Are Paid Backlinks Really Bad for Your Website?
Anyone who owns a blog or website will have read that paid backlinks, such as those that you can buy on websites like SEOClerks and Fiverr, can do more harm than good, but it is that really true? Here is an alternative view of paid backlinks and an explanation of why they may not quite as bad as you may have thought.
High quality backlinks play an important role in SEO and there is no doubt that they do get a website ranked higher in search engine results. However, generating those backlinks takes a lot of time and effort which is why there is a thriving market for paid backlinks on websites like SEOClerks.
The purist white-hat SEO expert will tell you that links back to your website, that you have paid for, are the SEO equivalent of the work of the devil, but are they really all that bad? After all, how else do you get your website to appear on the first page of Google?
There is no question that Google and the other search engines actively discourage people from buying backlinks or doing anything else to artificially elevate a website’s position in a search engine results page, (SERP), but then you could argue that any form of payment for any kind of SEO service is artificially raising the ranking of a website. Surely, a celebrity endorsement, for example, placed in a tweet or Facebook post, is just as much a paid link as one that you have bought on a site like SEOClerks.
The white-hat wizards of SEO will also tell you that if you do dabble in the dark arts; your site will disappear from the face of the earth. If that were the case, why don’t people simply bombard their competitor’s sites with bad links and get them removed from the search engine results?
The truth is that, while the blatant use of black-hat SEO techniques will get your site de-listed by Google, a sensible and measured use of paid backlinks created by a freelancer is no different from a large company employing a full time employee engaged in generating publicity, press releases, guest posts and mentions of social media.
If you were, for example, create a poorly worded, tacky affiliate sales page and bombard it with millions of spam links from dubious domains, not only will you deserve to be penalised by Google, you will be penalised. If, however, you have a high quality website, with good content and a reasonable number of natural backlinks, you can effectively, and safely, boost your rankings with high quality paid backlinks.
The real trick is to choose your backlink service provider carefully and don’t overuse it. Free link services and those that cost one dollar for thousands of links, are clearly not going to be high quality. You should also take your time to read the reviews of any SEO services that you consider before you take the plunge. Think too about what would happen naturally to a website, over a long period of time. A brand new website, for example, wouldn’t suddenly be the recipient of 500 wiki links, the day after it went live.
If you use backlink services as just a part of your link building strategy and you use them sensibly, they are no more a dark art than publicising your website on your own Facebook page or adding your URLs to your own profile on social bookmarking sites is.
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