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22 May 2009

Link Builders Etiquette?

In link building we’re always looking to get ahead of our competition, or our clients competition. Isn’t that the whole point? But at what lengths are you willing to go to get ahead?

We all know that checking your competitor’s backlinks is standard practice, and is a great way to find new linking opportunities. There are several tools and backlink checkers available that can prove to be extremely valuable. But here’s a hypothetical situation for you: say you are checking out your competitors backlinks and you notice some "blackhat" practices. What do you do with this information?
 
ps-and-qs1Google encourages us to report any "spammy" type of practices; they make it pretty darn easy even. I discussed this question with some of the people in our office, and got a general consensus: "what goes around comes around", and "don’t be a tattle tale". This topic is one that does not have a clear answer.
 
Others have weighed in on the topic, Stuntdubl.com stays it’s never ever okay to report websites to Google. He goes on to say it’s never ever EVER okay to out a site, which I tend to agree with. Whereas, AskDaveTaylor.com suggests that he personally would and advises you should too. Here’s my take on it: if you want to out a site, first look at your own backlinks. Be prepared to defend your own site if you want to start pointing fingers. What is the saying? "People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones".
 
This subject has been on my mind, largely due to commercials in the auto industry I’ve been seeing. These commercials, like the one below, basically ‘call out’ the competition. While this is a standard practice, and has been for quite sometime, I started thinking about it in regards to link building best practices. When is it acceptable or unacceptable to, in essence, ‘call out’ your competition? Is there really etiquette for link builders?