The world of link building is often considered to be in a bad state. Gaining the links you need to propel your website to new ranking heights isn’t as easy as it used to be, with link building practices evolving far beyond the forum posting and sporadic guest posting ‘strategies’ of yesteryear. Unfortunately, we get approached multiple times a week with enquiries about whether we sell links. For the record, WE DON’T, never have done and never will do. The process of buying and selling links to businesses looking to boost their search rankings is common practice amongst other agencies, and as well as that being really sad, it’s simply all kinds of wrong.
The selling of links is so cemented in digital practice that we (the guys who take a more holistic approach to building quality links that ensure long term success rather than short lived effects) are losing work to these clients. If you didn’t get this from what’s already being written here and across many of our other SEO focused blog posts – like this one for example – buying links is a bad idea, and could in fact send your rankings spiralling into oblivion, never to be recovered again. Google hates bought links and so do we, but there is a right way to approaching link building that will garner better, long term SEO results for your business.
Why you should never buy links
Trust us, we’ve encountered so many horror stories about companies who’ve bought links and are now paying the price. Many of these companies have actually come to us for help in cleaning up their poor link profiles and ultimately bringing their websites and wider brands back from the brink of blacklisting. Buying links is not only cheating, for all the credibility you may gain in the short term in making your website rank higher and look more trustworthy to prospective customers, buying links will come back to bite you.
If you’re buying links now, just stop before you get found out. It’s going to happen, and Google and other search engines don’t take kindly to the practice. Buying links breaches Google guidelines and any links that “aren’t editorially placed or can’t be vouched for” are deemed unnatural in Google’s eyes. Google hates link schemes so much that it is actually encouraging browsers to report site owners who buy or attempt to buy PageRank.
The cost of bad, bought links
Buying links is cheaper than ever, with the latest ads on Fiverr giving access to a 100 or more backlinks for just $5. Before you head over and hit the ‘order now’ button however, let us tell you why you shouldn’t.
The cost of bad, bought links is simple. Whilst experiments have proved that bought links increase page views and help buyers achieve first page results for the first week, pretty much as soon as you hit week two, the traffic that you gained both naturally and unnaturally takes a hit. We’re not talking a slow and steady drop either. In most cases, as in this link buying experiment, traffic can nose dive by up to 70%. What follows is yet more bad news. Thanks to the huge traffic change for such a ‘top URL’, you’ll most definitely receive a message from Google Webmaster Tools, an action that will lead to the discrediting of your posts completely. This doesn’t just mean you’re back to square one. You’re lower than that and you could need professional help to discredit these bought, low quality backlinks and build your integrity once again.
What do bought links look like
We shouldn’t assume that the companies who are the owners of bought links have purchased them intentionally. Some get the marketing and digital agencies representing them to do the dirty work, completely unaware that the links they so cherish and are currently helping them achieve the ranking results they were promised are the product of black hat SEO techniques. So what do these unnatural links look like?
Unnatural, bought links come in all shapes and sizes, and whilst the ‘best’ are designed and placed to prevent detection and subsequent blacklisting by Google, most are less convincing. Advertorials and native advertising content where payment is received for placement and links pass PageRank or link juice to the page they point to violate Google guidelines. As do links with optimised, keyword rich anchors in the body or footer of articles and press releases distributed via third party websites. The case for the latter being deemed as unnatural is deepened further if these links have been widely distributed across a variety of websites. Low quality links, such as those found on directory and bookmark sites, are also classed as unnatural. Widgets and forum comments with low quality, keyword rich links are two other link types that violate Google guidelines.
Text advertisements that pass PageRank may also tell Google that you have participated improperly in the schemes that involve the buying and selling of links. Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag will prevent PageRank from being passed via PPC advertising links and avoid the breaching of Google guidelines.
Link building – the right way
Link building is of course a must for SEO, after all how will people find your website without the right level of visibility. As you’ve probably guessed from the previous 900 words written here, buying links isn’t the answer. There is a right way to approach link building to ensure SEO improvements can be made, greater conversion embraced and credibility upheld on the web. With link building it’s not about the quantity of links, it’s more about the quality.
With the right marketing campaigns in tow, and the generation of audience-focused, industry specific content that people actually want to share, good backlinks will naturally follow. Instead of buying links, channel your hard earned money into buying expertise and digital marketing help, perhaps from a trusted agency like us.
Need some help building quality links for your brand? Let us take the reins and show you the right way to boost rankings. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.
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