Let the rant commence! I know…shocking, right? While the title pretty much sums up my feelings on the issue, with the number of ridiculous link exchange requests I get, I figured it was time I officially out this nonsense as the douchebaggary it is.
As any professional link builder will tell you, HOW you request a link is an exercise in the art of persuasion. You are asking for a favor of sorts…initiating a relationship…trying to build a rapport.
Like a dude in a bar trying to pick up chicks, the “game” matters. If he has no game, or if his game is utterly pathetic, one of two things will happen:
- he will be ignored and women will talk about his monumental loserdom on their way home that night; or
- some mean girl will use him to get back at her fat, ugly, “I’ll sleep with anyone” whore of a friend with whom her previous boyfriend cheated.
The same is true of link requests. 99.9% of the time requests like this will be ignored and/or laughed at. The other .1% of the time someone, like some I know in my fine industry, will start linking to you from questionable sources using less than flattering anchor text – like “SEO scam” or “snake oil SEO”. And sometimes your egregiously nonsensical e-mails will be ridiculed publicly, as is the case here.
Please, join in the laughter and ridicule…won’t you?
My name is Ravi Shankar and i am webmaster and i m interested to link exchange with your site and here i have mention my all site details which is SEO , Web Design , Web Hosting related theme , and u can placed my details in your site and confirm me . in return i will add your details in these site http://webresourcelink.blogspot.com/Resource pages. please add my details and conform me with your maximum details .
you Can add my details any where in your site .
[LINKS REMOVED FOR OBVIOUS REASONS]
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Please…oh, please let me jump at the chance to get a link back to my site from a Blogspot blog’s resources page. Did I mention that Blogspot blog doesn’t even exist? Aside from that, I can’t begin to tell you all that’s wrong with that e-mail. The grammatical nightmare alone is enough to make me nauseous. While it may be a request specific to the SEO industry, don’t think for a minute that the e-mails an outsourced Indian company send out as a representative of YOUR brand are any better. Make no mistake, THIS is what you get when you outsource to a cheap ass sweatshop SEO in India. THIS is what you get for your money. THIS is the impression you make to other website owners within your niche.
Let’s make one thing clear: I am NOT making fun of people whose native language is not English. This isn’t discrimination, bigotry or prejudice. I do not speak Spanish. I do not speak Japanese. I do not speak Italian…Hindi…French…Arabic…Punjabi…Swahili – nothing. I am monolingual. Thus, I would never approach someone via e-mail or in person and proceed to ask them for something of value while simultaneously butchering their language. It is disrespectful. Just as these link requests, particularly when sent to those in the SEO industry, are disrespectful.
And just imagine the quality links that will come from such amazing requests. Before you know it you’ll be linking to and linked to from every Babylonian link exchange whore on the Internet. Don’t fall victim to a “too good to be true” price for outsourced link building offers. The damage done in the long run comes with its own special opportunity cost.
This ends today’s Dumbass 101 rant. As you were…
Roger Sikes says
Wait… Was his name really Ravi Shankar???
Yep, that’s the name in the e-mail. I changed nothing, aside from removing the actual links.
Good, entertaining post Alysson. Guess they sent this email to the wrong person. Great post on how NOT to request a link, don’t use blogspot and even better don’t use a blogspot url that doesn’t show up, lol. Appreciate the laugh.
Happy to oblige, Domenick. :)
Ken Jones says
OM-effing-G Aly! I know we all get bombarded with spammy link requests and even service pitches from tonnes of these random “SEO Expert Services India” dopes every day but this guy really does take the cake. I can totally understand why you decided to out this particular one for all to see.
The enormous list of link targets and suggested copy is just laughable.
As you rightly point out, if this is the quality of linkbuilding efforts that these guys engage in for themselves then it should come as no surprise to their clients to find that their businesses are portrayed just as poorly
Laughable, indeed! It was so nonsensical and ridiculous, I just couldn’t let this one go…
Ken Jones says
BTW Was the guy’s name really Ravi Shankar or did you change that for comic effect?
That is in fact the name included in the e-mail. There were no changes made by me for comic effect. :)
Nitin from India ;) says
So is that one email the basis of your generalization for all SEO companies in India? that for sure is a dumbass rant!
ONE e-mail? Really? No. I get 20+ e-mails like this a week. As do most other SEOs. The egregiously horrific nature of this one was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. If I crafted a post for every one of these preposterous and incongruous e-mails, that’s all I’d do throughout the course of every day.
Alan Bleiweiss says
There are always exceptions to the international barriers, however the vast majority of people who promote outsourcing of their services from India fail miserably in the process.
