Focus on Results & Achieve Them
I like all the traffic types coming in; in order to get that traffic on a couple of sources I have to jump through a few hoops. Big deal. So long as the requirements cost less than the expected revenue from ranking, I'll meet the requirements.
As long as something works and is within your personal ethical, financial, and risk boundaries then why not give it a try?
Setting Up a Baseline for Risk Tolerance
Bob Massa published a great article casting aside the hats while looking at link buying from a business objectives standpoint:
SHOULD I BUY LINKS? ... Most of the people who ask me that question are the people who least need to worry about the risk. The risk motivating the question being whether or not they may be penalized by google instead of the risk being about going broke.
Logic would dictate that anyone concerned about the risk of being penalized by Google, is actually worried about losing something they already have. In this case sales coming from targeted traffic generated from superior organic placements in the SERP’s. ...
But far more often than not, when I take a look at the site belonging to the askee, I see a site that looks like a third graders ransom note. ... Little traffic to speak of and certainly no sales to lose. There is VERY little visible investment in design, content or anything else. Yet they brag of the #3 spot they have for a keyword with over a million results like that is all they need for proof of their valuable contribution to the world of online commerce.
The biggest risk to most businesses is that they will never be found and never gain any traction. That is why I found the concept of debating the risk of buying links getting you in trouble 5 years from now a bit intellectually dishonest. If in 5 years you built no momentum and someone can just wipe you out that was not a very good business model.
Bob Massa's article is also a nice summary of why SEO client experiences are bad unless you have a strong brand and/or are selling to the right clients. If you are going to the effort to market thin affiliate sites you may as well keep the all revenue for yourself, and design to at least 4th grade standards!
Why Trust Another Business More Than Yourself?
John Andrews did a fun comparison between AdWords and doorway pages. Considering the cheating wives offers that AdWords promotes I have to agree with him that Google's moral superiority strategy is a bit thin.
The underlying question is, “Why are we seeking permission from Google to do webmaster things when it’s Google’s responsibility to make their search engine work according to our typical practices?”
Just because Google is the most popular SE doesn’t mean that they can now make the rules. They need to go back to coding their SE to be better than the others rather than spending so much time trying to make us code or setup sites to their specifications.
After Google bought YouTube they integrated YouTube directly into their site and their search results.
Many sites and marketers that are considered spammers by Google only use aggressive push marketing off the start to market their sites because the framework for ranking that Google set up require it. If the "spammers" were given the same head start that YouTube pages or Knol pages will get then they would not need to "spam" to rank. They would just produce the best content and watch it rise to the top of the results.
The Value of Exposure & Feedback
I recently spoke with a mentor who told me that starting about 20 years ago he lost 10 years because he was sitting around expecting everyone to figure out how brilliant he was. His tips and advice likely saved me from making that mistake on some fronts - and saved me a couple years of my life. And while he is considered a guru by many today, what more momentum would have have today if he didn't lose those 10 years? What if someone would have gave him the speech he just gave me? How much richer would he be? Would I have even been able to afford hiring him for a consult?
If I was not a push marketer a few years ago and I avoided link buying without debating the risks, would I have been able to afford that phone call that will likely save years of my life? Probably not.
Everyone starts off as a push marketer, and then moves toward pull marketing as they gain feedback and get more well known, and build a brand they do not want to risk damaging.
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