SEO and the backlinks buying conundrum

February 27, 2012 7:34 am

Content providers, be warned. Backlinks can be bought, but they can end up doing more harm than good for your brand

Stomach tucks, executive office furniture, even, God help us, penile pustule removal… all of them can be found on the backend of many a blog. They are the comments awaiting approval, the scourge of content providers and the most irritating element to not only generating content, but also – crucially – getting that content out there.

So why are they there in the first place, and what should you do about them?

Here’s a scenario content providers large and small are familiar with. You’ve created your blog through WordPress or another format. You’ve invested time and money on it. You’ve worked hard to create content that you think will appeal to your target audience. You’ve made good use of images, you’ve utilised video and yet the engagement you’re after doesn’t seem to be forthcoming, because although you know you’re getting reads, you’re not getting that proof of engagement – in the shape comments – you had been hoping for.

The importance of user-generated content

User-generated content is one of the holy grails of social media and content marketing. It’s a way for companies to spark conversations and then be a part of that conversation, while also allowing customers to have their say. Done well (for example, Coca-Cola on Facebook or über-blog The Huffington Post), it gets people talking – and drinking and reading and buying.

But those sorts of super-success stories are the exception rather than the rule. In most cases, generating user-generated content through posts and comments can seem elusive to the point of being impossible.

There are a number of reasons why. It could be that your content simply isn’t as engaging or as well-presented as you think it is. But chances are, it owes a great deal to the ‘1% Rule’. Put simply, the rule states that for every person actively creating and/or uploading content, there are 99 others who simply receive it, read it and may even act on it, but they don’t add to it.

Which means that while your message may well be getting across, you have no tangible evidence that it is reaching your target audience.

Of course, in this day and age of measurables and an all-consuming need to be able to demonstrate return on investment, that isn’t enough for some organisations. So, almost in desperation, they turn to buying backlinks as a means of spreading the word.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are now more important than ever when it comes to search engine optimisation. As we explain in the Tick Content White Paper, Google’s algorithm changes favour links from other sites when it comes to improving the search ranking of your own site. So some companies will happily pay money to ‘backlink farms’ that essentially spam other blogs with links.

The problem is that such an approach will almost always backfire. As every email account holder knows, spam is a massive pain in the proverbial and the chief reason why the ‘delete’ key is the most-overused on the old keyboard. The same is true for blog providers. Although everyone – and The Message is no exception here – would love to be able to list dozens or even hundreds of comments for every story, do you really want to be promoting stomach tucks in the process?

Didn’t think so. So what do you do?

Create a targeted backlink strategy

The answer is to spend the time (and associated monetary costs) creating strategically targeted backlinks. Do your research to find blogs that operate in a similar field to yours (competitors exception, of course!) and write thoughtful, intelligent comments that have a legitimate purpose and reason for being there. In time, chances are those blogs will return the favour – and your search ranking will be boosted as a result.

At the same time, use social media to syndicate, syndicate, SYNDICATE! Tweet about your latest story (you can do it two or three times without annoying your followers), use Facebook to drive traffic to it and adopt new social media platforms like Instagram to spread the word.

It may take a little longer, but such an approach will pay dividends. And, thankfully, there won’t be a penile pustule in sight!


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.


  • News & Views Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy. Here’s another one. We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy. The first agent who came […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing How to Make Your Content Actionable

    How to Make Your Content Actionable

    Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you. The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer. So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views The Stupidity of Silence

    The Stupidity of Silence

    It always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.

    Read more →
  • Email Marketing Features What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers—and there aren’t many more marketers out there doing so. It is a massive part of customer communication and revenue, but do you know just how massive? The following statistics come from all corners of the globe, and from many different industries. While they keep changing everyday, some are quite shocking. Here’s a brief description of everything you need to know about the power of email […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand. By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend. […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance. Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far. So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign. Know Your Audience Contrary to the opinion […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to avoid digital dead ends

    How to avoid digital dead ends

    Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes? While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them. Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things […]

    Read more →
  • Social Media When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm. Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Did you see Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars? Man, he nailed it: loose, funny, topical, irreverent, black. Hang on, what was that? Black? You can’t say that! That’s, that’s, well that’s racist! In isolation it’s jarring to refer to someone’s skin colour or any other personal feature when judging work they’ve just completed. Of course, it’s also completely irrelevant. But let’s back up a bit. This year’s Oscars were all about race. After the nominations were announced in January there […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Surreal Reality TV

    Surreal Reality TV

    Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s. Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ […]

    Read more →