Risk vs Reward In Hiring a Cheap Link Monkey

Not only are the engines getting better at discriminating link quality, but when you outsource your link building to save money you often get automated junk which is sent WAY off target.

That presents three main problems:

  • potential bad plublicity (few things suck as bad as Danny Sullivan highlighting one of your own link exchange requests as being bad, as you know that probably gets read by MANY search engineers)

  • frequently exchanging way off topic makes your site less likely to be linkable from the quality resources on your topic (and, to a lesser extent, may cost you some of the quality links you already have)
  • If sites are willing to trade way off topic that means odds are pretty good that much of their link popularity is bottom of the barrel link spam. Thus as you trade more and more off topic links a larger and larger percent of your direct and in-direct link popularity come from link spam that is easy to algorithmically detect.

The net result is that a somewhat well trusted and normalish link profile starts to look more and more abnormal. Eventually bad plublicity or the low quality links may catch up with the site and it risks either gets banned or filtered out of the search results.

If you have a longterm website, and are using techniques that increase your risk profile and are easily accessible to and reproducible by your competitors at dirt cheap rates it might be time to look for other techniques.

Some sites that practice industrial strength off topic link spam might be ranking well in spite of (and not because) some of the techniques they use.

[Update: just got this gem


My name is Ben, and I'm working with Search Engine Optimisation [URL removed].

I have found your site and believe it would be mutually beneficial for us to exchange links as our sites share the same subject matter. As you may already know, trading links with one another helps boost both of our search engine rankings.

As a result, I am sending this email to inform you about our site and to propose submitting our link to your web page located at; www.search-marketing.info

We would appreciate if you could add a link to our web site on this/your web page, using the following information:

Title Link: Search Engine Marketing
Description: Tailored Search engine marketing campaigns for your business. Leverage our online marketing & pay per click management experience & achive fast ROI.
URL: http://www.[site].com.au/search-engine-marketing.html

NOTE: We will upload your link on our site, when you have notified us our link is live and we can see it online.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.

Sincerely, Ben


Can you imagine how shitty their SEO services are for their clients if they send shit like that out for their own site.

They know I am an SEO, and they:

  • are too lazy to grab my name from my site, even though it is on every page (not hard to automate that)

  • say I may know something about how links work (get a clue)
  • call my home page a links page (really stupid)
  • want me deep link into a useless service page on their site
  • call their search engine marketing services tailored, when it is pretty obvious that they are not using sophisticated or useful techniques for their own site.]
Published: November 12, 2005 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


November 12, 2005 - 5:33pm

Hey Aaron,

This is right on. I outsourced link building to a couple of cheap places when I started and got my clients into all kinds of trouble.

Pulled that and now have very expensive link building. Ranking top five in some very tough categories right now.

Link building works - done right. And that's not cheap.

Cheers, Alec

November 13, 2005 - 9:24am

Wow. That Danny Sullivan post was a bit hallucinatory. I like it!

When your farmed-out link swap request gets "stomped" like that, it's got to sting a bit.

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