I just got an email from a client asking for direction on a link building opportunity. This from my client:
Conrad, we just got this message regarding link building. As we clearly know nothing about this I defer to your expertise.
And here’s the request, from Andrew Hudson of Speakeasy Marketing – submitted completely cold to an online form on my client’s website. I’ve boldfaced the most egregious parts:
From Our Law Firm to Yours – a Request
I work for 40 different attorneys throughout The United States, and I have a simple proposition that will benefit your website and ours.
One of my attorney clients would like to Place a link from his website to your website, Which will elevate you in Google’s eyes and help You get higher up in Google results.
In return, we ask for a link from your website to A different attorney client of ours.
No money exchanges hands, the links are not Reciprocal, and both parties benefit.
This is NOT a ‘black hat’ technique, or anything That violates Googles’ terms of service.
100% straight up, legitimate, tit for tat.
Are you open to this simple arrangement?
Please reply regardless,
Now, if you know anything about online marketing, you’ll know that this is entirely black hat, is entirely reciprocal (I’m not sure how Andrews misses the irony of saying “its not reciprocal”, and then mentions “tit for tat”) and entirely violative of Google’s terms of service.
Richard – when you read this, check out Google’s Guidelines on Link Schemes – although you might find this excerpt particularly insightful:
Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking.
I checked out the site for Speakeasy Marketing and found the worst type of internet schyster – the black hat acolyte professing white hat tactics and guaranteeing magical results. AND they specialize in legal – which I find infuriating.
Speakeasy Marketing – Avoid at Your Peril
Let’s look at their site as a lesson in identifying red flags of SEO spammers:
Focus on Rankings
I’ve written ad nauseaum about the dangers of ranking reports and how SEO’s use them to suggest success in the face of failure. Read: Your Ranking Report is a Dangerous Waste of Time.
100% Success Guarantee
Nothing is guaranteed in online marketing. Ever. Nothing.
I’ve been doing this a long time – and the only thing I know for sure is that successful online marketing takes effort.
Disavowing Black Hat Techniques
Of course – the cruel irony here is that he’s calling out black-hat techniques while simultaneously employing them.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.