15 Jul 2015

How to Ask for a Link to Stay within Google Webmaster Guidelines? Jim & Ann Show

Today we are discussing links, not building links but requesting links..

Last week Portuguese Google Webmaster blog published an article where it was said that you could not ask for links.

Our community picked it up and started actively discussing it…

A few days later Google re-phrased that saying that you could not ask for links which violate Google Webmaster Guidelines.

While the whole statement is up to various interpretations, one thing is clear: It’s OK to ask for links as of today.

Now a few interesting questions and answers come up from this news (Disclaimer: Most of the answers are subject to our own interpretation):

What if someone mentioned me but didn’t link? Is it OK to ask to link?

What if someone mentioned me but didn't link? Is it OK to ask to link?Click To Tweet

Generally, we would assume, that’s OK. If they mentioned you, probably you are awesome and deserve a link.

But be careful with that: Normally you should be happy with any mention (linked or unlinked) and asking to link it cheapens the brand and next time that person may feel less willing to mention you anywhere.

Link reclamation could be fine when you are contacting someone about a broken link. But turning unlinked mentions into links could cause some reputation management disaster.

What if I sent someone free stuff but didn’t ask for a link? Should I be worried if that person links?

What if I sent free stuff but didn't ask for a link? Should I be worried if that person links?Click To Tweet

Generally, yes. That article linking to you should have a proper disclaimer and a link should be nofollow.

It used to be fine if that blogger returns the freebie to you: Then, in a sense, he/she didn’t get anything for that review, so the link can be follow (This unofficial rule is based on what Michael Gray told us based on his correspondence with Matt Cutts).

It’s probably true nowadays…

But when it comes to products you can’t return (e.g. coffee, flowers, etc), it’s probably impossible to gain links with those freebies.

Also, of course, Google contradicts itself a lot: They gave away a bunch of Android phones at a conference and got lots of publicity and links…

Is it OK to send free books to influencers? Thus may result in links and reviews!

Is it OK to send free books to influencers? Thus may result in links and reviews!Click To Tweet

These reviews should come with the usual disclaimer saying the author received the book for free. We would assume, those links should be nofollow as well.

This reminds us of another recent development of Amazon removing such reviews from their site as well.

If I give away something for free on my website: I have a free eBook, tool, etc. Is it OK to ask for a link?

If I give away something for free on my website (e.g. free eBook, tool) OK to ask for a link?Click To Tweet

If someone covered the related topic, it should be OK provided that content/tool/product is free for everyone and it really solves a problem which was brought up in the article.

One thing to note here: Never entrust first-year employees or interns with blogger outreach. This could cause a reputation management crises in so many ways (and we’ve seen that a lot!). Treat influencer marketing and blogger outreach with care!

Jim did a post years ago about paying for links: Am I Risking a Penalty if I Give this Hot Fudge Away?

Why can’t Google create clearer guidelines as to what is allowed or now?

Why can't Google create clearer guidelines as to what is allowed or now?Click To Tweet

The problem is, whatever Google says, it blows up: There follows an endless flow of interpretations, guesses, reading between the lines that it causes more confusion than clarification.

As of now guidelines are pretty clear: You cannot reimburse links in any way. Let’s stick with that!

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Watch the whole video here: How to Build Links to Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines

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