Call it Quality Link Builders or Sea Beach Media, it’s all the same pitch. If you work in the field of SEO, there is a 99% chance you have received emails like the following:
11:47 AM (2 hours ago)
I hope that this email finds you well. I know you are busy, so I won’t take up a lot of your time. The purpose of this email is to introduce myself, as I enjoy connecting with people who work in the same industry.
My company, “https://qualitylinkbuilders.com/” specializes in the Link-building. We specialize in quality, not quantity, and all of my work is 100% original, and never plagiarised or spun.
Here are a few samples of the blog where I can build backlinks for you / your clients:
http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/ DA68 Traffic: 89420
https://azbigmedia.com DA60 Traffic: 77613
https://socialmediaexplorer.com/ DA62 Traffic: 34686
https://www.ilounge.com/ DA74 Traffic309965
https://www.impressiveinteriordesign.com/ DA47 Traffic: 43536
http://healthstatus.com/ DA64 Traffic: 61150
If you have any question, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, I’ll be happy to help!
To anyone experienced in SEO, this is obvious link spam and 100% against Google’s Quality Guidelines. But I decided to have a conversation with a link spam catfish (a nod to the popular MTV show) to get a better feel for who the people behind the link purchasing companies really are.
Let’s start by getting to know two of the worst offenders of selling spammy links.
Quality Link Builders
At its initial appearance, Quality Link Builders is like any other link building service. Several businesses like this exist and several are actually legitimate. QualityLinkBuilders.com is not one of them. A deeper dive shows Quality Link Builders are located overseas, appear to have endless domains where they can share your content (for the purposes of a backlink) and have hundreds of salespeople pushing the service. This makes them seem like a large company, but all of their salespeople reach out from fake Gmail accounts with seemingly fake information. More importantly, if a company like this can actually build quality backlinks, would their link profile look like this?
I don’t think so.
Their domain rating via ahrefs.com is zero. Literally zero.
Sea Beach Media
Just like Quality Link Builders has a team of salespeople with access to endless domains for guest posting, Sea Beach Media is another company doing the exact same thing. Sea Beach Media claims they are based out of London, however, every email is from someone in India. Additionally and just like Quality Link Builders, all of their email addresses come from random Gmail addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Unlike Quality Link Builders, the folks at Sea Beach Media take the time to change their names to 100% English names and they find a random picture to convince you the conversation is happening with someone London.
Oh and their link profile is awful too:
These kind of companies are what give SEO a bad name. They exist to steal money and never provide results. Once you place an order with them, you’ll never be able to reach the person again and the Gmail address becomes non-existent.
With all of this said, the service they are desperately trying to sell is not entirely bad.
Is All Guest Posting Bad?
The main service these companies sell is called “guest posting”. They guest publish fake content on other sites for the purpose of linking back to another site. As more and more links are published, the receiving site tends to rank better in Google search results. At its root, guest posting is a tried and true technique for off-page SEO…when it’s real.
Google’s Stance On Guest Posts
Google is very much against guest posting when it results in an ‘unnatural link‘.
What is an unnatural link? Anytime you link from one site to another intentionally for the purpose of passing value from one site to another, it’s unnatural in the eyes of Google.
The Risk of a Link Penalty
We’ve known spammy techniques are generally frowned upon by Google, and buying backlinks in fake guest posts through an overseas service is a quick way to get slapped by Google.
You’ll either get a pitch for a single guest post placed on a PBN (a private blog network where multiple websites link to each other, but they don’t have any real traffic) or a pitch for a post on a high quality, heavily trafficked website. The first pitch will hurt your SEO eventually and the second pitch is not realistic.
Think about it – do you really think a random guy in India has access to publish an article on Forbes.com? Not likely.
In either case, you are playing with the future of your brand and risk being penalized by Google.
But this isn’t to say all guest posting is frowned upon. When it’s done correctly, conducting real blogger outreach within your niche and identifying ways you can help answer questions online creates a better overall experience for users of Google. Focus on real link acquisition to be on good terms with Google.
Speaking of things that are real vs. not real, let’s jump into my conversation with a salesperson from Sea Beach Media.
Catching the Catfish
Below is my exchange with a link spam catfish who first introduced herself as ‘Sara Winder‘ from Australia. I knew it was a scam from the beginning of the conversation, but rather than ignore it, I decided to listen to her pitch.
“But Sara, Twitter Shows Otherwise.
Are You Sure This Isn’t a Fake Profile?”
We go back and forth a bit until ask about her list of domains.
Just Another Scam
The way the scam works is that they send you a huge list of places where they say they can secure a link in a guest post. The list includes influential domains like entrepreneur.com, forbes.com, foxnews.com, etc. Real backlinks from these domains are incredibly difficult to come by and Barsha certainly doesn’t have authorship privileges with any of these sites.
You, the client, pays a premium (as much as $1700 from the list I was sent) to be featured in an article / guest post. You think you’re getting a guest post and backlink from a highly-credible website, but you’ll be lucky if you can get your money back. And if there happens to be a real guest post actually published, there’s a very high chance the link and / or guest post will be deleted after a short amount of time anyway. You’ll spend time trying to reach the salesperson to let them know that the guest post is gone, but you won’t get a response.
I stopped paying attention to Barsha from India aka Sara from Australia. The last couple of days have been filled with ‘Hello?’ messages in LinkedIn, each one slightly more aggressive. I’m sure she’ll send a few more messages before finally throwing in the towel on me.
So, What’s The Point?
The main overarching point of this exchange is that SEO takes time and real work. You simply cannot buy SEO success through fake guest posts, no matter how easy it may sound. Sara / Barsha isn’t real, doesn’t work for a real SEO company and won’t provide real results.
If you, as a business owner, think you can earn competitive rankings in Google by purchasing backlinks through a service like Quality Link Builders or Sea Beach Media, your SEO will eventually suffer. Professional SEO takes time, research, data and a lot of elbow grease to get it right.
Instead of going the easy route (not so easy if you’re ever assessed a link penalty I should mention), focus on building quality relationships with real bloggers in your niche. Over time you will earn real, long-lasting links and you’ll see long-term growth in search engine rankings.
If you need help identifying if a link is valuable and not spam or need a review of your current backlink profile, please shoot me an email at email@example.com.