Should you buy backlinks in 2020 for search engine rankings ?
I mean yeah you might have heard people buying and selling links half a decade back in order to boost organic traffic.
But what’s the current response?
As far as Google is concerned, it doesn’t officially encourage the act if you buy backlinks for SEO.
Though inbound links are a strong ranking factor, Google wants “Links to be natural and organic“. But it’s not so simple out here in the real-world, is it? It would take you months and even years to get any number of links which would actually contribute towards your rankings organically.
And you’re not the only one trying to curate links by buying them as part of your link building strategies.
AHREF did a bit of research couple days back by reaching out to the top domains in some of the most competitive niches including Finance, Health, Marriage, etc and here’s what it came up with:
So the simplest answer that can be crafted for this question before getting into all the details is, yeah you can buy backlinks (at your risk) as long as those links do not look like “bought links”. So the trick is to “make them look natural”, simple as that.
But personally, I believe buying links is a black hat SEO link building activity that should be avoided at all cost.
Related: Semantic SEO – Go to Google Page #1 without additional backlinks
What to Look for Before You Buy Backlinks?
Okay so if you’ve decided to manipulate your search engine ranking by spending “money” to create and buy high-quality backlinks, you better get value out of it, right? Now there are some metrics you should definitely be paying attention to before you move out to buy backlinks from any link building service or single website.
1). MOZ Domain Authority
Domain authority isn’t “the” most important factor, but it’s one of the most important ones because it’s an overall calculation of the domains’ value.
You can check the domain authority of domain using the MOZ OSE (Open site explorer) tool. The domain authority is based on the site-age, backlinks, frequency of links and some other factors.
It’s calculated out of 100 in total, so the higher the domain authority the better the link for you.
2). Number of Outbound Links
Check how many outbound links the whole domain, as well as the specific page you’re trying to get a link from has on it.
If the number of outbound links is surprisingly high (compare it with the site’s age, or incoming links) then it’s probably not a good idea to get a link from the site.
Simply because the site might be selling lots of links, which reduces its overall link-juice and Google may quicky penalize it. Make sure you build and protect your seo techniques.
3). Dofollow VS No-follow
Check if the links provided by the site are dofollow, or nofollow. While both are considered “backlinks”, you’ll be able to reap the benefits and the link-juice only with a do-follow backlink.
Keep in mind that these aren’t the “only” metrics you should focus upon, but they surely are enough.
4). Trust-Flow / Citation Flow
Trust flow is a quality indicator from Majestic. It’s calculated based on a number of “seed domains”, and sites which have links closer to the seed domain have better trust flow.
Citation flow signifies the importance, or authority of the site”s links, so basically, the higher these metrics are, the better the link weights for you.
Once you’ve analyzed the above factors, let’s focus on what kind of links “not to buy”.
Links You Should Not Buy:
Some backlinks are really unhealthy. These can completely ruin your link building campaigns.
1). Automated Backlinks
There are many seo services and individuals with offers like “We will get you 5000 backlinks in 24 hours”. Well, that’s just a big no, regardless of how cheap the service sounds.
As it’s been mentioned many times already, it’s the “quality” that matters not quantity. Also building so many backlinks in such a short-time span is a definitive “spam” trigger.
2). Navigation/ Sitewide links
Google knows which links are natural, and which aren”t.
So getting a link from the sidebar or menu-bars of websites isn’t at all a recommended backlinking strategy. Basically getting a link from anywhere apart from the “content” is a bad idea.
3). User-Generated Backlinks
These are backlinks such as directory submissions, forums etc. While these can be made to diversify your link profile which is a good SEO strategy, these shouldn’t be “bought” as they contribute none or a negligible amount as far as SEO benefits go.
There are many link building services or SEO agencies that still offer this as a paid link building service. You must not be thinking well to buy from them.
4). De-Indexed Domains
I’m sure it’s basic common sense, but I’ve seen many fall to the trap of a “professional looking” website.
