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How to compete against link buyers

4:00 pm on Mar 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Besides filling out a spam report which probably will be ignored unless u JC Penny. How can one compete? It seems like Google has failed at stopping link text buying and its affect on SERPS. Link buying seems more epidemic now than ever before.

Has it become a case where you MIGHT be dammed if you do but if you dont you are dammed.
8:47 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Good discussions. All experts here made discussion more juicy than the link bates. But there are many ways webamsters beat the G system & get plenty of links within overnight. I knew someone from Turkey who knew how to do that in a day or 2, but he never tought me as he had to burn a lot of efforts & pay for it. Do here WM know how to build links(plenty good links) that pays off?
9:12 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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But there are many ways webamsters beat the G system

I know it's a typo but gotta admit sometimes I do feel like a web hamster.
4:07 pm on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Wheel - great post man. Couldn't agree more.
1:38 am on May 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have come to these forums and made the "it's not fair" post too (not exactly the same subject but close). I wish the answers I got would have been as direct and as pointed as the answer wheel gave. Because, in the end, that WAS the answer, everyone just pussy-footed around it, me included.

In my situation, I was lamenting that I was doing everything exactly how Google wanted me to and my competitors weren't but Google was rewarding them. It wasn't until I realized, helped along by wheel and tedster, that I should be doing it exactly like _I_ wanted me to... If you get my drift.

Do yourself a favor and go re-read wheel's post with an open mind.

As soon as Google shows me they are rewarding doing it "the right way"' I'll care about doing it the right way. Until then, I'm going to care about the way that gets me the most traffic. We have the best product in our industry, hands down. But if I take the high road while Google's sending my competitors traffic down the low road, those customers are suffering because of my business choices.
7:15 am on May 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hey, there is always a white hat way to beat the spammers. Sure, it may be harder initially and it can be disconcerting when you see some tactics that are pure garbage but long term, you will win the war by concentrating on quality.

Participating in communities around your product can lead to many opportunities whether that is just for exposure, some links from relevant forums, blogs etc and just getting your name out there so you can maybe guest post on the important sites in your niche.

Content is still a strong strategy as well and the right content will attract natural links. A solid content strategy and participation in the communities around your niche, real participation though, will over time build you a foundation that no amount of hacked footer links or bought links can beat.

I have seen some interesting post panda changes and in particular for one client where certain terms that were dominated by very spammy opposition (network of 60+ sites based) have been replaced with more informational posts. This did not help my client much but what we are seeing now is a change in users search queries towards less informational and more commercial based queries and we are able to win on these queries where the spammy sites that have long ruled are getting pushed further down the ranks.

As the results seem to be more focused on information for many queries, looking for people with searches that feature terms like keyword + 'service', keyword + 'company (customise for your biz type) has allowed us to generate some really solid results.

So, back to the question at hand, strategies to beat people who buy links? Easy, hard work & commitment are at the heart of this but great content, promoting that content, involvement in topical forums, blogs etc, guest posting on other sites & standard PR can in most cases beat spam link building - the reality is that it is not as easy as just whopping down $15 per link but... that approach dying in the water.

Obviously, there are always some that seem to find a way around things, but I for one would rather spend time and effort building links & content that is going to keep on counting rather than constantly trying to buy my way up the ranks with links that die as quick as you can add them.
1:37 pm on May 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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marcusmiller: Great points and I am inspired by your enthusiasm. My "day job" is for a 35-year-old company that isn't going anywhere any time soon. We already do most of what you suggest, though we've become a bit lax about seeking out other like communities in which to participate.

I agree with you, to a point, that white hat can compete against gray and black hat, and usually in a way that's much more solid and lasting. However, in my opinion, to ignore the fact that Google rewards gray and black hat is very bad business. In fact, I would say that knowing that they do, and that, even though it's unfair, there's nothing you can do to make it fair, is vital. In my case, I wasted _way_ too much time and effort trying to understand how in the world Google could preach white hat to me, yet ignore and _reward_ my competitors' black hat techniques.

I would never risk employing black hat techniques for traffic that could be _directly_ related to our main company. However, as I said, I'm not going to do it the way Google wants me to just because they said so.

Furthermore, I've found that understanding gray and black hat techniques, regardless whether I use them or not, has made me a much more well-rounded Internet marketer.

