Tag Archives: Black

Link exchange for SEO

SEO manual – Good Link Exchange Practices

Link exchange is great way for small and medium businesses to make their website known and liked by Search Engines. Big companies typically don’t have to worry about this, because the back-links come in naturally as a result of usual business flow.
While link building is a good way to get higher in Search Engine rankings, this is not about links only. It is about establishing your image, creating content and ultimately improving the user’s experience.  
Here are the basic rules on healthy link exchange.

Inaccessible Link Pages

Check the reciprocal links often. Unscrupulous webmasters remove the links after a while. Use a back-link checking script.

Make sure the reciprocal link is easy to find on the other site. Sometimes the link-exchange directory is hidden and there is no link to it. If there is now way to navigate from the site’s home page to its links page, then the search engine spiders will have the same problem. The reciprocal link to your site will have no value.
Sometimes webmasters do not do this on purpose they are unaware of the missing navigation to their links page, and just need a reminder. Others will do this deliberately.
Furthermore if the links/directory page has a Page-Rank greater than 0, you know that search engines already spidered this page.


Focus on exchanges with Related and Relevant Websites

Do not start a desperate link-exchange campaign and accept any link exchange just for the sake of it. Be selective and concentrate on websites related to yours. This way the link exchanges will carry more relevancy; Search Engines have ways to compare your theme with the themes where your site is listed. Although many unrelated links will not do any direct harm to rankings and it will help a little with your rankings, it will not help a lot. Having to manage a lot of irrelevant links and running the risk that your links are considered unnatural is not worth the little advantage.

Links are about Content – Give Content

Try that your link exchange looks more like an articlette, (small article), rather than a simple link. This will add more contextual value to your placed link. Make sure your articlettes base is ample enough so that you don’t get duplicate content issues.

Invalid or Indirect Links

When exchanging links, check each new link to your site to make sure that it is a valid link that will contribute link popularity (and PageRank) to your site.

One thing to look out for is links that link to a script on the other site (and the script then redirects to your site). These links do not help you. Another trick to look out for is links that include the nofollow tag, which tells search engines not to follow the link at all. These links will likewise do you no good.

I recommend using an automated program such as LinkMachine that will check your reciprocal links for you and will not count indirect or nofollow links.

Do not Link to Banned Pages

If you link to a page banned by Google, it can lower your site’s ranking. Avoid including on your site any links to sites that have been banned by Google. Look up the site’s domain in Google, and if nothing comes up, you know the site’s been banned and it’s best not to link to it. There are other ways to check this.

The Anchor Text has a Great SEO Value

Use various anchor text for your link exchanges. There are many reasons for this. Google interprets this lack of diversity as the result of artificial linking, and reduces its positive influence on search rankings. Another reason is that you will gain popularity for only the text you are promoting through your link exchange. Let’s say you sell a Help-Desk software that includes an inventory system and a Remote Control Console. You need to rotate your anchor text to change such as all of your three features are published.  Furthermore the three variants should vary, (for instance “Computer Inventory” should be rotated with “IT inventory”).

Purchasing Linking

Purchasing links is banned by Google and is against Google’s TOS. This being said, there are many sites which buy and sell links. It is very difficult to determine a link resulted from such a transaction.  

Do not use Doorway Pages and Cloaking
Don’t use black SEO techniques such as "doorway pages", ("advertising pages" or "promotional pages"), or "cloaking" to generate unnatural links to your site. They are prohibited by Google and they will result in your site being banned by Google and other Search Engines.

Use Software or Scripts to Manage your Link Exchange

Don’t try to manage your link exchanges manually. It is a tedious work and it will take your focus from the most important activity on your site – the content.
A good script for managing links is LinkMachine. LinkMachine has many features that allow you to manage Link Exchange in an elegant way.
Another good option is Axandra’s software – IBP, a leader on the Market. IBP facilitates the optimization of all the SEO aspects and it has an included link exchange Manager. Read more about IBP.

