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Buying Links: Is It Bad For Your Website?

A few months ago I got a call from an individual crying about a sudden drop in his website traffic. I researched the analytic information on his website and determined that the traffic drop came almost immediately after one of the Google updates. Oddly that Google update targeted companies that had relied solely upon link building as a primary strategy – Many of the websites that had done this began seeing website traffic drop, as was the case with his website.

I explained the update to the individual and began researching some of the links where his website appeared. Many of the sites where his website appeared were general list directories – Places where long lists of website URL’s without a common theme appeared. I worked with him to have some of these links removed, in the hopes that it would help improve his site. It did.

As a blogger, I know all too well the signs of link-building. I see it in spam comments posted. I know that when I get a comment that is not relevant to the blog’s content, makes little grammatical sense, includes random keyword phrases, is posted to a very old blog post or links to a company or service clearly not mentioned in the original post. I immediately recognize it as spam. It is some poor sap, sitting at his computer monitor at 3:00 a.m., searching out good quality websites to post on so that he can build a linking strategy for someone else. And people PAY for this!

It looks something like this comment posted on a 2012 blog post I wrote about Mothers Day craft events in the area.

link buying strategy
Consider that this may be what you get if you pay for links to be built for your company website. A link building strategy may still be effective, so long as high-quality sites that are relevant to your product or service are considered. Just please don’t buy this!

Their grammar certainly tipped me off, but 4-wheeler rentals in Boston have little to do with Ann Arbor Mother’s Day craft events. It’s spam. It won’t be tolerated. While I appreciate that someone likely paid to have this type of link placed or is expecting some type of money reimbursement, it’s not helpful to the individual paying to place the link.

Are link building strategies bad then? Not necessarily. If done properly they can add to a website marketing strategy. Link-building can add value so long as links are placed in relevant websites or directories.

Consider the following when creating a link-building strategy:

  • Follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
  • Look for niche directories that are relevant to your product or service.
  • Don’t blindly pay a service to add 1,000 links on the web.

Those selling links are getting smarter. They are posting on high-quality blogs, websites and directories. They are hoping that no one sees the comment as Spam and allows it to be published. I have seen this happen on many blogs. These types of links harm the site where they are posted and the site linked to. Don’t buy links without knowing specifically what you are getting.

Need help with a website optimization strategy? PWB’s search engine audit allows for a fresh set of eyes to identify areas of weakness. We will suggest changes to improve optimization that may be implemented with your internal marketing team or by our search media professionals.