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21st September 2009 |  Written by Guy Levine

Link Buying – Some Thoughts & Strategies

For the past few years, there has been a major conversation/argument/bitch fight about the ‘art’ of buying links to help ones search engine optimisation. For those not aware, let me give you a bit of background.

Google uses two main factors in deciding where to place a website in its results. What is on a site (which can be manipulated easily so it has become the lesser) and who links to a site (which is harder to manipulate, so the greater.) In our minds this is Google saying how relevant (what are you saying) is your content and who else says its good (who links to you)

Also, each link to a site has a different worth. A link from a rubbish blog is practically non existant existent in Google’s eyes. From an authority site and a major piece of link equity has been acquired.

The problem is that most people don’t want to link out to other sites. Especially if the site is just a ‘sales brochure.’ And that is where the link currency started. Once a link became valuable, people started selling them. And not just the little fish, but the major players as well. Marketing managers and V1 SEO’s started buying them. Rankings would increase, Google would find the source of who was selling links and their value would diminish.

It’s like snakes and ladders for Digital Marketing Agencies or sometimes even internal Marketing Mangers.

So now fast forward to today. Google says you shouldn’t buy links. Experts say you shouldn’t, while others say you should. What should you do?!

This is what we believe…

  • You are able to buy links, but mustn’t go at it like it’s the only approach. A balanced strategy is what’s called for.
  • New websites will need a good few links to even get on the radar.
  • Be sensible. If you are in a certain kind of market and there is a company directory for that industry which charges for a listing and the site looks good, pay to be on the list. If its scummy, don’t bother.
  • Consider buying some good directory listings such as the Yahoo directory. It won’t win in ultra competitive markets, but will get the ball rolling.
  • Don’t buy 1,000,000 blog links for $49. It wouldn’t work in the real world and it won’t work online.

The real skill is creating content which people will want to link to, not just brochure based sales websites. What content could you write which people will find good enough to link to? What resource could you create that people couldn’t live without? What can you create which is funny?

If you are in a super competitive niche where everyone else is buying links, the answer is not so cut and dry! You probably need the advice of a good SEO Company!

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