You may not have heard the recent hype around iAquire, a small seo agency with some big clients. Essentially they bombarded the owner of a very popular social blogging site to sell them links over the course of a few weeks. Eventually the webmaster in question got bored and decided to write a case study on their business practices and how they were trying to game the Google search results. Usually things would end here but someone at Google noticed the post and iAquires site was de-indexed a few days later. You could say that for an SEO agency to not be indexed in Google is pretty terminal! But what does this mean for other SEO companies who are trying to promote their clients?

“Use common sense when finding links”

For a start agencies really need to use some common sense when approaching anyone with a view to buying a link. For example does this blog or site have other forms of advertising on it? If the site is popular with high traffic but no ads then there’s a reason, and it’s usually because the webmaster isn’t interested. I.e. they are running the site as a hobby and don’t want advertising to get in the way of their content.

Another concept is that SEO agencies should be trying to create content and not just links. Google is founded on the principle that quality content will attract references from other sites, but this doesn’t mean you have to create something then just sit back and hope. Viral marketing is huge these days but you may not realise that many viral campaigns are given a boost by an agency at the start, i.e. they contact influential bloggers and those on twitter and personally tell them about their latest “idea”. No money needs to exchange hands because webmasters are just as desperate for quality content as marketers are for exposure.

“Thinking outside the box to separate yourself from everyone else”

Thinking outside the box is essential when it comes to “white hat” link-building that Google will enjoy. For example I recently saw a great campaign by a soft-drinks company in the run-up to a new launch; they offered a thousand random bloggers who talked about their product over a one week period a free gift voucher. The total cost of the gift vouchers probably came to what most SEO agencies charge a month! The important point is that they weren’t buying links, only offering people the chance to take part in a free competition. For most of the bloggers wasn’t about making money it was something fun to take part in.

You may feel sorry for iAquire and you may not, essentially their business is dead and unlikely to ever come back. But at the end of the day this is Google’s system and if you want their free traffic then you have to play by their rules.

The post is by Pablo of EMO – stop by for more free articles

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