Notorious S.E.O.: The 10 Crack Commandments of Link Building

Photo by YoHandy

Christopher Wallace was a lot of things. Drug dealer. Businessman. Best-selling music artist. Biggie Smalls. The Notorious B.I.G.

Add to that list: link building guru.

Yeah, it isn’t one of his better known qualities, but Biggie knew his stuff when it came to building links…he just didn’t realize it at the time.

One of The Notorious B.I.G.’s greatest hits was “Ten Crack Commandments,” released in 1997. As the title suggests, Biggie rapped through his 10 commandments for selling crack in the 90s. I have no clue how ‘effective’ his tips were for his chosen trade, but it turns out they work pretty well when applied to link building.

Let’s take a look at one of Christopher Wallace’s greatest lessons to both hip-hop and Internet marketing lovers alike! Here are the 10 crack commandments of link building (PG version), as told by The Notorious B.I.G…

1. Never let no one know how much dough you hold

Modesty is a valuable principle for any business to practice, but it is especially true in the link building world. If you start bragging about rankings, traffic or clientele, you are just asking for trouble.  There are way too many tools out there for people to take a peek in to your backlinks and figure out exactly how you got your link dough. Which brings us to…

2. Never let ’em know your next move

It’s important to always stay one step ahead of the competition. Best practices in the SEO and link building industry are constantly evolving. Tactics that are effective today might not be next week and websites that are working to find new strategies will always be a step ahead.  Never reveal your best secrets until they are mainstream!

3. Never trust nobody

There are actually plenty of trustworthy people in the link building industry, but you do have to be careful. Avoid working with fly-by-night companies and individuals promising miracle, overnight results. Quality campaigns can take time and there is no bulletproof way to highly rank every single website. If you use proper judgment and common sense you should be in good shape with rule number 3!

4. Never get high on your own supply

Let’s say you follow all of Biggie’s rules and your link building campaign is thriving! It can be tempting to use all the power you’ve built up on your PR7 domain to spread the wealth around to some other websites, but don’t do it. You can quickly waste all of your hard work by putting a few text links for “Buy Viagra cheap” or “best seo company” on your homepage. It looks unprofessional and too many outbound links can take away some of the power you’ve diligently built up.

5. Never sell no crack where you rest at

This is directly related to the fourth commandment: don’t sell links for SEO purposes on your site! It’s against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Any links you are selling should include the rel=”nofollow” attribute and be placed for referral traffic only. You don’t want your site to end up in the (Google) slammer!

6. That god dang credit, dead it

Credit plays a bigger role in the link building industry than one might expect. Reciprocal linking is still a popular practice that is based on credit — you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. When it comes to reciprocal linking…just dead it! It carries very little power and is extremely easy for competitors to duplicate. And if you have your heart set on exchanging links, always make sure you verify that your link is actually listed on the other site. There are lots of webmasters out there with poor reciprocal linking ‘credit.’

7. Keep your family and business completely separated

If you are a link builder, chances are very few of your friends actually know what the means. It is always tempting to ask them to link to your blog post or website, but don’t do it! Keep your business and personal life separated for the most part. There’s nothing more annoying than having somebody beg you for a retweet or a link. Build great content and watch the links roll in naturally. You’ll get awesome results and your friends won’t hate you.

8. Never keep no weight on you

We’ve already been over selling links on your own site, but it’s important not to buy links on other websites either! Google does keep track of which sites link in to yours and you don’t want to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, so to speak.

9. If you ain’t gettin’ bags stay away from police

The ‘SEO Police’ (AKA Google’s Webspam team) aren’t quite as scary as the real police knocking on your door, but you definitely don’t want to receive any sort of punishment from Google. Follow their Webmaster Guidelines to the T. Don’t do any automated link building or other black hat techniques. You want to obey all the laws or it is game over.

10. If you ain’t got the clientele say heck no

Here’s a rule that too many SEO and link building practitioners overlook — don’t promise results that you can’t deliver! Lots of websites would like to get hundreds of in-content links from PR6 homepages, for example, but how many companies can really deliver that result, if any? It is too easy to bite off more than you can chew and get caught up in impossible projects. Do adequate research into competitors and industries and know what you are getting into before you take on a new project.


Photo by YoHandy

  • Sam

    Very, very nice. As someone who has used these 10 commandments from multiple meanings, I plan on using them for one more. You know, Jay-Z has a similar one, 99 problems… maybe something for a long weekend. haha.

  • Everett Whitehead

    “I been in this game for years, it made me a animal
    It’s rules to link building, I wrote me a manual
    A step by step booklet for you to get
    Your links on track, not your listings pushed back”

    BTW – brilliant post.

  • Geoff

    Heyo, great post. I bet you’re gonna be able to pull a lot of traffic from people who grew up in Biggie’s era that now work online. I, for one, love the freshness of the article. It gets so boring reading SEO stuff so this was nice for a change.

    Next, you’ll have to rap it and see if it gets any YouTube views.

  • Brian Greenberg

    This is one of the most creative posts I’ve read in a long time. Love it. Mo money mo problems.

  • Celeste Mitchell

    Thank you for the wonderful analogy. It is a refreshing take on link building. All beginners should read this post, I think they will have a better understanding of this important process to Internet Marketing.

    Fabulous just fabulous.

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  • StenvenBe

    Link Building is as Super Man job 🙂

  • meneerFranssen

    …And all so very true. Great post.

  • Sim

    Wow…nice idea. You obviously put considerable time into this! Thanks for sharing.

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