Is this back link strategy a poor business decision?


I have a health related website which I am in no rush to monetize, my first priority is to build page rank and dominate the serps. I am thinking about letting healthcare providers advertise their services on my site (via a searchable directory listing), in exchange for a backlink on their site. This will get me hundreds of high quality backlinks and help marketing tremendously I'm sure. My only question is, at some point, I may decide to monetize, and my way of doing so would be to charge providers for advertising on my site, (these would ostensibly be the same people that I gave free advertising to in the beginning for a backlink). You can see the dilemma here, I may be limiting my future options and shooting myself in the foot, and making people angry by trying to switch them to a paid model someday. Any one have any experience with anything like this?

Strategy SEO

asked May 4 '13 at 07:48
182 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

1 Answer


Basically you are asking what business model you should apply. I can tell you that the TV ad-model does not translate well into internet. With TV, people are passively watching and the ads are the basis to build brand-awareness whilst the brain is in the beta-snooze state so that when you wander down the supermarket aisle and try to pick something from the huge range (chooser's dilemma) their brain pops up a familiar shape/logo whatever and their selection narrows.

Now the interest experience is different, people are ACTIVELY seeking, either information, expert opinions or comparison. Here, ads unless HIGHLY targetted, are viewed as a distraction and even irritant. You really have to think critically, who is your customer? Where is the value generated, how can you capture it?

Your specific question was whether a free-backlink can be converted into a paid placement later. There are several approaches
1. make it paid from the start but offer health providers x months free
2. make site freemium as use the ads as annoyware to convince people to upgrade (risky)
3. find another alternative non-advertising model, perhaps paid placements as some doctors go to pharm events who are paid to give a talk of PERTINENT interest

Unless your business model is compatible with the ethos of your users, you risk alienating them ... have you considered asking them?

answered May 17 '13 at 05:44
501 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Strategy SEO