Cheap tricks used to get links from Bloggers

Today, I am going to reveal five cheap tricks used to get links from Bloggers. These are dirty secrets of a lot of companies who try to take advantage of Bloggers who are unaware of SEO and similar things.

Why I am doing this?

I have been a professional travel blogger for over four years. I have been part of a lot of online as well as offline blogger communities. I get endless mails for taking backlinks from my blog in disguise of profitable collaborations. Mostly, I have not fallen for such cheap tricks ever. And for the benefit of my blogger friends, I wish to reveal five common cheap tricks used to get backlinks from Bloggers. This is going to be a tell-all blog post, you will definitely enjoy reading? Not only I am going to reveal these tricks, I am also going to talk about some tweaks, which will help you outsmart the backlink seekers. I am very sure you will find this post helpful and I would love to see your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheap tricks used to get links from Bloggers

Cheap tricks used to get links from Bloggers

Trick 1 : Sidebar Badge

You will be contacted by a travel website or online blogger network to display a sidebar badge on your website. The badge seems like accreditation like top travel blogger, professional travel writer, blah blah blah.

Why you will fall for this?

The sidebar badge is the mother of all cheap tricks in my opinion. The badge seems attractive and seems to boost confidence of your readers. You feel proud as if you are displaying an accreditation like ISO:9001 or something on your blog.

What does the company achieve from the badge?

It gets backlink to their website from every single page on your website. This means they get a backlink from every single article you write on your blog. Voila! They just cracked a jackpot. They get a good SEO and authority boost for their website.

Why is it bad for you?

Your website gets slow

It will slow down your website by a bit. Most of the time, the resource (image of the badge) will be hosted on the server of the other website and your webpage needs to fetch that image. It will add an extra URL request to be made to load your page. If you wish to affect for yourself, use GTMetrix tool. Run this tool on your website with and without the badge to see the difference.

Do you lose your link juice?

Link Juice is an hypothetical juice which helps your SEO ranking. You may read about it on the link given. Theoretically, you should only provide link to a content which seems natural and in context of your article. For example, the link to GTMetrix and Link Juice provided in this article. This kind of link on a article is going to benefit my blog as well as the linked website. But, should I provide link to this website from every article on my blog? Obviously, all articles on my blog may not be relevant to this website ( sidebar badge ). In that case, I am going to hurt my SEO rankings, because the link from every page is completely unnatural. Some of the websites will argue that, if you are linking to other good websites, your SEO will improve. I will suggest those websites to make sidebar full of badges to Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook and all top websites and see for themselves if they are getting somewhere.

When is it good for you?

There is a very simple answer to this question.

Yes, if you are getting considerable traffic from the other website

You should check traffic coming to your website using Google Analytics. You will come to know how many unique visitors the badge-giving website is sending to your blog. Continue with the sidebar badge if the number is high enough, otherwise dump it. If you are clueless about Google Analytics, here is some help.

What if the other website is providing you a link too? Really? First, you need to be sure that they are actually providing you a backlink. The easiest way is to check backlinks by using Google Webmaster tools. Here is some help for dummies for Google Webmaster. You can also check the same using SEM rush tool. They give a free week trial but the monthly payout is around 100USD. If you are smart, you can do all link analysis in a week and terminate the trial before they charge you. The SEM rush tool will also tell you the authority of the quality of the link you are getting from other website. I have used this tool for free and after a week, I forgot to cancel my account and 100 USD were debited from my credit card and they sent me an email. I just replied to that email, that I wish to cancel the account and money was remitted same day.

SEMrush

Also, you may note a lot of websites who offer badges and appear to give you a backlink from their websites, use a “No-Follow” trick. They may give you a link on their website and add a nofollow tag to it, which tells Google not to follow the link to your website (This means you don’t get any link juice). Learn more about No Follow link on this resource.

Tweaks and Hacks for Sidebar Badge

They will hate me for this! But I promised that this post will be a tell-all blog post. In case, you wish to display the badge and still save on the Link Juice, you can do a No-Follow trick back to them. Simply edit the html script provided by them and add a rel = “nofollow” tag. Normally, a badge html looks like this

Save on link juice

<a href=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com”><img src=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com/images/badge-image” alt=”Best Blogger in the World” width=”80″ height=”30″ /></a>

You can edit it to something like this:-

<a href=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com” rel = “nofollow”><img src=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com/images/badge-image” alt=”Best Blogger in the World” width=”80″ height=”30″ /></a>

Save on website speed

If you wish to display the badge and still, not lose on website speed due to URL request. You can download the image from the image resource and upload it as MEDIA on your Blog.

For example, if the badge html looked like this:-

<a href=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com”><img src=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com/images/badge-image.gif” alt=”Best Blogger in the World” width=”80″ height=”30″ /></a>

Go to http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com/images/badge-image and save that image on to your computer. Now upload this image on your blog using Media tab. You will get a media url on your blog, which looks something like this for wordpress.

http://www.YOUR_WEBSITE.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/badge_image.gif

Now edit the blog html to something like this

<a href=”http://www.THEIR_WEBSITE.com”><img src=”http://www.YOUR_WEBSITE.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/badge_image.gif” alt=”Best Blogger in the World” width=”80″ height=”30″ /></a>

That’s all, you will still display the badge and not lose on website speed.

Trick 2 : You give us content and we will promote it for free

If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product

In this trick, websites or companies will approach you to give them content and they will promote it for free.

Why you will fall for this?

You think you are getting free publicity and traffic. Sometimes, they will also offer you a accreditation badge (pun intended). It seems perfect free publicity and free badge, saying you are the best blogger in the world.

What does the company achieve from your content?

If last one was mother of all cheap tricks, this one surely is the father. In this case, company sources free content from you. A lot of startups, have their entire model set-up on the very foundation that they are sourcing content free of cost from bloggers. I will share two of my personal experiences in this regard. In 2015, I was approached by a startup company to share my content to them for free traffic. I am always worried about plagiarism so I asked their founder that if you publish same content on your website, it is as good as copying and will be treated as plagiarism by Google. I got a reply from the founder that this is not an issue because he is going to mention there that, the author of the content is a blogger at so and so place. Wait! is Google not going to read that? I was not convinced and I did not go for it. I will come back to the plagiarism penalty in just a while. Last month, I interacted with another founder who has a similar model saying we will source free content from bloggers and do something with that. I asked him what are you paying back to Bloggers? He said ” He is happy that he is not paying for the content”. I asked him that even if you are not giving monetary benefits to bloggers, you can give lots of other benefits. He again said, ” He is just too happy getting free content and only thinking of making money from it”. I asked him my last question “Did you ever write a blog?”, He said “No” and I ended the conversation. Because, a person who has never written a blog in his life, can not apprehend the amount of efforts and time it takes to create content or write a blog. I am sorry, you can not be minting money from the content I create with lots of pains and not having the gratitude to reward me as a blogger in any terms, cash or SEO or education or networking or whatever.

Why is it bad for you?

If the content you are providing to them is an exact copy of your entire blog, then this is a case of plagiarism and one of you either your website or their website, will rank lower on Google. If you don’t believe, here’s what Google said in March 2017 about duplicate content. Since your page authority will be much lower to that of the other website ( big fish), it is most likely that you will be penalised for duplicate content. You will be feeling like Mc Donald brothers right now. Watch Founders for more.

When is it good for you?

