Buying backlinks – A bold or stupid decision?

Buying backlinks is, in many ways, a controversial topic when it comes to choosing a link-building strategy to improve Search Engine ranking.

Some SEO´s would say that it is pure blackhat, and you should stay away from doing it. Others would say that it is a part of the game and common practice to improve your Google rankings.

Anyway, now the cat is out of the bag, and in this blog post, I would cover some of the pros and cons of buying backlinks.

Buying backlinks - Infographich

Buying backlinks – The evaluation process

“Build it, and they would come” does not work.

Let me start by being completely honest about my own philosophy about backlinks and content.

You can spend days researching and crafting a fantastic piece of valuable content and publish it – but if your website does not have any authority, it is the same as lightening up a giant neon sign in your basement.

It might look bright and sparkling, but you are the only one that sees it!.

What is backlink buying?

Backlink buying is if you pay an external site to point a link back to your site.

The most common ways to buy backlinks are:

  • Link placement: You ask a webmaster to put a link to your site inside their content (Niche edits)
  • Sponsored posts: The webmaster mark the post as sponsored but still add a do-follow link to your site (that is against Googles terms of service)
  • Product reviews: You pay someone to review your product and link to your product/service (Note: Even if you don’t offer direct payment and offer a free product in exchange for a link, it is still considered a paid link).
  • Paid listings: Any types of links you have paid for (Example: Paid directories)

Why should you buy links?

The obvious answer would be: to rank in Google and because many established websites are doing it.

The advantages of buying links:

  • It is faster to build backlinks
  • You might be able to gain links you would never be able to gain naturally.
  • If your competitors are doing it, you might consider doing it to “keep up with the Joneses.”
  • Faster results and better rankings in Google because of authoritative link juice

Why you should NOT buy links

Unless you know exactly what you do and is capable of judging and finding authority sites (see below), it is

The disadvantages of buying links

  • You risk paying for links that have no or little SEO value
  • You risk that the links are being deindexed because Googe find out that the site is selling links
  • You risk facing a penalty of your own site

NOTE: Just because many people are buying and selling links for SEO, it is not the same that it is safe to follow that practice. Many people are also speeding, and sometimes some of them damage themself, others, and their car. 

How authority works for your website

A backlink is like a road sign pointing your audience in the right direction, but different websites have different authority (domain rating).

Imagine this scenario: You are in a new city and are looking for the nearest railway station.

The first person you meet is a 7-year-old kid on her bicycle, and you ask her politely where the railway station is located.

The kid lights up in a big smile and tells you, “I know where that is; it’s next to the post office! I go there with my mama now and then”.

Enlightened with this new and “beneficial information,” you decide to ask another person, and you discover a drunk guy on the corner.

You ask him, “Excuse me, sir, do you know where the railway station is?” – The guy turns around and look at you, points his fingers down the street, and turns around and walks away.”

You start walking, and around the corner, you almost bump into a police officer. You ask the police the same question, and the officer responds, “Yes, sir, you need to keep walking straight for about 250 meters, and then there is a red building at your right hand. Turn right and walk 50 meters, and then you can see the railway station.”.

Based on your experience, you probably hit in the direction the officer told you.

The officer had the authority, and you followed the directions. The same goes for websites.

If a website has a high authority, a link would carry that authority and help your website rank in Google.

Four ways to evaluate a backlink prospect

Before you invest in backlinks, you need to evaluate if a website would provide any value to your Google rankings.

The domain strength (authority of a website)

A lot of people have made a mistake focusing on a single metric to determine the authority of a website: Domain Authority (DA)

It is Moz that has created the domain authority score, and it goes from 1 – 100. It is mainly calculated based on the number of inbound links to a domain.

So roughly, you could say, the more links you have, the higher DA.

The problem is that the DA can be manipulated – so if a link seller has boosted a domain with thousands of irrelevant low-quality links, the domain might have a high DA, but it is considered spammy by Google.

Buying backlinks based on DA alone is a BIG NO GO! That type of link can harm your site badly!.

How much organic traffic does the site get?

If you are planning to gain a link from a website to boost your rankings in Google, I would advise you to examine the website to get an overview of the rankings and the amount of organic traffic it gets.

A simple strategy is to use Ahrefs and look at the domain name and check how many keywords the site is ranking for.

If a website is not ranking for any keywords and has little or no organic traffic, it is usually a sign that the DA has been manipulated.

This example is Neil Patel’s blog – the site is currently ranking for 1.2 million different keywords and is pulling in traffic worth $7.9 M. Both the Ahrefs rank and the number of links to his site are increasing over time. (I wonder if he would link to us if I offer him a beer or a Starbucks?)  😉

Buy backlinks - If you know what you are doing!

Neil Patels blog

Is the external link profile of the website toxic?

A website that links to almost anything and mainly commercial sites is often known for selling outbound links.

It is not natural if a website commercial sites in different niches.

A normal website would usually link to authority sites with relevant content within the same niche and not commercial sites.

A high number of external links might also indicate that this is a site that is selling links.

BONUS TIP: Check if it seems like the site has a spike in outgoing links or it seems like the numbers of external links are increasing.

Is the site looking legit?

It is not unusual that people register expired domains and use them as a private blog network (PBN).

Often the goal is to make a quick profit selling backlinks, and the owner does not pay much attention to the quality of the website.

A PBN site is often built on WordPress – often on a free theme, and it is easy to spot that it is a PBN site.

