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Beware of Any SEO Firm That Promises Zillions of Free Links to Your Site

External links to your site from high quality, relevant websites are one of the best ways to generate great search results

con man wanting your signature External links to your site from high quality, relevant websites are one of the best ways to generate great search results.

Why? Because, from Google’s perspective, your site ranks better if lots of your well-respected peers consider your site worth linking to. It’s like being friends with all the cool kids in high school. That makes you popular, too.

Unfortunately, the importance of generating quality links to your site opens the door to nefarious SEO practitioners who send out mass, evidently automated comments to a range of sites that have nothing to do with your company or your online presence.

A perfect example arrived in my e-mail this morning as a link to my article, "Six Reasons Why Your Blog Is Your Most Important Social Media Tool."

The SEO spammer left this absurd and ungrammatical comment:

"I’ve implies looked at it by way of that point of view and happen to be enlightened.  I will have to obtain some extra information and report it back again. Thank you."

I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t motivate me to connect with the ‘commenter.’

How to Avoid Falling for This Kind of Black Hat SEO Spam Link Building Technique

  1. If an SEO company promises they will get you a ton of links from external sites, make them explain exactly how they will achieve this result.
  2. Have them show you one or more examples that illustrate the way they go about delivering those external links.
  3. Ask to see actual comments that they have left on sites which, in turn, resulted in an external link.
  4. Ask them if they use the automated spamming process–perhaps showing my example of a stupid comment–and see if they think that’s a good idea.  It may well be that they think that kind of stupid comment is actually worthwhile.
  5. If you don’t get the right answers to these questions, toss them out the virtual door.

External Links Are Important but You Can’t Get Lots of Them Easily or Overnight.

Convincing other sites to link to you or letting it happen organically will take time.

Here’s a good basic approach:

  1. The first and most obvious step is to have great content on your site that is well worth linking to.
  2. Keep your content current and relevant for a well-defined set of potential customers within equally well-defined market niches.
  3. Research websites and bloggers who cover your content, product, service or knowledge expertise.
  4. Subscribe to their RSS feed and/or use Google search tools to deliver regular reports on news items in those topic areas.  That will keep you current and give you the opportunity to connect with the folks from whom you ultimately want links to your site.
  5. Begin to participate in the conversations taking place on those sites to demonstrate your knowledge. You will have an opportunity to leave a link to your site to make it easy for bloggers or website content creators to explore your site.
  6. You can also send them a polite request, perhaps with an example of your content, to add a link to your site from theirs.

This slow but steady approach works. But it will take time, perhaps several months. Remember, as with so many things in life, if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is.

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Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.

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