links for a crappy website, because they only see the big bag of money that this new client will be bringing in. For this last group, I’ll be diving into the art of getting links for crappy websites today.

Image: Ashahi Beer’s Golden Crap, by chrissam42

This starts with analyzing the link profiles of the competitors of the crappy website. Neglect the good links from high authority domains. Let’s face it: these sites probably won’t be linking to your client, so you’ll just have to focus on websites that look like or are just plain crap and settle with links on resources page #4. Together with 99 more crappy links.

– After this, you can submit your crap to dozens of SEO friendly directories that all look the same and almost instantly accept all kinds of crap. You’ll end up with a few links from AdSense overloaded pages that get crawled even less than a suncream salesman visits Norilsk, Siberia. But the website you’re promoting is still crap.

– You can try to create bait by painting your crap gold. You’ll be getting some attention and might even attract a few links from people saying “Hey, look over here, I’ve found golden crap!”. But it’s still crap.

– You can try to get people to write about or review your crap. The quality of the links you’ll gather usually correlates with the amount of money you’re able to pay, but it’ll only get you links of a certain quality level. These links will be from posts or pages stating “this company sells great crap, so check out their crap website!”. But it’s still crap.

Ok, I guess you get the point by now. My point is that you may have to think twice, if you’re planning on earning a quick buck by accepting nearly everything. You might fool search engines for a short while, but eventually, search engines will come to the same conclusion that the visitors of your client’s website have already came to: the website is crap and shouldn’t be ranking where it does.

In stead of promoting crap, make sure to start with improving the website, for example by changing the website structure, its layout or by adding quality articles. And I don’t mean adding 297 crappy turnkey articles, but quality stuff that people might actually enjoy reading and may be willing to link to.

15 Responses to “How to build links for crappy websites”

  1. mitender January 11, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    very fair to give crap a chance. just kidding. it all functions about quality. for this point – the only thing being good on this crappy thing (maybe) will be the ‘quick buck’ – we take this post as a guidance for this so called quick buck. other thing: the ‘russian link’ you build in won’t work

  2. Erica DeWolf January 12, 2008 at 7:50 am #

    I agree with mitender…it’s all about quality. If the site doesn’t have much value, and is just plain “crappy,” then the links probably won’t even help as much as the site owner may think it will. The links will just drive traffic that won’t stick around once they find the content is crap. But, if the link builder is getting paid, then this post is a great how to guide. Thanks!

  3. Kyle January 12, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    Truth hurts! The most important part about SEO is creating QUALITY content. If you put together a great brand, build customer loyalty, and organize your information in a good way then the rest will come.

  4. Wiep January 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    Mitender; The link to Norilsk works perfectly fine here…

    “If the site doesn’t have much value, and is just plain “crappy,” then the links probably won’t even help as much as the site owner may think it will. The links will just drive traffic that won’t stick around once they find the content is crap.”
    Erica; That was the point I was trying to make. In stead of building links, focus on improving the quality of the website. This eventually saves you a lot of work and will return better results at the same time.

    Kyle; You’re absolutely right!

  5. Jeff Quipp January 13, 2008 at 4:48 am #

    Great topic Wiep. So many companies have no answer when we ask; how do you differentiate yourself from competitors? Its a real challenge … we become internet marketing and management consultants at the same time.

  6. Sebastian January 13, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    With a site consisting of a gazillion crappy pages that have slight chances to pass a spam review (although not a quality review) it can make sense to insert a couple of linkworthy quality pages. Whilst gaining some reputation for those tidbits, the crap can be converted to “mashups”. ;)

  7. Wiep January 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    Jeff; Glad you liked it. You’re spot on about being a consultant!
    Sebastian; I totally agree that such a strategy might work, but would you advise this to a client?

  8. Marty January 13, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks for the “wrapping a turn up in a bow” post :). What “SEO friendly” directories are you referring to? I have some crappy legacy clients.

  9. Sebastian January 14, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    I would, if there’s no other chance to rescue a site, IOW when “start over” is not an option, and the client is aware of the risks involved. Depending on the actual quality of the crap most probably I’d recommend blocking huge chunks of pages too. Depends on the site. However, that’s not a strategy that I’d promote actively, and nothing one can implement from “advice” that’s publically available.

  10. shikha January 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    In todays scenaeio everyone is looking for quality.So if a site dosn’t have quality & is just plain “crappy,” then the links probably won’t even help as much as the site owner may think it will. Quantity of link can only increase the traffic,but cann’t hold them if the content is crap……

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  11. SEO Canada February 1, 2008 at 7:42 am #

    We quite often end up factoring some design / development time into the contract. Nothing harder then building links to something that is sub par. But at least it has the excuse to CSS the site to improve their rankings even more :)

  12. mevilla October 13, 2008 at 12:15 pm #

    Great one! Was expecting you to tell us how to get links to crap sites, but the ending of the story was completely different than I first thought!

    You are completely right – and as another comment says “the truth hurts!” but there are too many websites offering poor content that you would not stay on for 5 minutes, the art to building links is having good content to link to.

  13. kev @ SEO ibiza November 13, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    Hey Wiep. only just found you through your awesome link value page. it went straight onto our recommended resources page in fact, nice job ;)

    theres an old saying “you can’t polish a turd” that i think applies here.

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