Is Mashable accepting paid links?
Inbound link programs that violate Google “terms of service”
One of the most difficult elements of search engine optimization is the creation of quality inbound links into the website that you want to rank higher. The general premise is that the better quality the link, the more value it will have in causing your website to rank higher. A good SEO company will not just be trying to create volumes of links, but get the best links that they possibly can in order to maximize the impact that each individual link has to the campaign. The main problem is that the more valuable the link, the more difficult it is to get as a general rule….which is why it is more valuable. For example, a website that boldly displays on it’s “advertising” page that you can purchase text-based links to your site from it will probably be considered generally worthless by Google, no matter how in-line with your subject the site is. By allowing Google to understand that anyone can purchase a link, they are devaluing the links in terms of the actual impact that they will have. As a matter of fact, because Google considers inbound-link campaigns designed specifically to increase rankings as a violation of their terms of service, you may actually find yourself penalized or delisted as a result of these efforts.
A linking campaign that recruits the finest of quality inbound links is generally going to show the least amounts of success with regards to volume. The best way to approach building top-quality links is called “link baiting” and is generally made up of the creation of top-quality onsite content (like this article) and then the solicitation of genre-related websites through emails, phone calls or social media to provide a link back to the content from another site. Asking webmasters to give up a link from their website to yours is difficult because there is almost no incentive for them to do so, aside from caring about the information they are presenting to their readers. When you can get these kinds of links it is always a great situation, however trying to execute this type of campaign is going to be difficult because clients like to see successes, not just attempts. Telling a client that you contacted 100 websites and got no links is not going to show as well as if you got 50 links, even if they are so low quality that they do almost nothing to improve rankings. Many seo companies will rely on the fact that they look like they are working hard in order to keep the campaign going, promising future results due to their efforts.
We have recently uncovered what may be the most innovative, and unethical linking schemes to date. While the solicitation of links from quality websites will provide minimal results, and the paying for links violates the terms of service of major search engines, many seo companies explore alternatives to creating links in an automated fashion, providing good quality links without the effort of ongoing solicitation and content creation. Trying to find a good quality website from which you can buy an inbound link, but one that does not actually say anywhere that you can buy a link, is a difficult process. There are many websites of this type out there, but usually Google can pick up on the scheme pretty quickly and devalue the link. A link from a super-high quality website like “Mashable” would be extremely beneficial, but the fact that “Mashable” does not sell links is one of the reasons for the value.
In a recent article that was on “Mashable” entitled “Frequency Makes Any Website A Video Channel” http://mashable.com/2012/01/09/frequency-makes-any-website-a-video-channel/ the author is discussing a cutting edge technology that can create engaging content on websites through the inclusion of a new video channel program, thus allowing websites to be more like television networks. While the article itself was very engaging as far as the content, more interesting still is the inclusion of a link directly under the title of the article that read “Frequency” and alluded that the clicking of this link would take you to the website that the article was discussing. Instead the link went to a different website called “TouristLink,” which appears to be a startup company that allows for social media interaction regarding vacations and travel, including travel oriented display marketing as it’s revenue model.
Is this a simple mistake on the part of “Mashable” and the people associated with this article, or is it potentially a very clever linking scheme where a link is “accidentally” coded into quality content in order to pass pagerank from one of the most respected content websites on the internet to a startup website that is seeking higher rankings? That is up to you to decide, however as an SEO company who is always exploring new methods of gaining higher rankings for clients, we would highly doubt this is an accident, simply because it would work so well.
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