Buying Links: A Complete Guide (including PITFALLS)

  • Samuel Darwin
  • May 06, 2021

It’s no surprise that links are used by Google as a ranking factor in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is an established truth within SEO professionals and digital marketers. The more links you have, the more trustworthy and credible your website is for the eyes of search engines.

However, with the release of the Google Penguin update in 2012, spending money for links can get you and your website penalized. Buying links to boost ranking can now damage a site’s SEO tactics and credentials. Since then, search engines are more sensitive in detecting white hat and black hat SEO techniques.

Website developers and owners actively removed bad links from their websites to avoid getting flagged by Google. This made buying links inefficient and costly. People will also discourage you from buying links because they don’t want to get penalized by Google as well.

But if you “buy” links the right way, you can get organic traffic and build relationships with other websites as well. Knowing the difference between what’s right or wrong in backlink buying will help you determine what to do to improve your SEO and marketing strategy.

What You Need to Know About Buying Backlinks

Buying backlinks was an acceptable strategy to gain quality backlinks before. But people are starting to abuse it and use it solely for link building purposes. People started to pay for links in bulk even if the links are not at all related to their niche.

There are a couple of malpractices that can harm your website’s SEO and ranking.

That’s why Google’s Webmaster Guidelines included link schemes as part of the things to avoid. But there are ways to buy backlinks that are acceptable and honored by search engines. These techniques are still effective today and are still being used by established companies.

You can buy links through:

  • monetary value
  • guest posts
  • sponsored post
  • product reviews
  • niche edit/link placement
  • sending free product/services in exchange for a link

Naturally, Google wants you to engage in organic link building. And buying links with money is not a part of organic link building. With the release of Google’s Penguin update, organic link building is the default option than paid link services.

Let’s look at the difference between organic link building from paid link building.

Organic Link Building

Organic link building is the go-to strategy for digital marketers. It’s a white hat SEO technique that’s efficient and effective without violating any of Google’s guidelines.

An example of a standard organic link building strategy is making guest posts. Through writing quality content for other websites, the website can link back to your site through the guest post that you’ve made. This will gain you a backlink without spending any money — just quality content.

According to a recent survey from LinkDoctor™, outreach and guest posting are the two most reliable link building methods to convert.

Outreach and guest posting are the two most reliable link building methods that gives the best results.
Outreach and guest posting are the two most reliable link building methods that gives the best results.

You can also make quality content through your blog. This is a natural way to earn links to your site. If your content is informative and purposeful, bloggers will naturally link to them. You can also hire a blogger outreach service to gain high quality backlinks from other bloggers in your niche.

This method is also known as the natural way to establish links. As long as your link is anchored to a contextual and relevant text, your link would be considered natural. You pay for the link through high-quality content that is useful for the readers.

Paid Link Building

If the way you placed your link on a website included money, then you’re doing paid link building. Paid links are not a good idea if you want to take care of your SEO health.

At first glance, you can tell that this link is an example of a paid link.

Paid links are detrimental to your website. You can get a Google penalty if you use paid links on your site. Avoid this black hat technique to protect your business.

But there are certain workarounds regarding this breach in policy. Manipulating Google’s SEO crawlers will get you a Google penalty. However, Google will have a hard time distinguishing the difference between an organic link and a paid link. Thus, you can mask your paid link with high-quality content.

Benefits of Buying Links

There are company and business owners that still prefer to buy links, even with the risks associated with it. They discovered the perfect way to use backlinks to maximize your exposure and gain more organic traffic. And these benefits are what we’re going to talk about.

1. Buy Backlinks to Save Time

If you can’t afford to undergo the whole process of link building (which is considerably long), you can just buy backlinks. This saves a lot of time for you and your crew.

If you really want to undergo the process of link building, it will take you a very long time to go through everything you need. This is true especially if your company is new to the digital marketing industry. You simply can’t just wait for links to come naturally.

That’s why people buy links to save valuable time. If you buy the link instead, it will take you significantly less time to get the backlink. This is because you’re skipping the other steps for link building through link buying.

2. Their Audience, Your Audience

The good thing about backlinks is that you share audiences. Your homepage can be accessed through the backlink. Therefore, you gain traffic based on the traffic of the site with your link.

However, it’s quite important to note that this shared audience will only be yours if you provide content that will be helpful for them. The first thing that they will check on your site would be your content. Make sure you don’t lack in that department.

3. More People are Buying or Selling Links

This industry of buying and selling links has never been this active. This activity opens up a lot of opportunities for people who want to boost their startup sites.

There are now more flexible options to choose from. You can choose depending on your budget, niche, search engine rankings, and other factors to choose where to link to. As long as your link is relevant to the host site, you can buy quality backlinks from them to boost your site.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Links

With every benefit, there’s also a risk associated with buying links if you don’t do it properly. With a simple misstep, you can be digging a hole for your website. Instead of reaping what you sow, you’ll find yourself in a pitfall that will cost more time, money, and other resources to get out from.

That’s why you should avoid these pitfalls when buying links. If you do link buying properly without getting Google’s attention, you can dodge the penalty and maintain your site’s credibility. Here are the mistakes you should avoid when buying links to improve your site’s ranking in search results:

1. Manual Action from Google

All the money you invested to buy all those links would be for nothing if your site gets flagged by Google. A manual action is done by a human reviewer at Google to determine whether your page is compliant with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Although Google has algorithms set to check if you’re following their rules, they still employ human reviewers to check if your domain deserves a manual action. If you receive manual action, your page can be taken down from the rankings without prior notice.

