SEO

The Accidental Link Request Clinic

If you send me a link request, I’m going to go ahead and assume you want my feedback. What? You don’t? You just want the valuable back link that I can provide? Wow, I feel dirty and used. No not really, because unfortunately I’m used to it by now. Sure sometimes link requests are annoying, sometimes they make me giggle, and sometimes I just shake my head sadly with the knowledge that some poor soul spent time and money on these misguided tactics. I know I’ve ranted about terrible link requests but I still think there are…critiques… worth doing.

I’ve never directly responded to a bad link request. Perhaps someday I will, but in the mean time I’m going to do it here, as a sort of public service announcement. After all, knowledge is power right? So welcome to the link request clinic that you accidentally walked into. The names and sites have been changed to protect the unfortunate.

Email #1 – Bad Grammar, Bots and Outrageous Claims

Hi,

I run Random-site.com and I would like to exchange link with your website (mysite.com in parenthesis). I believe our sites are useful to our audience.

Please add your link to our directory at (Generic-link-directory.com) and once our link is up on your website, your listing will be activated and made available to public in our directory.

Our link directory was created two weeks ago so it has no pagerank at the moment. It will get a solid PR5 after next pagerank update.

Please reply with any questions you may have.

Greetings

Umm here’s a question…do you actually expect to get results from a request like this? Ok in the words of Connie D’ Amico, “prepare for itemized insults”. First the grammar is questionable, which is immediately off putting. Try using plurals and the word “the” occasionally, it makes you sound literate. Second, placing my site in parenthesis REEKS of an automated program. This tells me that your email is a bad template at best or at worst a bot scraped my domain and filled in the appropriate field.

Also, let me get this straight, you want me to add my site to your generic link list and in return you want a back link on the site I wrote page by page by hand? Yeah I don’t think so. I also highly doubt that “my audience” is in dire need on yet another pointless directory.

But my favorite part of this email about the world’s most amazing 2 week old directory is the claim that “after next PageRank update” this site will be a “solid” PR5.

Really Nostradamus? Exactly where did you get that info, your crystal ball or your tarot cards?

The fact is no one can ever legitimately make a claim like that. Toolbar PR is utterly unreliable and it’s impossible to predict what actual PageRank a new site will be assigned. True PR is about trust and value. And frankly with link building tactics like these I am highly skeptical that your entry-begging directory will be given much trust or value at all.

Email #2 – Aggressive Schizophrenia

My name is Random Female Name, Web Marketing Consultant. Ive greatly enjoyed looking through your site my-site.com and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website, which has a related subject. I can offer you a HOME PAGE link back from my related website which is:

I-send-bad-link-requests.com      PR5

If you are interested, please send me the following details of your site:

TITLE:

URL:

I’ll add your link as soon as possible, in the next 24 hours. As soon as it’s ready, I’ll send you a confirmation email along with the information (TITLE and URL) regarding my site to be placed at yours.

I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

Kindest regards,

….Four Days Later…

Hi,

My name is Another Random Female Name, Web Marketing Consultant. Ive greatly enjoyed looking through your site mysite.com and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website, which has a related subject. I can offer you a home page link back from my related website which is:

I-send-bad-link-requests.com  PR5

Yada, yada, yada….

I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

Kindest regards,

Another Totally Different Random Female Name.

Web Marketing Consultant

Wow. Ok, if I didn’t respond your first request on Thursday, you really think that I’m going to be game on Monday? I suppose there is nothing wrong with persistence, except when you’re spamming me. Which in spite of a weak attempt to personalize using my domain name, you are.

Because I’m morbidly curious, I checked out this “related” subject offering me a home page link. It’s a blog, which is fine, I love blog links. But this particular blog, in spite of having a few posts which are relevant to my site, has a ton of posts which are not only completely UN-related to me, they are topics that I actually would prefer to distance myself from. Add to that, poor writing and the compete absence of educational value. Awesome, because the web needs more blogs like that. And I’ve been dying to link to a not-even-thinly veiled attempt at making money off of useless content about highly competitive niches.

Finally, I know it’s difficult for your bots to keep track of all their identities, but could we get the dissociative identity disorder under control please? Sending me duplicate emails, 4 days apart, from 2 supposedly different “Web Marketing Consultants” and failing to close the second one using the same fake name you opened with, is a real deterrent to gaining my trust. Oh and speaking of trust I’m not sure where you got PR5 from because as far as I can tell, your green bar is white, and even though that doesn’t matter to me, it does lead me to believe that your ACTUAL PageRank is probably closer to a -5.

There are several other bad link request offenders which perhaps I’ll cover in a future post someday, if the rest of you are having as much fun with this as I am. There’s the long talker, a.k.a TMI Guy, the Shameless Advertiser (whose honesty I almost respect) among others.  But I couldn’t close this entry without covering this last one…

Email #3 – The Deceptively Almost Sincere Generic Link Request.

Subject: Quick Question About

I’m interested in placing a promotional link on your page:

http://mysite.com./specific-blog-post

The link would be for a website which is all about search engine optimization services. I don’t have the biggest budget, but hopefully there is a reasonable price we could arrange. Please let me know if you’re interested, and if not thanks for your time.

Thanks!

Lovely Female Name

Oooh … You are a tricky little vixen. First, you filled in my contact form and second your subject line sounded like you might genuinely be interested in my site or my services. Alas, you are not. You just want to exploit me. Le sigh.

