Mike McDonald: This is Mike McDonald with WebProNews. We are at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose and I’m with Michael Gray from Atlas Web Services. Michael, let’s talk a little about links. It’s kind of a widely known and generally accepted thing that Google considers you know the whole link economy a no no. So what are some things that webmasters can do to develop their inbound links and stay in Google’s good graces at the same time?
Michael Gray: Yeah. Google’s like I said Google’s kind of really cracking down on the paid links and the real reason is that paid links work. And you know they’re trying to keep it from influencing their results as much as possible. So everybody’s trying to skirt the line as much as they can. You know they’re doing social stuff as much as they can because Google says that that’s not manipulated at this point, although that’s up for debate. Widgets, that kind of stuff. Again, they’re trying to keep an eye on that kind of stuff. It’s a hard line for webmasters to keep inside of because again Google kind of changes the rules of what they consider acceptable. It’s a difficult spot for people now.
Mike McDonald: At what point or in what kind of circumstances should people just say Google is going to do what they’re going to do and I’m going to have to go buy me some links anyway? Is that ever advisable or is that just universally a bad thing and never to be done or are there some circumstances where you know you’re just going to have to a little bit?
Michael Gray: Well there’s a couple ways to look at it. The big problem is if you’re a person buying it and you’re in a competitive space, it’s almost impossible to be able to rank without some link buys in there or link advertising, however you want to frame it, as much as Google doesn’t like to say that is the reality. That is the reality. From a site owner perspective, there’s probably very very isolated cases where you’ve actually been banned. Most of the people who are getting banned are on the receiving end and you know…are you okay with going ahead and putting someone’s site at risk of being nuked? And is that something that you’re ethically ok with? You’ve got to kind of think, I’m in this space; I’m in it for a long term. Am I doing harm to the other person at that point? So that’s something publishers do have to worry about too.
Mike McDonald: So as an SEO though, if you have a client and they come in and say, look I want to buy some links, I mean really all you can do is say, look, understand the risks and go buy them some links. I mean at the end of the day, that’s your client.
Michael Gray: Yeah. You’ve got to kind of make some smart buys, because you don’t want to be purchasing links…you don’t want them to be wasting money buying links from a site that doesn’t work. That’s just throwing money away. So if you’ve got some people that you’re evaluating, look at some of the other sites you’re buying links from and see if those links are actually working because you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely at that point. And I can’t say that it’s something that I’d say don’t do, but at some point you do have to understand the risk and if somebody’s not communicating that to a client, that’s a bad spot to be in.
Mike McDonald: Alright, well, Michael, I appreciate your taking time to talk to us today, man. This is Mike McDonald with Michael Gray. We’re at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose. This is WebProNews. Thanks for watching.