Despite years and years of writing and blogging about the need to offer something of value in return for a link, people still don't get it. In the past week, my inbox has been absolutely slammed with link exchange requests and link schemes. Not a single one of the has offered me anything in return, not even good content. They all just want me to link to them. On the other hand, Stoney deGeyter scored himself a link to his online marketing blog by getting creative.

Now, I link to Stoney all the time anyway. Why? Because I really like his writing. (In fact, he's a regular blogger here at Search Engine Guide for that same reason.) His company, Pole Position Marketing is also one of the few companies I refer people to when I get emails asking about who to hire for search marketing and online marketing jobs.

Basically, Stoney gets it. He's taken the time to build a relationship with me over the years. He's impressed me with his knowledge, his search marketing services and most importantly, the quality of his character. (His astounding knowledge of obscure movie quotes doesn't hurt either.) What brought this to mind, however, was his response to a post I made earlier this month.

Back on September 11th, I made a post about the current Google paid link controversy. In it, I wrote:

I know I certainly wouldn't have a problem dropping paid text link ads on some of my sites and then "giving" those same ads away in exchange for products or services. (Anyone want to send me a new iPod Touch in exchange for a link?)

Guess what showed up on my doorstep this week?

Now, I'm not saying you should buy off site owners to get links back to your site. I'm simply pointing out that a little creativity and a sense of humor combined with an understanding of what a site owner values (in this case, gadgets I'm too cheap to buy myself) can go a long way toward helping you score a good link. If you go back and count them up, you'll note that Stoney scored five links in this post.

He deserves them.

Now what can you do to go and earn your own links?

September 25, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


H Jennifer,
When a company is trying to get their name out there and get links they should all remember your line about being "slammed" with link exchange requests and link schemes with nothing being offerred in return. Those types of emails are just a waste of time. Thanks for the reminder that linking requires effort and creativity, just like aything else!

Well although some frown on the idea of paid for links... isn't that really the point of advertising? Free advertising is obviously great on a shoestring budget but what if you actually have a budget? I see it as no different from inviting a client to a sports event, etc. You give a little... and it comes back to you? right? :)

I believe I have found something very attractive to offer in return for links, a 10 lesson course on how my websites have earned #1 rankings in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Take a look at and let me know what you think.


Wait a minute. So you would be in favor of dropping "paid links" in favor of "free product" links?

Whats the difference?

I was hoping to read this post and see an example of a "real creative" way of scoring a link, not simply a bribe with a ipod touch.

How disappointing.

LOL. I'm in no way saying you should simply send off expensive gifts to folks. If someone I didn't know sent me an iPod Touch for no reason, I doubt I'd link to them.

My point was that Stoney KNOWS me and he picked up on a line on conversation that interests me and he took advantage of that.

If you go at it from that angle, it's easy to see a lot of applications.

For instance, my personal blog (a mommy blog) is pretty popular as well. It's one of the top blogs in its niche. A lot of my content comes from readers who spot news related to what I write about and send it to me. I link out to these people all the time because I often end up covering what they sent and linking to their blog giving them thanks for bringing it to my attention.

The point of the post was that you need to take the time to learn a little something about the person you are approaching for a link. What is it they value? Is it information? Resources? Money? Products to review?

Figure out what it is and then deliver it. Sometimes you'll have to buy a link if you want it badly enough. Sometimes you can get a link by sending a product to review.

A lot of times, you can score a link by pointing out a resource that isn't even on your site. Hat Tips are pretty common in the blog world and can be a great way to score a back link.

Since the creation of my blog I have not a single comment.
I know that probably I've chosen wrong topics and interests. But they are my interests!!!

I think my blog will remain unpopular until I will become real SEO expert and will write really excellent articles

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Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > To Score a Link, Offer Something of Value