I did not notice this until John Allen, who is a buddy but also happens to be a competing Realtor for Google rankings in Sarasota, brought it to my attention. Our local newspaper, the Sarasota Herald Tribune, has a blog section called Inside Real Estate. The blog author does a great job of keeping residents of Sarasota, Florida on what is happening in the real estate market. He writes about interesting sales, market updates, new listings, lending and bank news, real estate brokerages going out of business, Realtors moving firms, and a whole bunch of other interesting stuff.
He wrote a blog post ranking Sarasota real estate brokerages in terms of unit sales. He issued data on unit sales over a certain time period. The article was very informative and useful. I wrote a comment including a link to one of my blog posts that was similar only I used sales volume as measure for ranking.
The author, Michael Braga, then wrote a blog post titled:
In the post he pulled a bunch of sales information and a graph from my blog. He also linked to my Sarasota real estate website. Which was really cool. It is coming from a strong authoritative site which is the kind of links you like to get.
Unfortunately, someone had a problem with this and wrote:
"Marc, shouldn’t the link in the article be to Michael Saunders website rather than a self serving link to your own? The Sarasota Herald Tribune should be a impartial publication but when you are placing links that serve your own personal financial interests and the SEO interests of your website, it certainly hurts the reputation of the publication hosting your material. I give a big BOOOO to the Sarasota Herald Tribune for allowing these self serving links to be placed in their internet publication. THIS is one reason why SHT does not get any of my or my clients ad dollars and why the SHT is one vowel away from achieving its next well deserved accolade."
The response from Michael Braga, the blog author, was this (and beautiful I might add):
"I don’t think Marc’s post is self-serving at all. He provided information that shows his firm is the market leader when it comes to the dollar value of deals closed in Sarasota and Manatee counties. He sent it to the Herald-Tribune in response to a blog item about how Re/Max and Coldwell Banker were the leaders in terms of the raw number of deals closed. His comments were orginally in the comment section of Inside Real Estate and the link was given to move people from there to the charts and statistics on his site. I posted his comments to the main news section of Inside Real Estate because I thought they were interesting and useful. So if he seems self-serving, it’s my fault. But I do wish more people would provide the kind of information Marc provided."
He read something that presented his firm in a way he didn’t like and he responded by providing information that was not included in the original post. Everybody gains knowledge from that."
Basically, Roy Hunter was just jealous that Michael Braga linked to my site. He works on and promotes a fellow Sarasota Realtor's website so that is what his motivation was behind the comment. He probably did not have a problem with the content of the blog post he had a problem with the link that the newspaper gave to me.
There was nothing tricky or sneaky about what I did. I provided some valuable information to the public and got a link out of it. There is nothing wrong with that. That is how Google wants you to get links. It is quid pro quo. If you provide content valuable and useful someone might just link to it.
SEO Does Not Have to Get Ugly
There is plenty of business out there to go around. Even if you dominated the web in your area you probably could not realistically handle all of the potential leads anyway.
It is understandable to get passionate about your rankings. Especially, if you work really hard on trying to improve them. I can understand a little hostililty. However, if you see a competitor get a link from somewhere good you just have to say, "Good for them" and keep working. If you believe in Karma it is probably just better to improve what you are doing instead of breaking down and trying to ruin what other people are doing.