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In the past few months, I’ve come across a strategy competitors in our industry are using to push their value on clients. In my opinion, this communication is wrong and misleading.

In today’s video, I break down that strategy and show you why you should push back against people reporting links in this way.

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media, and today I want to tell you how link vendors can sell you snake oil.

Obviously, we’re a content marketing agency, and people frequently come to us wanting links in some way. They work with other vendors a lot of the time, and recently, someone came to us and said, “Hey, this other vendor we’re working with is generating tons of links for us at a much lower cost per link than you. What’s going on?”

I kind of had an awareness of what the strategy they were using was, and I went to check out that strategy. What I realized was happening is that this client was actually reporting links that, in my mind, have no value.

The problem is that a lot of vendors might do this, and I think that it is ethically the wrong thing to do because they don’t have much value, even though a less sophisticated company might think that they do.

What I mean specifically in this case is scraped and syndicated links. So if you get a good link, a specific example is The Motley Fool, a big financial site – anything that is published there gets scraped a good amount. So what vendors might do in this case is get one good link on Motley Fool which, yes, is a good link, then it’ll get syndicated and scraped over dozens of sites.

What they’ll then do is put all those sites in their link report and, suddenly, instead of just the one good Motley Fool link, they’re now reporting that, “Hey, we got 20 links for you,” even though their subsequent 19, in my mind, pass less value, sometimes no value.

Why I believe that is the case, for one, is that Google has recently come out and said that that is a bad strategy to utilize. You can see that generally, they’re not wanting to reward this kind of content, even if maybe it does pass some value today.

Secondarily, you can just manually find out if it’s passing value. My kind of “eye test” is you take the URL and copy it into Google, and if it’s not showing up, it’s not indexed, so therefore it can’t be passing any value. So if that link is on your report and it’s not even indexed, get mad at your vendor for that.

Also, sometimes you can put in a URL into Google and it will show up in Google’s supplementary index, which if you are not aware, is kind of like a secondary index that isn’t at the primary one. It is normally for less valued pages and sites that people might still want to find if they search directly, and therefore Google is going to return it, but they’re less likely to actually pass any value or significance.

Because they are set up that way, if you search the title instead of the URL, you’ll get the primary index instead of the supplementary index.

Sometimes if you look for the URL just by Googling, but then you search the title, you’ll notice it won’t surface. You’ll only get that Motley Fool article, or in the below example, CNBC.

An amazing part in these kind of instances is that we actually found an example where a link, or an asset for a client that was made and promoted had about 90 links to it according to Majestic and Ahrefs, but then if you actually dug down and saw which were actually real or original links that then weren’t syndicated or disseminated to those other sites, there were only three links out of 90.

This is crazy, especially for example maybe for a small-business owner who doesn’t really get SEO and is not following the blogs, and a vendor comes to them and reports that they got 40 links and, really, what they actually got was three links. And yes, those are three quality links, but there is obviously a major difference in how they’re selling you.

So if you’re thinking about link acquisition and you’re maybe less sophisticated as a business owner, know that you should tell vendors that they should not list syndicated links.

At Siege, we do not list syndicated links because I believe ethically that they pass less value, if not today, in the future, because it’s not a real link. It’s that first link that passes real value.

Make sure your vendors are reporting only on the original source, I think you’ll get a lot more value. And in general, if your vendors are selling you content and links like that, you might want to rethink that relationship and how those things are going.

Hopefully you found this valuable. If you liked the video, please give it a thumbs up, subscribe, and let me know what you thought in the comments.

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