Why Buying Links Still Isn’t Worth the Hype
Since the dawn of the internet, businesses and brands have sought numerous methods for ginning the system and rising through the ranks of search results. In the early days, manipulating search results was quite easy: spam link building strategies and stuff keywords throughout your content, and voila!
Today, however, these strategies don’t deliver the same benefits – and often cause harm. Yet even now, a plethora of link-buying platforms and agents exist with big claims on how to successfully generate links through cash that’ll improve performance.
To caution our readers against this long-avoided practice, here are some reasons why the hype surrounding modern-day link buying still isn’t real.
You might not believe it, but link vendors are still finding opportunities via the most basic of approaches. Pitches via email or social media continue to pique the interests of promising brands, blogs and businesses seeking to rise through the ranks of search – but often, these vendors are less than honest about their positions.
Sure, they might follow through with their promises of pinging links from other websites – some of them even notable – but there’s usually a catch. In some cases, these websites may have been hacked or compromised, which means the links will sooner or later be discovered and removed. In other cases, it may be entrepreneurial staffers working for these websites who are trying to make a bit of cash on the side: the same inevitable conclusion still applies.
Long story short: many of these link vendors are simply untrustworthy (even if they deliver fleeting results).
Algorithms Are Smarter Than You Might Think
There are two main types of penalties when using Google for less-than-stellar SEO practices: manual penalties and algorithmic penalties. Manual penalties are often on the concern lists of SEO enthusiasts as they can be very abrupt and painful – but they are known issues that can usually be rectified.
When buying links, there’s a very good chance that a manual penalty won’t appear. However, you are still likely to trip the algorithmic alarms, resulting in a sudden downgrade in your rankings without explanation. Imagine trying to determine whether your recent slide in search rankings is due to the links you bought or some other algorithmic factor – you won’t know for sure!
The days are gone where you could simply earn links from anywhere and expect a huge return on investment. Even when buying links from a “reputable” firm or agency, there’s a good chance that your links won’t necessarily be placed on websites that have a relevant focus to your own brand. As such, this not only fails to drive traffic from these sites to yours, but sticks out like a sore thumb to search engines.
You can’t expect that pinging links to and from any website will produce the same long-term results. Because of this, the relevance of the sites where your links are placed matter. Buying links from high-authority, relevant brands can often be very expensive due to the limited availability of these opportunities – and all of the aforementioned risks still apply.
Even though there – in theory – could still be some opportunity from buying links, the risks are simply too great to justify it. Whether it be due to relevance, algorithmic penalties or fly-by-night link vendors, it’s best to continue steering clear of this practice.