“When I first started in SEO, link acquisition was almost always a manual process. I’d search the engines for links that pointed to the competition, find relevant directories and link lists, email relevant sites and beg, borrow or bribe (aka buy advertising) to get a link. I tried reciprocal link building (and did some pretty dumb stuff). Then, as I got more intertwined in the SEO community, I found vendors who built large networks of sites, spammed blogs/forums/guestbooks and ran text link sales operations. I leveraged these services to help clients rank better, almost always with great success. Then I met Matt Cutts, found out more about Google’s webspam team, saw penalties and their impact (remember Florida?) and even found some sites we worked on in the Sandbox.”

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