Big Dollars for Top Ranks
While Gallop reports that consumer spending remains low, many companies have increased their web efforts to develop revenue solutions. The competition to appear on the first pages of Google and Bing is fierce. The temptation is to push the threshold of white hat, search engine policies. J.C. Penney, Forbes.com, and Overstock.com paid the price for linking schemes geared at boosting rankings and earning profits.
Don’t Pay Others to Link to Your Website
A New York Times article revealed that J.C. Penney was unethically appearing at the top in search results allegedly due to their search engine optimization company linking unrelated web sites to the J.C. Penney site in order to obtain a higher Google ranking. Creditable links come from sites that have genuine interests in the site, to which they’re linking. The unrelated site links were a sign that the company paid for links- a big no, no. Paying for links is reminiscent of record companies paying deejays to play certain records to bolster manufactured hits, thereby ignoring FCC payola rules, back in the early days of radio. The FCC cracked down on offending record companies and their deejay cohorts. Google is beginning to do the same in the world of search. It gave J.C. Penney a “time out” until they removed the links. In the meantime, J.C. Penney spiraled down in Google’s search rankings.
Don’t Cash in by Selling Spaces for Links on Your Website
Forbes.com, a major source in business news and financial information, hosted unrelated links on its site. Forbes sold links, which included perfectly stated anchor text, to companies who were willing to purchase Forbe’s decent page rank. Again, like Penny’s those companies that purchased space were in the wrong and so was Forbes for accepting payment.
Don’t Offer Products in Exchange for Getting Your Links Published
Overstock.com offered discounted products to colleges and universities in exchange for links on their “credible” edu websites. The Wall Street Journal reported that Overstock.com “discontinued the program on Feb. 10, before hearing from Google, but said some university webmasters have been slow to remove the links.” Overstock.com is now reaping the consequences of implementing these types of practices.
Create Content that Naturally Generates Links
Although times are economically challenging, there are ethical best practices for optimizing web sites, such as working on HTML code and web page content. A credible means for acquiring links is to write high quality content. Consumers naturally link to valuable information. There’s no substitute for producing quality articles with natural links. In the end, link schemes and spamming can squash earnings when Google gets involved. Hire staff, SEO companies, and SEO content writers who will credibly improve your site and content.
~Kris and Jean