With the recent brouhaha Matt Cutts raised over webmasters reporting paid links, I’ve had a few customers ask me how they might protect themselves. Since I was on the subject, I wanted to give you all some real world examples of how to cover tracks from the prying eyes of your competitors.
There are limited resources for webmasters to do competitive intelligence on another website’s link building activities, and of those resources, all of them return only limited results. Yahoo for example returns a maximum of 1,000 backlinks. You can pull a few tricks out of a hat and get maybe 2,000-3,000 backlinks if your lucky. That doesn’t help for a site with 20,000 backlinks.
They key to hiding your link profile is flooding. The goal is to flood your backlink search results with thousands of useless listings. An effective flood campaign can result in 95% of results showing only 1-2 sites designed specifically to throw off your competitors.
With a little imagination you can accomplish this in many ways. Two of my favorites include:
- Run of Site Links – Find a website with thousands of pages indexed and purchase a run of site text link.
- Made For Link Sites – Create an auto updating blog or website using one of the many scripts available and place a link on every page back to your main site.
The key to both of these techniques is making the links look natural. My favorite placement for the links is in a blogroll. Use the name of the site or full domain name as the anchor text and not a search keyphrase. You can also place nofollow tags on these links so they don’t look link paid link spam to the engines. The links will still show in a backlink search even with the nofollow added.
Nothing is fool proof, but if you create 4-5 of these text ads your competition will have a hard time spying on your linking activities.