We’re roughly a week away from Halloween and I still can’t decide what I’m gonna be! First I thought about dressing myself up as a homeless person referring to myself as a “link beggar”. My second idea was to alternate between wearing a white hat and black hat all day depending on my mood…yup, not the most creative, I know. Anyways, that’s not the point of this post. What I want to discuss is link acquisition and whether or not link builders are manipulating webmasters.
I’ll let you all in on a secret a little crow once tweeted in my ear. “Obtaining authoritative links is the key to top search engine rankings.” Ok, now in all seriousness every SEO knows this and obtaining these links is like convincing a vampire to take a big bite out of a clove of garlic. Each and every day we find new reasons to convince other people that it’s a good idea to link to specific pages within our website. Techniques such as unique content, badges, brewing up controversy, personalized e-mails and infographics are pretty commonly used to obtain links. The question is “are SEO’s manipulating webmasters?” Let’s further break this down into two separate thoughts.
Getting The Biggest Bang From Your Link.
It’s only natural that as people find value in content that they will link, tweet, like and otherwise share it with people. One train of thought is that an SEO is not necessarily manipulating webmasters but getting the biggest bang from the existing link opportunity. If a webmaster was already going to link to the content then what is wrong with suggesting to them specific anchor text or even supplying them the optimized code to host a badge? The SEO isn’t holding a gun up to their head forcing them to link to their page, their simply maximizing the value of the link they will get regardless.
Ignorance Isn’t An Excuse
Many of the time links are acquired from webmasters that are totally ignorant to the idea of search engine optimization. I’m not advocating that every webmaster be fully aware of SEO but truth be told the best links come from the ones that don’t know the value of a link. These webmasters are the ones that ‘bite’ when you offer a badge on your website or add you to their blog roll with only a friendly e-mail requesting the link.
SEO’s typically will do whatever it takes to acquire a link that they want. This also can include building up a relationship based on the notion that it will eventually garner them a link. While many conversations are genuine, they simply wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the need for the link.
SEO = Deception?
My personal opinion on the matter is that you’re maximizing the value of every link opportunity. What a surprise that an SEO would think this right? That’s why I have taken the time to think from the other end too. I think SEO’s can be deceptive without even being a ‘black-hat’ SEO. What do you think of this? Can SEO be deceptive without even using “black-hat” techniques? Is being deceptive on any level contribute to attributes that makes up a “black-hat” SEO? I think the truth to the question is that SEO falls into more of a “grey-hat” area more then people would like to believe. You’re only tricking yourself into thinking you’re classified into one role over another.