Typically you would not see the authority sign you would usually see from a regular site. Some of the things to look for:

  • Low-quality content (sometimes just spun content)
  • No contact information
  • No legal pages
  • No logo and poor design

If you can visually spot a PBN site, what do you think Google can do with its data power?

Buying links from low-quality PBN sites come with a major risk – if you are lucky, only the links from the PBN (or the entire PBN) are being deindexed – worst case, it is your site!.

Avoid link sellers like the plague.

The web is cluttered with “SEO experts” – and you have probably already received several offers via Linkedin, Facebook, or via your contact form from individuals or SEO companies offering link building services like guest posting services.

If mail back and they would typically offer you an entire list of the domains where they can offer a guest post. (Imagine if just one of their clients would pass that list to a Google representative!)

So even it might be attempting to buy a few cheap backlinks, don’t do it! It is not worth your time and money!

Link building campaigns on Fiverr

You might have spent some time on Fiverr already, and if you are searching for link building, many sellers would be ready to serve you.

Many gigs have stunning graphics and lots of five stars reviews, but the fact is that most of the services offered are on sites with pumped domain ratings (DA), and you end up with a bucket of spammy backlinks from link farms.

You might wonder why a lot of those gigs have five-star ratings? 

Often the seller would offer “an extra free bonus” in return for a positive review. It could be a few Contextual links from even better sites – so the buyer gets greedy and writes a stunning review.

Some of the sellers offer “Link guarantees,” “Quality backlinks,” “High-quality content,” “fast turnaround times,” “Guaranteed Google rankings,” and if everything else fails, a “Refund Policy.”

Are you tempted to buy? Do you really think that it is possible to get 10 high authority links from unique quality content from high authority sites for $50? is it worth risking your site for that?

What you get for $50 is spammy links from spammy blogs! So don’t waste your time on those gigs!

Link Buying: What is the right price for a niche relevant “natural link.”

You better know what you are doing before buying links

Do you dare to buy links?

The fast way to answer that question is to send on the domain’s authority and the website’s relevance compared to your niche.

Sites and blogs with low authority might sell links to $50-100 per year for a dofollow link.

Big authority sites with links with excellent link metrics might charge several thousand dollars per year.

It might be tempting to aim for a few high-quality backlinks, but you also need to focus on keeping a natural-looking link profile with different types of links.

The link building pricing often varies depending on what kind of type of link you are buying.

The typical links:

  • Contextual link: You get a link inside the content of an article/blog post
  • Footer link: You get a link in the footer of the site (Not very valuable!)
  • Site-Wide link: You get a link on multiple sites (like from a Widget)

White hat link building methods

Paying Money for a link is not the only tool when it comes to link-building tactics in your SEO strategy.

You can build all kinds of natural links completely free – and without getting on the bad side of Google.

Building links do not need to be rocket science – and you can even outsource the entire process to a VA or hire someone from a link-building agency.

Conclusion: Should you be buying backlinks in 2021?

There is no doubt that links from authoritative sites can help to boost your organic rankings in Google. It might bring a lot of free traffic and generate some revenue.

But before you buy a link, ask yourself these two questions:

A) Are you sure that the site is legit enough and not a “link farm.”

B) What are you going to do if your website is facing a Google penalty?

Q & A About buying backlinks

Q: What’s the Difference Between Follow and No Follow Links?
A: A do-follow link is passing more link juice and authority

Q: Is Buying Backlinks a Good Idea?
A: If you know what you are buying and are sure not to be caught by Google (And how can you be sure?)

Q: Why People Buy Backlinks?
A: Because they want to boost their organic rankings in Google fast

Q: How to Buy Backlinks?
A: Contact a website owner and ask and then negotiate a price (But do your homework first!)

Q: Should You Buy Backlinks on Fiverr?
A: If you want to waste your time AND money and risk a penalty in Google, go for it!

Q: What Is & Isn’t a Paid Link?
A: A natural link is a link obtained naturally without paying money or offering a product or service

Q: Why Do Some Professionals Still Buy Links?
A: Because they are skilled enough to evaluate a link and professional enough to deal with the consequences if things go wrong

Q:  Is there a proper way of buying links?
A: Sure, don’t get caught! (negotiate directly with a site owner and make sure it’s not a link farm!)

Q: What does Google say about paid links?
A: It is against Google’s terms of services to buy links. Sponsored links should be marked as sponsored links.

Q: What’s a good cost per link?
A: It depends on the authority of the website. A link can both be too cheap and completely overpriced

Q: Should you outsource link building?
A: If you know someone that can do it cost-effectively and better doing outreach than you,

Q: Do backlinks still work in 2021?
A: Yes indeed – and they would continue to work in 2022, 2023, 2024

Q: How do I get quality backlinks
A: Aim for authority sites with organic traffic and do outreach to the site owner.

How to get real genuine quality backlinks for free

The outreach process by contacting bloggers that are relevant to your niche is very effective.

Your focus should be on quality sites, and the trade-off is that you do the content creation and offer to write a well-researched piece of content that is highly relevant for the blog’s audience.

In return, you get a link back to your site – often, it is in a short bio with your picture and or your logo. This strategy is also known as “guest posting” or “guest blogging.”

It might not sound straightforward, but a tool can help you organize the entire outreach process and even keep track of the links you have gained.

I would recommend you to read my Link Assistant review here

I hope this guide about buying backlinks was helpful – if so, remember “Sharing is caring” 😉

All the best,

Brian

 

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