If the other website does not ask you for copy of your content, but promotes your blog link as such (preferably with a summary) then you should go for it. There are a few good startups ( bit of self promotion here) like Tripscam who have done it recently. They have asked travel bloggers to share their recent blog post links on their Facebook Page They have also liked FB pages of other blogs as “liked as page”. What this means? Visitors coming to see FB page of Tripscam see FB pages of the travel bloggers in the section”pages liked by this page”. This may be very beneficial for your FB page as the people who like Tripscam Facebook Page are most likely to like your travel blog FB page as well, because they like travel content. If you have not done it already, tweet your FB page of Travel Blog to Twitter Page of Tripscam and get ready to be liked as page. If you agree with this honest initiative of Tripscam, Please “like as page” Facebook Page of Tripscam from your Travel Blog FB page. Here’s how to do Like as Page resource.

Tweaks and Hacks for Free Content Takers

Ask them to make a summary of your blog or share only first few paragraphs of your content, with a “Read the original post here” link to your original blog post. Having a mention of “Original” in the Anchor Text will also signal Google that you are the one who made the burgers in the first place ( You will not get it if you did not read the Mc Donald brothers story!). More on Anchor text for dummies here!

Trick 3 : We will give you free content and you publish it

Often you will get mails from budding writers (pun intended), that they found your blog awesome and wish to contribute articles to your blog. They try to convince you that their writing skills are amazing and articles will be superb. My standard reply ( if I do!) to these writers is, please go and create your own blog and publish your amazing articles out there. Sometimes, this trick is also disguised in the form of “Guest Post”. Guest post is a novel concept, but you should be able to distinguish between a sincere request of Guest Post or website looking for just backlink.

Why you will fall for this?

Well, you are getting content. Seems awesome! Isn’t it? Often, we have writer’s block or may be too busy to write a blog and these email feel God sent at those times.

What does the company achieve from giving content?

They are just looking for an organic back link. If you agree to publish their article, they will mostly offer you highly keyword optimised article, decorated with anchor texts to pass the link juice to their websites. In most of the cases, they will put three links in the article. One of the link will be to an internal blog post of yours, the second link will be to a very high authority website like Wikipedia and third will be to the company’s link they are looking to promote. I know how they devised this three link strategy but will not get into it as Google ranking algorithms are becoming smarter by the day and this strategy is too naive to fool Google.

Why is it bad for you?

My blog recently got manual action penalty from Google and one of the reasons was a spammy guest post, I allowed on my website. A manual action penalty is a very serious thing and for dummies, it means that your website or any of the blog post will not come in the Google search result. It is like a ban from Google and Yes, it happened to Travel Jots. Your link juice goes to drain and all your efforts over the years become Zero. There has been a recent Google algorithm update which specially identifies these kind of sponsored links. Travel Jots recovered from the Google Penalty with some efforts after spending some sleepless nights and deep digging into old posts. More on manual action penalty for dummies.

When is it good for you?

If it is a genuine guest post from an authoritative blogger, Go for it as it is all good. If you can trust the source or company that content is not plagiarised, it is good enough. You should read the blog and if you find it interesting to read, your readers will also find it interesting. See, it is not bad to give links to some other websites. All the links on this blog post are dofollow links and they are good for my blog as well. Why? because they are natural and helpful to the readers. Google is smart enough to see the difference. Also, the relationship between content of your article and the link matters. For example, if you want to write about a company or startups, you can always write about it and its product or services. There are many websites like your story who write about startups and they do not get any penalty for giving links to these companies, rather they get a SEO boost for doing that. An honest approach to do this, is not to fool the reader and write the article in context of the link you wish to promote.

Tweaks and Hacks for Free Content Givers

I don’t know how many of you will love me, and I would love to see it in comments. You can publish the article given by those budding writers and just add a nofollow (rel = “nofollow”) to the link. This will tell Google that you do not endorse the resource and you will not get any penalty whatsoever. However, most of the free content givers will fire away as soon as you mention the word “nofollow”.

Trick 4 : Link Exchange

You scratch my back and I will scratch yours

This is fine till the other party does not have big nails! Nobody likes to be scratched hard on their backs or for that matter backlinks in our context.

Why you will fall for this?

