Link Buying Even Matt Cutts Could Love

Author: Gab Goldenberg

So I got the following pitch in an email, in summary:

We will create personas and add value to communities around your topic and get links to you from members of those communities. Each link costs $xyzabcd.

When link buying turns into genuine, valuable editorial content that people would be happy to find in a SERP, which content only indirectly affects the links you built… is link buying still problematic?

Update: See more on what google wants, from the horses’ mouth.

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  1. Hmmm... something tells me the actual editorial wouldn't meet the 'genuine' or 'valuable' requirements. Seems they're offering services across a range of industries based on the statement - 'add value to communities around your topic'. The fact that they haven't defined the topic as SEO makes it seem as if it's a blanket email to thousands of webmasters. Pretty tough for an outsider to add valuable content in the field of SEO :)

    Comment by James Duthie - June 24, 2008 @ 7:47pm
  2. Fair argument there James. I guess it would have to be tested to know. BTW, FYI - this was an email from someone I know personally from SMX Advanced. So they probably mostly send it to SEOs they know. You make a good point that becoming a valuable member of specialized communities is pretty tough though.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 25, 2008 @ 12:19am
  3. I see. The fact that it comes from an SMX colleague definitely makes it more credible. At least it's an industry professional with the potential to create valuable input and discussions. So you're right, the only way to know is to test. As for the title - gold. It certainly made me pay attention. Add a few more paragraphs to the article itself and it will go hot in Sphinn within hours.

    Comment by James Duthie - June 25, 2008 @ 12:34am
  4. I mean basically they are doing what every SEO should be doing for their clients: 1 - Identifying where people in their client's industry hang & chat online 2 - Learn the inner workings of those lists / blogs / forums etc. 3 - Insert the client into those conversations in a way that adds value This is a HUGELY nice offering as this is what we are struggling with every day, how to get involved at that level and make it efficient. The only problem I see with this, is that it doesn't cover the fact that getting on listservs and other things like that for your client can make huge strides but they aren't really "links". All in all I think the service is fine the caveat is "add value" will they disclose each link and each "value added" comment?

    Comment by Wil Reynolds - June 25, 2008 @ 8:33am
  5. Sorry but as much as I feel the answer to the question is "yes," the route you took to get there concerns me, as it did James. Without seeing the rest of the email at all, I would have to lean towards these being somewhat useless links. If the person prefaced everything by saying they would take a long time to do this and that they would be transparent about their affiliation with the target website, then it would maybe be more legit. Maybe you should share more of the pitch. From this snippet alone, I think the only thing MC would love is that you used his name in the title of this post as linkbait. :p (actually Christoph told me about this post - good question but please more background)

    Comment by chris boggs - June 27, 2008 @ 8:18am
  6. James, glad you liked the title. The guy seems reliable, and it's something I'd spend a little money testing on a non-competitive keyword. Give it 1-two months and see what they do with it. @ Wil - It's not listservs. It's real, indexable links. I would expect they'd report with a list of URLs your links got dropped on. @Chris - Route I took? Not sure I follow. I'd share more of the email, but I don't know who else got it and I'd rather not risk some loudmouth identifying this person before I can test their offer and see if it works. As to being transparent - not sure that's necessary when we're tlaking sig links (I assume). If they're doing Q+A and responding with your sites, then yeah, it's no good. Also, thanks for pointing out that Christoph sphunn this .

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 27, 2008 @ 6:29pm
  7. I have to wonder how geniune they can be, when they aren't you. I also wonder about the backlash when places begin to realize there is an "imposter" in their midsts. I've had some pretty harsh backlashes when I wasn't even an imposter, but just held a different point of view than the majority of the forum. I had to then take some time to prove my credentials and even the fact that I had been invited to participate. Also, how genuine can someone be across multiple disciplines? I would be concerned about not having control over the people creating the "personas". At least if I pay someone to write something for me, I'm going to review that material before I approve/publish it.

    Comment by ChrisCD - March 27, 2009 @ 4:38pm
  8. You can create quality personas if you do the right research. Looking at less popular keywords is particularly valuable, imho. As to being genuine in multiple areas, that will be hard, it's true. But plenty of people do hard work successfully...

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - March 27, 2009 @ 6:31pm

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