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Link Development Forum

Here's my paid link example

 4:43 pm on Aug 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's always lots of discussions surrounding paid links, white hat link development, advertising, and so on. Here's an example case of getting a backlink from a blogger:

How I found it:
I was surfing the backlinks of a recent local festival for no other reason than to see what's out there locally. I find a blog that I'me not familiar with.

Checking the blog.
The blog is extremely active; the person running it posts there routinely and has for a couple of years. Good.
It's peripherally related to the client profile my site is targetting. Not a huge deal for me, just something I like. What it does mean is that when I approach them my site is halfway related so I'm more likely to get a response.
No outbound links to commercial sites that I saw immediately. If there were, they would certainly be to authority sites in the niche of the blog (which will be what mine then looks like, right?).
A nice clean, older blog.

Backlinks: about 25 of them to the blog. All from other clean sites, many of them from other bloggers. that's a bit light for my tastes, I'd like to see 100 or so, (* see below) but it all works into the mix. The cleanliness and freshness of the blog makes up for this slight deficit.

More research: I skimmed the blog going back about a year to see what they're writing about. Noticed they're on vacation this week. Couldn't find any more personal information on the site, the blogger indicated that they've had problems in the past so their personal info is hidden. I've got an email address though, and know that they're local. Couldn't find the exact town or address though or other specific info - which I would have used in the email to impress upon them that I'm local to them.

My email:
Subject line: {blog name} advertising


I came across your blog following links around the {local festival} website. That's quite a blog you have, not many bloggers I've come across are that well written or that active (included my couple dead blog sites :) ).

I occassionally do a bit of advertising on relevant blogs and was wondering if you would consider doing a blog post on my site. I have a {my website type} and tend to look for {niche} websites to advertise on; of course your blog fits the bill perfectly for that.

If you're interested, I'd be happy to send you $50 for a blog post of a few paragraphs that link to my site. My website is {my domain} so you can have a look before you make a decision. I can pay by paypal, cheque, or even cash if you're local to {our location}.

I see you're on vacation this week, I'm off to {vacation spot near where they are likely vacationing} next week myself but I'll be checking my email occassionally. I look forward to your response.

My Name
My address (Because I'm local!}
My local telephone number

Will that work? My experience says that the blogger will quite likely love the idea of making a fast $50 from their blog. Perhaps not, but if I send out a couple like that, many of them will definitely respond in the positive.

And that gets me ultra clean, one way links that are buried in content, on related pages with clean backlinks. Maybe I'll get some traffic as well.

Does that help?

(** Note: not something I do, but there's nothing stopping me from getting some more links to that blog, i.e submitting to the various blog directories and so on. More good backlinks from them would equal a better backlink for me).



 5:29 pm on Aug 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

That sounds like it has a decent shot of working. It's certainly good that you noted specifics (like the vacation and likely location, etc..) as it helps make it clear that you're not mass emailing people and proves you're a real person.

I'm not sure I'd use the "blog name advertising" as the subject just in case they have gotten mass emails with similar subjects in the past - but that's just my opinion.


 5:31 am on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well I'm not expert but the questions that come to mind are:
-how long would it stay up there, does it eventually get tossed after so long or placed on a not so crawled archive?
-Is it worth $50 to have just one link going to your site from another 'related' site? Will it provide a ROI in the long run?
-For $50 you could release a press release that would be long standing and published in MANY places. Although I don't know much about how much a press release would impact your site as it may not be on industry related sites, although it could be placed under the proper category and seen as relevant?

Id love to continue this discussion and hear some answers to these questions as I am looking for industry related links back to my site and finding it VERY difficult to find ANY sites that would be able to do that for me without paying out the wazoo.


 12:13 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>-Is it worth $50 to have just one link going to your site from another 'related' site? Will it provide a ROI in the long run?
It's not just a link, it's a link from a very clean site. Personally I don't care about ROI in terms of traffic - nature of my industry. I'm 100% focussed on rankings. And excluding the 'paid' part, the above is an example of how I normally generate my backlinks (and the vast majority of my backlinks aren't paid). So yes, it's worth $50 to have yet another link from another clean site. Sometimes it's easier for me to drop $50 than it is to spend another hour finding a site to give me a link. So absolutely, my decision for that one is it's worth $50.

>>>>>For $50 you could release a press release that would be long standing and published in MANY places.
The above type of link on the whole is permanent. Can't beat that for $50.

As for press releases, I've both had success and failure with them. But now I don't use them except in very rare cases. Two reasons for this. First is that everybody and their dog in my niche run a press release every 30/60/90 days on absolutely nothing. Google news is filled with news stories with the same tired line repeated over and over - nothing more than someone has published yet another article on the same tired subject. That's not news, and I tend not to do stuff unless I feel it's quality. I'll do a press release when I've got something on the site that will make joe consumer stand up and take note. Otherwise I'm producing garbage.

Second reason is that every SEO'er and their dog are running press releases so it's just about the last place I want to be. My attitude is if SEO'ers in great part - and even entry level SEO'ers - are doing it routinely then I'm prone to staying away from it. It's just too easy to have my site painted with that brush.

You'll notice that in addition to being relevant for my niche, buried in content, the above type of site also is completely outside of any type of SEO profile that I can see. A backlink profile made up of links like this I think is going to be virtually impossible to test algorithmically; paid links or not, it's a unique profile that doesn't exhibit any signs of being artificial and the only time Google will find my sites hanging out in the same neighbourhood as other SEO'ers is at pubcon :).


 12:19 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Dear Wheel,

I have decided to take up your kind offer and have uploaded a nice blog post about your article.

I can take payment by paypal to blog@foo.bar, hope to hear back from you soon.


Mr. N. O. Sucker

Wheel's website (<a rel="nofollow" href="...">Wheel world</a> ) is great. I recommend my visitors to go and take a look at all the great features.


 12:48 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I checked first, the blog doesn't nofollow external links :).

However in all the time I've developed these types of links I've never even once had the nofollow attribute used, nor have I ever had to address it. The people I hit with link requests have never heard of a nofollow. See my comments above about not hanging in the same circles as everyone else who's doing SEO. I'm farther afield than that.


 12:52 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I checked first, the blog doesn't nofollow external links happy!.

There's no reason to nofollow an external link when it's not a paid link... this could be the first paid link and hence the first nofollow link. I don't think any blogger who's been around for a couple of years and blogs regularly is that far out-of-touch, whatever the topic.

My point is, I'd want to have an assurance that it wasn't going to be a nofollow link before making a cash offer.


 1:53 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Possibly. Two reasons I do it this way though. First, I've never yet had a problem - due I think to the fact that I'm hitting the right type of blog.

Secondly, I don't want anything to sound like I'm gaming the SE's. These grassroots sites don't like that stuff so I don't want a whiff of it. If they nofollowed, I'd ask them to remove it and be quite upfront that I want the kick from the link as well.

Very rarely I've had to go back to a site and ask them to change something - like link text or something. And they've always been super accomodating.

Ultimately the nofollow issue is something we think about but it's not something the people I contact for link requests think about. Blogs or not, I've never had a successful link request end up with a nofollow. So for now I don't bring it up.

(I'm using the term blogger here, but the same holds true for all my link requests; bloggers are only a subset).


 3:22 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

type of site also is completely outside of any type of SEO profile that I can see

I strongly agree that it's wise to consider what kind of linking patterns show up in your whole web presence. Don't just do what everyone else is doing. Learn from the full-time SEO types but adapt the knowledge to use in your own way.

Focus on quality and keep the concept of TrustRank in mind.


 5:20 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd still prefer to bludgeon my rankings into position. Be it with content or people pointing at my site and saying "hey".
Whatever goes before that hey or after that hey , I really don't care.

Thanks for the reply. I understand your efforts now a bit more. But, still think $50 is rather expensive for ONE link.
BUT as you said - if it's in a niche and the other niche blogger site is pointing to you, then I think it will make you BOTH look better personally.

I guess I was thinking to big and not looking at small. If there isn't much call for it, but enough to drive the traffic you want if you can monopolize on some of it - then it's worth it right?

Well good luck to you. I'm freaking curious as to what type of content you are talking about now but I'll leave that to discover in another life. :)



 5:53 pm on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

The $50 is neither inexpensive nor expensive. It's just the least amount I felt I could get away with for this site. Sometimes I might offer more. Other times, I won't offer anything at all. It's not about a specific dollar amount, it's about selling them on the idea of giving you a link. In this case, the fastest motivation I had for them was the price of dinner at McDonalds. Other times the money won't be the motivator.

This was a light site, I consider it background fill in my linking strategy. I don't want all authorities, or all low end stuff like this, I want a full range. When I go after the bigger authority sites for links I use the same basic strategy as above, but I don't offer money.


 12:20 am on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)


- find local backlinks
- offer cash (although matt says no)
- send out personal emails

So what's the moral of the story?


 1:25 am on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>So what's the moral of the story?
No real moral. I just wanted to exemplify what I do.

Actually, the fact that it's local is incidental. Most of my links are not local. It's just what I used to get personal with this site owner. I always take the time to browse through sites before I do a link request to get to know the owner. Then I try and touch base with them somehow. For other sites I address something else.

