The SEO industry has its fair share of black hats, cheats, and scumbags, but this is a new low. An SEO firm called Guardlex contacted a blogger because she had once linked to one of their client’s sites, and according to them, the link resulted in financial loss. Her response:
The post was from 2001. Just shy of 11 years old. So 11 years ago, I got new glasses. I shared about them, and a lot of people asked, and I suggested to check out a website (the link I’ve now removed) so that they can get similar glasses.
YOU KNOW, THE WAY THE INTERNET WORKS.
Considering the post was 11 years old, it either wasn’t impacting their SEO at all, or since it was in the context of a post about eyeglasses, it was helping their SEO.
But what really makes me sad is that this company is selling this crack-pot service to corporations and telling them that they will waste time going around the internet telling people to stop linking to them. I mean … really??? WOW.
HubSpot has some good analysis of the whole situation, including a breakdown of how inbound links can affect your site’s search engine rankings.
So apparently this company is making money off of the notion that inbound links can cause damage to websites. That’s a pretty big bummer, because it means there are tons of businesses out there losing their money to lawyers fighting a fight that doesn’t need to be fought. I’m not saying Guardlex is doing this maliciously — and I’m not saying they aren’t, either. I will say that they offer copyright infringement protection plans on their website, if that sways your decision either way. But this could all be a symptom of a bunch of people not realizing that inbound links aren’t a violation of intellectual property; they’re internet currency that almost always make you more successful, not to mention common courtesy when you’re citing someone else's content.
And since we’re on the subject, here’s some of the best SEO advice I’ve read to date.