Home Depot On How To Build Links

Apr 11, 2012 • 8:31 am | comments (28) by twitter | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

Home DepotHome Depot is known to be the hub for builders of all kinds but does that include link builders?

John posted a thread at Search Engine Watch Forums stating that Home Depot is actively encouraging their "partners" to link to them in order to help them increase their rankings and authority in the search results. Home Depot even goes as far to tell them that "the hyperlink does not have to be visually indicated."

John posted the message they sent business partners the other day:

Linking to The Home Depot website will benefit our business partners by increasing the page authority of your website. Page Authority predicts the likelihood of a single page to rank well in search results. Ranking high in search results will assist with driving more relevant traffic to your website.

The email goes on to add:

Please note that the hyperlink does not have to be visually indicated.

Then the email explains how to add the link to your site and what anchor text to use.

Home Depot, really? Did you hire an outside agency or are they using an internal staff member for this? Back in March, they did have a job opening for an SEO Senior Analyst which seems to now be not open anymore.

Maybe Home Depot should stick with building decks and stay away from building hyperlinks?

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.

Previous story: Yahoo Restructuring: Search = Connections


Rebecca Gill

04/11/2012 12:37 pm

Sad and desperate are the two words that come to mind.

Ron Coachman

04/11/2012 01:02 pm

Cowboys. What kind of clown did they hire for SEO Senior Analyst?!


04/11/2012 01:20 pm

So the search engines want you to have relevant links and now y'all think its bad to ask for them? Really?????

The Missus

04/11/2012 01:21 pm

There are quite a few companies out there that are hiring internal "SEO link acquisition-ers." This isn't surprising to me.  Bad form? Probably.  But I think it would be beneficial to have insight into the rest of the email that they sent...  Were they requesting links to deep and specific pages on their site? Or just to the home page?

Mike Gracen

04/11/2012 01:29 pm

This is enterprise SEO 101. What's the big deal here?


04/11/2012 01:30 pm

... and d***, no backlink from seoroundtable.com :D :D

Mark Oliver

04/11/2012 01:31 pm

...and what exactly is wrong with this?

Pete Prestipino

04/11/2012 01:32 pm

To be fair, asking your partners for a link (a visually indicated one of course) is good practice. But the execution is so incredibly off base that it's safe to file this one under #epicfail. It would be interesting to see the entire email. 

Andrew Goodman

04/11/2012 01:36 pm


Winston Burton

04/11/2012 01:49 pm

I agree with the practice but they should not state the obvious reason in the link request. People should link to the home depot because of there products and resources. 

Sally Mellinger

04/11/2012 02:02 pm

Everyone does this. The e-mail was a tad shady, but there is nothing wrong with asking companies or organizations that you are affiliated with to link back to you. I'm really sick of SEO slamming other SEOs for stuff we all do. We all know that sometimes in SEO you have to color outside of the lines a bits to accomplish your goals.  As far as I'm concerned, any business that actively does "SEO" lives in a glass house. None of us should be throwing stones. Rather than pointing a big fat finger at Home Depot, you should have dissected the e-mail and explained what they could and should be doing differently.

Terry Van Horne

04/11/2012 02:05 pm

Seriously the first people you would naturally contact are "partners"! why? Because they are partners! I don't think they were advocating hidden links likely making the case it could be their way of saying the link doesn't have to be blue or underlined. Two months ago the same people poopooing this would be applauding the strtegy... ya all might consider working for your clients rather than as "the keepers of Google's Algo"....

Emory Rowland

04/11/2012 02:07 pm

"You can build it, we can help"

David Phillips

04/11/2012 02:47 pm

Agree with most of the comments here.  This is an ignorant and biased post.  This is a fine strategy that everyone should use.  More links to their business, means higher rankings, which potentially means more business for their partners.


04/11/2012 03:30 pm

So what's the story here?  Home Depot wants to rank better by using popular link building tactics?  Am I missing something?


04/11/2012 03:53 pm

It's too bad we'll never know the intent now since no one asked HD before putting it all out there.


04/11/2012 03:59 pm

asking a partner to link to you = good idea. suggesting that they will rank better by linking to the home depot (not getting a link from the home depot) is not as definite as they suggest, certainly arguable. and then suggesting that the link just has to be in the source and doesn't have to visible to users = very bad idea.


04/11/2012 04:34 pm

This is appalling not because it's a common practice but because it's a sign their SEO is in shambles. If emailing partners for link trades is where they're at at this point in the game, they're screwed. I took a quick look at their Top Pages report in OSE, and they've got a total of 347 in-linking domains pointing their links at two dead 404 pages.  If you're so interested in link equity, start there, n00bs!

Barry Schwartz

04/11/2012 06:22 pm

Just an FYI, I am just the messenger, the purpose of this site has always been about bringing interesting threads to you.  I found an interesting thread, covered it and look at the discussion. Then I add a line or two to get under people's skin and it helps encourage more comments.  But I try to stay neutral.  This one, I had a little fun.  

Barry Schwartz

04/11/2012 06:40 pm


Jaan Kanellis

04/11/2012 08:30 pm

Barry, I thought someone posted about this last year.  I cant find it now, but I think HD has been doing this for a long time now.

Chris Kolmar

04/11/2012 08:39 pm

" visually indicated" to me just means you don't have to highlight it in blue with an underline.  Its perfectly legal, and fair, to not make a link super duper obvious, but to just have it in black text on the side of the page. See the "browse by" section on the right hand side of the page. However, putting white text on a white background is not cool.

Gimme All Your Lovin'

04/11/2012 10:05 pm

I think the earlier commentators have missed the point here. HD were promoting the idea of linking to them because of the alleged benefit YOU would get from linking to THEM... "Linking to The Home Depot website will benefit our business partners by increasing the page authority of your website." Asking partners to link to you is perfectly reasonable - it is low hanging fruit. But their approach to making the request? Pretty dubious IMHO. "You scratch my back...And, well, um, you scratch my back!"


04/12/2012 02:06 pm

I'm too lazy to go looking for it but there is an annual 'report' about the top things SEos do that can positively impact ranking. One of those - described as the secret sauce - was the quality of your outbound links. If you have a whole mess of low PR affiliate sites linking OUT to a high PR site like HomeDepot.com that sure sounds like a win-win for HD and its affiliates. Not seeing anything wrong with this EXCEPT they neglected my golden rule when it comes to linkbuilding exercises: DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN WRITING!

Bill Hartzer

04/12/2012 10:36 pm

It's not that it's bad to ask for links. But, it's not so good to tell people that it's  okay to "hide the links" and that linking to you is going to help THEIR page authority. It's not that they asked for the links, it's how they did it and what they said.


04/17/2012 09:22 pm

The only "line they crossed" was in mentioning that it doesn't have to be visually indicated- Otherwise, all is as "white hat" as it gets...

Roy Van Rivero

04/22/2012 07:16 am

lol at 'should stick with building decks and stay away from link building hyperlinks'. Well, any company is free to do any marketing techniques it wants. Why care?


07/02/2012 06:10 pm

Building a link is not a joke. You must consider some important part of a website that you site must also have for the enjoyment that it could bring to your visitors. Thanks for posting this. Really helpful.

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