Buying links is not the most effective technique to earn your way to the top rankings. SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin believes that paying for links is short-term and a waste of money because:
Rankings are tactical: When you pay for links, you’re earning a small amount of traffic and the conversion is a lot lower than if you would grow your site with honest branding, trust, social media and word-of-mouth.
It’s Overpriced: Buying links is more expensive than you would think. You could pay several hundred pounds for a few links in a post, but prices are a lot higher when you are dealing with big sites with a great authority and huge amounts of traffic.
It’s Risky: Buying links is not accepted by the major search engine Google, thus you might be penalized for being a “link spammer”.
Are paid links a waste of money?
Buying and selling links to increase ranking was considered normal back in 2000 but 7 years later, Google declared that manipulating search results with paid links was not an acceptable SEO link building technique and will be penalized according to their Webmaster Guidelines.
However, depending on the source, the quality of the links and the short or long-term impact, paying for links can sometimes be a good way to increase your rankings.
There are three main types of paid links:
Directory submissions can be a useful component of your link building strategy as long as you select just a few relevant and authority directories to submit your links to. When you have a new website and want to get the word out there and get some traffic back to your site, you can use online directories for that. Some are paid and some are free, but the important thing is for these to be relevant for your site, otherwise you’ll be losing money as well as time.
Paid blog reviews
Paid blog reviews are not as trusted as unpaid blog reviews. That’s because people tend to assume that a paid review cannot be honest or critical because the author has been paid to write it. On the other hand, when you pay someone to review your product, the review might just not be as favorable as you’d wish it to be.
However, if the review is positive, it can work in your benefit and generate the buzz you need to make your product known to the public. Blog reviews also have a great effect on your SEO because when you choose a popular blog that is relevant for your business you can get high-quality links and targeted traffic especially.
Online PR links
Paid PR distribution sites are only valuable when you use them to share real news. Of course these can work against your company if you are publishing three, four, five press releases a week. It’s unlikely you have such big news to share every two days, thus you should limit your press releases to when you are promoting new products or services, or when you are hosting an event or conference that is of real interest to clients or potential clients.
In other words, you can’t get away with spam or press releases that aren’t newsworthy. Press releases are meant to increase brand awareness and generate buzz around your products and services.
So, should you invest in paid links as part of your SEO strategy? Yes, as long as you are aware that this is a short-term way to drive traffic to your site. Otherwise, invest the cost of paid links into promoting your business online through the use of fresh content and social media sharing.