Manual actions have corresponding solutions to them.

Pro tip

There’s a way to avoid or fix manual actions if you receive them. To check if you have a pending manual action, you can go to the Google Search Console and check the Manual Action report.

2. Too Many Paid Links

Having too many paid links can make your blog look suspicious. This can jeopardize your site’s credibility. That’s why it’s important to always check your sites for low-quality links and paid links.

Throughout the years, Google’s algorithm has improved and became more secure. You can get your links report to see your link profile and what links are participating in your site. Audit the links one by one and identify the low-quality links that can be flagged by Google.

Pro tip

An example of a rel=”nofollow” attribute used on a link.

You can add a rel=”nofollow” attribute to links that can negatively impact a site’s ranking. This will render the link incapable of passing its PageRank to your page.

3. Buying Links that Pass PageRank

If you’ve been doing SEO for quite some time, I’m sure you’re familiar with PageRank. It’s an algorithm structured by Google to rank pages based on “points”. And these “points” can be passed on through sites by linking to them.

That’s why buying links that pass PageRank is forbidden by Google. Even though PageRank does not affect your ranking like before, it’s still a factor that Google considers when ranking pages. And to buy these links is the same as buying your ranking directly.

4. Buying Links With Poor Credibility

Even if you don’t pay actual money to buy links, your site’s ranking and credibility can still be hurt. If you do organic link building with websites that engage in black hat SEO techniques, your link profile can be affected indirectly.

It’s ideal to check the quality of your links from time to time. This can save you from long-term risks and repercussions associated with linking to bad websites. Make sure to buy quality backlinks only from trusted and credible websites.

Also, check if your competitors bought the same link from the same domain. If you buy the same link as your competitor, this won’t make your content more credible than your competitor’s.

Pro tip

Create unique content and do outreach to other sites within the same industry. The more sites you outreach to, the more links you can keep when cleaning up your backlinks.

Some Safety Tips Before Buying Backlinks

Before getting in too deep in link buying, you should consider some safety tips first. Be sure to follow these simple do’s and don’ts to buy links risk-free.

NOTE: LinkDoctor does not recommend buying backlinks. There are a lot of link building strategies that can get you backlinks naturally. You can also outsource link building to know what best practices to do.

Do’s

  • All your content must be relevant and high-quality
  • Buy backlinks from reliable and authoritative services/sites
  • Do an elaborate outreach and talk to content creators directly
  • Buy links from the same industry/niche

Don’ts

  • Don’t neglect the quality of your links
  • Don’t blindly trust a company that sells links
  • Don’t blatantly inquire about link buying
  • Don’t rely on link buying as a link building strategy

How to Build Backlinks Safely

Digital marketing specialists discovered that there are ways to build links naturally, like guest posts and niche edits. It’s important to know how to do this the right way to avoid getting penalized by search engines. Here’s the right way to build links and decrease the risks:

1. Set A Number for the Backlinks You Need to Rank

It’s necessary to establish the number of backlinks you need to improve your site’s ranking. You should do this first before targeting the keywords that you need. Otherwise, you’ll rank for keywords that are either too expensive or impossible to accomplish.

Keyword Difficulty in Ahrefs shows you an estimate for the number of links you need.

You can use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and look under the Keyword Difficulty section. It will show you a rough estimate of the number of links that you’ll need to be in the top 10 for a specific keyword. From here, you can estimate the budget that you need for your campaign.

2. Compare Link Profiles Using Link Gap Analysis

Knowing the number of links you need to rank in search engines is not enough to beat your competitors. You also have to know their authority to know how strong your backlinks should be.

You can compare the link profiles of your top 5 competitors and sort their backlinks based on the Domain Rating (DR). If you tabulate the results, you should see where you lack and what to improve.

3. Optimize What Anchor Texts to Use

Never forget to optimize your anchor texts. Anchor texts can affect your ranking and your credibility. You can get penalized if your anchor text appears to be spam or promotional.

The general rule is not to use the same anchor text twice. You can cycle your anchor texts and match the best anchor text for the best opportunity.

4. Strategize How to Build Links

Keep in mind that when you buy links in bulk, you can get flagged by Google and be penalized for doing black hat SEO. Therefore, you have to schedule when is the optimal time to pay for links. Always keep it random to appear more natural.

5. Always check the Quality of the Links

When you build backlinks, it’s important to always check the quality of the link that you’re getting. It’s also a good habit to check for the sites that are selling links. It’s only right to get a quality backlink if you paid for it with services.

You can then proceed to buy quality backlinks according to your link gap analysis. Remember to buy only the links that you need with ethical ways to buy links (free guest post, niche edit, etc.).

FAQs

It’s Your Choice

Since Google has updated its algorithm, there is always a risk associated with link buying. However, there are safety measures that you can employ if you really want to go for paid links. If you’ve reached this part of the article, then you must be knowledgeable enough to choose for your business.

If you have a new blog and you’re thinking about buying backlinks to gain authority, there’s no problem with that. It’s a risk you could take, but make sure to do it right. This will minimize the risk and damage for your SEO because paid links and natural links are almost the same.

Now it’s up to you if you’d like to continue with link buying. Yes, there are risks. But there are also benefits in doing this. As long as there are blogs that are selling links, there are opportunities that are up for grabs.

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