Why Link Builders Don’t Share Their Top Secret Strategies

Posted by Kristi Hines - May 27, 2010 - SEO - 25 Comments

Last month, I did a post on Search Engine Journal on the five types of link building. It was geared towards a more beginner’s audience, or maybe for the intermediate SEO who may have forgotten that link building is for more than just building PageRank.

The first commenter on the post (now removed) basically was dissatisfied by the fact that what I wrote was common knowledge and he wanted to see something new that wasn’t already broadcast everywhere in SEO blogs. So the question is, why do link builders not share what some may consider their juiciest secrets or sure fire link building tactics.

Myths vs. Facts

MYTH: Link builders don’t share their best strategies because they are afraid it will put them out of business.

I can almost guarantee, with certainty, that I could list out every link building method I use today for clients, and I could probably email it on over to them, and I would still have most of those clients tomorrow.

Let’s face it, if you gathered together all of the link building resources and toolkits out there, between websites, blogs, books, and seminars, you could probably find most of the best strategies link builders use today. Just organize them, and away you go – you could become a link builder yourself for your own company, blog, etc.

So why do SEO’s still have the jobs they have today? It all comes down to one word – time. Depending on your internet expertise, it takes time to learn the basics about link building – how to recognize good neighborhoods from bad ones, valuable links from worthless ones, and so on. Even if you do know how to build links, it takes time to do the link requests, the commenting, the directory submissions, and other tasks. And even if you have learned the basics and have time to do some of the link building yourself, then it takes time to keep up to date with the latest happenings in the search world (such as the recent Google Mayday updates) to know what works and what is no longer effective.

MYTH: Link builders put out mis-information in order to hurt those trying to do it themselves so they can gain their business.

Well, depending on how you look at this, it is myth or fact. White hat SEO’s actually share a lot of valuable information about the industry on their blogs and at seminars / conferences. Black hat SEO’s, on the other hand, write about more shady tactics that work only if you don’t cross a particular line, or get caught. But even white hat link building strategies can be done improperly, leading to possible penalization by Google.

FACT: Link builders don’t share their top secrets for fear of them being abused.

It’s pretty common knowledge now that blog commenting, forum posting, and link requests can get you some valuable backlinks for your website. Because it is common knowledge, these tactics are becoming more abused every day by those who want to mass produce links in as little time as possible.

The result of this kind of abuse is everything from Aksimet comment moderation (where something as simple as your keyword phrase will get you caught in the spam filter), forums not allowing links until you have made 10+ posts, blogs going from dofollow to nofollow, links on social profiles going from direct to redirects, and much more.

One specific example of this is a little trick I used to use with Squidoo. A certain search query plus your keywords would bring up Squidoo lenses that had a an option to add your link to a list on the lens – most of the time without any moderation. What makes this better than just creating a Squidoo is that, using SEOQuake to sort search results, you could find lenses that had high PageRank – so I was getting dofollow links on PR 4 through PR 6 pages! Of course, this was short lived. More people found out about it, and now links in these lists are nofollow.

So, needless to say, it’s hard to determine the line between being helpful and sharing new tips and techniques with the masses vs. protecting those same strategies from those who will abuse them to the point that they are taken away.

Your Thoughts on Trade Secrets

What are your thoughts about sharing trade secrets in SEO, link building, or other industries? Do you think it’s best practice for good karma, or better kept safe?

About the Author

Kristi Hines

Kristi is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter.