By Nickfb76 | June 21, 2010
I just got done spending time researching some of my competitors back links. Since my niche is in the web design, development and SEO industry I don’t typically waste my time as most links acquired are by the same technique… or so I thought – shame on me. Today I found out a tactic being used that either extremely annoys me or just makes me envious that I can’t pull it off. Before I get into this tactic a little more let me explain how most links are accumulated for web design & development firms. We create a website and plop a link on the bottom of the site. The link always fits the site design and is hardly noticeable unless specifically searched for. I can only vouch for my company, but 100% of the time our clients know the link is there and many of these times they’re so happy with their project that they never complain.
The Technique In Question
I’m going through a bunch of competitor’s sites looking at their portfolios when I decide to take a look at their link profiles as well. Typically you see however many sites they have rolled out with an anchor text link placed in the footer. Nothing wrong with this, in fact I just got done explaining that it’s common practice within our niche. What I found right next to these links was what shocked me.
Next to the “website created by:” I found a “credits” link. Clicking on this link brought me to a page with a description of the website and the web development firm themselves. What I found within this content was optimized anchor text for themselves and to other sites created and optimized by this firm. I was convinced that this had to be a friend’s site or something of that nature so I went back to the back links page and went to another site. Guess what I found? Yup another credits page.
Shady Technique or Jealousy?
I know that none of our clients would be ok with us exercising these techniques, nor should they be. I can’t imagine one person regardless of their SEO knowledge willingly linking to websites they have zero affiliation with. Dare I suggest that this is a form of link farming or even paid links? What if one of these sites stops paying for their SEO services? Will these links stay or will they be replaced with another website?
I mentioned earlier that we talk to our clients about placing a company link in their website. We have had people in the past politely decline our request and we harbor no ill will. In fact, our first concern will always be a quality product and a happy client even if it means no link for us. With this in mind could I just be jealous of this technique? Maybe this website has a clause in there contract that states this credit link/page must be included in any of their work. If that’s true does it make the technique any more or less shady?
SEO Isn’t Always Fair – Get Over It!
My company typically works with high end e-commerce and extremely large websites that take some time to complete. Given this statement we don’t pump out 500 sites a year. I know other web companies that specialize in low priced sites and launch hundreds every year… most of the time with a link pointing back to their website. Am I jealous of this? Absolutely, but just like link acquisition I know that quality is more important than quantity. Our sites, once launched gain authority pretty quickly and net us some pretty impressive back links themselves. I’m not complaining as a good SEO will always come up with additional ways to build additional links. I know that my industry isn’t the only one in which ‘non traditional’ tactics are used to acquire links so I hope my contribution will help you learn one thing. SEO isn’t fair, we need to get over it!