I stopped tracking such inbound email a long time ago. Let’s just say I get a LOT of this nonsense. Several times a week. Then there’s the whole “outsource your content” issue. Which to me, is even worse.
While it is quite reasonable for two people in India who “think they speak English well” to converse among themselves, it is extremely unprofessional to then offer link building, and worse, content writing services to a U.S. audience and makes any site that uses such services look foolish. It really is an insult to that site’s customer base.
This is also just an extension of the quite massive problem we in the U.S. have when calling a U.S. company’s tech support or customer support phone, only to have to speak with someone in an India call center. Because honestly, the linguistic limitations are beyond frustrating. that India based rep may THINK what they are saying makes perfect sense. Yet to us, it’s garbage.
As for the spoken dialogue experience, this is NOT just about India by the way. Because honestly, if I, as someone who has never spent a single day in a Louisiana Bayou, were to attempt to converse with someone who has never left that region, I’d have the same problems. But at least when they write, they’d have a better ability to communicate to an English speaking American market than someone from India.
Of course, as I opened this with, there are exceptions. Yet they are exceptions, not the normal reality.
Early on while learning the ropes of SEO I had a link builder in India named Nitin. :) He was referred to me by another rather well known SEO (who shall remain anonymous). Nitin was quite a nice guy, honorable (I sent him money, he did his job nicely), and he verified all his work with screenshots, direct links to the work, and so forth. The work was pretty basic, submitting to a few thousand bottom tier directories with about 20 different key-phrases to various pages in my client’s site. Some of the directory sites he submitted to weren’t yet completed, a few were on duplicate IPs etc., but a good number of them were ok and I still got some value out of them.
The days of getting any value out of bottom tier directories are shot though and I haven’t been in contact with Nitin in years. I too get a lot of similar spam link requests from various places – and most of them happen to be from India. The requests I receive contain the same atrocious grammar as the scam email requests I get from Africa saying I have just inherited a fortune. As such I subconsciously or consciously lump them together into the same category: spammer scam. If someone is going to send out an email request from a legitimate company in India they should at LEAST (at the very least) have the good sense to give it to a proofreader who speaks English (preferably an educated American) to check it for spelling and grammar. I have to agree with Alysson.
“HOW you request a link is an exercise in the art of persuasion.”… That deserves to be quoted, again, and again.
“THIS is the impression you make to other website owners within your niche.” … Yes. Which will often extend to your community if you are looking for local links.
Thanks for the article.
Exactly my point. Perception is reality and if you’re attempting to build a rapport with local businesses in your area, being remembered for having sent out these absurd e-mails asking for links is not the way to go.
Ash Buckles says
You kill me, Alysson. I love your take on this and my favorite lines were:
1) Like a dude in a bar trying to pick up chicks, the “game” matters.
2) Let’s make one thing clear: I am NOT making fun of people whose native language is not English. This isn’t discrimination, bigotry or prejudice … Thus, I would never approach someone via e-mail or in person and proceed to ask them for something of value while simultaneously butchering their language. It is disrespectful.
Glad you enjoyed the post. And that you got a chuckle out of it. Who says worthwhile information can’t be funny? ;)
Ken Harper II says
Another good, entertaining post.
My question is, why are people in other countries like India, Russia, Turkey, Sweden, Japan, China, etc. asking to exchange links with our websites? If you look at their websites, they are usually in their native language. Are they expecting Google to translate the linked websites for their readers? Or just looking for links?
Hi, Ken. Sorry I didn’t approve and respond to your comment more quickly. It got caught up in my SPAM filter. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
The fact that off-shore companies are requesting links from domestic sites speaks to their lack of sophistication with regard to proper link building strategy. They operate under the assumption that more links are better and that all (or most) links are created equal. They’re also hoping to capitalize on the ignorance of those who don’t understand the potential downside to linking out to questionable sites.
Connor Bringas says
Sorry that was downright hilarious. Its terrible why would anyone fall for having a link exchange with blogspot..i dont get it. Its true though that if you outsource and people like this represent your website and your company…dont outsource plain and simple.
Outsourcing is always a gamble, no matter the industry. While there may be reputable SEOs in India, I’ve yet to receive an e-mail from any of them. If they exist, they’re obviously smart enough to steer clear of me and my online circles. That, in and of itself, shows a certain level understanding of the search marketing industry here in the US. The rest, however, not so much. Illogical and incoherent link requests like the one I featured today are commonplace. Absolutely no one sending out an e-mail like that can claim to be a professional of any kind.
Matt Webb says
Hey.. I’ve got a great idea. Let’s stop outsourcing overseas (aka propping up a foreign economy) and let the hungry and broke people in our country have a chance at survival. The quality of the work will probably be better, the effect of keeping the money here to help all of us will be better spent.
