Google killed former SEOmoz CTO Matt Inman’s widget bait because some Guardian reporter didn’t like it and wrote his negative opinion up. Then Aaron Wall was unlucky enough to trust a jerk who asked Matt Cutts about Aaron’s affiliate program based linkbuilding.
The question is: Will Amazon get a beat-down too? For their affiliate program based link building?
Don’t be silly.
3 Lessons for the Weary:
1) Don’t make Google look stupid. This is the cardinal rule of SEO. Spam isn’t a problem until it makes Google look bad. Sometimes that’s just by ranking. Other times you figure out a way to get lots of whitehat links and then bingo – you’re nailed. Note: I personally find the Widgetbait issue particularly weird, since Google’s saying to webmasters: we’re not holding you responsible for your own content.
2) Avoid getting too specific, particularly about your sites or clients’ sites.
3) Build your brand. Duh.
4) If you find some code that works to build whitehat, links in a scaleable fashion, keep it to yourself and do your best to stay on the down-low/practice reputation management. The Guardian folks wrote the story up a couple of times, and it’s plausible that they’d have wrapped it up after one piece with some reaching out.
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