In the earlier days of SEO, it felt like no time at all passed between understanding the importance of backlinks for improved search rankings and some ‘entrepreneurial’ types opting to sell links. As more time passed, buying and selling SEO backlinks became commonplace and some regularly abused the system. Google did not appreciate this.
Google’s Webmaster Guide about link schemes is very clear: it states that buying or selling links that pass PageRank will negatively impact your site’s ranking. This includes “…exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links, exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.”
The search giant isn’t against all buying of links – what it is specifically against is buying links for the specific purpose of passing PageRank. In other words, buying (or selling) links to manipulate search engine rankings.
Any professional SEO Freelancer worth their salt would never recommend exchanging money for links – but it is something that continues to happen in the industry, sadly.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of paying for links.
What is considered a paid link?
Any exchange of money, goods and/or services for a link is a no-no.
Paid links can come in various forms:
- Paid guest posts
- Paid reviews
- Paid link insertions
- Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
- Paid directory listings
- Press release distribution services
Put simply, paid links are purchased for money.
However, an exchange of money, goods, or services with the intent of acquiring a backlink is considered by Google as a “paid link.”
Do people still buy backlinks?
Absolutely! Backlinks remain a very valuable commodity because the weight of backlinks pointing to a website is a primary search engine ranking factor, especially for Google.
The more relevant and quality links you have to point to your website, the higher you can rank in search engine results pages.
Higher rankings in search engines mean more website visitors, and ultimately more sales and profits. All of this makes the acquisition of backlinks incredibly valuable – particularly for commercial entities.
Why does link buying still exist in SEO?
Because some people are happy to take the risk and achieve what they believe is ‘success’ more quickly. By buying links, they don’t have to create high-quality SEO content or look for legitimate (and often more relevant) opportunities for collaboration. This saves time.
However, the process of buying links comes with high risk; Google is much better armed these days with the ability to find and remove paid links. Imagine you opted to pay for a link, but nothing happens as a result of doing so. Chances are, Google’s algorithms have picked up on it and have chosen to completely ignore it. Therefore, wasting your money.
Do paid links work?
Yes: paying for backlinks can increase your search engine ranking – provided you don’t get caught. It is getting harder and harder to hide paid links, so every day the risk of doing so is increasing.
Backlinks are a key component of a solid SEO strategy; Google considers them valuable in helping to build a site’s relevance score. Through an SEO strategy, the links you legitimately earn from relevant websites will outperform any paid links on less-relevant websites.
Should you buy links?
No. Especially not if you intend to do so in order to manipulate search engine rankings.
If you do opt to go ahead and pay for some links, you might see some short-term search ranking success. But the risk is big – and paying for links in the long term is a waste of money.
So what should you do instead? Invest in an experienced SEO consultant to boost your rankings. Pay the experts (who don’t buy links!) to do the work that they know how to do.
Want to create a legitimate backlink strategy? Get in touch with us today.
Disclaimer: Detail Marketing in no way promote, condone and/or endorse link buying. This post is for informational purposes only. We urge readers to discuss their SEO strategy with me, rather than choose to risk their online success through paid links.