For those who have abandoned buying links or greatly curtailed their budgets for such activities, don’t simply turn that into PPC or display money. You can leverage it for three SEO tactics that are lasting and promote positive user experiences.
Link Buying & Outing: A Brief History
In February 2011, a dark New York cloud came over the practice of securing inbound web links for search engine optimization purposes. This cloud was manifested in two distinct New York Times and Wall Street Journal investigative reports, which detailed tactics that JCPenney and Overstock.com had used to game the search engine algorithms.
In order to pass authority to pages, which is one of the key elements to getting exposure in the “free” (organic) search results, each of these huge ecommerce players took a calculated risk in order to skip line and get to the top.
JCPenney likely spent more money because they were actually buying links (and promoting the American Way), but Overstock.com also had to provide some additional support to their students that were exchanging links for discounts. Now there are signs that the dust has settled, and Overstock.com’s penalty has been lifted.
SEOs who were buying links before February, especially in large or expensive quantities, suddenly faced a decision on whether to continue the practice and hope to remain under the radar, or to discontinue paying brokers to obtain links. Although a few folks chose the former, I’ve spoken to many senior SEOs who report they are discontinuing the practice.
Here are three ways you can leverage the budget that was formerly allocated to link buying for 2011.