Is Buying Links Dangerous For Both You AND Your Competitors?

Buying Links

Recently Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz has covered buying links through their weekly “Whiteboard Friday” video.  Rand explains to us three examples in which purchasing a single link has done to their rankings.  You can find all these details and the video aver at SEOmoz

Buying Links Is Risky

Google specifically states that purchasing links that do not contain the “no follow” attribute is against their guidelines.  This hasn’t stopped many SEO’s and webmasters from going forward with the practice.  Because of this, Google has been known to ban or penalize a website in which Google believes partakes in buying/selling links.  How can you tell if you’re penalized or banned from Google? Check out the info below.

  • A Google Ban – If your website is banned from the search engine completely you will not be able to find your website within their indexes.  Try typing in your site name or even the URL. If you don’t show up it’s pretty likely that you have been banned from Google.
  • A Google Ranking Penalty - These penalties range from a “-10” penalty up to a supposed “-950” penalty.  A -10 penalty in this instance would mean that the best your page could rank would be number 11 which is the first listing on the second page of the results. These penalties were put in place so that its impossible to get significant search engine traffic. Google wants to include as many sites in their index so if you received a small penalty it just means that you annoyed them. Odds are if you fix your shady tactics they may consider removing the penalty.
  • A Google PageRank Penalty – Many webmasters and SEO’s believe that links from high PageRank sites are deemed the most valuable.  If a website has been caught selling links Google can place a PageRank penalty on their site.  This penalty isn’t supposed to affect rankings, but remove the PageRank score. The goal would be that link buyers won’t waste their time contacting the site due to the visual representation of that site having no Google value.

Buying Links Can Be Risky For You AND Your Competition.

We discussed why it’s dangerous for you to buy links for your website and listed out some of the results that can come about it.  What I want to know is what would happen if you purchased these links for your competitor?  If you buy enough of these links could you get them penalized or banned from the search engines?  If this would be your fate for purchasing the links then wouldn’t it be the same for them?

On With The Debate!

I want this post to generate some comments; I would really like to see everyone’s thoughts on this technique.  I don’t endorse it and I think it would be a crumby tactic to execute assuming it would actually work.  I will start this debate off with my two cents.

My personal opinion is that this technique could work well for low competition keywords in which low authoritative websites rank the highest in the results.  These sites which are ranking well do not have a large incoming link profile and their site authority may be minimal.  Purchasing links would surely take these sites down.  I couldn’t say if it would take two (obviously purchased) paid links or if it would be 100 links but assuming all things equal to Google these sites would be toast.

For highly competitive keywords which have highly authoritative website ranking at the top I wouldn’t imagine an effect.  These websites realistically have an extremely diverse link profile and link counts that are off the chart.  I don’t think Google would penalize these types of sites based off some purchased links.  If Google penalized or banned a website simply for discovering a paid link every website would be sabotaged by their competitors.  I can’t tell you exactly what the limit is nor will we ever find out from Google (Which I remind you is a GOOD thing!).

There you have it, an overview of what a penalty/ban consists of and my own two cents on the subject matter.  What’s your opinion on link buying and do you believe it could be manipulated in such a way to get your competitors in trouble?

This is a guest post by Nick LeRoy.

Article by Nick LeRoy

Nick has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tasarım June 29, 2010, 12:13 pm

    Actually, Rand just posted another blog post showing that it would be very unlikely you would get banned for these paid links, if you already have a good link profile :)

    • ZK June 30, 2010, 12:45 am

      Its sad that the big sites are not affected when they buy links, its the small sites that get slapped.

      • salesfist July 7, 2010, 10:37 am

        That is usually the case…

      • evan schulte July 7, 2010, 1:33 pm

        yea and the little guy can’t afford to have it happen.

  • Nick June 29, 2010, 12:19 pm

    Hi Tasarim, funny you mentioned that. Right before you commented I was reading Rands new article regarding this. It’s nice to get his opinion on the subject matter.

