It’s really a great feeling isn’t it? You’ve just received an email telling you that you’ve won an award for something. You probably didn’t even know you were up for an award unless you’d entered a contest or participated in an activity that honors the top winner(s) with some kind of an award. Most of the time, people hoping to win an award are aware that they’re in the running. They’ve applied for it, written something and submitted it for consideration, maybe you’re an athlete in some sport and you’ve entered a competition. Whatever it may be, you know ahead of time that you’re are trying to win something.
But this award announcement you received comes from out of the blue. Someone or some organization that you may not even be aware existed — thinks you’re special or that you’ve done something special and they want to shower you with recognition. They want to give you something that you can use on your website that will tell the web world about your exceptional accomplishment or your fantastic product.
Time to claim your prize! Simply paste the code (they so kindly provide for you) into your website and voila! Your award is instantly displayed on your website and you’re blushing with excitement because everyone who visits your website will be able to see it!
Ahhhh — THINK AGAIN …
Before you just automatically add this prestigious award to your website — do some digging. You may have just been duped by nothing more than a link building campaign.
I recently had a client forward me a message from an organization that was presenting them with an award that they wanted me to put on their website. My first thought was “Oh how nice for them!” but my ever-suspicious brain automatically then jumped to “But only if it’s on the up and up.” So, tonight before I added it to their website, I took a closer look at this award and what it entailed. What I found was simply that the organization “presenting” this award had sent out a mass mailing to who knows how many unsuspecting website owners telling them that all they needed to do was put the award badge on their website. How much easier could it be to gain this recognition?
Here’s the TRICK
If I’d have just blindly put this award on their website, all I’d have been doing would be to give a backlink to the awarding organization. The award itself is useless other than to give site visitors a fake good impression of my client and the product my client produces. The presenting organization doesn’t even have a list of winners on their own website and so they aren’t even giving my client and others just like them — a reciprocal link! What does this mean? Only that they’re greedy. They want all the inbound links for themselves and aren’t even willing to return the favor.
If you have an existing business with a good reputation, if you’re trying to build a new business and you want to make a good reputation for yourself — why would you want to put fake awards on your website? What kind of credibility will you have? Why would you want to give anyone and everyone who sends you one of these award do-hickies a free ride to building their backlinks with no thought to building your own?
It MIGHT Be Another Story IF …
If these sneaky link builders were to play fair, they’d at least provide a place on their website to display links to the websites that were good enough to put their award up. A backlink (also known as an inbound link) is a link on another website to your website. Google in particular puts great emphasis on good solid backlinks. This means the bigger the number of reputable backlinks you have on other sites to your website, the better your chances of obtaining good rankings. The sleazy link building campaigners strive to get links to their website not give them away and one of the ways they do this is to present website owners with fake awards but give these site owners nothing in return.
Stop Blushing and INVESTIGATE FIRST
Don’t be a sucker and automatically fall for these award emails. Could they be legit? Yes, I suppose there are some that are, but if I had to guess I’d say the numbers are probably pretty small. If you don’t know how to investigate, ask your web designer to do this. There’s more to it than just checking the awarding site for a page with a list of links but this is a good place to start. Your good business reputation is involved so be picky about what links to other sites you put on your website. Having a boatload of backlinks to your website is only good for search engine food if the links are respectable and related to your site topic.