I am going to discuss something that is usually seen as a big no no when it comes to SEO and have to point out at this point that what I discuss in this article is my own perspective and opinion, it is not the opinion of Branded3 or any of their associates.
Paid links is one of those really annoying subjects and my thoughts today are based on last week’s SEOmoz whiteboard Friday where Rand discusses how they purchased links, got higher rankings and then quickly took them down before Google came along and wiped them out!! Rand also reefer’s to another website that was band for buying a handful of links to rank better.
Now I hope by making this statement Google doesn’t come along and wipe my blog out but I think it’s important that people understand and know the truth;
Do High Ranking Websites Buy Links? Yes!
Do they only buy a couple to beef up their campaign? Depends…
Do paid links work? Yes!
Should I buy links? Depends….
Ok you’re no clearer than you were before right, let me have another go….
Over the last 6 years I have worked with all kinds of companies, brands and blogs all competing in different verticals, some massively competitive others not so.
Out of all those clients I have to say I have only ever come across a few that don’t actively engage in link buying, were not just talking about 1 or 2 links here were talking hundreds, if not thousands.
You get out your best link analysis tool and check out some of the link profiles of some of the biggest brands, see anything suspicious?? I am sure you will.
Ranking on top of Google is big business, people don’t want to take chances with their income therefore due to competition are forced into paying for links! It’s really that simple – competitive markets require companies to buy links to dominate and anyone that says anything else is plain lying.
Should I Buy Some Links
Well let’s start with the obvious questions ‘will I get banned by Google?’ and the truth is “I do not know”! The reason I don’t is because I have never seen a site get thrown out of the index for ‘buying’ links. I have seen sites penalised for spamming, linking to dodgy neighbourhoods, hiding content etc… But never seen anyone penalised for buying links.
I have seen websites that sell links suffer from a loss of PageRank (not lost rankings just the ability to pass PageRank) but have never seen a link buyer punished.
So the answer to will I get punished? Probably not, however, as always there are a few exceptions.
– If you go max out your text link ads account, you may raise question marks
– If you get some guy from digital point to buy you a thousand links for $50 this also might not be a good idea
– If you spam everyone in the UK with ‘I want to buy a link’ – not such a good idea
– If you buy thousands of links from irrelevant resources there is a good chance you’ll get slapped
– and if you hang around on digital point looking for sellers your putting your website at risk
All of the above are really stupid ways to go about link building/buying whatever….
How Do I Buy Links?
I am not going to go into specifics here as I don’t want to paint a target on my head. All I will say is if a link looks like it is bought then it will be penalised whether money passed hands or not, a natural looking link is never going to cause any issues.
The main issue with link buying comes with the acquisition technique, if your careless you may be punished.
I think Google generally deals with paid links by docking PR or preventing sites that sell links from passing as much.
Your competitors will be buying links and you’re not going to compete with them using viral content and article marketing, will they ever get found out? Who knows, but the truth is it doesn’t stop multi million pound organisations from doing it.