Big brands have been traditionally slow to catch on when it comes to online marketing and quite a lot of them make a mess of it when they finally decide to embrace new strategies.

Search engine optimisation is something that never sits right with big brands thanks to the difficulty in tracking results, paid search was embraced much sooner.

In the last 18 months big brands have almost started to understand SEO but most of them seem to have been told that SEO = paid links by large UK agencies that really should know better.

People such as B&Q and the Post Office have been outed as link buyers this week and everybody surely knows about the problems GoCompare has suffered. Other brands such as supermarkets and most of the major insurance and finance companies are all avid link buyers but why do they bother?

The problem is that 12 months ago if a large brand went to a large UK SEO agency the first thing they would have suggested is a link buying budget of thousands of pounds per month.

This was the tactic that worked and these companies had the budget to pay for as many links as possible.

Now the tide has turned and big brands are stuck with useless spammy links and, in some cases, penalties.

The thing to remember is that most of these brands have so many natural links and so much trust that they can rank for any terms they need with on site optimisation alone.