Have you ever tried to take a short cut and found out that the consequences weren’t worth the time saved? That just happened to the website Build My Rank. If you’ve considered writing for them, put those thoughts on hold because for now, they are out of business thanks to Google.
Freelance writing online can be a profitable adventure over time. Internet marketers and traditional businesses love freelance writers because they understand that a) it’s not easy to get quality articles and web content written for their sites, and b) even if they could do it themselves through trial and error, it’s more convenient to pay a professional like yourself to get the job done. Great content makes for great backlinks. Great backlinks makes for great targeted website traffic. Great website traffic leads to business profits.
But like with most careers, taking short cuts can backfire on you. Build My Rank was one of those websites that seemed to appeal to small business owners that wanted to increase their web presence faster than lightning. Let’s use one of my clients as an example. He has a website that specializes in short sales for his local area. To draw attention to his website, he pays Build My Rank $50 a month to submit a 150-word article with a backlink to his site. He can submit up to 10 posts per day. Build My Rank takes those posts and feeds them to a few aggregators that automatically sends them to one of 1,000 websites in their private social networks. The posts get indexed within a week and voila! My client now has an indexed backlink. The theory was that the more indexed backlinks, the better chances a site will show up near the top of a search engine’s results page; hence the company name Build My RANK.
It seems like a good idea, right? Imagine making a network made up of 1,000 of your friends, and every day you send 10 different short posts to 10 random friends and they post it, with your backlink, to their own social networks. That’s some high exposure within a week!
But is it quality? Well, you can make your own decision on that. My educated guess is that you won’t get a high quality backlink with a 150-word post, especially if Build My Rank is charges their clients $2.50 per 150 words. They try to hire freelance writers like you to write those articles and you’re probably getting only half of that $2.50. Shoot, even Build My Rank basically acknowledges that their submitted posts meet the bare minimum for quality considering what a client is paying.
One argument that could be made is that sites like Yahoo! Voices pay on average $5 an article up front for at leat 400 words plus residuals. If Build My Rank paid half of their rates to the writers, the writers could get $6 per article. However, Build My Rank is concentrating on quantity and not quality. If I’m writing a $5 article for Yahoo!Voices, it’s going to be on a topic of my choice, not the client’s. I can produce decent content in 400 words off the top of my head versus short-cutting content just to get a backlink indexed.
In fact, I think it would be harder to write a quality post with fewer than 400 words unless it was an instructional piece.
Google apparently also thinks that their links are not quality, either. They unleashed another Panda update that wasn’t hunting bamboo but sites like Build My Rank. They De-Indexed an “overwhelming majority” of their posts. Google’s income and reputation suffers if their search engines are producing crap for crap’s sake. They are working hard to de-index any other fluffed-up sites or sites that appear to be fluffed-up like Build My Rank.
That’s a death knell to the concept of massive private network backlinking because why would a business pay a monthly fee for possibly thousands of backlinks that won’t get indexed? It’s like paying someone to make 1,000 mailbox advertisement post cards and telling him to put them in the sewer in hopes that someone finds one.
So the moral of the story is to know what you’re work is worth and don’t settle for anything less. Don’t work for people who are taking shortcuts because that means YOU will be shortcut in some way. I can’t even tell you what you’re going rate should be for freelance writing, but I know that less than a penny per-word without a chance to earn any other income based on your work is pretty low. You wouldn’t get any additional money from writing for sites like Build My Rank unless those backlinks were leading to sites you are invested in. And even if that’s the case, you can kiss those backlinks goodbye for now.
Anything I write with my name on it should point back to me. If it doesn’t, I’m going to get paid a nominal fee for it. The work I do with Yahoo! Voices and Examiner earns me residual income AND my profile contains backlinks to my other websites. Some of my private clients saw my works on those sites and contacted me. Even though I was producing content for Demand Studios at a pretty heavy rate for two years with no residuals, I was getting $15 for 400-word articles. Some of them were step-by-step articles that barely needed 200 words! I would say that $30 to $60 an hour was worth giving up residual income.
Do yourself a favor. Concentrate on your writing skills. My book mostly focuses on the people-aspect of freelance writing. Learn the basics of SEO, but learn to write for PEOPLE and not search engines exclusively. In the long run, when you work with clients that are a good fit for you and their web presence takes off because your quality writing outlasted every Panda update, you will be greatly rewarded with more work and referrals.