Disclaimer: this is the author’s personal opinion and is not the opinion or policy of cognitiveSEO or of the little green men that have been following us all day.

Our weekly link building technique column has been dormant for a while as I was link building by guest posts on other SEO blogs myself. You might have noticed or read these postings already. Maybe I will collect them at the bottom in the comment section for those that haven’t yet. This week I’d like to write about a technique that you don’t use for a site that represents a legit business.

The loss of a positive image and reputation can sometimes by itself be more devastating than the actual gain in new links.

I don’t want to preach the obvious things that comment spamming or using linkfarms may seriously harm your business or that you have to use paid links at your own peril.  I hope you know the basics.

After reading a recent post on SEO Book, I decided to explain why link baiting by pissing in your own pool is a bad idea. In this post a guest author whose most outstanding contribution to the SEO industry in the recent years are a few posts on Search Engine Watch in 2007 and being an editor for the niche social news community Sphinn until 2009 lashes out against “celebrity” SEO bloggers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love outspoken individuals that have something to say, especially something that improves the overall quality of the SEO discipline. I have made a name for me initially be being critical of SEO myself. There is a fine line between getting attention by saying outrageous things and link baiting by attacking people that are a thousand times better than you though.

When you represent a legit business you don’t want to offend people that made the industry what it is.

By legit I mean the business model, the niche you’re in and the products or services you offer. Some businesses like gambling, weapons or porn remain questionable even in case you have a sound business plan and only use legit tactics in SEO and beyond.

For SEO, which is by itself a legit business, unless you mistake SEO for spam, this tactic is a nono. You might think you are a “SEO star” or work in a self proclaimed “world’s leading SEO agency” and even write a blog post here or there as long as you keep you mouth shut and don’t offend people other professionals may ignore you so that you can keep bragging.

When you decide to attack the true industry leaders to get links you’ve better have good reason to do so.

In this case there is no such reason. In my example the guest poster on SEO Book uses a whole paragraph to tell us how exceptional his SEO company is. Then he goes on to complain how he can’t get enough true SEO experts to work for him. That would be just a boring guest post. Then he goes on to blame SEO bloggers at large and implicitly the most important publication out there, SEOmoz. He explains that as SEOmoz gave up consulting services they can’t write about SEO anymore because they have no real practice. He goes on to explain that the lack of proper SEO professionals today is to blame on SEO bloggers like SEOmoz who have no clue what they write about.

I’ve written a post on how you get links by nurturing relationships. This is perhaps the most important long term link building strategy. You depend on your peers for getting links. They link and share the content you write and make it thus available to a broader audience. In case you don’t have an audience yourself, nobody knows you or consider you an expert you can’t just exclaim that you are one and that you’re better than longstanding industry “celebrities”.

Apparently some people assume that talking often enough at expensive conferences is akin to gaining authority.

Speaking in front of a paying but limited audience might get you some recognition but it’s the resources you share with the public that make you what you are. Just saying you are the “world’s leading” or “best” SEO company doesn’t suffice. You have to prove it publicly by giving away your knowledge. This way peer review and actual demand decides whether you get the recognition as true leader in the industry.

I’ve been to just a few conferences as a speaker and wasn’t particularly impressed. It’s great for networking but is not enough to become an authority in your trade. When I can’t remember anything of lasting value you have contributed you can’t convince me that you are better than somebody who contributes meaningful resources all the time.

I don’t want to dwell too long on this example but this author blames the lack of educated SEO professionals on SEO bloggers not the lack of actual SEO education. He wants ready made experts to apply at his company but not invest in “years” of education himself. Instead he warns that reading SEO blogs by “celebrities” may even harm these SEO professionals in the making. Instead of reading blogs they have to read books.

I can’t imagine any industry or discipline where reading blogs is meant to be a substitute for formal education, education on the job or reading books.

Are cycling bloggers guilty of not teaching professional cyclist how to win the Tour the France? Are bloggers who write about space exploration to blame for the lack of properly trained astronauts?

I’ve written in the past that you can gain links by being ridiculous. You can’t do it by accident though. Sounding ridiculous without noticing is the worst you can do. Especially when you attack somebody who is way above you and more trustworthy. This is not about self proclaimed SEO stars only. This is about any industry or niche: You don’t want to shout that you are the greatest while spitting on the people who are really great. This is how not to build links as a legit business. After you do it your business looks a lot less legit and you lost much of the support by influencers from within your industry.

Don’t piss in your own pool for link building.

Btw.: When you write in your title tag that you are the” world’s leading SEO agency” at least try to rank for [seo agency] otherwise you also ridicule yourself. Bragging properly must be learned as well. Also advocating paid links in public is no proof of your expertise.