Just because it’s professional doesn’t mean it’s worth your money, chances are you’ll catch the problem when you do your Moz DA or backlink analysis anyway, but if you don’t, it’s a good practice to always Google the site using “site:websiteurl.com”.
If the website shows up on Google, it’s not penalized, if not, distance yourself as far away from the domain as possible.
5). Link Farms / PBNs
It’s the general assumption that PBNs help you rank, well they do! But for how long? Google is getting smarter by the second, and once it rolls out an algorithm to penalize PBN links, all your years of hardwork will get dumped in seconds!
Instead, it’s better to give your website some time and efforts, and rank it without PBN domains or link farms even if it takes couple months longer.
Earn backlinks without risk of Google Penalty
Now those are some tips to help you buy quality and unnatural backlinks with a big dose of risk. But you can earn links naturally and be safe by simply doing white hat seo.
As we know search engine optimization has a lot to do with content, the first thing you must do is develop a clean and strong content strategy for your content marketing. Embrace keyword research as part of your link building techniques.
Proper keywords in your content touches on readers intent and attract natural backlinks to improve your overall search engine results.
Follow strictly Google webmaster guidelines. Avoid duplicate content and don’t neglect on page optimization. Pay attention to technical and mobile SEO in your general website optimization.
constantly use Backlink checker tools to analyse your link profile so you don’t run into harm as a result of dangerous links.
Network with friends and maintain good relationships. Guest post on other related blogs to build backlinks.
Some experts advise you submit your site to directories. But as Google constantly changes, directory submission doesn’t have any big impact on your search ranking.
Build Backlinks to boost Google ranking
I believe there is a difference between earning backlinks and backlink building. You earn when someone thinks you have great content and deliberately gives a free backlink.
Building is your own Off Page SEO exercise to create inbound links from high Page rank domains. While this can be a quality link building practice, you must do it with caution. Some common and result-driven link building activities are:
- Guest posting – Focusing on high Pagerank domains with content relevancy.
- Blog commenting on relevant sites.
Guest posting is the most widely used method by many content marketers for seo backlinks. Though some years back, Google’s Matt Cutts made a highly disputed statement that the activity was dead. It still useful for building link.
If you do this yourself, without hiring an SEO company, you can create top-notch seo content and avoid low quality links.
Provide content for human readers
The truth is Google and other search engines care more about their searchers. So we understand why your keyword and inbound link are not the only ranking factors.
Building links shouldn’t be a topmost priority. Think about the content you link to first. No matter the advice from seo experts, If you buy or build links to thrash, your overall search marketing will be a complete waste.
Avoid some time consuming activities advised by some seo companies to get backlinks. Focus on marketing strategies the promote the value of your content. You may hire an SEO consultant to guide your growth or use paid search in some cases.
Learn to use content and link building tools like SEMrush. If you can’t use these tools, focus on content that solves problems and turn to trust worthy SEO experts like Neil patel or Brian Dean of Backlinko.
Maintain a healthy backlink profile
One flap of search engine optimization seo marketers often overlook is healthy link profile. You have to always carry out your link analysis (using a link checker) to find and weed out toxic links. Disavow them in an effort to maintain a healthy backlink profile.
This may be an advanced seo technique but it’s a requirement. If you can’t handle it, outsource to a qualified SEO service.
In the days of article writing, we used sites like squidoo with keyword-rich anchor text to build links and boost Google ranking. But trust me this can’t help you today with any better Serps position. It may instead considered spamming, which can hurt your SEO campaign.
So that’s a wrap up as far as basic linking strategies go. There isn’t any rocket-science to create high-quality backlinks to power your organic search.
You just need to make sure the target site has some authority, citation flow and quality links of its own before you entrust it to boost your SEO.
There is no complete search engine optimization campaign without backlinks. While I vehemently recommend you rely on free backlinks from readers of your works, any steps toward building backlinks, especially buying or using private blog network should be with a lot of caution.
Do let me know your feedback on this piece, all and any suggestions are welcome via the comment form as well!
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