Today is a day where I vent a little as it seems like one luxury travel brand we have been promoting for nearly a year has completely lost their way. To put you in context, let me explain the nature of our relationship.

The brand is a reputable luxury travel brand that became one of our monthly contributors on LuxeInACity, our luxury travel magazine. Since we value the opinions of travel experts, we published 10 original blog posts from them that included several SEO links back to their website. We even took it a step further and shared everything on our social media channels and randomly interacted with them throughout the year.

Last night, my partner/sister Maxine mentioned that she felt the relationship was unidirectional and that the content received was extremely generic. She had been noticing for a while that this luxury travel brand never took any initiative to share our own content with their fans. Unless we promoted them, they never interacted with us. It was always about them. So we decided to do a test.

I adapted one of our blog posts to include several links back to LuxeInACity’s content and asked Maxine to sent them a request to publish it on their blog as a gesture of reciprocity. Remember that we have been promoted them on a complimentary basis for nearly a year and have never asked for anything in return. This was their response:


Hi Maxine

Thank you for posting our April blog – looks brilliant. I love the tulip picture. I’ve got the May blog ready to send over to you next week but let me know if you want it any earlier than that.

Regarding posting on our blog, unfortunately we don’t feature reciprocal guest blogs. As I’m sure you are aware, Google places no value in a reciprocal link so this isn’t something we would do. I will always retweet anything you put out that mentions @brandname so I hope that is of some help to you.

Please do let me know if you have any queries at all

Best wishes

Seriously…. If this is how they act with their friends, I wonder how they actually threat their clients… Our response was simple… Delete, Delete, Delete. Yes, I deleted the last 10 blog posts they sent us and all those beautiful SEO backlinks we gave them over the year.

The reasons are simple:

1- We only promote brands we love.

2- We only promote brands we value the friendship.

3- We only promote brands we recommend to our fans.

SEO is not about building random backlinks for Google but about building strong relationships with influencers that can give you traction. Maxine and I are not vindictive but enough if enough.

Lesson learned: Be friendly and give back some love! Build a real relationship with a luxury blogger.


Note: I am certain that this luxury travel brand is very happy we decided not to give them an SEO backlink from this post ;)


UPDATE: In case you wanted to know Maxine’s reply:

“Hi “Name”

Thank you for following up. I am sad to see that “Brand Name” doesn’t consider us a strategic partner. Since we are in the same field but offer different services, it does make sense that we help each other out. Not all reciprocal link are bad according to Google. If you were a dentist and I was a construction worker than it would definitely be considered black SEO to exchange links for the simple matter of a link exchange but since our content is relevant to each other and our readers, reciprocal links are still valuable when done right and and the links would be considered helpful additional resources on both our end, offering our readers more insight into the luxury travel world.

This isn’t a strategy to employ as an easy SEO tool to build lots of inbound links. If the link seems forced, unnatural, or out of place, it probably is and shouldn’t be used such as the example above.

This is a strategy to use to not only gain visibility for your brand and business in a new group of ideal clients and customers, but to also help your audience connect with and benefit from other relevant service providers, businesses, and retailers.

You see, there are still instances when reciprocal linking is smart for business, especially when it’s used as an online business strategy to gain visibility in front of new audiences. Our network in the luxury world is quite extensive and since we only link to businesses and websites that are trusted and authorities in their field, we have gained our authority by working and using reciprocal links that benefit both parties. We have never engaged in any purely SEO tactics since we have been online and purely gained our authority by getting involved in smart strategic partnerships so we have to believe that our tactic is working. We often even refuse linking to websites that are willing to pay as we believe our reputation is more important that a quick buck. Matt Cutts actually states that guest blogging purely for SEO purposes is not recommended but instead he says that “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging such as exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc”

Having said that, last year, we used to accept guest posts from trusted websites for the opportunity to gain access to free quality content. However, our business has grown tremendously in the last year and we no longer need free content, now being able to produce our own. We now only accept guest posts if it’s from strategic partnerships beneficial to both parties. Every guest blogger in our repertoire has agreed to continue working with us as strategic partners at one point or another. A simple retweet mentioning your company is not beneficial in any way to us since the focus is still on “Brand Name” and the links in the article still redirect everyone to your website. We can no longer justify the administrative costs if we are not getting anything in return. I hope you understand. I am sad to have to part ways but I see no other choices. I have to also mention at this time that we have removed all previous articles from our blog. We are strong believers in building real relationships and feel a little bit like we have been taken advantage of. If “Brand Name” is still interested in getting featured on LuxeInACity or would wishes for us to republish past content, I can provide you with a pricing list for a sponsored posts.

Have a great day!
Maxine Genier”

Roxanne Genier