Recently, I was discussing ideas on how to generate traffic and heard a number of folks talk about how to buy links. It actually scared me that these same wanna-be SEO experts are giving advice to small businesses and various other companies. If you’re looking to buy text links to increase your rankings, let me save you a boatload of time and money – just STOP!
The Link Buying Sales Pitch
There’s an entire industry out there that caters to buying and selling links, and marketing the amazing potential of such a strategy. Doing a quick google search, I came across some bold statements as this:
Increase your search engine rankings and link popularity by purchasing quality one way links…
and this gem:
the easiest way to increase your search engine rank and link popularity of your web site is to buy links from other relevant internet resources…
It almost seems like you should buy links. Everybody’s doing it, and like them, you can’t be left behind.
The standard sales pitch is that you need backlinks, and since those won’t come to you automagically, you might as well pay someone a reasonable fee to give you quality backlinks from high PR, high value sites.
Do you see the problem (and clever salesmanship) in that pitch? If you don’t, focus on what I’ve underlined and let’s tackle those statements real quickly:
- Need is almost true. We all need backlinks as that is one factor in determining the value of your site to search engines. Though, in the context of such sales pitches, they’re blending need with their offering which is not valid. However, it sure makes for a better sales pitch.
- Reasonable fees for quality links? Hmmm…then why even bother to create quality content. We could all just rush to the link farms and whoever spends the most towards such services will make the most money. Or wait…why aren’t they just using their link farms to themselves? After all, they know so much about link building, they can use the entire allotment for their own sites, and make even more money. Something’s fishy, and that something is bought links aren’t worth anything (at least in the long run).
- Quality is based on their viewpoint of the links, not your conclusion. A link is a link is a link – well, sometimes. A quality link is a link that’s actually meaningful, ideally related to your subject matter, and from a site with authority. We’re led to assume what’s being offered are quality backlinks. However, in most cases, you won’t even have a say in where exactly the backlinks will appear. Paid or poor links could result in poor rankings or penalties.
- High PR, High Value is also based on their viewpoint of their sites or blog network where they publish the links. Ask yourself if you really want to be linked from a link farm or a cluster of sites primarily dedicated towards link placement for random sites in random industries (i.e., gambling, link buying, porn, or whatever).
By now, you’ve been inundated with multiple service providers offering thousands of backlinks for the cost of a beer or X number of backlinks every month. Of course, all you have to do is pay them. Seems easy enough.
The Penalty Counter-Argument
The risk-averse folks may be cringing to ask about Google or search engine penalties if they find out you’ve bought links? Lucky for you, these marketers are prepared for the counter-argument. Here’s a synopsis of what you might hear when you raise the penalty question:
- None of our customers are penalized. If they were getting slapped soley for this, they would not be repeat clients.
- It doesn’t really make sense to get penalized for buying paid links because if that was true, I could buy spammy links for competitors.
- You cannot get penalized for off page happenings since you have no control over it.
Risks vs Rewards?
Personally, I believe that paid links should be avoided. You’ve heard the sales pitch and you’ve read how ‘safe‘ it is to buy links. I’m sure you’re tempted as it does sound quite seductive. So, what’s the problem?
The risk is much greater than the reward.
Do you really want to gamble your site? There’s a lot of time, money, and resources that go into building a quality site. All that effort is at risk when you enter the the link buying space. It can literally happen overnight, and to some it does. You wake up one morning and your site has lost all its SEO credibility and page ranking. There goes the farm!
I view the folks at Google to be quite smart (hopefully, you do too). I think they know how to spot the difference between a quality link and a paid link – and if they don’t – they will very soon.
Everyone should determine whether they want to take such a risk. For me, slow and steady is the right way to build a site. Evidently, I’m not a risk-taker when it comes to my site. Are you?
In short, my advice is don’t bother buying links. Instead, spend your time and money creating awesome content or resources, building a community, or guest blogging. Those are far more useful and relevant to your site’s growth, and have no risk (high reward + low risk = GOOD).