Five Things I Hate About Linking

It’s summer. Hot, humid, sticky and itchy. The perfect time to rant. Especially if you are a link seeking content publicist glued to a monitor while all your clients have gone on vacation.

So here are five things I hate about linking, and I have more if you want them:

1). The fake sincerity of your bulk link request. I don’t mind a genuine attempt by a real person to request a link from me/my site. And I’m pretty much used to the generic “Dear Webmaster” approach. Delete. But the emails that blatantly lie to try and fool me make me laugh out loud. They usually start out “I was just looking at your site”. No you weren’t. And don’t tell me a link from your will “boost my rankings”, because it wont. And stop apologizing to me in the email you just sent while at the same time asking me to forward it to the “proper person”. What am I your personal messenger now?

2). Your “linking policy”. Linking policy? I don’t need no stinking linking policy. And you don’t either. Get over yourself. Once upon a time there was site devoted to stupid linking policies.

3). Your unsolicited RFPs that in all seriousness include statements like “…vendor will obtain 200 new links from sites with PageRank no lower than 4.” Yes, and any RFP with that as a condition was created by a person with an SEO I.Q. no higher than 5. We aren’t vendors. We are people, and we don’t send link requests to PageRanks, we send them to…people.

4). Your anchor text demands. Please stop telling me how to link to your site. If I link to your site, I will link to it in any way I darn well please. And in thirteen+ years of requesting links for hundreds of clients I have never once requested specific anchor text. Sometimes an inbound link profile can be so perfect that it becomes imperfect. Heavy duty algo-chasers know what I mean.

5). Your .edu link lust. Please stop the .edu link spam. Right now there are thousands of college professors baffled as to why their forums and blogs host 500,000 Viagra posts. And the form link injection technique is tired, as is the backlink you got for that “employment opportunity” posting on the college’s career services site.

There are many smart and honest people working very hard to help others learn the craft of link building and publicity. Sadly, they are outnumbered by thousands of human linkbots eager to make their weekly “link quota”.

What do you hate about linking? Please share your pet peeves in the comments below.

Eric Ward has been in the link building and content publicity game since 1994, providing services ranking from linking strategy to a monthly private newsletters on linking for subscribers. The Link Week column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building: General | Link Week Column


About The Author: has been creating linking strategies for clients since 1994. Eric publishes the strategic linking advice newsletter LinkMoses Private, and provides linking services, training and consulting via

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  • Aaron B. Hockley

    My biggest pet peeve about folks wanting links is your #2: the so-called linking policy. Merely suggesting a linking policy demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding about the entire nature and origins of the WWW.

  • Michael Martinez

    Hear hear! Well said! Can’t be said enough!

  • Johnny T

    I agree with each of your points, Eric. My pet peeve is related to the industry I do search marketing for: e-commerce websites. A few of the sites I work on are truly authority websites, but building links in difficult because of the “oh, you’re selling something” stigma. Grrrr.

  • Tilak

    I fully agree with Eric.

  • claire stokoe

    I totally agree with Eric. Spamdexers and link farmers make life very hard for those of us wishing to add value to certain relevant categories and interests. I don’t think paid links should have such bad press when there are, to coin an Ericism ‘human linkbots’ Flooding the websphere with irrelevant bile and making it all very unpleasant for the rest of us. Perhaps Google should supply us with bright pink relevancy arm bands to keep us afloat and noticeable amongst the great unwashed?

  • Greg Jarboe

    Eric, I rolled on the floor laughing on your rant. Begging for links has got to be the most humiliating part of SEO these days. And in the summer! At least the French have got it figured out. They take August off and don’t even pretend to work that month.

  • oldschoolseo

    Per #5, I recently hypothesized that Google will eventually pick up on the .EDU scam and make these links have little relevance. Stay tuned and we’ll see.

    Here is the post to that article:

  • Miss Cellania

    I get these automated requests all the time. But the other day, I got a comment that tickled me. My name and blog start with “Miss” and the comment started with “Dear Sir or Madam, I enjoyed reading you blog…” Yeah, right.

  • smnash

    I don’t take it quite so personally as Eric (lol), but I *do* hate the lack of personal contact there is in link requests. Surely, if you really want to link to a site, you find out something about that site first, like the site owner’s name at least. Etc.

  • Mario Ruiz


  • Referencement

    Hi there,

    I agree. I really hate having to delete all the spam messages I received on my blog every morning. It’s a total waste of time and gets me very frustrated! I hope Google will do something about these ‘fake’ edu links.


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