I am not the kind of person to ‘out’ a site because of poor or manipulative SEO practices. Like many others I come across sites that spam, cloak and use all kinds of unethical tactics and simply carry on, however there is something I need to highlight today, something that is annoying but could also be dangerous for an unsuspecting webmaster.
Like many others I receive the usual spam ‘link exchange’ request, something along these lines;
I reviewing your website I found that your website is good match with my site service relevant (IT, SEO) so I want to back link on your site. Please add my link, detail as below:
This was an actual email I received and I doubt the person sending it even looked through my site, because if they had have done they would have quickly realised there efforts are worthless and potentially dangerous.
…If your thinking, ‘Tim, everyone get’s spammed. deal with it and stop moaning’ your right, however I have a major issue with what the spam email was requesting, but let’s break this down a little.
Low value link
I am not going to link back to the site responsible but I am going to highlight the sites they were willing to give me a link from.
OK they wanted a fully anchored link from my PR3 page which has thousands of relevant links pointing at it, this would seriously boost their SEO efforts. In return they were willing to give me links from pages like;
Now you will notice these pages are filled with external links, to other reciprocal link partners they have swapped links with. A link from a page like this offers no value to your site, so you will be giving them a valuable link in return for nothing.
Notice how I no followed the links? There is a reason for this…..
The above pages are basically link farms, lots of links pointing to various pages that have all been created artificially to increase rank.
It was only a year or two ago when the real estate webmasters were hit for this exact same link building method, see my post on reciprocal linking.
So if we exchange links and receive a link from a page that will pass no link juice, no pagerank and no real value at all, we are also risking been associated with a link farm.
This can result in a penalty, however even if you escape the penalty the strength of your links could still be devalued in some way. So by agreeing to a request like this could actually damage your own site.
Reason for the Rant
The reason I am going on about this is because an unsuspecting webmaster, eager for a link, could quite easily fall into a trap like this. Someone who is not savvy to the way the search engines work may find themselves penalised and have no clue why.
I think the most disappointing thing about this from my point of view is that the request came from another SEO company. Is it any wonder SEO get’s such bad press?? They clearly use this tactic to build links to their clients websites, it’s poor to say the least.
Anyway the purpose of this post was simple, if your considering complying to a link exchange request make sure the page your getting a link from gives you as much as your giving and do not get involved with webmasters offering these types of unethical links. It may work for them today but I can almost guarantee you that the search engines will be on top of it tomorrow.
If by any chance the person that sent me the email is reading this, please stop spamming and please use link building methods that are beneficial to all
Thanks for reading.Line Break
Author: Tim (292 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.