Outbound link abuse in REW Blogs

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Ok, so not everyone is a search engine expert - I need to accept that, and I do, I really do. I also cannot expect people to know what is not acceptable when publishing an REW Blog unless I spell it out for them so here it goes -

Unacceptable REW Blog linking practice #1: Irrelevant outbound linking

I come across this one particular situation quite a bit and it just flat out bothers me. What I am referring to is the practice of hyper linking keywords within a blog post to your websites that are not relevant (Or so loosely associated) to the phrase being hyper linked and more importantly the context of the article - THIS IS NOT GOOD SEO and quite frankly it makes your blog post look spammy, and provides your readers with a very negative user experience.

Let me break it down for you: Example below

I am going to write an article on the City of Nanaimo in an attempt to promote the natural beauty and features of the area. (Let's keep in mind, my website is http://www.realestatewebmasters.com a website that sells real estate related products and services and that I try to rank for all sorts of real estate related keywords it has nothing to do with Nanaimo, except for the fact that it is located here.)

So I start writing this great article about why someone would want to move here and I write the following paragraph (I am writing this quickly and for example purposes only, so don't gripe if it ain't good :))

The city of Nanaimo, located in beautiful British Columbia, Canada is a very popular tourist site, and attractive to people looking to relocate to the area for low cost of living and affordable real estate.

The design of Nanaimo's downtown core is a web of intricately laid out cross streets and an old city charm that provides a very unique and pleasurable shopping experience for visitor cruise ship patrons.

Does everyone see the problem with this?

Well just in case you don't - let's take a look at this article:

Presumably, I wrote this article to appeal to an audience that is looking for information on the city of Nanaimo (It is safe to assume anyone reading this article is NOT looking for a real estate website) so what am I doing linking keywords I can find in the text to my real estate website?

It's a rhetorical question: Obviously I do not understand latent cemantics or other content and relevance matching algorithms and I have been given some bad SEO advice. I think that any old link even out of context with anchor text is a benefit to my rankings, and so I should spam links every chance (And on every website) that I can.

A few problems with this:

  1. It looks like crap to your visitor - clicking on a link that is out of context completely disrupts the user experience and they are going to leave your blog and not come back. What if this person interested in Nanaimo also happens to be a Realtor needing a big web project? I have just lost the opportunity to engage him / her and present my business in my about me page, or other "APPROPRIATE" medium for promoting myself and my website on my blog. I tried to think SEO instead of my user, and it cost me. Doh!
  2. It looks like crap to your visitor - Did I say that already? This sort of thing really does make for a bad first impression and is a disservice to your reputation (I know, I know, it's just a link who knows the difference or even cares?) - I care, and so do many other webmasters who may be evaluating you for representation, or a strategic marketing partnership (Or maybe even some creative social networking for the joint benefit of your mutual websites search engine rankings) - If you engage in spammy tactics, you will never have me as any sort of partner online, and I have said it many times before - true SEO (From a link building side) is more about the relationships you build than any website that you can steal a few links from.
  3. It will get your account banned: Yup, that's right! I am not going to let a few bad apples ruin REW Blogs for the rest of our great contributors who are making an active attempt to constantly learn and improve the quality of their blogging. It is not a one strike and you're out thing, I always try to send new bloggers who are on the wrong path a friendly note first, pointing them in the direction of the blog forum and the many resource sections and posts our admins, mods and members put together (See those are appropriate links within an article do you see the difference?)
  4. It's out of context: Sure I got a link with "web" or "site" or "Design" or "real estate" in pieces, but Google and other engines are not so dumb that they do not know how to make a topical distinction here.
Here is that same paragraph with some examples of what "could" have been hyper linked, and "would" be acceptable.

The city of Nanaimo, located in beautiful British Columbia, Canada is a very popular tourist site, and attractive to people looking to relocate to the area for low cost of living and affordable real estate.

The design of Nanaimo's downtown core is a web of intricately laid out cross streets and an old city charm that provides a very unique and pleasurable shopping experience for visitor cruise ship patrons.
Now if you were reading a short article on Nanaimo, and you wanted more information, the two websites that I have hyper linked are just about the most relevant websites there are given the subject matter - First I linked "City of Nanaimo" to the official City of Nanaimo website. I was talking about the downtown core, and we happen to have a great and resourceful website representing the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership which promotes that very sector - once again: great, helpful and RELEVANT information pertaining to the article.

I didn't get any back links to my web design site, or any precious (like fools gold) anchor text - so what!  What I did was create a positive user experience for my reader by providing a great article, with very helpful links to extended information should my article entice them so much they want to learn more. More importantly I made a great first impression which I can build on in the future when it comes time for this reader to require my services.

(What the hell was a Real Estate Website Developer doing writing a great article on Nanaimo for you might ask) - It was a good example leave me alone :)

It's late and I know this comes across as bitching a little bit - And it is - I have been up moderating blogs all night and I just needed to get this out there #1 to get it off my chest and #2 (And after a good nights sleep this will be much more important) to teach you guys best practices so you can continue to improve on your REW Blog posts, and make that great first impression, build that authority and credibility with the online community, and heaven forbid impress a reader so much that they actually retain your services for their next real estate transaction.

Have a great night, and happy blogging :)

Comments

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Morgan Carey

Phil, I hope you understand that my intention here is to ensure that all users of REW Blogs are able to make the most of the opportunity presented to them. I love to teach SEO and web development, and I need you to succeed and have me to thank in part for that - why? Just like in the article, it is about building relationships - you are my target market and I need to leave an impression of competence and professionalism that I can build on (And hopefully help you make some money) - so that when the time comes for you to hire a professional real estate web developer, there will be no question as to whom to hire - and it makes a sales pitch (Which I hate) much less necessary :) I am glad you have taken my comment on your blog in the spirit it was given, and I hope to see much more from you in the future. Have a great night and happy blogging.

Morgan Carey

Sure if you would like :) You can call the office and make an apt 250-753-9893 or you can email me at morgan at realestatewebmasters.com (Change the at to an @ sign) Looking forward to speaking with you

Joshua Ferris

Don't beat me with the stick! Reading now... :)

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