  • Link directory June 29, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Very nice the post, honestly I didn’t rushed in buying links, because it’s risky as we can see very well from this article as well and from other few examples that can be found on google easily…and I believe it’s much more easy to get links freely and stop worrying about penalties from google…or stuff like that

  • James Moralde June 29, 2010, 6:09 pm

    Google’s algorithms are extremely complicated I suppose. Perhaps they’ve also considered the ‘competition sabotage’ issue in this penalty thingy of theirs.

    Good link profile! So, that’s the antidote to the penalty. There, no need to debate. :)

  • blog June 30, 2010, 3:40 am

    how can competitor get hurt with it..any way i had used nofollow when i buy a advertisement place on any website or blog.

  • Colleen July 1, 2010, 8:27 am

    Buying links is very risky, especially if they are good ones to buy. I’ve noticed good quality paid links tend to be at the top of a person’s link profile. They stand out like a target. We do not buy links, however, a while back we purchased one link as it was of high quality and we thought it might bring traffic. Well, we canceled as it was the very first link a competitor would see if doing a backlink check of our site. And, the link was listed in a section promoting paid links. Yikes!

  • Mathew Day July 1, 2010, 8:26 pm

    I always was scared to buy links but actually learned it’s ok on certain type of sites.

  • used tires July 1, 2010, 8:29 pm

    It’s a very touchy issue, I think for the most part, unless its really blatantly obvious, its rare that you would get caught for buying or selling links. It would probably be easier to be caught “selling” links, than it would be to be caught “buying” links. Why? Because if the seller, wants someone to buy their link, they will have to advertise it in some way or form. All the buyer needs to do is contact the seller in private, so the buyer really bears the least risk. What do you guys think?

    Till then,

    Jean

  • Uzi July 2, 2010, 3:58 am

    Buying a link could be just another type of advertisement. It’s just not black hat SEO.

    What If I put my link on a related site so that users clicks on it and comes to my website….

  • Plumber Sydney July 4, 2010, 11:21 pm

    To be honest i have no issue buying links. When talking about smaller siotes and doing things on a smaller scale it’s not as if Google are going to come and hunt you down. I think its a great way of improving SEO and have no issues with it.

  • Web Design Los Angeles July 4, 2010, 11:42 pm

    I think the author has made very generous post. Buying links is really harmful to both the sites.

  • Sun Storage July 5, 2010, 12:04 am

    My opinion in this matter is that Google has to developed something by which they can track that the who has actually purchased the link..it may happen that someone purchase link for making competitors rank down…

  • Suman July 6, 2010, 6:31 am

    Links builder strives hard to provide user satisfaction by developing links that enhance the popularity of the website. This involves a streamed methodology with freedom to choose your link title and description. Simply buy inbound links at the best links building prices to attract targeted traffic and improved search engine ranking.

  • SEO: TopCommenter.com July 15, 2010, 9:42 pm

    Buying links is ok if you don’t get caught right?

  • fajas July 29, 2010, 10:04 am

    why buy links when you can make or build your own links. by communicating with other websites, or talking with other people and sharing things that they would like to know about you or your company or brand, you can slowly but surely build links and at the same time, gain some reputation and trust on your brand. Who knows, they could even help you promote your brand in due time.

  • faja August 26, 2010, 2:18 pm

    You can have links by your own without buying them. Buying links is good if there’s no other option in having links to your site. Buying links is for those lazy people who doesn’t want to work hard for their site.

  • cheap domains February 18, 2011, 6:37 am

    I dont know exactly whether it is risky or not but I have heard many times that it is nothing more than buying a risk. So i dont even think of buying links and have faith only in genuine SEO work.

  • Agatha Smith October 25, 2011, 10:44 am

    I would have to agree with Plumber Sydney, i think there is nothing wrong with buying links. If you think it will help you in your SEO then do what you think will help you.