Buying backlinks is a way of paying for a link to your website from another website. The main aim of a link buyer while purchasing backlinks is to improve the ranking of their own website in SERPs, increase referral traffic, and generate leads. Paid links can come in many forms like paid guest posts, paid link insertions, private blog networks, etc
Do people actually buy backlinks?
The answer is yes!
Let’s take a look at what Google says about buying backlinks!
As per Google’s original PageRank algorithm, Link building is one of the top three search ranking factors. However, Google explains in ‘link Schemes’ under ‘Quality Guidelines’ that all those links aimed to manipulate a website’s ranking in SERPs may be considered a part of link schemes and violation of Google’s Webmaster guidelines.
As per Google, the examples of link schemes that destroy the reputation of your site in SERPs include buying or selling links that pass PageRank.
Search engines including Google use links to determine the reputation of a website as link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of calculating a website’s value. Both the quality and quantity of links are important for rating. Some webmasters develop a practice of buying and selling links without taking into consideration the quality of the links, the sources, and the effect they will have on their sites.
However, as per Google, not all paid links violate their guidelines. It is a normal part of the economy of the web when buying and selling of links is done for advertising purposes and not to manipulate ranking in SERPs.
The below action needs to be taken as per Google’s guidelines:
Link Building Pricing:
In 2016 and 2018, ahrefs conducted a study to find out the cost of buying links and they reached out to 630 blogs. It was found in their study that the average cost of buying a link was $352.92.
Why shouldn’t you risk your money buying backlinks?
It will seem attractive to give $XX and get a link. Since there will be no need to spend hours on research or customizing outreach emails or face rejections. It is not a good idea as it has its own disadvantages.
- You can buy links for a very less price:
A website will not rank with a single link. Spending $362 on a link will literally burn your money fast. Actually, the links that are built via natural outreach are paid links too because outreach takes time and time is money. Now it is completely up to you whether you spend $360+ and buy a link or spend time and effort to earn a link ‘naturally’.
- Paid links are usually low-quality:
If a website accepts links based on exchanging cash, it will end up linking to a lot of unrelated junk. It will create a bad link neighbourhood which is not good for your website’s reputation.
- You will receive a manual action:
If your website is not in compliance with Google’s guidelines. There will be a drop in your search rankings and your site will be completely removed from Google. However, manual actions are rare nowadays and you can recover from manual actions. Google will send you a warning in the search console. It will provide you with information about the types of pages that are affected. Google will also guide you on how you can fix the issues.
If you want Google to know about these links. You can bring it to their attention by using the paid links report option.
Some good and bad ways of buying backlinks:
We will be discussing some ways in which you can buy backlinks and the risks and rewards of each one.
- Freelance Marketplaces like Fiverr or PeoplePerHour:
There are many freelance websites like Fiverr or PeoplePerHour which offer link-building services. Primarily they provide bad link-building services like they offer a large number of backlinks for a low price. Be careful when you are signing up before taking on one of these services as any service that offers many links for a low cost is taking shortcuts. Maybe using a black hat approach.
A good white hat approach is outreaching to good websites, negotiating with site owners and creating high-quality content. Some freelancers also generate links using spammy forum sites. It is best to avoid such link-building services.
- Niche edits:
Niche edits is a popular link-building service for SEO and have grown in popularity over the years. The major benefit of using niche edits is that you will be getting backlinks from aged content that has already built authority. It means your link will be getting more authority as compared to brand new backlinks acquired using other link-building methods.
The website owner will ask for payment to do this or you can offer payment in advance.
It is hard for Google’s algorithm to spot this type of backlink. If you are careful, it will be tough to differentiate a niche edit from an organic one. If a website owner is willing to link to your site for money. You must be vigilant about how many other sites they have the same agreement with. But if these websites do it in excess then Google’s algorithm will detect this link farm and being associated with one of these sites can negatively impact your ranking in SERPs.
It is best to thoroughly analyze any website you plan to pay for niche edit links. Just make sure you buy only quality backlinks.
- Paid Guest Posts:
Paid guest post is the guest post you write for another site. The site owners sometimes pay you in return for contributing content to their site. Sometimes they ask you to pay them for publishing your content. It is a good way to buy high-quality backlinks. Although if you place a guest post on the wrong site, you will get a penalty. Also, you have to create the article which will add to your costs if you choose to outsource or take up time if you choose to write the post yourself. It has many advantages too as you might also find sites that won’t charge you. In many cases especially if you create good content already.
- Sponsored Content:
It is one of the ways to buy links that are completely safe. You can pay to place sponsored posts on websites. The difference from guest posts is the website owner will make it clear and keep the post as sponsored and give the link a rel=’’sponsored’’ or rel=’’nofollow’’tag. This tag will make it clear to the Google algorithm that you have paid for the post. In that case, Google bots will not crawl the link. But these links are less valuable than regular follow links. You may generate traffic from the website and increase your brand exposure.
We have given an overview on whether you should buy backlinks or not. Although the success rate is high, the threat of a Google penalty is quite significant. Before buying backlinks you should carefully analyze the website. Look for high-quality content, transparency about the webmaster, how much traffic it receives, and whether it has an engaged audience. You should not just pay for a link but buy good-quality links from websites. Website quality is the most important factor that will decide whether you should buy links. You should also consider the potential impact on your long-term SEO before purchasing.
P.S: Read our SEO Question Answer Blog here!
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer who helps online businesses grow with smart marketing tactics to improve sales and leads. He is passionate and driven to grow businesses online and is responsible for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and managing promotional and media channels.