When are bosses going to teach their link builders to take the time to look at who they are emailing and not put themselves in situations like this? Why are you emailing an SEO site about linking to an SEO site and offering to pay for it!  A “promotional” link no less. You couldn’t even pretend that the link will somehow add value to my site? Listen sister, maybe you don’t know this, but I know that buying links is a dangerous practice. And the guy you work for probably knows it too.

But here you are offering to pay me for links. Even though if you read my site, which I suspect you didn’t, you’d recognize that as an SEO I understand the full value of what it is that you are asking. I know the risks that come along with buying and selling links and your budget which is “not the biggest” probably isn’t going to be enough for me to sell my site’s integrity. Not to mention that my name is all over my site, so if you had glanced at it you could have at least done me the courtesy of an actual greeting. The use of my name might help convince me you aren’t just another link spammer. Might.

Oh and with a quick read-though you might also realize that I am your client’s competitor and therefore without content enhancing information, forming a relationship and/ or a mutually beneficial partnership I’m very unlikely to give a competitor a link of any kind.

So what are the Take-aways from today’s clinic?

  1. Learn to write well. Seriously. A little good grammar goes a long way.
  2. Be consistent in the use of names, mine AND yours.
  3. Try to keep track of the people you contact, so you don’t inadvertently harass people
  4. Don’t bother writing me unless you have something of real value to offer my content and my users. And don’t lie to me about your site’s quality…when I look at it, I’ll figure out you don’t have any.
  5. Read the site you are writing to. You don’t have to memorize every page or blog post, but at least know who you are pitching so you don’t make a fool of yourself.

If you have any of your own examples or other insults constructive criticism for these link requests I’d love to hear it!

 The Accidental Link Request Clinic

Jennifer Van Iderstyne

Jennifer Van Iderstyne is an SEO Specialist at Internet Marketing Ninjas, formerly WeBuildPages. Internet Marketing Ninjas is a full service internet marketing company based out of sunny Clifton Park, NY. You can follow her on Twitter but if you come to the office you won’t be able to find her, because Ninjas are invisible.
 The Accidental Link Request Clinic

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24 thoughts on “The Accidental Link Request Clinic

  1. I had received an email just like your second sample and I don’t know now how many were sent to me with different names and websites. At first glance, I read the email and checked their website but upon knowing the true PR, I immediately assume it’s a spam mail. I think they are fishing for traffic and not actually a link request.

    1. Steve, I’m pretty sure they’d like both, traffic and a link. But my guess is that no one stays very long…

    2. Steve, I’m pretty sure they’d like both, traffic and a link. But my guess is that no one stays very long…

  2. Jen,

    I get some of the most outrageous link request. The ones that annoy me the most are the ones that say their site is related to my SEO site when their is a hardware store website or some other COMPLETELY unrelated niche.

    I also get TONS is links requests with ESL issues. Most of which open with something like

    “Kind sir I find your internet site to be useful and I like very much, I would like to exchange links kind sir…..”

    *phew*

    There are many others but those are the two most common bad link requests I seem to get almost regularly. LOL

    1. Gerald, Yup, I get those too. “Kind sir” is a definite tip off that this is not going to go well lol

    2. Gerald, Yup, I get those too. “Kind sir” is a definite tip off that this is not going to go well lol

  3. Thanks for a great post and samples for ill link exchange request Jennifer it was really worth reading. I have seen new comers with good page but worst request and that kills the impression. I hope this will shape the new comers ideas who are unaware and still in practice of such link request. Once again it was a wonderful post to go through! Thanks! :)

    1. Thanks Kiran! I agree that even if the page is actually good, a bad request makes a terrible first impression.

    2. Thanks Kiran! I agree that even if the page is actually good, a bad request makes a terrible first impression.

  4. Heeheehee! I laughed out loud at some of these! I have actually asked for ‘link exchanges’ in the past, unknowingly breaking a few of ‘the rules’, but not as heinously as the people you talk about above.
    Phyew!
    Perhaps I am in that 1% of good people who occasionally make mistakes when asking for a link. With your and others’ help I now know how to more effectively ask for links. Thank You for the laughter!
    Christine Marsh

    1. Thanks Christine! All of us make mistakes in link building, some times the most humiliating ones are how we learn. But I’m glad the post made you laugh :)

  5. Yep, I get the “random female” one a few times a week. Say, perhaps this isn’t the best time, but would you like to exchange links with me? BAAHAA

  6. everybody knows about that spammy link requests..but why does everybody asks for Perfect grammar and Formatting.. How many languages does These “ehhehehhe” commenter know?

  7. Paid link emails, written well or not, really come down to asking yourself if you want/need the money. TONS do and unless the site is adult content, casinos, pharma, most sites want the extra bucks.

    What makes my day better is when SEO agencies cold call our SEO agency offering their services. Then they feel just a little silly when they realize what they did.

    1. Adam, true enough. But I do think that emailing SEO sites about paid links is just asking for punishment.

  8. What I love is when I receive 5 identical link requests all sent to different email addresses but all reaching me since I’m a one person biz with my email domain set to catch-all. Makes me feel very special when each one of the five emails is identical, and says “I was just looking at your website”.

    1. Eric, another great example of people not really paying attention to what they are doing. It’s the lazy, cast a wide net approach rather than a smartly targeted one.

    2. Eric, another great example of people not really paying attention to what they are doing. It’s the lazy, cast a wide net approach rather than a smartly targeted one.

  9. Great post: 1) LOVED the Connie D’Amico reference, and 2) I’m wondering how prevalent reciprocal linking still is; I’ve read that it’s outdated, yet it’s often the best quid pro quo.