Archive for the ‘Link Building’ Category

Bought and Paid (Links)

I was reading a blog post on another SEO site and the post was explaining why you shouldn’t sell or buy links that pass pagerank. I thought “this could be interesting” to see someone else’s take on paid links. For the most part it explained how it’s against Google’s guidelines to pass juice in exchange for payment. Nothing new but the next article I read on that blog, by the same author, was about how he was trading or bartering with other website owners for links that pass page rank. I’m thinking to myself “wait a minute” you just finished a post about how it’s a bad idea and your competitors could turn you in and then you act like you have discovered the holy grail. In my opinion you are still paying for the links even if it’s not for cash and worse yet, you have just disclosed to the world (Google) that you are buying and selling links that pass juice or page rank.
Before I add my thoughts on paid links you can review the Google Guidelines for buying and selling links.

As far as buying links goes I recommend that you avoid link farms and uncategorized directories they are most likely the types of spam Google is trying to avoid and will eventually penalize if they haven’t already. I do encourage press releases with embedded URLs. One could argue that you are paying for the link but realistically I think you are paying for the press release and if someone picks it up then you are apparently a valid source for their service and deserving of the juiced link. You had what they wanted to offer, you didn’t directly pay them if you paid a press release service so I feel this is safe and whitehat. I also think that a well organized directory that has valid traffic should be allowed to pass pagerank even for paid listings. They invest in building and maintaining a quality product that others choose to join and as a value-add they pass juice, is that so wrong? We can only hope that this is one of Google’s exceptions to the rule. A good example is Best of the Web they have been around for a while and they have a well organized directory. They still pass rank and it would be a shame if Google penalized anyone for subscribing to that directory. This quote is attributed to Matt Cutts of Google, “We tend to look more at the quality of the directory than whether it is SEO related”. I think that clearly states that a quality directory is safe as long as its ultimate goal is to drive traffic and not squeeze juice. We maintain a business directory for our town and we often wonder if we would be penalized if we didn’t use the nofollow tag. It would be nice to offer that as a value-add to our “edit your listing” service but the unknown result is not worth the gamble. We have manually added local businesses to the directory and for a subscription fee we allow the owner to edit the content and add their URL. After further review we might remove the no follow if it’s a quality website.

In the end I would use this rule: If you are buying the link for pagerank then it’s probably a bad idea. If you are buying a link on a quality, high traffic site that has relevant content or a relevant section and they just happen to pass juice then you have probably found a gem. Just remember, Google could kill the pagerank value you are receiving from that link at any time by penalizing that site so be sure the purchase is worth the traffic without the juice.

—David Blizzard