HP can spam the hell out of Google and Google engineers are afraid to do anything about it because they do not want to lose the associated AdWords ad budget. But if you follow HP's strategy it is called spam - and a Google engineer will smile while killing your site. It's just business.
Unless you have a well known brand and/or established social relationships with thought leaders it is hard to get lasting quality links for less than a few hundred dollars each. And there are only a few Google approved paid link sources that you can easily find for all your sites...beyond those you have to use high risk techniques or hunt for more, which requires many man-hours of work.
If you are going to spend 100 hours hunting for links, why not just spend 40 hours creating featured content and another 10 hours marketing it? I think my recent how much is a #1 ranking in Google worth article was poorly received compared to many of my other features, and it still got over 100 links...at $100 each that is $10,000 in links for 2 days work. Thousands of people saw that article and it will keep building links as it ages. The network effect is on my side. :)
Using content as a link building strategy is typically far less risky and cheaper than link buying, and it builds brand while establishing a direct organic traffic flow Google can't block. Given tools like Compete.com, Google Trends, and other sources you can create content like that for virtually any field.
Custom content is going mainstream - business marketers are spending nearly 30% of their marketing budget on custom content, and today Danny Sullivan announced he is doing a paid search feature with John Battelle for Thomson Reuters. If you have cash higher personalities and market leaders for brand association and exposure.
The border between content and advertising is blurring. This 45 minute how to AdWords video from Dan Thies comes with an introductional sales pitch and sign up close - but the content in between the sales pitches is of higher quality than most paid content...which builds trust and allows you to charge customers more. Rather than monetizing via ads and marketing with ads it is simply cheaper to use content to capture and qualify leads. This trend will only grow as the rate of innovation and competition online continue to increase.
- A widely distributed free version is why open source is so effective - it allows you to build trust, mindshare, and marketshare for limited ongoing cost, while allowing you to create a profitable shadow brand.
- Business organizations are also following an open-source-like strategy. Is SEMPO an industry non-profit? Or are they a for profit SEM training company with a non-profit arm that legitimizes their training programs?
Even if you are not great with video, well formatted text can still go a long way. Sure most people do not read, but some do, and well linked to text documents rank for a lot of long tail search queries.
It only takes a couple links from high authority channels to build cascading links. You can connect with people on a resource level (like this SEO guide for Information Architecture or Principles for Building a Successful Internet Business) or on an emotional level (like Brian Clark's post about almost dieing, and turning his life around).
If neither of those strategies work for you why not try creating a fun toy, like How Rich Will I Be? Rentacoder (or similar) can help you create a custom toy for a few hundred or few thousand dollars.
Don't have enough money to hire a programmer? Then take the time to learn the marketplace and satisfy demands other ways. Strategic content development for link building does not require a lot of money, it only requires patience, time, formatting, a strong understanding of the marketplace, the willingness to be wrong, and the willingness to ask.
Here is a quote from my favorite band
If you have been rejected many times in your life, then one more rejection isn't going to make much difference. If you're rejected, don't automatically assume it's your fault. The other person may have several reasons for not doing what you are asking her to do: none of it may have anything to do with you. Perhaps the person is busy or not feeling well or genuinely not interested in spending time with you. Rejections are part of everyday life. Don't let them bother you. Keep reaching out to others. When you begin to receive positive responses then you are on the right track. It's all a matter of numbers. Count the positive responses and forget about the rejections.
Sometimes a lack of cash gives you an incentive that the competition lacks to create something great.
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