Q: It is well known that the more links you have pointing back to your website will help to increase your “backlink profile.” A common topic online and at conferences over the past few years is whether buying links is a safe practice. True or false, buying links is  going to hurt your rankings?

A: FALSE. Paid links work. NOTE – That is a loaded answer and buying links comes with serious risks. Paying for links is the practice of buying a text link, or a link on an image that points back to a target website for the sole purpose of increasing your backlink profile. This helps to increase your rankings in search engines for that selected keyword or phrase. The more links you have, on an on-going basis the better. However, you need to consider these important factors:

  • Research is very, very important. You want to make sure that your links come from relevant sites. If you are selling insurance then a link from a high PR weight loss blog is useless.
  • If a site looks like it is selling links then stay clear. You could be penalized.
  • Mix it up a little, use links on blogrolls, partner pages, friends, etc.
  • Be careful to not use the same anchor text all the time for a prolonged period.
  • Do not ingest too many links at once. If you get 1,000 links to your insurance site in 10 days you’d better make sure that you were featured on CNN and the NY Times. Otherwise you are creating a footprint and throwing up red flags for the Google SPAM Team to act on.
  • We call it “link-humping”, or the practice of looking for links. Keep in mind it is hard work. There are a few notable services out there that can provide you a platform to research and purchase links on a monthly, yearly, etc basis. Do research and make sure that the sites you buy links on with these services are where you want to be, and monitor to make sure you do not get a negative effect.
  • Don’t just buy from where your competitors buy. Do research, “hump” and find your own list of quality sites.
  • Don’t be afraid to contact webmasters, site owners or managers directly and ask for a link, or offer to purchase or “donate” for a link placement. You’d be amazed.
  • You can sponsor, donate or be charitable to organizations out there. I am sure they can also show thanks with a link or a logo on their site.
  • Finally, monitor your success. Are the links working for the cost? Consider hard $ costs and your time as well. They need to give you a boost or they are junk. Not all links are good forever.

One Response to True or False Friday – Paid Links?

  1. Good Post! I don’t think I would ever use a paid service for links. The more I blog, the more I realize that focusing on the long-term success of your brand is what is them most important.

    I think that through hard work, networking, and great content, a person can establish themselves as a top contender over time. If a person has content that is of value, people will naturally link to them to increase the value of their own visitors experience.

    My advice is to stay patient and just look at it as something that you are going to develop over a few years. Mashable started in 2005 and through writing around 5 to 6 posts everyday it grew to the success that we see today. Hard Work is the savior!

    Jason | August 13, 2010at 4:25 pm

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