The Wrong Way to Build Links from Blogs

Some links stick out like a sore thumb to the search engines.

Stephan Spencer
Search engine optimization expert Stephan Spencer shares late-breaking SEO tools, tips, trends, resources, news and insights. Stephan is the founder and president of Netconcepts, a web agency specializing in search engine optimized ecommerce. Clients include Discovery Channel, AOL, Home Shopping Network, Verizon SuperPages.com, and REI, to name a few. Stephan is a frequent speaker at Internet conferences around the globe. He is also a Senior Contributor to MarketingProfs.com, a monthly columnist for Practical Ecommerce, and he's been a contributor to DM News, Multichannel Merchant, Catalog Success, Catalog Age, and others.
Stephan Spencer
3 min read

I'm an evangelist when it comes to blogging as a way to build brand, thought leadership status, and links. Heck, I've written a lot about making blogging pay off in terms of SEO (here, here and here, for example). However, my enthusiasm does not carry over to spamming the blogosphere. Not through comments. Not through trackbacks. Not through spam blogs (a.k.a. splogs). Not through payola.

There are firms out there that hang out their shingle as "blog marketing firms," that take your money and promise many links from other blogs to your site or blog. Buyer beware! It may be nothing more than a link farm wolf in a Web 2.0 sheep's clothing.

How can you know? Go to in Yahoo Site Explorer and start digging through their inlinks and their clients' inlinks. For example, from this sponsored post you will find mention of a company in the business of acquiring blog links for SEO. A quick peruse through their inlinks revealed the sorts of keyword-stuffed blog posts they'd be acquiring / manufacturing on your behalf. Here's a representative sample:

Yuch! Such stellar prose, eh? And it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a Google algorithm!) to figure out the search term they've targeted ("website optimization firm").

Not only is this a red flag to the search engines (notice their site doesn't rank in Google in the first 100 results for the targeted term), this is a red flag to you, the prospective buyer of such seedy services. Think of it this way: you could buy the supposed miracle diet pill for the quick fix, OR you could buy REAL blog consulting, where it's eating right and regular exercise for the eventual, hard-earned payoff.

A legit blog consultant wouldn't buy you a bunch of links that -- by some strange coincidence -- all happen to have the same exact anchor text from an array of blog posts that read like machine-generated content. A real blog consultant will instead help you shine in the blogosphere as a thought leader, help you engage in honest and open conversations with your market, help put a human face to your company name, help you craft entertaining/helpful/insightful "link baits" that attract high quality/trusted/authority links like a magnet.

Links (and higher rankings) will follow from hiring the the second type -- the true breed -- of blog consultant. Importantly, those links won't be flagged by the search engines as suspicious, because they will arise organically, they will have been earned by merit -- rather than having been engineered. Just ask a blogger like Steve Spangler (disclosure: he's a client of ours at Netconcepts) about the hard work involved in blogging for real. It's a serious commitment you can't back down from. While you're at it, ask Steve about the rewards he's reaped: Steve attributes over 15% of online sales to his blog; he also credits his blogging to him getting nominated by the Time Magazine editorial staff for the Hundred Most Influential People of 2006.