Nowadays, buying backlinks has become a popular method to swiftly elevate search engine rankings on Google. However, this practice raises conflicting advice from Google itself.
In this article, we'll explore the right approach to buying backlinks in 2024, considering the guidelines while avoiding potential pitfalls.
Curious about link buying? Well, it works like this: when you buy links, you're essentially paying another website to give your website a shout-out by putting a link to it on their pages. The main reason people do this is to supercharge their website's visibility in search results.
Now, link buying can take different forms:
Here's the thing: link buying can land in a gray area. It's sort of like those SEO tactics that might raise an eyebrow. Why? Because Google's guideline frown upon this link buying business. They see it as a sneaky way to mess with their ranking system. So, before diving into link buying, remember that it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
Many may wonder, "Is this really necessary? Do top sites and leaders actually buy backlinks?" Well, let's take a closer look. Backlinks are purchased by top players in various niches, especially in competitive fields like IT, Web Design, Finance, and Real Estate.
The higher the competition, the greater the likelihood of paid links. Screenshots show the link statistics of top-ranking sites for different queries and niches, all highly competitive.
Purchasing links for websites is not just a possibility but often a necessity. However, how should you go about it? We'll delve into potential pitfalls when buying backlinks. Don't worry; you can mitigate risks and maximize your gains from backlink purchases.
The first factor to consider is the risks of buying backlinks, particularly the potential penalties imposed by Google. Let's analyze the situations and reasons behind these risks.
To steer clear of Google penalties, your link-building strategy must include:
Conducting competitor analysis will provide all this information. To buy backlinks effectively, analyze the key link profile metrics of your competitors and aim to outperform them. If leaders gain 50 backlinks per month, target 55. If competitors get links from sites with DR 20 or higher, aim for a higher DR.
Pro Tip: Precise data is valuable to all, including the number of links required to rank in the top 10 for competitive traffic queries. Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer provides this information effortlessly.
Simply enter your desired query and check the difficulty score slightly below. While Ahrefs' estimation is approximate, it serves as an excellent reference for link-building planning and budgeting. Developing your link acquisition strategy? This feature will prove beneficial.
The second factor is content. Regardless of whether you purchase links or opt for free methods, you need top-notch texts, infographics, and videos. Quality content is crucial for several reasons:
Having top-notch content writers is essential even in the age of Chat GPT and Jasper. Their work will help you maximize the potential of purchased backlinks.
The third factor is budget planning. Website owners desire predictable results with predictable costs, applicable to all link acquisition methods. To forecast the number of links you need and their costs, you'll require experience, accurate competitor assessment, and a clear understanding of the link types you plan to acquire. Knowledge and constant monitoring of market prices play a vital role, leading to outsourcing or delegating link-building tasks to specialized professionals.
We've explored the significance of consistent link growth and potential complexities. Now, let's discuss where to buy backlinks. Numerous options are available, each with its pros and cons.
Here's an overview of the mechanics and some insights for each link purchasing approach to help you decide which one best suits your needs.
While you can trust your in-house SEO team to handle link building, including a link builder and an SEO specialist, building such a team and organizing its workflow can be time-consuming and costly. In most cases, in-house link building is economically feasible only for large companies.
Thousands of freelancers on platforms like Fiverr, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer links for your site at very low prices, promising hundreds or even thousands of links per order. While this might seem appealing, these services come with more risks and drawbacks than benefits. Such links might yield short-term results but are prone to getting deindexed or triggering Google filters. Transparency is often lacking, and you won't know how sites are selected and more.
Can we make it visual? I decided to explore one of the well-known freelancing websites to see what kind of services they had in store. A few links for pennies – it's too good to be true.
At first glance, this might sound like an incredible bargain, especially if you're on a tight budget or looking to save some cash. However, as the saying goes, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
In reality, deals like this often raise some red flags. While they may promise numerous backlinks at a minimal cost, there are typically underlying issues that can impact the quality and effectiveness of those links.
Frequently, these freelancers utilize their private blog networks (PBNs) to sell links, a gray hat SEO technique that Google might penalize as manipulative. Utilizing such link acquisition methods should be approached cautiously and not be your primary link-building strategy.
So, as tempting as these offers might appear at first glance, it's important to remember that quality, relevance, and ethical practices often matter more in the long run than simply amassing a large quantity of cheap links. So, the old adage of "you get what you pay for" holds true.
This link acquisition method involves placing links on existing pages of other sites. The content might be slightly modified to make the link appear organic and logical. However, the challenge lies in avoiding sites that sell too many backlinks, as this can negatively impact the sites buying links from them.
Analyzing sites for excessive outbound links compared to inbound ones and checking site traffic and content quality is crucial. This strategy can work, but careful site selection is necessary.
This method resembles the previous one, except that the links are placed on new pages of other sites, and you provide the articles instead of the site owners. The main challenge here is producing enough high-quality content and selecting sites that will bring the most traffic.
Editorial links, which we offer, differ from niche edits in several important ways:
Acquiring editorial links involves building lasting relationships with site owners, making them a safer alternative to purchased links, and complying with Google's guidelines.
