Buying links can be an effective supplemental strategy in a link-building campaign if it is done cautiously and sparingly. In fact, no method of building links should dominate the overall effort, as the best way to appease the search engines is with a portfolio of high-quality links obtained through as many different means as possible.
Below are just some of the proven methods of building links. All of these strategies require long hours of hard work, but they also come free of the financial cost and professional risk of link buying:
Press Releases/News Outlets
Sending out press releases to news organizations and PR sites is a great way to attract visitors to your site and to build new links. There are numerous free sites online to help facilitate the process, but it’s also not a bad idea to get acquainted with your own local media resources.
Blogs are another great way to get the relevant links you need, especially since you control the direction of the content on your own blog. Featuring compelling guest bloggers is also a very effective way of expanding your audience and gaining high quality links.
Posting on forums and discussion boards is well worth the effort it takes to find the communities that are going to be most interested in your products and services.
Nonprofit and charity organizations are excellent vehicles for building inroads into your local community and beyond, often leading to increased traffic and possibly valuable links for your website. One way to initiate a relationship is by offering your services for free or by making a donation, both great ways to build your business’ reputation.
Social bookmarking takes a lot of time, but there may not be a better way to gain favor with the search engines today than through building great links across the many social media channels.
Building quality links to your site requires many long hours that will pay off in the long run — despite the fact that it doesn’t always feel that way. Technically, the second point is also indisputable, as anyone who buys links to avoid the hard work of painstakingly building a portfolio will wind up on Google’s radar, and possibly on its blacklist.
Although some of today’s SEO’s might consider them somewhat antiquated, directories are still among the safest and best resources for establishing a site’s reputation with the search engines.
The only three links you would ever buy are the Yahoo! directory, the Best of the Web directory and the Business.com directory. The reason why these sites aren’t penalized, which is because of their ‘strict editorial processes. Each one of these links will really help build a site’s credibility for about $300 a year. But it is by no means the end of the conversation, as link buying and selling has grown into an industry all its own. The key to making it a legitimate component of your link-building strategy is doing it sparingly — and knowing when a link is worth the cost and the risk involved.
The criteria, then, for any link that justifies spending your money and risking your online reputation should be considerably harder to meet than links obtained traditionally. There are five categories to examine, and a paid link should rate favorably in all of them even to be considered. The first category is the relevance of the content on the website providing the link to the content on your own site, followed by the SERP ranking of the site providing the link. Where relevance is less of an issue for the links you get through friends, associates and general networking, it is of vital importance for a paid link, as are very high rankings in search results.
The third area to explore is the amount of monthly unique visitors that go to the site providing the link, as high search rankings do not always guarantee that a site is heavily trafficked. Fourth is the placement of the link, and a good rule of thumb is to avoid the more suspiciously viewed sidebar and footer links in favor of links on the homepage or another page where the content is most relevant to your own.
The final factor to look at, of course, is the price of the link, and only you can determine its relative value for your own budget. Another general rule, however, is to avoid discounts on dozens or more links at once — which is simply inviting trouble from Google. You should be purchasing one link at a time and no more often than one per week, anyway.