Links Are the New Lotto Ticket

Jun 27th

I was just forwarded an email from a popular internet marketing list where a company gave people linking at them a chance to win $500 or $1000 for linking to them.

For each link you put on a page online, before May 30th, 2008 midnight you could have entered into a draw for the cash prizes. For example; if you put up 5 links on various sites, blogs, or even in a forum... you get 5 tickets into the draw. We did not accept 5 links on one URL as 5 tickets to the draw; it needs to be 5 separate URLs.

It is much harder for Google to kill paid links when those links come as a side effect of a contest or promotion.

Email lists of would be internet marketers have grown less responsive as blogs offering free information have sprung up, but having an email list or other audience that is not public will be a valuable tool for running contests through such that you can buy links without being called a spammer.

The beauty of having a list or large RSS subscriber base is that even if Google tries to take away your PageRank they can't take away your audience, which is already sold on you and do not care about your PageRank.

Published: June 27, 2008

New to the site? Join for Free and get over $300 of free SEO software.

Once you set up your free account you can comment on our blog, and you are eligible to receive our search engine success SEO newsletter.

Already have an account? Login to share your opinions.

Comments

June 27, 2008 - 3:00pm

I really don't think that this approach will work very well because as soon as the contest is over many of the contest losers will be yanking their links down. As well any new users that do arrive to your site will probably only do so because of the contest and many will not be there after the contest is over. For the most part I don't think there will be many links or users gained once the contest is conclude.

There may also be laws and legalities that may need to be considered when running a contest. I know in Canada many contests do not allow participants from the province of Quebec and I would assume this is for some legal reason.

June 28, 2008 - 10:10am

I really don't think that this approach will work very well because as soon as the contest is over many of the contest losers will be yanking their links down.

Most people are quite lazy and will leave the links published even if they were bribed to publish them. Try rebranding a website and ask people linking to you to link to the new location...most of them will not unless they are close personal friends.

As well any new users that do arrive to your site will probably only do so because of the contest and many will not be there after the contest is over.

If you get link authority into one page of your site it lifts your site's authority, and thus often boosts the rankings of other pages. Plus after enough time even the contest page can be changed in focused or 301 redirected.

There may also be laws and legalities that may need to be considered when running a contest.

But most webmasters probably do not worry about all the legalities every time they launch a community marketing idea.

June 27, 2008 - 3:11pm

How long before Google bans this? I believe Matt Cutts told us not to over-do this type of incentive linking. Was anyone listening?! LOL. But seriously, how long?

June 27, 2008 - 3:39pm

Links are connections. The flaw is with Google's algorithm. Connection police are not the answer. This is silly. Google's AI is not sophisticated enough to determine meaning and quality so there is still heavy reliance upon human voting via links. Google's algo is a human voting spammable mess. Years from now we will look back and see how diaperishly cute the algo was. I see websites having to ditch good user functionality in fear of Google's perceptions. The emperor is dominate but not truly wise.

June 27, 2008 - 4:06pm

This just *stinks* of paid links to me! And, I could definitely see it hurting you. A large number of links going up in a short timeframe, that aren't necessarily relevant to your content will definitely raise some red flags.

Then, what if these "contestants" add your link to link farms etc. This could bring you down in a hurry.

Seems like too much risk for the "possible" gain in popularity.

June 27, 2008 - 4:24pm

As Aaron said, I think that it is harder for Google to determine paid links that are created as part of a contest. However, I gotta agree with ShaneeK ultimately. A ton of random links going up around the same time directly to your homepage is a surefire red flag-raiser.

It was pointed out that the links wouldn't necessarily be relevant. It's also most likely that the links won't be worth much anyway. Even if you didn't get added to link farms or bad neighborhoods, it's still not worth the risk if all you get is a couple of hundred links to blogs with low or no pagerank.

I believe that links should be earned by posting quality content. Trying to trick Google by buying a bunch of links isn't going to get you return visitors anyway if your site has nothing worthwhile to offer. If it does have something to offer, then take the time to learn how to properly optimize and promote it and you'll get "real" links.

Sara

June 27, 2008 - 5:03pm

It was pointed out that the links wouldn't necessarily be relevant. It's also most likely that the links won't be worth much anyway. Even if you didn't get added to link farms or bad neighborhoods, it's still not worth the risk if all you get is a couple of hundred links to blogs with low or no pagerank.

You do not need relevant links to rank. And many of the sources who provide these links are no more a linkfarm than the average blog is.

June 29, 2008 - 7:29am

I think it is so funny when people argue with the expert!

Thanks Aaron

June 28, 2008 - 10:57am

I just don't trust these "free draws" anyway. Is there really a winner?

June 28, 2008 - 1:08pm

If a good link costs $50 and you can get 500 links for $500 it does not hurt to give the money away. ;)

June 29, 2008 - 9:52am

reminds me of "How To Destroy Google With $100 Million?"

"
if a random billionaire offered $100 million to the first person to click on a specific Google ad -- without telling anyone (of course) what ad it is. In other words, this billionaire will have given millions of people the incentive to commit clickfraud -- destroying the basis under which the AdWords system works. Advertisers would, in theory, demand their money back or would simply kill their Google ads.

"

more at http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20050203/0320241.shtml

New to the site? Join for Free and get over $300 of free SEO software.

Once you set up your free account you can comment on our blog, and you are eligible to receive our search engine success SEO newsletter.

Already have an account? Login to share your opinions.

  • Over 100 training modules, covering topics like: keyword research, link building, site architecture, website monetization, pay per click ads, tracking results, and more.
  • An exclusive interactive community forum
  • Members only videos and tools
  • Additional bonuses - like data spreadsheets, and money saving tips
We love our customers, but more importantly

Our customers love us!






    Email Address
    Pick a Username
    Yes, please send me "7 Days to SEO Success" mini-course (a $57 value) for free.

    Learn More

    We value your privacy. We will not rent or sell your email address.