You may have been referred to this page after having written to request that a link be placed on this website as part of a link scheme. Link schemes are illegal and ineffective. When we’re approached by people participating in link schemes, we send them to this page so they can get more informed.
We don’t offer free advertising or free link placement. If you’d like our help promoting your website or other online resource, you’ll need to pay for advertising on our site.
Keep reading for more information about why link schemes are ineffective and why you should avoid them.
Every week, we get many emails from people claiming to be a school teacher, or Grad student, or enthusiast of some kind. The emails are very similar. They all claim to love our website, and on one page in particular that they really like, they would like to have a resource link added. Sometimes the email will make mention of a broken link on the same page. The link they are requesting is usually to a fairly new site, or a site that doesn’t have high rankings, and doesn’t really disclose the true owners of the site or any contact information. Often the person writing is using a fake name. A quick search of the person on Google+ or Facebook shows an obviously fake profile.
Legitimate Link Ads
Google sells text-only ad links through their AdSense advertising system, thus establishing text links as having advertising value. Website owners get paid to have them, and advertisers pay for them to be displayed. This is considered legitimate because the ads are identified as advertising and they are relevant to the page content.
Prohibited Link Promotion
If a website owner is directly approached by someone wanting to pay for a link to be placed on their site, this could be construed as a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines specifically as it relates to link schemes. They are perceived to be an artificial attempt to manipulate the page importance ranking. Often, they aren’t intended to be an ad that will result in sales, but a link that will alter a site’s ranking.
An additional problem with such links is that they can be promotional in nature, but not identified as advertising — a practice that is prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission.
For these reason, Google will blacklist those who pay for links to be placed on a site as well as those who accept money for links to be placed on their own site.
Free Link Requests
A relatively new link scheme is where people ask a website owner to place a link on their site, but don’t offer to pay for it. The presumption is that if money doesn’t change hands, then it’s okay. Yet, such link schemes are easily identified by Google once they become wide-spread (lots of artificial links to the same site), and all parties involved get blacklisted.
Your SEO Consultant is Harming You
Often, website owners pay an advertising firm or SEO consultant to help promote their site. The SEO consultant often does more harm than good by engaging in the above practices.
The High Cost of Link Schemes
Once a website is identified as having been engaged in a link building scheme, the site owner must contact the thousands of website owners linking to them and request that the links be taken down. This can take hundreds of hours and cost thousands of dollars. It may take many months or even years to recover.
Link Schemes as Corporate Espionage
Because links schemes can be so damaging to a website and the company or brand represented, there have been known cases where a business will setup a link scheme to point thousands of website links to their competitor — thus getting their competitor blacklisted and removed from top Google results.
Identifying Legitimate Request
Legitimate requests will come from the actual owners of reputable sites (not third-party SEO agents) and typically will have some relationship with whatever your site is about. They may ask to be listed in an existing resource directory, or ask if you’d be interested in writing an article about their product or service. If paid advertising is requested, this is usually for a traditional ad that appears on your site. Sometimes free products or money are offered in exchange for an article. This needs to be clearly disclosed somewhere at the top of the article (a Federal Trade Commission requirement).