Yodle’s Link Building Strategy

Court Cunningham, Yodle’s CEO, recently talked about Yodle being “experts in automation” and that’s reflected in their recently launched organic product’s method of link building. Here is how it appears to work: The customer writes an article/blog post on Yodle’s website, local.yodle.com, and links back to their own site. This allows Yodle to pass the power of their own domain to their customers. Interesting.

What’s brilliant from an “automation expert” point of view is that they turned the job of creating content over to the customer; eliminating the time and cost of producing good content. Here’s an example.

The client’s original site needs to be seen to be believed— here it is. So, I have little doubt that Yodle can help them or that this small business owner knows a single thing about web marketing for that matter. But my problem with this from a customer stand point is that the link building is being done on the site created by Yodle, the .net version of the domain. Which means they are just renting the SEO. Because there is such a long time investment required in an organic campaign this represents the SEO version of holding a gun to the client’s head if they wish to cancel.

Or perhaps Court Cunningham is trying to automate a solution to the churn problem.

What are your thoughts on this type of SEO? Does the customer’s level of sophistication matter here? Is this the future SEO business model?

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13 Responses to Yodle’s Link Building Strategy

  1. Bryan Phelps says:

    There are a few problems with leaving the SEO work up to the client:

    1. The client isn’t the expert. Sure, they can probably write an article but if you’re only providing “Best Practices” for on-site optimization, most clients don’t have the experience to get it right.

    2. This won’t solve the churn problem. Some SMB’s might like the idea of getting involved in their campaign but the majority are hiring your SEO company for a reason. They don’t have the time or expertise to do the work.

  2. Bryan,
    Point number 1, quality maybe 2nd to “automation” here, but the customer is certainly motivated to produce something decent, though it may not be optimal.
    As to your second point, I agree, many smb’s want nothing to do with it. The point I wanted clarify here is that yodle is the building links to the domain they own, not the client,s domain. So if the client quits, any organic results achieved will be gone making the client less likely to quit?

  3. Bryan Phelps says:

    I see what you’re saying…reducing churn by holding the campaign hostage.

    It’s also interesting that the article that the client writes is now on a Yodle.com website. After time, all this user generated content will help drive a lot of organic traffic to Yodle which in turn could drive leads to their clients.

    Again, the questionable part is, what do they do w/ the content when someone cancels? Is it removed or re-purposed to drive leads to a different paying customer?

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  5. Interesting post and topic about client churn. I have been working with clients for years and have never really solved this issue.

    I agree with the point about not leaving important tasks up to the client. Client’s are not the experts so this is a major failure point and can slow down the project process from getting completed.

  6. There is nothing brilliant about this approach or linking with “Local Internet Marketing” in the footer of all these hapless cookie cutter microsites . If they havent already been discounted, these links will eventually be discounted and not used in Yodle’s link graph.

  7. David Blane says:

    I tried to find the best link building company to provide me a link building plan with articles, press releases and social bookmarking links. I found GAMIT: http://www.link-building-strategies.com/ and I recommend them to anyone searching for manually built, 100% with hat SEO, one way theme links. GAMIT made wonders for my ranks

  8. Aldo says:

    Interesting post on SEO. It would definitely assist me in learning link building. Starting out simple with http://thelinktestblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/short-post-about-building-links.html

  9. Link Building is all about finding quality back links and optimizing its usage for your businesses. Give your website the advantage of ranking on the top page of Google through Link Building. Our Link Building program has proved very successful. To get Visit Us at http://bit.ly/d7bxV0

  10. I agree it’s ALMOST riding that hostage line.

    As much as I’d like to call them out as being unethical, I really can’t. I have to disagree with Gennady on the links being discounted over time. I don’t see any reason why that would happen, as long as there is unique content being produced. (I have to laugh that they’re also running ads on their local site…way to milk some more cash out of the deal.)

    Local Search Hound nailed it though. If you decide to flip to another agency a year from now, you’re screwed. Gotta give them props for at least coming up with what seems to be an effective income strategy.

  11. webseo says:

    Link building is a very difficult game as it requires patience and time. Also, as there are rare dofollow sites left for link building.Yodle, I have not even heard of this company till now, Thank you for bringing it to us.

  12. seocess says:

    This was really some interesting stuff… I must say that I admire Yodles techniques to manage their services.

  13. Jed Cuascut says:

    Links aren’t everything in SEO, but search professionals attribute a large portion of the engines’ algorithms to link-based factors (see Search Engine Ranking Factors). Through links, engines can not only analyze the popularity of a website & page based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trusted sites, while spammy sites receive very few links from trusted sources-”*,

    So long