I received an RFP from a company that ought to know better that wanted to know how much I'd charge...


...to get their site 500 one-way Pagerank 2 or better links. Another company wanted to know how long it would take me to seed 1,000 blogs with a link to their site in the blog comment field. And another wanted to know how many links I could buy for their site for $25,000.
What am I, a link whore? For the right price you think I'll engage in sleazy link building tactics normally only used by gambling or viagra sites?
Nope. And it's not because I think I occupy some sort of high moral ground. It's because these tactics make the Web experience worse and simply don't work. And the sooner everyone stops being link whores, the better, in my opinion.
Quit trying to fool Google already. They have enough problems with the Adsense spam that's the Web equivalent of Kudzu. It's everywhere. Combine blog spam with Adsense spam... and you have one majorly unfufilling search experience.
There are many ways you can be a link whore. You might not even know you are a link whore.
Here's a few:
* Do you have social bookmark accounts just to post client's URLs?
* Have you ever commented on a blog post just because you wanted to leave a URL behind with it?
* Have you bought one-way links from sites that have nothing to do with your site but do have a high pagerank?
You, good sir, are a Link Whore.
* Have you used trackbacks just for the link?
* Do you have a reciprocal links page that you only created so the engines might give you credit for it?
* Have you gone back to existing links and changed the anchor text just to look nice for the bots?
* Do you send out press releases every week about absolutely nothing just so you can fill them with so many deep links they look like site maps?
You slut.
There are other far more nefarious tactics that make some link whores look like Girl Scouts. Link hijacking anyone?
I'll admit I'm tempted. Yes, even I, the so-called whitest of the white hat link builders, will sometimes ponder doing something that is just a little slutty, like maybe digging my own or a client's site, or submitting to a bunch of legit directories that few people ever heard of and ever fewer use. I'm not ruining your Web experience that way...so no harm, no foul -- right?
Yes and no. I can say with 100% confidence that you can be successful and rank well without having to do anything even close to slutty. I know this is the case because I have first-hand experience at it.
Want to see an example? Have a look at this search result. The first five results are all either for me or for articles I've written. And I have never once in 13 years asked for a link, bought a link, swapped a link, or done any slutty linking tactic. NEVER.
So how then can I possibly rank so well? Simple. Google is algorithmically rewarding my good linking behavior over the course of the past 13 years.
There can be no other explanation. Google doesn't like link whores.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Eric Ward

Eric founded the Web's very first online publicity and linking services, NetPOST and URLwire, in 1994. Eric's expertise is in helping companies generate links, publicity and buzz for their Web content. A hands-on practitioner, Eric also offers training and seminars that teach companies how to do it in-house. His client list is a who's who of online brands, from Amazon.com to PBS.org.

Eric has written for for ClickZ and Ad Age, and he won the 1995 Tenagra Award For Internet Marketing Excellence. In 1997, he was named one of the Web's 100 most influential people by Websight magazine. A well-known speaker at the major industry trade shows, Eric will soon publish The Ward Report, a monthly "how-to" newsletter on the art of link building and publicity for Web content, with commentary on the newest trends and practices.

A native of northern New Jersey, Eric has lived in Knoxville, Tennessee since graduating from the University of TN. Eric's wife Melissa and toddler Noah say "bye daddy geek" every day when he leaves for work.

Eric can be reached at eric@ericward.com