Chain Letters and Spam Email

Email Chain letters are one of the sneakiest and devious ways of SPAM. I consider them a particular case of social engineering.

Chain Letters Target Human Weakness and the Lack of Information.

Even though chain letters come always from your friends, and they look like their purpose is to spread “peace on Earth” or to give you an insightful perspective of life, or ask you to help someone in need, their purpose is Spamming.
You can recognize this by the encouragement to forward the message to your friends or to close the email circle or anything similar. Some of you came here as a result of my SPAM, (I apologize, I had to…).
Sometimes the spammer will go as far as threatening you to send to your friends or else something bad will happen. All of these are various sorts of psychological exploitation. They target human weakness and lack of knowledge.
Most of the times chain letters contain false, misleading, frightening, or foolish messages, Urban Legends, Virus Hoaxes. The Chain Letter has evolved now and it is more subtle nonetheless dangerous. It uses “good luck” promises, “missionary” messages, or even true philosophical dissertations.
No matter what is the method of persuasion, all the chain letters will convince you to send the letter to other people. It is very convincing and it targets human flaws. I am not an easy to scare person but I can remember myself in at least on occasion getting chills up my spine while reading the blackmail at the end of the email. Human brain is easily influenced, once the message read you will start, unconsciously, to act upon validating the prediction. It is a process similar to Hypnosis.
Best way to avoid such events is to delete the message without reading it.
There is also the positive message if you forward the message to 5 friends something wonderful will happen in your life. Who can resist such a promise? Me.

Is It Wrong to Propagate Chain Letters?

Short answer – YES – it’s wrong to propagate chain letters. Previous paragraph explains why.
Long answer:
Sometimes it is hard to ignore some of these messages and discard them. Their message is beautiful, and you would like to share it with your friends. There is not too wrong to do that IF and ONLY IF you follow these simple rules.
Use BCC field when addressing your email, (blind carbon copy). This will conceal the destination addresses.
When the chain letter arrives in your Inbox there are high chances to contain all the previous recipients into its body. Remove all the email addresses in the body, before forwarding the message. This is of no benefit to you, but it will benefit the community, and if many people do this harvesting addresses will be very difficult. Who knows on how many chain letters has circulated my email address?
If you really need to send chain letters, consider using your secondary email address.
Consistency on doing all of these will discourage the creators of such letters to write them, as the benefit from sending them will be null.

The image below shows a portion of the email body of a message that contains all the previous recipients of a chain letter. Using an email harvesting utility I got 417 email addresses only from this message.

Example of email Chain Letter
Chain Letter - Click to enlarge

What does the SPAMMER achieve by these kinds of emails?

They harvest email addresses. How do they do this? The principle is that the more an email circulate the more chances are to come back to the original sender. Even if it doesn’t come back it will go to another SPAMMER in the “Black Hat Web Marketing Community” and made public within the community. Then all the harvested email address will be shared or sold.
Another reason for circulating chain letters is scamming people. There are numerous scamming schemes circulating through emails.
There are also the hoaxes. A lot of chain letters warn about an upcoming virus or a computer threat. Most of them are hoaxes. Some of them are just simple hoax, but some other are cleverly crafted emails, so that when a recipient look for some of the keywords in the respective email, they would be directed by the search engine to targeted websites.

How can the Spammer harvest email addresses?

The main problem comes from the fact that most of the people will never think of hiding email addresses when they are forwarding messages. This makes that an email can sometimes contain hundreds or even thousands of addresses from all the people that forwarded it. The picture bellow depicts such a message.

What can you do to help?

First, whenever you send an email to a list of people add your addresses on the BCC field rather than CC or TO field. The BCC field will hide all the destination addresses.
If you forward a message, delete the transmission history in the message body. Check this article Prevent email SPAM for more information.
Break the chain! Delete the message and do not forward it. You have now the information. Stop for a few minutes before sending the email and think.
Comment on this post with positive or negative feedback. I can take critique.

I dedicate this article to Bogdan M. who first talked me about chain letters some 10 years ago.