To buy or not to buy? The question of whether or not it is “safe” to pay for backlinks seems to have no concrete answer. This is because some argue that due to the fact that it is against Google’s guidelines and could lead to severe penalties… buying links is not worth the risk. However, others argue that since several successful companies use this tactic and have never suffered any penalties, it is at least worth a shot.
So, what should you believe? Is buying backlinks a safe marketing tactic? The answer lies in what most people who voice their opinions on this topic do not consider. In other words, the people in support of this tactic don’t often consider focusing on getting “safe” backlinks, instead they focus on getting the quickest, easiest, and cheapest links possible. On the other hand, there are those who say that all link building is wrong but they seem to focus only on the backlinks just described, instead of focusing on links that are relevant, impactful, and very powerful for just about any SEO campaign; no matter what the industry they’re competing in.
So…Yes, No or Maybe?
The simple answer is maybe. Why? Whether or not it is a wise idea to buy backlinks depends entirely on where you get links from, and the type of link building campaign you put in place.
Where Not To Buy Backlinks
You should never get links from sites that are made to sell them. Links paid for on these types of websites are the most common and the most obvious for Google to spot. Needless to say, many who have been penalized have been guilty of using sites like these.
Also, you should never buy from Private Blog Networks (PBN’s), .edu or .gov sites that are simply link building methods and have no real relevance to your industry or audience. The problem with getting these types of links is that any time a website is created purely for the focus of selling links, you have no control over the website owner selling links to a person that has a website in a “bad neighborhood”. If the website owner sells enough of these types of links linking to those types of websites, all of a sudden the website you bought a link from becomes part of that “bad neighborhood” which can possibly end up with EVERY site they link to having that negative/spammy link as a part of their backlink profile; including your website.
This is not to say that PBNs cannot or will not work; the fact of the matter is that many people are having tremendous success using PBNs for link building, but most of the time when a PBN is created to sell links to other websites… things don’t usually end well for the sites that paid for a link within that blog network. There are ways to build your own PBN and rank very well… but we won’t get into that in this post; nor or we suggesting/endorsing that form of link building.
Back to the matter at hand… buying backlinks from sites with no useful content, as with all of the above types of sites, is one of the worst things you can do for an SEO campaign. These links will not add any relevancy to your content and could actually diminish your credibility; although during the short term that will increase your link metrics like Moz’s DA & PA or Majestic’s TF & CF.
(For those of you who don’t know what those are, it’s the backlink “score” those two companies came up with post Google Pagerank)
– DA = Domain Authority
– PA = Page Authority
– TF = Trust Flow
– CF = Citation Flow
We have a pretty strong and data driven opinion on all 4 of those link metrics, but as mentioned earlier… we’ll cover those in another post.
Hopefully the above helps you get a general sense of where NOT to buy links for your SEO strategy.
Where To Buy Good Links
Where, then, can you purchase links that will add relevancy and value to your content? You may be surprised to find that you can get backlinks from popular sites such as TechCrunch, Huffington Post and even Forbes. There is often a fee to submit an article with an approved link. But think of how much more beneficial it would be for your business to have a link on one of these sites! In a case like that, you can create and structure content that relates directly to your industry AND have an extremely powerful backlink to your website.
Of course there are other ways you can identify good backlink opportunities that might cost money, but can be “safe” and impactful; and most importantly… search engine friendly. This is another topic we will cover elsewhere on Nomvo in it’s own article.
Truthfully, a link in a well-written article on any reputable or authoritative site can be very effective. The same is true of links from thought leaders in a given industry. Such backlinks can go a long way in both helping you gain exposure and in boosting your credibility; and did we mention rankability?
Now the issue is settled. Purchasing backlinks can be a great marketing tactic if, and only if, they are bought from reputable, relevant sites that provide useful content themselves.
You will want to avoid links from sites made for the sole purpose of selling them and from any other sites that provide no value. In addition to that, you’ll want to be sure to stay away from any vendor or software that ignores these simple factors; even if they show you proof that these types of links can get your website to rank. Why do we say that? Simply put, most search engine algorithm updates target these types of “backdoor” or “hidden” linking tactics; it’s not a matter of IF you’ll get caught, it’s WHEN. So with that said, we hope you have a better understanding of how to go about using link building as a marketing tactic in a way that’s safe and search engine friendly.
This was a pretty high level viewpoint of the subject but if you have any questions, comments, or concerns… let us know. Nomvo!