Recently, one of my clients received an unsolicited email from a person named “Nicholas Salmons” offering to feature their business on Huffingtonpost.com with a do-follow link for a fee of $550. Nicholas also claimed in his email that he is the only marketer providing this service at an affordable price. Here is screen shot of the email.
My client forwarded the email to me asking if this is a good opportunity. My immediate response as an SEO was the following:
Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic — but I definitely advised the client that this is not a good opportunity, as it violates Google’s quality guidelines. In fact, Google has called out this exact tactic as an example of a spammy link-building tactic that can harm your site rankings:
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
Don’t be tempted by “too good to be true” SEO offers
Spammy link building practices, which Google refers to as “link schemes,” may seem tempting, but they can ultimately result in a loss of search engine rankings. Google considers link schemes to be an attempt to fool the search engine algorithms. If lower-quality content can rank high just because it has amassed a high quantity of backlinks, that is not a great experience for the user. So Google strives to rank quality content that will meet user needs.
I am actually surprised that this type of activity is still happening, given how many Penguin algorithm updates have been released and how many companies, such as JC Penney and Overstock, have been exposed for spammy link building.
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