When I try to combat the Google paid linking FUD one of the retorts I quite often get is “people shouldn’t be able to buy their way to the top”. I find this naive belief that business is egalitarian really very quaint.
Now I fully agree with Matt Cutts (bet you never thought I’d say that) that link baiting and viral marketing, are probably the best ways that you can get the most bang for your buck, or links for your work. However I know most of the people who are offering linkbaiting and viral marketing services right now, and almost every one of them is really busy. I also know that none of them are dirt cheap. So if you want to hire someone who’s experienced it’s still going to cost you.
So, what about the little guy? Do you think the local bike shop, skate store, yoga studio or karate school can afford to hire any of those linkbaiting consultants? Watch their face when you tell them the price. Well running a small business is always about bootstrapping and leveraging your own elbow grease, so maybe they can learn to do it for themselves.
Understanding how to write great copy that everyone will enjoy and that the linkerati will link to is a skill. It’s not something you can learn to do overnight. I can tell you in my experience getting local business owners to write plain boring information articles is about as easy herding cats on an ice skating rink while you are blindfolded. Telling them they now have to learn how to write link bait style articles and then figure out how to promote them, is like telling them they have to hop on one foot to the ice rink in China first. Let’s be honest many of these small business really can’t and don’t want to write, they opened a dance school because they liked to teach others how to dance, not run an editorial desk.
Having access to a bigger budget always has and always will be an advantage. It lets you buy things like print, TV or radio ads. A bigger budget means you get a better publicist with more connections who gets you more “free” publicity. A bigger budget lets you hire more experienced employees who will help you do better work and grow your business. Cutting off paid links isn’t about leveling the playing field for the little guy, in fact quite the opposite. Cutting off paid links is all about consolidating power, specifically at a company who’s headquarters are located in Mountain View California, and taking one more variable they can’t control out of the equation.