After the umptieth email from less-than-apt linkbuilders asking if I would like to exchange links, I need to vent.
These days, too many people call themselves SEOs. Technically, majority of them would be really called linkbuilders – but they are not even the kind of linkbuilders I would like to have working on any of my sites. They learn a technique or two like emailing link exchange requests or submitting to directories (any directories, on-topic or not, spammy or not, deindexed or not), or submitting your one article to 1,000 article directories most of which are not even article directories but parts of shitty content networks, half-deindexed, half-spammed to death, and run with it. I am not even talking of the kind that offers to submit your site to 2,500 search engines (ORLY? where did they get so many?). Economically, this model unfortunately still works – for the “linkbuilders”, not for the sites they are building links for. They get hired by clueless marketing managers, often as freelancers, not even as inhouse staff, or they go to oDesk and Fiverr, and they don’t really care about the final result. But they get paid once in a while for what they do, so for them it works fine.
But problem is, even the techniques they practice they do not ultimately understand or learn properly. They ahve probably never heard of the probability theory and its application in real life, for shortlisting the link targets in our case. The real-life application of the probability theory to linkbuilding would have shown them that if you target a site that (1) does not have a “Partners” section, (2) does not place links to obviously unrelated sites in the sidebar or footer, (3) does not have a miserable 2004 “Link to us” passage anywhere on it and (4) being a site about SEO, never says anything about exchanging links, it is probably a BAD target for link exchange emails. No matter if you pose as a woman when writing such email. No matter what time of day/week you send off your emails. Spamming me with your link exchange emails will not bring any plausible result. EVER. This is not something that could get me interested. Those clueless “gurus” training “linkbuilders” in the third world countries should better start hiring people with education background in psychology – maybe for them it would be easier to understand people’s motivation to take an action, even if the “guru” himself does not understand it.
Yes, this is a blackhat SEO blog. Yes, blackhats practice things frowned at by Google. But no, these things are not supposed to not work or be outdated and done by clueless idiots. It’s time to stop ever referring to clueless idiots as blackhats or linkbuilders or SEOs – they are just clueless idiots. I have seen a bunch of them running blackhat tools, too – but just running the tools without a clue won’t get you anywhere.
I don’t even want to get started on specific methods of linkbulding. The value of reciprocal link exchange has ceased to exist around 2006 – nobody in their right mind has been doing it ever since. The value of more complex link exchange schemes can also be questioned after the Penguin update. But do the authors of these link exchange emails even know what I am talking about?
If we ever talk about the need for certification of some sort in our industry, it should not be to say who’s right and who’s wrong, or who’s “ethical” and who’s not – I hate to apply any ethics talk to what we do. (Getting a porn site to rank for all kinds of keywords a child would be searching is unethical – everything else just goes in terms of whether it conforms to the search engines’ rules or not and whether it works or not, no religion here). Certification is needed to show who is professional and who is a clueless scam. With things changing every day in SEO, the criteria for such certification, however, should not even be if I know how to apply certain meta tags or the exact ways of listing a site in Google Places, or would it be safe to apply any specific technique for a purely theoretical site in question without having the specifics and the overall strategy – but rather, if I can think and get the bigger picture or if I’m a brainless idiot. Coming up with a certification like that is not an easy task of course, but surely hope our industry will develop in this direction, rather than some nominal testing that becomes obsolete 3 months after it’s passed. If we do that, there will be a much lower chance of people outing themselves or making themselves vulnerable for outing, or even people outing others because there is little more they know how to do.