NAPFA’s (Not So Secret) Link Farm: Social Media Consultant Mike Byrnes Highlights A SEO Black-Hat Tactic

Thursday, May 17, 2012 11:57
NAPFA’s (Not So Secret) Link Farm: Social Media Consultant Mike Byrnes Highlights A SEO Black-Hat Tactic

Tags: NAPFA | Search Engines

Social media consultant Mike Byrnes covers a "beat the system" tactic NAPFA members are engaging in to get better search engine rankings.

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NAPFA members have engaged in a practice where they link to one another's sites. Link popularity is an imporant component in search engine rankings. The more sites link to you, the better your site will do in search engine algorithms.


Byrnes blows the whistle on an advisor who has been promoting this "black-hat" SEO tactic, and he mentions that it was suggested as something other NAPFA members should participate in at the group's recent conference.


In questioning the judgment of the advisor who encouraged attendees to join NAPFA's link-exchange program, Byrnes says he "did not seem concerned that the NAPFA members run a risk of Google labeling the exchange as a 'link farm.'”


To be clear, advisors could indeed be penalized by Google and other search engines for participating in the link scheme. It's against Google's terms of use to engage in a link scheme to boost your site's ranking.


I'm seeing more misinformation than ever circulated in the advisor practice management world.  Advisors are being hoodwinked left and right by sales people, and it is more difficult than ever for advisors to filter out the noise and focus on reliable sources of information.


The participation by NAPFA members -- who pride themselves on their integrity and fiduciary status -- in a link scheme is not a serious ethical lapse, but it is unbecoming.


NAPFA members participating in the link scheme are not intentionally showing a wreckless disegard for following the rules set by Google and other search egines. They're just naive about the rules and don't realize what they're doing is frowned upon by ethical search engine optimization vendors.    







Comments (4)

Hate to be a pedant... but too many mispelled words in your posting to be silent. Spellchecker?
pitcher1 , May 18, 2012
Thanks. Was obviously rushed and forgot to spell-check.
agluck , May 18, 2012
Andy – once again you have taken an uncalled for swipe at NAPFA. Calling into question the integrity of NAPFA members because of the use of this technique is completely unwarranted and shows a lack of respect on your part for the important work that NAPFA is doing to provide the consumer with objective advice that serves their best interests.
Many NAPFA members, like many other advisors, are small firms that are often a solo practitioner or a firm of 2-3 advisors. These firms do not have the resources to have technical experts on call and often times are managing their technology on their own.
I have been aware of the SEO technique you mention for quite some time and had planned on implementing it myself but it has never made it to the top of my priority list. Now that you have brought to my attention the issue with the technique, I am taking it off my list. I appreciate that you have shed light on the issue with this technique. You could have done it without calling into question the integrity of NAPFA members or for that matter NAPFA at all. Have you investigated other organizations? How many FPA member firms or other financial professionals are using a similar technique?
a guest , May 19, 2012
You are doing a disservice to NAPFA with your comment. My post says NAPFA members participating in the link farm did not know it was against Google's rules. Read the last sentence!
For the record, my website company told NAPFA members not to participate in the link farm about three years ago, when we first became aware of it. If I wanted to attack NAPFA, I did not have to wait. In fact, because I saw what they were doing as a naive act, I did not write about it. Only when Financial Planning wrote about it did I put it into that perspective. I handles this way precisely because I did not feel it was a purposeful act of unethical behavior.
To the best of my knowledge, I have not comes across any other advisor link farms.
I'm not sure what your agenda is in attacking me. I know it comes with the turf, but it hurts.
agluck , May 19, 2012

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