SEO 101: Don’t get hung up on asking for links

Google PandaSEO is a bit of a black art and something that in nine years of running Tamebay we’ve steadfastly ignored. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s simply that by and large we do exactly what Google wants and produce content which you our readers tend to want to read.

We do however get a lot of requests for links and/or articles (paid or begged) for which the sole purpose is to contain a link. We pretty much decline them all – we’re not interested in helping other people’s SEO efforts. We prefer to write content that you want to read, not content for which the sole purpose is to give someone a back link.

Tamebay Tip: If you want a link from Tamebay the best way is to tell us how your business is of interest to ecommerce professionals in which case we’ll happily write about you and link to you for free. Ask us for a link and the answer is “No”.

That being the case we’re pretty generous with linking to companies when it’s appropriate. i.e. when it helps our readers find resources that are of interest to them. Occasionally however we get a request to hyperlink a company name we’ve included in an article when we haven’t already done so. Even this however is dubious as it turns out that in Google’s 2014 Panda patent they recognise unlinked references as well as linked references. You should as part of your SEO efforts be happy that some sites cite you without actually linking!

The patent states “An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link“.

Of course an express link is preferable in many instances, but an implied link still has value and, as it suggests your readers will be able to find the resource on their own, is a good indicator to Google that your site is a valuable resource.

Your main aim in SEO should be to establish yourself as a leader in your field or for your products. For example in this article we’ve mentioned Google several times but not actually hyperlinked to Google, these are implied links and Google will figure out that it’s themselves we’re talking about. We did link to “2014 Panda patent” above as it saves you searching the web for it, that’s an example of an express link.

If you get an article or mention in a high page rank site (e.g. published on a newspaper website, even if they don’t directly link to you) it’s still a worthwhile SEO exercise, although of course an actual link is nice to have, however the content is more important than simply asking for an express link.

Many of the SEO efforts employed in the past are less and less relevant today as Google gets smarter and smarter at discounting irrelevant links and discovers implied links.