“Trick Or Link” – Is It Only Halloween When SEO’s Manipulate Webmasters?

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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.

Nick Leroy

Nick Leroy

Nick LeRoy is an SEO Consultant at FindLaw a Thomson Reuters company. Nick offers SEO site audits to his clients in addition to his blog posts supplying SEO tips & tricks.
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  • Amaury Pavao Filho

    Hi Nick, its was a very good point of view. I agree when u say that many of relationship only exist because theres a link prospect.

  • http://www.bigjobsboard.com Steve Jobs

    Most webmasters now knows the importance of SEO and the value of the link. If ever we find one webmaster who doesn’t know these, often not, their website is not worth linking to.

    • http://twitter.com/SEONickLeRoy Nick LeRoy

      Some of the best links I have acquired have come from webmasters that created a site in the early 90’s and while they don’t look good aesthetically the value passed from this site to mine is fantastic!

      • http://twitter.com/abbygilmore Abby Gilmore

        Same with me, Nick!

  • step4spam

    All we need to find then is a government site with a high PR and hope to god they don’t know what they are doing when it comes to discussing links. I better start looking then.

  • http://www.nealdigital.com/blog Neal Dougan

    I think the majority of web masters do not know the importance of links. I have submitted plenty of links on High PR pages with just a very polite email. It works!! I would say 6 times out of 10 you can get a free one way link from people who know no better.

  • http://webconnecttechnologies.com web design company in delhi

    I think link building is good way to improve rank….