Here’s a lesson in how not to sell links.
As Search Engine Roundtable pointed out this morning, someone named “Vince” from WebDesign.org is using Twitter to contact companies about renewing paid links that are about to expire.
You can look at the @vitaliykoloswdl account and see numerous conversations about selling or renewing paid link agreements. The most notable conversation seems to be this one with T-Mobile, which started in February and has continued into this month (there are more tweets than shown on the screenshot below):
At one point, “Vince” tells T-Mobile that there’s a paid link on this page with the anchor text “T-Mobile Blackberry phones” that’s due to be renewed.
We obviously have no idea what T-Mobile may or may not have done with WebDesign.org in terms of buying links (or not). And “Vince” is certainly free to sell as many links as he wants to whomever he wants.
But if he cares about getting free traffic from Google, it’s pretty dumb to openly flaunt Google’s SEO guidelines for anyone to see right out on Twitter. Because “anyone” might include Matt Cutts, the guy who runs Google’s webspam team and sent “Vince” this little alert letting him know that Google sees what’s going on:
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 20, 2014
I’m still seeing WebDesign.org at the top of the search results for their name, “Web Design Library,” and it’s showing at No. 9 for me when I search for “web design.”
Those rankings may not last much longer, though.
Cutts recently posted a video explaining how Google determines what’s a paid link. He listed five criteria in that video. Maybe the video should be updated to include a sixth: When you out yourself on Twitter.