It’s start­ing to look like the more con­trived your link build­ing cam­paigns are (or are per­ceived) the less effec­tive they’ll be.

Tim Grice recently spec­u­lated on the deval­u­a­tion of exact anchor text, just prior to the furore around the pos­si­ble ‘over-optimisation’ penalty.

This puts me/you/us in the pre­car­i­ous posi­tion of try­ing to make an unnat­ural (or what is per­ceived to be an unnat­ural) activ­ity, appear natural.

How do you work towards a nat­ural blend?

One idea I’ve flirted with for a while is avoid­ing the request and talk of it full stop if it isn’t an inher­ent part of my value proposition.

If and when it is broached, avoid giv­ing exact guid­ance as to the link you want.

We’re all prob­a­bly famil­iar with the: ‘To make things easy, I’ve included the code for the link…’

Instead, just sit back and see what hap­pens. Relin­quish control.

Chances are I’ll end up with a lot more brand, ‘web­site’ and ‘click here’ link, but, to an extent, the links would exist as they would have done, had they occurred ‘naturally’.

The other upside of this is it gets you out of the mind­set of using peo­ple as a means to a link.

Per­son­ally, I hate straight-up ask­ing for links. It’s awk­ward, and I can’t help but feel that in some sit­u­a­tions, it jeop­ar­dises the chance of get­ting the link.

Once I’ve asked, I know they’re sat there think­ing: ‘Oh, right, so that’s what  this is all about…’

There is, with­out a doubt, a fetishiza­tion of links in the SEO indus­try. (Case in point, this blog.)

For most peo­ple, they’re really no big deal. Only once you’re in the busi­ness do you start to realise the econ­omy that exists around them.

Unless you’re beg­ging for link, you don’t really need to explic­itly ask. In most cases, they occur as a by-product from what­ever you’ve done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not say­ing don’t ask if it looks like it’s ain’t gonna happen.

When push comes to shove, I will always ask. I’m just going to con­cern myself less with the technicalities.

Just a thought anyway…for the record, I still think there is a lot to be said for exact anchor text links, I’m just think­ing out loud…

One ques­tion I’d also pose: is it is a good idea to work towards monthly quo­tas of brand and anchor text links?

Post By Michael Smith (31 Posts)

Michael works at 9xb Dig­i­tal Agency in Har­ro­gate, Mon­day to Fri­day. Click here to fol­low him on Twit­ter or have a look a his Google+ pro­file.

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