Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

Link Exchanges – A Warning to all Webmasters

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;

This one

and

This one

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…..

Link Farm

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.

Google Penalty

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.

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Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 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 Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.

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{ 2 comments }

searchbrat August 11, 2009 at 1:05 am

Looked like a good deal to me, you should of went for it ;)
I wouldn’t call a lot of those companies “SEO Companies”. I know they portray themselves as that but it’s easy to just stick a label on your website and say “hey we are seo specialists”. A lot of these sites are just set up to spam because unfortunately that’s what a lot of people still think SEO is about …

Tim August 11, 2009 at 1:14 am

@searchbrat,

I know, the problem is the internet is littered with them and an unsuspecting client wanting services can easily be fooled. They go to a genuine SEO and get quoted a four figure contract, think wow this SEO stuff is expensive, I know I’ll go for the £15 an hour deal instead and hence they get burnt. Seriously you would be surprised how many of these jokers employ spam tactics, some ones you really wouldn’t expect.

SEO is expensive because it takes lot’s of hours to do it right, their is no shortcut. Pay a couple hundred to get it done and you’ll get a couple hundred worth of work, which have little or no impact on your search position.

Ah, another rant :) Thanks for the comment

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