I was doing my morning help over at Google’s Webmaster Central and came across this somewhat scary post. I imagine many of you have hired a freelancer from one of “those” sites in the past, and I imagine most of you learned an important lesson. Those freelancers are mainly building junk/spam links, and it shouldn’t surprise you. While I imagine this happens more often that I’d like to know, there was some great info by a Google employee on the topic of spam links. To cap the post up for you first, this is what the site owner had to say;
I hired a freelancer to build links for my site, all white hat and above board. However when I came to check the links they were not very good quality and half of them were missing. After a dispute via Freelancer I agreed to pay half and he accepted that. Over the next couple of days he has sent me many emails saying that he would remove the links I paid for if I did not pay the rest of the cash for this month. I said that was not fair as I have paid for the links he has built. Now he has come back saying if I do not pay he will send 2000+ bad links to my site and wipe it from the search engines… I didn’t know what to do so I just paid him.
So here we have a sticky situation. Luckily for him, freelance link builders are cheap and he was able to bite the bullet. So I could stop there and we could all contemplate the thought of this happening to our business. First of all, don’t hire a freelancer from “one of those sites”, and stick with well known companies in the industry (cough cough). This is your business we’re talking about here, and no one should be held hostage for links!
So on to the next point of topic in this discussion. A lot of the people said don’t worry about it, those spam links can’t hurt you. This had me a little flabbergasted to say the least! Clearly, some of these consultants have never had a client with an anchor text filter penalty. I’ve heard this time and time again, that spam links cannot hurt you at all so don’t worry about it. I have never shared this thought, and we’ve dealt with so many inquiries from people with those exact penalties. Needless to say, I was pleased when a Google employee piped in on the conversation;
Google doesn’t penalize a site for having spammy links to the site unless we can tell that this was part of a link scheme.
–thejack (Google Employee)
So there you have it, a real world example of the dark side of marketing. This should also clear up any questions you had about getting hit by bad links. While it might be frustrating to see a competitor over take you in the short run, a quality marketing plan will prevail in the end.