Backlinks help SEO and everyone knows that. There are endless articles of the web promoting link exchange as a good SEO strategy.

Why is it bad for you?

The offering website may not be good travel website. It may be a company selling fraud tours in some random country. If the website giving backlink to you is a shady website, it does not help you. Since, your blog is a good travel information website, it will help the link seeker. Here is a good resource to know the difference between good and bad backlinks. Sometimes, a good travel website may approach you for link exchange, but will smartly add a NoFollow tag to your link on their website. The best practise is to use Google Webmaster tools to keep a check on your backlinks periodically. I gave a good reference for webmaster tools in the preceding paragraphs.

When is it good for you?

If the link seeker is a genuine travel website or a travel blogger with good social media following or readership, you should happily give the backlink. In this case, it will be helpful to you. You should make a travel blog directory like me to offer link exchange at one place.

Tweaks and Hacks for link exchange

In my opinion, if the link seeker is not a good website, you should not go for link exchange. In case you do wish to, you can offer a nofollow link to them.

Trick 5 : Paid Sponsored links

You are offered to write sponsored posts for a payment. A blog is an online publication and it is okay to receive payment for either advertisement of writing an article

Why you will fall for this?

Money. This one is obvious.

Why is it bad for you?

It depends on the quality of the sponsored website. If the link seeker is fraud website, it is going to hurt your rankings. It may even get you a Google manual penalty.

When is it good for you?

If the link seeker is an authentic website doing legitimate business, you may take the money and write for them. You should try to write an article and link should look natural. For example, you may write about five travel websites that a traveller may use for travel research and link TripAdvisor, Holidify,  Tripscam, Lonely planet and so on. You may write a paragraph about each of the website.

Tweaks and Hacks for sponsored links

You are getting paid to give a link, so you can not use any hacks out here. But, I have an important suggestion. You make a note in the contract that in case “Google warns you about that link in future, you will have all rights to unconditionally remove it”. This is really important if you are dealing with foreign clients.

End Note

It had been a really long post and I am sure you would have found it informative. The important takeaway is that giving a backlink is not bad thing and you should know what are you getting back from it. These are the few things you should look at for giving backlink in the order of priority:-

(a) It gives references to important information to your readers. For example, all the links mentioned in this blog.

(b) You are getting a good link exchange.

(c) The company gets you good traffic to your website.

(d) Monetary benefits.

(e) The company provides you other valuable things like blogging tips, social benefits, affiliate income etc. In my opinion, there are a plenty of things a good travel website company can provide you other than monetary benefits.

Tripscam is such a company, which does not provide any monetary benefits to travel experts for writing posts. But, it provides other benefits like traffic, advertisement and social benefits to travel bloggers. You should not give backlink for free to any website. At the same time, you should not expect someone else to give backlinks to you for free. If you join Tripscam Travel Expert Program , you will be provided with a dofollow backlink which is NOT FREE, you will have to spend 25 minutes in a year to earn it. This is the transparency followed by Tripscam Solutions, a startup formed to promote Scam Free Travel in India.

I hope you liked this post and found it helpful. Please do tell me your thoughts through comments. If you think this blog will be helpful for your blogger friends, you should share it with them on social media or email.

 

 

5 Responses

  1. A very informative post indeed!!

  2. Nice post Pooja, the level of detail you have covered is impressive. Would you be interested in blogging for clients that pay you

  3. Excellent post Pooja. Can you also help me understand how can I check which links are spamming my site? I get a google spam score of 2 on seoreviewtools.

    • Pooja says:

      First, you should check the links you charged for. For example, a link I gave for Happy Hour at IB, linking to Yaatra was pointed out as SPAM by Google. Actually, I got a email from Google pointing out the link. Therefore, even if the link is to a good website, but it is not in the correct context of the article, you can get a manual penalty. Also, I don’t think SEO viewer will correctly point the links considered as Spam by Google. If you can do this, you can make all commercial links as nofollow
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