Link Buying: Is EVERY Link Purchased?
Milton’s Molasses negotiates a deal with Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q Restaurant (they needed a link) to place a banner ad on Hog Heaven’s site. And because Hog Heaven uses Milton’s Molasses in their barbeque sauce, Milton’s offers to add little blurb that says, “Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q uses only the finest ingredients, like Milton’s Molasses, in their famous barbeque sauce.” with a link to Hog Heaven for a reduced price on the banner ad. Normally, Milton’s Molasses would have to pay Hog Heaven for that banner ad and Hog Heaven would have to pay Milton for that nice text link ad touting how tasty their food is – but instead they bartered and ended up with a form of reciprocal link. How is that different than buying a link on a site that has a product that shares a demographic with your own customers?
More Creative Ways to “Buy” Links
Perhaps your staff writes a fantastic article for Widget World’s (we used to use widgets as a fictitious example – not any more) online magazine about the evolution of widgets and submit it to the editor. It’s published in their next online issue with your byline – containing, of course, a link to your website that sells widget replacement parts. You are paying your staff writer right? So the article is surely worth money, isn’t it? If you hadn’t submitted that article, the editor would have had to buy an article elsewhere from a professional writer or paid their own staff writer to produce one.
Even press releases are really paid links. After all, you’ve paid a writer to produce an attention-grabbing headline and gripping press release; you pay to distribute it through PRWeb to numerous outlets in hopes of being picked up; and bingo – you’re suddenly everywhere on the web (you hope). Didn’t you essentially just buy your way onto dozens of websites, however indirectly?
It seems clear to me that the search engines need to find a new description for their latest pursuits. Are they discouraging link buying or are they discouraging meaningless, stupid links? You know, like links from websites with zero traffic, or links from spam blog comments, or links from sites that have not been updated in three years? I think their intentions were of the later, but they sure created a lot of angst and confusion by calling them paid links.
[tags] link buying, purchased links, reciprocal links, press release, back links [/tags]