Think of it as a Match.com for SEO people, where instead of people looking for a (temporary or long-term) partner, Linker aims to help search marketers connect with businesses that stand to benefit from contextual, relevant cross-linking to one another. Essentially, companies can use Linker to discover and link to relevant, high-quality websites to improve their inbound marketing and boost search rankings.
Just don’t call it link-farming, s’il vous plaît.
Eightfold Logic shies away from the term and other existing paid linking systems, which they say have resulted in an industry filled with noise and FUD, especially when it comes to link exchanges or other means of traffic building through contextual cross-linking on the Web.
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEO software company SEOmoz, says relevant linking can indeed still prove extremely valuable for inbound marketing purposes and to maximize ROI by upping search rankings in a thoughtful, organic way.
“The value of relevant linking cannot be overemphasized. In a recent correlation study, we looked at dozens of ranking influencers and found that three of the five highest correlated factors with rankings in both Google and Bing are link-based,” said Fishkin.
You can check out SEOmoz’s analysis here.
Thus, Linker enables search marketers to join an opt-in network where businesses can define their profile, requirements, and what types of websites they are seeking to link to and/or from (by category, pagerank, geographical location, and so on). Linker’s proprietary algorithms, combined with some manual interventions, then discover relevant matches between sites. Next, the Web-based platform notifies both contacts, and asks to confirm the desirability of an introduction, self-reportedly “guaranteeing human review and appropriateness” in the process.
If both parties agree, Linker connects marketers by private email so that the parties can engage directly and decide how to take further action.
Because Eightfold Logic only provides introductions to and from opt-in, qualified marketers, Linker claims to eliminate spamming, black-hat link-farm and link-exchange tactics from the SEO marketing process. And since there is no database or network of tracked, stored information, Linker does not in any way violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, nor the guidelines of other major search engines, the company emphasizes.
Linker is free for anyone to sign up for and start using immediately to create website profiles or perform searches for relevant link partners. Payment only occurs if further action is taken, starting at $12.95 per introduction, though the first three are free.
Eightfold Logic is not your average fledgling SEO software startup. The company has been around for years and recently raised $5.2 million from a slew of venture capitalists (they’ve raised close to $17 million to date). Customers in beta include Microsoft, Razorfish, Tribune Interactive and event-food-services giant Aramark.
Also noteworthy: the company is headed by Mark Hoffman, a serial entrepreneur known for having founded and helmed database technology giant Sybase. Hoffman was previously Chairman and CEO of Commerce One and Everdream, which was acquired by Dell.