Mixed Messages and Risky Backlinking

This week I received an enquiry from a potential client - I'm not going to name them or give away anything identifiable, but in general terms I think their enquiry is worth a little discussion.

Firstly, because it seems to suggest that I'm ranking pretty highly in the search results (I think that's how they found me) and, indeed, as far as I can tell I'm now the top result for one of my main target keywords, 'didsbury copywriter', on Google.

I've seen some shuffling around on other key terms too, which is as it should be - as I frequently say, SEO isn't something you do once, you've got to keep at it to stay on top.

But the main thing that caught my eye here was what they were asking me - and other freelancers and SEO agencies - to actually do for them.

The enquiry was a call to tender for a decent-sized ongoing SEO contract, with only one definite requirement:

Pitch content to B2B publisher sites, e.g. blogs and industry websites, with the intention of obtaining links back to the client's website.

Uh oh. Does that sound familiar?

It sounds to me a little like what Matt Cutts described two weeks ago.

Or what Duane Forrester wrote about last week.

So I replied, in no uncertain terms, firmly recommending that the client reconsider their SEO campaign and steer it away from intensive link-building efforts, to focus instead on on-site content-building and on-page SEO (which still work, and always will work - good-quality content is the purest form of SEO).

Their reply was confusing, to say the least (I've paraphrased only slightly, to preserve anonymity):

"We're not worried about being penalised by Google for unnatural link-building, as we are not link-building ... Writing the content is not our priority; our priority is getting links built."

Eh? "We are not link-building, we're just prioritising link-building"??

I know I said I've paraphrased, but believe me, that is the message without any change to its general sentiment, it made no more sense than that.

Let me take this opportunity to say:

  • If you are spending four-figure sums on building links, you're engaged in unnatural link-building;
  • If you are engaged in unnatural link-building, both Google and Bing are likely to frown upon it;
  • If you talk in riddles, I'm likely to frown upon you too.

That being said, if you're looking to move away from unnatural link-building practices, I can help you build your own on-site content (on-page SEO still works, mmmkay?) and help you to rank highly using methods that Google will never penalise you for.

Food for thought :)