Howdy, howdy, my hero webmasters! Can we buy links as part of our SEO strategy? Search Engine Academy devotes a lot, a lot, A LOT of time to link building, and in a word, no, you ought not buy links as part of your SEO efforts. Sorry.

Let’s look at this a little closer, shall we?

It’s an old subject, purchasing links for our SEO efforts. Recently, one of my clients brought to my attention several firms out there in internet land that offer paid links from web sites with pages that have a high Page Rank – greater than PR 5. These links are not fettered by the “no follow” command either. And these firms guarantee better Google rankings. My client would love to get back some time to do other things, but taking short cuts by buying links is not a great way to gain more time.

Again, I know, I know these operations flourish even in these post-Penguin times. That’s because businesses like this are counting on desperate web owners not keeping up with the latest in Google search formula updates, ranking signal changes and anti-spam measures used by Google. So, new customers are still plentiful.

More than anything, this is a review about linking strategies and linking schemes.

Here’s what Google said waaaaay back in the day (2007, ancient history!) that still holds true to this day. You can go and read it, and I certainly recommend you do so. Basically, buying or selling links that pass Page Rank to get better visibility in search results is hugely frowned upon by the Googlers, umkay?

And in Google Webmaster Tools, you can basically read the same information here, with a few more specifics to help you better understand what exactly will be caught by Google, either manually or through regular Panda updates.

But If I Buy Links It Frees Me Up To Do Other Things!

Yeah, like trying to restore the site after Google nails your leathery hide to the door, you snake! Link building is hard. Link building chews up a lot of time. Link building is frustrating. Believe me, I get all that.

Nowadays, you are much better off using these steps and processes to find quality links that will keep you in Google’s good graces:

  • Legitimate, reputable business directory listings
  • Industry partners
  • Individual articles written by you and posted on one – and only one – other site
  • Limited, LIMITED guest blogging with a post that really says something
  • Social media links that even though they are “no follow,” are part of your natural link profile, according to Google
  • Links from newspaper or magazine articles about you and your business
  • A valid, legit link from a TLD of .gov or .edu, which are hard to get, but all’s you need is one, anyways

I do my best to discourage anyone from going down this road. It’s not worth it. Most of my students nowadays are those who paid an SEO firm (I use that term loosely) to get them links. They trusted these charlatans, who took lots of money from them, created s*&^%$ links for their site, then left the site hanging when it got slammed with a penalty, either manually or via one of the regular Penguin updates.

So please…as tempting as these offers sound, don’t do them. The bad about SEO is you have to do it the right way with effort. The good thing about SEO is if you stick to the recommendations, you’ll weather the algorithm and ranking signal changes much better than someone who tried to take a shortcut.

Until we meet again, keep it between the ditches!

All the very best to you,