This link-purchasing method is similar to the previous one, with the difference being that guest post sites are listed in a single marketplace. You can filter these sites by niche, pricing, etc. Such platforms include Linkhouse, Collaborator, PRposting, and Outreach Mantra, and provide access to a vast number of sites for link acquisition. However, you'll have to follow the platform rules, and adjusting content on pages with links might not always be possible.
This method differs from others as you pay for the work of people building links for you rather than buying the links directly. The main difference is that your site will receive only a portion of the specialists' time, which can be cost-effective and just as effective as an in-house team. An agency can purchase different types of links and devise a comprehensive link-building strategy. The results depend on the agency's methods and reputation, which can be assessed through case studies and real feedback.
By the way, you can check reviews about our work on Clutch.
Businesses can purchase links from various sources, including direct contacts with site owners, intermediary services, or building their in-house SEO team. Many companies opt to buy links through agencies because they provide a strategic approach and help monitor the process, which is crucial in link building to ensure alignment with set goals.
Regardless of the option chosen, it's essential to know how to select and evaluate the quality of purchased links.
When you need thousands of links to achieve top rankings, analyzing each link in detail becomes impractical due to time constraints. However, if you're a site owner or marketer, it's vital to understand which links are suitable for your specific case. Let's dive deeper into this process.
Thematic relevance is one of the essential signals that indicate the organic nature of links. When analyzing sites for link building, it's crucial to start with thematic relevance.
Imagine you're tasked with promoting a website for a software development company. In this scenario, it's not just about getting any links, but it's about getting the right kind of links. Ideally, most of your backlinks should originate from websites that operate within the same niche, which, in this case, is the software development industry. Why? Because links from relevant websites carry more weight in the eyes of search engines.
So, for your software development company, having links from technology-related blogs, forums, or even partner companies can significantly boost your website's credibility and SEO ranking. This is why link building within your niche is a strategic move. While a few links from unrelated sites won't harm, it's vital to ensure that the links are contextually related to your content.
Opinions differ regarding the importance of this factor, but the experience of our company and other agencies shows that obtaining organic traffic from a specific region, such as the US, requires links from sites in that region. For instance:
Another essential consideration is that while purchasing links, you're not necessarily aiming for direct traffic from those links. It might not generate significant traffic, but you want it to be targeted. Hence, look primarily for thematic sites from your country when buying links.
Evaluating a site's traffic is the best way to assess its link quality as a donor. Traffic is more challenging to manipulate compared to Domain Rating (DR). To analyze traffic, you can use link building tools like Ahrefs or Similarweb.
Pro Tip: While examining site traffic on Similarweb, pay attention to the direct traffic. If it's excessively high or the primary traffic source, it's best to avoid building links from such a site.
Direct traffic typically represents visitors who land on a site by directly typing its URL into their browser's address bar or using a bookmark. It can also include those who access the site from a saved link in their emails or docs.
A healthy website should receive traffic from various sources, like organic search, referral links, social media, and direct traffic. If a site is heavily reliant on direct traffic, it may indicate that a substantial portion of its audience already knows about the site, possibly due to extensive advertising or email campaigns. Sites that primarily rely on direct traffic might not perform well in organic search results. This could be due to a lack of optimization, which might result in your backlinks from such sites carrying less SEO value. Moreover, an unusually high level of direct traffic could suggest that the website is investing in paid advertising to drive traffic.
So, it's generally best to prioritize those that have a diverse traffic profile, with organic search traffic being a significant component.
Google recommends using link attributes for outbound links, which can impact the site you're promoting. Understanding whether links have a nofollow attribute is essential. While nofollow links are also valuable for SEO, they are usually less expensive. Nofollow links play a supporting role in making your link profile look more natural.
The optimal ratio of dofollow to nofollow links varies for each case and there are different opinions within the SEO community.
Google doesn't have official statements about specific ratios, so the best approach is to analyze competitors to determine an optimal balance.
The main risk here is that you might end up paying extra for links or create an excessive number of nofollow links, which can reduce your ROI and effectiveness.
The location of links also plays a role in their effectiveness. Several types of links won't benefit your site:
All of these types of links signal to Google that the links are not organic. In the best-case scenario, search engines will simply ignore them. How can you recognize such links? It's quite simple:
Your money should be invested only in links placed within quality, unique, and informative content. Additionally, the link should complement the information on the page.
We have discussed why you need links, the risks associated with buying them, and how to select them. Now, let's talk about link pricing and the factors influencing it. Despite Google's pressure and risks, people continue to buy and sell links. So, what determines the price?
Many other factors can influence the price, including the niche of the site and its domain zone. Some niches might have limited offers but high demand, leading to an increase in prices and the use of "black" or "gray" hat link-building methods.
What about the prices for link building and guest posts? There are a few interesting patterns here that the infographics below will show you.
Now that we have explored the main risks and complexities associated with buying links, and you know how they can affect your site, the decision to buy backlinks is entirely up to you. However, I'll offer some advice to help reduce the risks associated with link purchasing:
Remember two essential things: