Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Paid Links – Good or Bad?

Buying links in an effort to gain better search engine rankings has been a part of website promotion for a long time. But if you’re considering paying for links, there are some risks you need to be aware of.

Paid links can tip the balance for a website by helping it rank higher. But that’s something the search engines have taken steps to combat, with some success. We’re not sure how good Google is at telling that a given link is a paid link or not, but it’s abundantly clear that they have become very good at identifying irrelevant links and causing them to pass little or no PageRank to the target page. It’s also been confirmed that Google is manually identifying paid link networks and selectively devaluing link sellers  reducing the PageRank of their pages so that links on those pages lose value.

Perhaps the most immediate risk of buying links comes from your competitors. Google actively encourages webmasters to report link buyers and has made it easy via their Webmaster Tools website, as well as from search results pages. If your competitor reports you for buying links and Google has penalized your rankings (or even banned you from its results), it’s hard to get that undone.

For more, see the article To Buy Or Not To Buy from Website Magazine.

  1. Firstly,thanks for your article.
    Actually, I have an idea about paid link.
    While I agree it is well within googles grasp, the theory falls short when old theories are examined such as recip link filters, paid link filters, etc. These filters have always been run once or twice (at great expense in resources to google) to make an example that google “could” do it and scare webmasters into compliance. One has to wonder why that is how it has always happened… The logical answer is that it is simply very resource intensive and not worth doing on a dynamic basis or even a somewhat scheduled occurence like the PR/BL exports.

    One of the main reasons the -30 penalty was disproved was that keyword searches being calculated and ranked on the fly, trying to read profiles dynamicly would add expensive load time to the search query. Googles core function is to serve results to searchers, and the longer that takes, the longer before ads show up for those same searchers to click on. I can not, as a coder myself, see that ever being an “acceptable” loss of time.

    • I have to disagree about checking for paid inks slowing down SERP response time. That’s not when Google checks for each result’s link profile. That’s run independently of SERPs and is factored into things like PageRank and TrustRank. As such, SERP response time takes no hit from this.

  2. I do not think buying a good link. If you buy it, be sure to read it

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