The paid linking part is also incidental. I use the same formula when I develop basically all of my links and as I noted, the vast majority of my links are not paid.

In fact, that outline is pretty much what I do for all my links. the paid part and local part are secondary. I use the same basic steps when I get free .edu backlinks, or from the large industry authorities.

It does point out a number of things that are discussed heavily around here (and why I'm outspoken on a few). I don't believe anyone can find a 'paid' link like this algorithmically. I also don't see much difference between this and a non-paid link that I'd develop; for the non paid links I still have to sell them on something, just not cash.
It hopefully demonstrates how I do what I consider to be a proper email link request.
It hopefully shows how I develop one way links.
It also shows how link development is trampling in the area of marketing and sales. Remove the money part of my example and it's pretty clear that what I'm doing is selling my site to someone else. Talking stuff like SEO benefits of recip linking for both of us isn't selling my site.

The missing piece of the puzzle is how I normally find sites like this. For this one as an example, now that I found it, I'd start following their blog roll to see where it goes. There's potential to look at another couple hundred sites and get more ideas on niches to target.


 2:44 am on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

> It hopefully demonstrates how I do what I consider to be a proper email link request.

Yes. It's proper from the requesters prospective. Has the personal touch to it.

But - the bot (I assume) that sends out

    My name is Peter from Washington DC.
    I visited your site and liked it. In particular, I found the [item, theme]
    on [http://yoursite .con/page4.htm] very interesting.
    I happen to manage [http://mysite. con] and feel it would be beneficial for your visitors if it's mentioned there. (remainder discontinued)

- that email also sounds personal, and may require the bot user to take a look at the page, select a [topic] and spam...

(With the cash ommited) what would make the receiver consider it personal?


 4:24 am on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bot's can't do as good a job as me. I don't throw out just stuff like 'I liked your site'. That's clearly bot stuff.

We can all smell bots a mile away. Even clever bots. When email link request discussions talk about getting personal, it's more than just a quick compliment. I actually look through the site. Not only does that tell me something about whether I want to ask for a link, I can generally find something to make a specific connection on. It's different every time.

I threw out a couple link requests this afternoon. On one I mentioned another site that I used to run, one that they would know about. That again makes it personal. Without that they don't know me. Mentioning it, I get 'oh, you're that guy'. (in a good way :) ).

I believe that an email written well can be immediately recognized by the reciever as being hand written. Mine sometimes are a bit longer than the bot stuff I get, I generally have three short paragraphs.

Depending on what I'm doing, sometimes I can get a bit of a formula going though. If I have one piece of content I'm using to get links I'll tend to standardize the email around that. Then I can send out link requests for a few hours as fast as I can type them (particularly if I hit on a string of sites that have link lists like blogrolls).


 11:11 am on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can anyone else envision the hammer eventually coming down on "post about my site for 50 bucks please" behavior?


 12:13 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)


This isn't '$50 behavior'. As I've noted, I use the same formula for non-paid links. There's nothing to do with pay here.

No wonder Google's in a frenzy. Though AFAIK, this is about white has as you can get and still do link development. It was white hat three years ago to do this, and I haven't changed anything. Google's posting a few blog posts saying money changing hands is a no-no doesn't mean much. I didn't suddenly go from light to dark hat as a result of their policy shift.

The fact is, there's no hammer coming down. My sites are going to do better over time, not worse. Every time Google does a major algo shift my sites either stay stable, or go up.

Anyway, instead of just crying chicken little :), call me wrong - show me how that can be detected in a rational fashion. Network? Nope. Footprint? Nope. Do I have too many of any one sort of link? Nope. In a bad neighbourhood? Nope. Too many ROS or footer links? Nope. Growth too fast? Nope. Sitting on a non-relevant site (which I'm not so sure they'll ever get around to trapping)? Nope.


 6:30 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can anyone else envision the hammer eventually coming down on "post about my site for 50 bucks please" behavior?

No, because that is marketing in a nutshell and good marketing transcends anything Google or anyone else lays out in their guidelines.


 3:54 am on Aug 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sitting on a non-relevant site (which I'm not so sure they'll ever get around to trapping)? Nope.

Do you mean your sites not being trapped? - might agree to "nope".

Do you mean sites in overall? I'm certain they would have this worked out sooner or later.

Smart people run this engine.


 10:11 pm on Aug 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

How would the SE's pick up the content of an email exchange between two webmasters?


 11:05 pm on Aug 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

> How would the SE's pick up the content of an email exchange between two webmasters?

They won't read the email. And Google won't read gmail.

But... when not used wisely, the outcome of those emails is networks of non-relevant links which can be picked up without reading emails.

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