I get this shit in my inbox regularly, and even better, I have gotten phone calls thanks to my whois record (dumbass me on that one), and I’ll have a stranger who isn’t punishable in any courts in my land if they take the money and don’t deliver.
I say fuck all that noise and keep the work at home for us. Let them support themselves.
Wait? What? You can’t be serious, Matt. You see, successful businesses are taught to outsource everything in the name of increasing profit margins. That’s what big businesses do. Are you claiming America’s corporations don’t care about America or Americans? It’s as if you’re saying that contributing nothing to our economy in the form of payroll to American citizens that would increase consumer buying power or tax revenues on their profits shows a lack of economic patriotism. Don’t let a Republican catch wind of that kind of blasphemous nonsense. You Lefty, Commie, unpatriotic, Socialist, anti-American, liberty squashing hater of Capitalism!
There’s nothing – and I do mean NOTHING – more American than a corporation shitting on American citizens by sending every possible job overseas and reducing a their tax liability to the point that they pay less than a single mom working 3 jobs. It is condoned. It is encouraged. It is celebrated. And the halls of Congress are lined with lobbyists paid handsomely to make sure that never changes. Any argument to the contrary means you must be one of those evil liberals or cancerous progressives the benevolent right wing defenders of the Constitution are so hellbent on stopping. Don’t look now, but Glenn Beck knows who you are and he saw what you did.
Matt Webb says
Thats not shitting.. that’s the “trickle down” economy….
And no matter how many times it’s proven to work about as effectively as shaving a cat with a straight razor, they just keep insisting it is the economic model to end all economic models. Hooray for the ability to learn from past mistakes and break your ideological shackles. Though, for them, they’re not so much shackles as they are diamond-studded Rolex watches. ;)
haha yeah i love the followup emails, haven’t heard from you “nameless” just wondering if you got my first email…
i mean if you checked my whois or even read a single page on my site you would find that fairly easy…. but i have noticed an increase in seo outsources getting slowly better but they still use the same link request templates… can you buy them on eBay or something?
Last few weeks ive noticed that more high profile members of companies are reaching out marketing directors and marketing managers are finally starting to make the requests but will be interesting to see if it will continue…
“Marketing Director” or “Marketing Manager” is an easy title to bogart to help legitimize an otherwise useless and cookie-cutter link request. I find it unlikely that most of these requests actually come from anyone other than an employee of an SEO sweatshop, even if they use the name of an employee or agent of the actual website owner. High profile position holders in larger companies tend to be slow to adopt anything and I can all but guarantee they are not sending out nor fielding any request related to building links personally. They’d likely believe such tasks to be well below their pay grade.
And yes, the “Dear Webmaster” salutation is particularly amusing. I mean, you’ve only got to get 4 words into the content on my “About Me” page before I provide my first and last name, “My name is Alysson Fergison”. I don’t think it gets much easier than that.
SEO in general suffers from certain misconceptions and cynicism. Outsourced SEO deserves a certain level of skepticism and suspicion above and beyond that of SEO in general. You get what you pay for, you get what you pay for, you get what you pay for…one of these days perhaps people will realize that outsourcing anything, including SEO, is not an exception to that rule.
You definitely get what you pay for. Some clients who hire SEOs need to know that too – SEO is like a lot of things – pushing a car up one side of a hill so it can roll down the other to reach a final destination is one of them – stop pushing half way up the hill and it’s only going to roll back to where it was. I know business owners who will drop a grand in one evening in “gentleman’s clubs” but become extremely tight fisted when it comes to investing in SEO on their own businesses. Invest right and you get what you pay for.
I believe the tendency to be tight-fisted with regard to investing in SEO goes back to the general ignorance and suspicion surrounding SEO. When a dude drops a grand at a strip club, he knows exactly what he’s getting for his money. ;)
Nick Stamoulis says
Yeah the days of “outsourcing to India” are dead and buried!!!! You get what you pay for with that, although I guess I should say, it doesn’t apply to all, in the case of Nitin, but seriously the majority of link exchange requests are junk that comes from India. Link building has become an art so to speak, because proper link building, builds trust, and that trust builds your online reputation.
You summed it up nicely, Nick. If a business owner would be unlikely or unwilling to hire an individual to work with their customer base directly as a representative of their brand, I don’t believe they should hire that individual to represent their brand in efforts to build rapport for the purpose of link building. The relationships that are built within a particular niche should be considered valuable commodities.
Like it or not, linking is a relationship of sorts…it establishes an association between the two sites. Business owners wouldn’t send someone who speaks broken English or generally poor communication skills to a conference, trade show or networking event. Why should that person be trusted with the delicate task of requesting links from related sites?