A few weeks ago I decided to join Link Market, a link exchange community to give it a shot. Link Market is a reciprocal link building community – where webmasters join and list their linking criteria and can then search the database and request links from other webmasters. I found out about it on SEO Radio, a weekly internet radio show hosted by Brad Fallon. Its more convenient than the old-fashioned method of emailing potential reciprocal link partners as your likely to have a much higher success rate, since everyone in the community is looking to get more inbound links.
As a bit of a background, I tend to handle projects for SEO clients looking to generate leads into their service business. I don’t manage campaigns for many e-commerce sites, and I don’t manage many real large scale, ultra-competitive campaigns. Instead, I’d rather get to work on a variety of smaller projects. Most of my clients do well with a redesign or cleaning of the HTML code, the application of a style sheet and internal text hyperlinks, the addition of more content, optimization of title tags, headings, etc. and *some* linking work.
I don’t like spending time emailing other websites asking for links – so I try and minimize the time spent doing this. In fact, I’m considering saying outright that I will not do any proactive reciprocal link requests, since I feel the power of reciprocal links is deminishing greatly – and since I plain don’t like it.
Okay, now back to Link Market. So I signed up. In fact, I signed up three sites of mine – one that deals with custom-made athletic uniforms, one that is a tax attorney, and the last being my business’ site (web design and SEO). Over the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten between 3 and 5 dozen requests for each site. Most of the requests I’ve gotten for one of the site I’ve gotten for all three – i.e. website X requests links from all three of my sites. Being as my three sites are really not related to each other at all (i.e. not common content, not relative subjects) I was a bit surprised.
Upon further review, it appears that all the link requests I’ve gotten can be classified into a handful of online business types:
- gambling, sportsbooks & online casinos
- viagra, cialis and other “special growth” supplements
- online pharmacies and weight loss pills
- payday loans and cash advances
- resellers of cell phones and PDAs
- DirecTV affiliate sites
- travel and hotel booking affiliate sites
Now, if I performed SEO services for clients that sold little blue pills or ran online casinos I’d be set. But I don’t. All the sites I do are of businesses for whom the web is simply a marketing channel. They are well-established offline as well. They aren’t run by a one-man show whose sole mission in life is to get a PR 8 for his online “pharmacy”.
Not that I have anything against with one-man shows, or even these types of businesses. I don’t. But I do dislike how these types of businesses seem to be the only ones engaging in link exchanges. I suppose since they do lend themselves so much to the internet environment that the competition is so high they must be aggressive with this in order to survive…
Anyhow, at this point I’m considering my Link Market account useless. Only those types of links, none of which I will accept as they have nothing to do with my clients, and thus are not high-quality, highly-relative sites – the types from which inbound links have significant positive impacts.
In all fairness, the Link Market interface is quite nice and user-friendly. I like the service, just not the results I was getting. Again – to be fair I didn’t spend any time being proactive myself – i.e. searching for related sites and requesting links. I spent about 5 minutes checking that out and nothing grabbed me so I filed it away as something to try out again in the future.
For now I’ve turned my energy towards submission of sites to solid directories. I’ve heard a number of others talking about the value of a nice balance – having some reciprocal links (not necessary though), having a number of links from directories, having some links from press releases, having some one-way inbound links, etc. I suppose diversification as a general practice in just about anything is usually better than putting all of one’s eggs in the same basket.