Really? – Is Paid Links Waste of Money?
What are Paid Links?
Paid links are actually similar to advertisements because the webmaster is paid by a third-party to host a link leading to their page on their website. The nature of the link ranges from being text or image based, but will always redirect towards other pages. These links differ from others because the reason for their placement is paid advertising, not for content creation.
Links are an important factor in Google’s algorithms to calculate rankings for webpages, but paid links are somewhat harder to evaluate and may degrade rankings. This happens because the search engine cannot identify if the links were natural and part of the original content or were paid ads to promote a product or offer.
For more to know about what is paid links – Here you can check what Matt Cutts from Google is saying about “Webspam team’s criteria for paid links”.
Is Paid Links Be Avoided?
Link building is among the most effective methods to increase your rankings but the trend of paid links has brought complications for this method. Although they might seem a safe approach to boost your way up the search engine results, In reality they just cause damage to your rankings and reputation. Just what exactly are paid links and why should they be avoided?
Google clearly states that having paid links to increase rankings is against its policy and such backdoor methods will result in penalization. In case a webpage is caught in these link schemes, Google holds authority to blacklist it and remove it altogether from its searches.
Many webpages generate paid links on other pages to increase their rankings since search engines analyse how many links lead to their site and rank accordingly. However, search engines have become exceedingly intelligent and not only check relevancy but also quality of content of the page, due to which such tactics mostly backfire.
Here are examples of link schemes which is able to negatively impact a site’s rating in search results:
- Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or offerings for links; or sending any person a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
- Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
- Utilizing computerized services to create links to your website.
- Text advertisements that pass Page Rank
- Advertising – Payment is received for articles that include links that pass link juice which is valuable for page rank.
- Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.
- Low-quality directory or bookmark site link.
- Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites, for example: No of Visitors in this page – 2010.
- No value links in the footers of various low quality sites.
- Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, for example:
Thanks, that’s great info!
– Pritam (Pritam’s blog, Pritam’s Earnings Tips)
Note that PPC (pay-per-click) advertising links that don’t pass Page Rank to the buyer of the ad do not violate our guidelines. You can prevent passing link juice by adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute.
Reason of Paid Links Ineffective now a days?
When paid links became all the rage a few years ago, many webmasters took advantage of the situation and started paying for sites to redirect towards them via links. At first it worked, but search engines suffered because they prioritize user experience above anything else and these pages often lacked creative content. This in turn caused users to abandon search engines which were not generating relevant searches. Marketing Wind has shared several informative articles on dealing with paid links as well.
Now, search engines have evolved and are smart enough to separate natural and paid links. Other factors such as content quality and how useful users found it also factorized into rankings, so spamming paid links may in fact hurt rankings.
Why you should just stay away from Paid Links
There are numerous SEO service providers who claim to boost page rankings with minimum cost of services and guaranteed results, due to which many customers are attracted towards them. In reality, they should be avoided at all costs.
These service providers rely on creating paid links for your webpage which are hosted on disreputable and outdated websites. Redirecting to create an intermediary link wheel doesn’t work anymore as Google detects sites which are using such phony tactics. They directly drop your hard-earned rankings because such sites are a reflection of your reputation and having links on such sites will cause Google to drop your rankings as well.
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