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This has happened to me on several occasions: I find a beautifully designed site with excellent content, and a friendly, competent editor. As I dig deeper, what do I find? A sad, out of place “payday loan” link hidden deep within an old article silently damaging the purity of the site in the eyes of the search engines. Now, the site owner doesn’t realize this parasite is there, but Google definitely knows. Now, one could simply glide over this site, leaving the owner to blissfully and unknowingly provide a home for these unsightly little parasites, or one can be like the Oxpecker and help the site get rid of the little bugger.
The Oxpecker is an incredibly successful bird endemic to the savannas of Africa. This bird makes its living perching on top of large mammals, like Rhinoceroses’ and Elephants, and freeing them of ticks and other parasites that would otherwise harm the host animal. Now, somewhere along the evolutionary line, the Oxpecker realized it could benefit from forming a symbiotic relationship with these mammalian beasts. It could enjoy the safety of riding on the back of large animals in a landscape lightly scattered with trees to perch in while enjoying the nutritious, delicious parasites it found there. The elephant—or rhino—realized the Oxpecker could rid it of the tiny, life stealing bugs that pestered it. Thus a symbiotic friendship was born that has lasted generations.
Don’t fly over a site just because it has some bad links. In most cases, the blogger doesn’t even realize they’re there, or understand the implications the link has on its search rankings. Be like the Oxpecker: find the parasite and eat it. Make the blogger aware of the link and in a friendly manner explain how it harms their site rankings. Provide a link to the page, with a brief explanation and clearly identified link.
Now, if we’ve learned anything from the case of the Oxpecker and the Elephant, the blogger will appreciate your taking the time and having the expertise to help them. After they remove the link— and they will—the site will now be pristine again ready to take on new, engaging content attracting high quality traffic and comments. Better yet, that new found appreciation the site owner gives will now give you the rapport required to get your high quality content into their hands. That’s a symbiotic relationship — Oxpecker style.
While it’s true that one can benefit from using this strategy, that isn’t really the point. Remember, the Oxpecker doesn’t merely eat the parasites for sustenance, he does it for protection. The savanna doesn’t have many ideal homes, and keeping alive those animals that keep it safe is more important than the free lunch. As a company, CopyPress realizes that the blogging environment is more important than the free lunch. Keeping bloggers clean means that there are countless homes for high quality content and the highly social “wildlife” that it brings.
This means that ideas, products, services and more have a chance to be seen by the people that want it most—the readers. Ecology is important in nature and on the web. We must protect the pristine nature of the blogging community, and the humble Oxpecker is a great example of how to do just that.
By taking it from the Oxpecker, you can build rapport and your online reputation. There’s a reason why Elephants don’t flinch when an Oxpecker lands on them—because they know and love their company. How have you been like the Oxpecker? Let me know in the comments below.