Red Flags Link Builders Should Be Aware Of
Link building is a great way to increase traffic to your site that mutually benefits both you and your link building partners.
Whether it’s a business listing or a guest post, everyone comes out on top when you’re link building.
If you’re not careful, however, you pose the risk of getting burned by a less than reliable trading partner. Even though it’s easy to have a reciprocative relationship, not everyone wants to cooperate. For some reason or another, there will always be people out there whose goal is to get something from you without giving something back.
It’s a very negative outlook, and it usually isn’t the case, but it’s a good idea to be wary and avoid trouble where you can.
Trust Is The First Rule Of Link Exchange
When you exchange links or write a blog post for someone, you’re putting a certain level of trust in them. You expect them to incorporate your do-follow link on their site with the right anchor, the right backlink, and the right placement.
You expect them to publish your guest post more or less as it is, with a certain amount of do-follow links, and in the relevant section that you were expecting them to put it in.
Unfortunately, not everyone does this. Some people will string you along and ask you to put their link on your site, and then not get back to you for days. When you follow up with them, they promise to do it tomorrow because they’re out of the office right now, or they’re on vacation. They’ll say anything to get you off their back.
If they want to be petty, they might link to you when you ask them about it and later change your link to a no-follow, rendering all the time you spent finding them worthless.
When your new link partner starts avoiding your questions or tries to change the rules of the agreement, you’ve just spotted your first red flag.
Know When To Call It Quits
There’s no telling why anyone would try to take advantage of you, but it’s something that can happen. In the end, you need to have a certain level of respect for yourself and your site. Know when to call off a deal. Instead of wasting two weeks chasing a flakey exchange partner, give them a few days. If after three or four days they haven’t done anything, give them an ultimatum. Leave them a chance to complete the exchange, but give them a hard deadline to meet, at which point you’re going to remove their link from your site.
If the person you’re dealing with wants to keep your link, there’s a good chance they’ll cooperate, but if not, it’s time to end the deal.
Stolen Posts And How To Recover
Worse than a flakey link exchange is a shady guest post-deal. A recurring theme with people you don’t want to trust with link exchange is the changing of the goalposts, and guest posting is one place that can easily happen.
Say you message someone on Facebook about a guest post after they put out a call for any niche. You investigate their site, pick a relevant category to write about, get the go-ahead from them, and take a few hours to make a pretty decent piece of writing. You send it to them, and they say this isn’t what they wanted.
Now you’re in a difficult spot. You’ve just sent them your piece and they possess their own copy. What’s going to happen?
Well, odds are that post is now lost to you. That person could very easily post it wherever they want to and claim it as their own. At this point, you’re faced with a learning experience. It’s in your best interest to set the rules first when you’re writing someone a guest post. Find out exactly what they want so you can deliver it with no complaints.
You should also try to send it to them in a way that gives you some control over the content. If you share the story via Google Drive, you can remove their permissions in the document as soon as things start to go south, though there’s no guarantee they haven’t already copied and pasted the document elsewhere.
Ultimately, be prepared to lose the document. After all, it’s only one blog post. Since you still have the original, you can always re-work it and use it for something else. Just be sure to reword everything, otherwise, it would be considered plagiarism, which most people don’t want to be associated with. It also helps to add or remove content from the original to further differentiate it from the one that you’ve lost.
Just because a post got stolen from you doesn’t mean it’s lost forever, you just need to put in a little extra effort to make it unique again.
Be Cautious, But Don’t Be Paranoid
In the end, there aren’t that many people who are out to scam you. Link exchange is a pretty mutually beneficial practice; most people want the same thing and they work together to get it done.
However, it would be naïve to assume these things never happen. Not everyone is your friend out there, and you do need to be careful.
Trust is the name of the game. If you’re going to approach link exchanges thinking everyone is out to get you, you should probably try doing something else. If you’re a small business owner, talk to a local web designer or SEO specialist about getting all the hard work done for you. Awesome Web Designs is a Toronto based web design company that offers free consultations. They have a blog all about marketing, SEO, and web design. If you want a few SEO tips, or you run a small business and want to improve your online presence, try looking at the professionals.
It pays to be careful, but you’ll never get any reward without a little risk. There are pitfalls with every form of link building, but the end result is pretty worth it if you can get yourself ranked at the top of Google’s search results.