Indulge me one quick story. When I was just getting into the workforce, I started programming for a national vocal contest my dad was running, Mr. and Mrs. Country Music America (circa 1986). My dad had some notoriety (and infamy) for managing George Jones in the late 70's early 80's. Anyway, the vocal contest was sponsored by and held in cooperation with Holiday Inns of America. Local contests were held at the local lounge of about 200 Holiday Inns nationally. It was, in the words of Holiday Inns, the most successful promotional campaign in which they had been involved in recent history. Our local TV news picked up the story prior to our final event and came out to interview us. During the interview they were very nice and I answered all their questions. They got a shot of our green-bar print out (remember dot matrix) of our huge contestant list. I was pumped about the great publicity we were about to get. Later that week they aired the "expose" story about my father being involved in the contest. "This is the same (blank) that (blank) when he was manager of George Jones" (basically drudged up every bad thing my father ever did - which admittedly there was too much of back then). Then they said, "and there's been many reports to the BBB about this company" and showed a shot of me fanning out our huge contestant list! We had 4 BBB reports, 1 the BBB said was unwarranted and the other 3 were handled to the BBB satisfaction. We told the news people this.

I was devastated. I thought the news people reported the news! It was a real wake up call to me. The news anchors ended the story by saying, "there is supposed to be a final event hosted by Tammy Wynette at the Grand Ole Opry" and the other anchor replied, "we'll see" with a sarcastic tone. When we did hold the final event (with Tammy and Tom Snider as hosts), we tried everything to get them out there to report it but they never showed up.

I don't have to mention the morale to the story (and sorry for it not really being short) but the point that I took home from all that was, not to expect anyone else to help your business but you. And though I forgot that important point when I came here and posted, "Google's not being fair" (paraphrased), it certainly applies to Google and all the search engines.

Wow, I originally intended to just say, "good points marcusmiller"...
2:34 pm on May 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the story!

I thought the news people reported the news!

No, the news people try to generate advertising revenue. That is their job.

If, by some strange twist of fate they actually happen to report news, then consider it a bonus. ;)
8:20 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Wheel. If you can't beat them join them. If you're a small-medium website in a competitive field, and all of your competitors are buying links you really don't have too many options. Aim for the quality and not the quantity, try to avoid the big networks and spammy/blogs sites.
8:33 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Before you go into any link building practice because that's what your competitors are doing, be very sure that your competition is ranking BECAUSE of those links, not in spite of those links.

A well executed link building campaign can accomplish the same thing as most paid linking, but it does take a lot of work, and not just a lot of dollars.
9:28 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Before you go into any link building practice because that's what your competitors are doing, be very sure that your competition is ranking BECAUSE of those links, not in spite of those links.

A well executed link building campaign can accomplish the same thing as most paid linking, but it does take a lot of work, and not just a lot of dollars.

I couldn't agree more.

I have a site which is focussed on a certain search term. It has nearly 600 excellent backlinks but in the Google SERPs it is just behind another one of my sites which has 35 backlinks.

I reckon that the reason the minor site is ahead of what should be the major one is it's content, which is entirely different to the hundreds of others that compete with it. A possible other reason is that the other one has too many backlinks with similar anchor text. If that is correct then buying more links would push it further down, not up.
11:20 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It is like anything else - there is a good and bad way to buy links and a good and bad way to build non-paid links.

To compete against link buyers depends on how good they are at buying links versus how good you are at building links.

Remember link buyers are mostly renting links - which means each link costs them a monthly fee. Secondly, they won't have an infinite budget so the link buying process means they will hit a brick wall in terms of growth eventually.

However, link buying done well means they will rank above you faster and will be able to sustain that on high volume terms during the link buy.

To me you have to work out the cost of your time versus the income and longevity of that income.

If you can buy permanent links - then do it. You may spend XYZ but that link is then there for a long time.

If you work hard and spend loads of time getting natural links then that has a price - your time, which you should work out as an hourly rate. Work out the time it takes you to get each link naturally and that is the cost of that link.

I honestly think that buying permanent links (and I mean things like guest blog posts on relevant blogs etc.) and generating your own naturally is a great combination. Leave renting links to everyone else and see you outlast them when their budgets run dry.
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