Morning Conference: avoid this SEO trap

The linkbuilder's seduction your should avoid, more on Twitter toxicity and why we should think more about borders.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Sometimes, when you're really deep in a subject, it's easy to forget that something that is familiar and explicable to you can seem bewildering to someone who doesn't have to live and breathe, say, SEO.

For example, Marcela, the editor of, tweeted this out yesterday:

And followed it up with this:

If you're not aware, this is all about SEO. Getting links from high quality sites to your own is still fundemental to ranking well in Google — and if you can't get good sites, volume of links will go some way to addressing that. And that leads to emails like the ones Marcela's been receiving.

Spray and pray linkbuilding

As volume of links will do the job, many linkbuilders take a “spray and pray” approach to getting them. They build or buy an email list of website owners, and just send out a huge volume of emails, asking for links. Sometimes they offer to buy them. I get several every week.

Here's the exact wording from a recent one:

Hey, We're interested in purchasing a link insert on your website. We're happy to discuss terms that include:
  • Inserting a link onto your existing page of yours (as long as it's relevant piece of content, of course).
  • Our link needs to be permanent & do-follow
  • Our link can't be labelled 'sponsored' or 'guest-post' (or anything similar)
Please let us know your price. Serious buyer. Chat soon.

(That faux affable “chat soon” particularly irritates me…)

They know that the vast majority of receipents will say “no”, or just delete the email. But enough people will say “yes” to make it worth their while. If I agreed to all the offers that came my way, I could easily add a few hundred quid extra onto my monthly income. But it just wouldn't be worth the price I'd pay in traffic. Here's why.

This post is for subscribers only


Already have an account? Log in