Backlinks remain one of the most important ranking factors for SEO in 2023. But should you buy backlinks to help improve your site’s search engine rankings? Or does buying links still carry too much risk?
This article will examine the pros and cons of buying backlinks in 2023. We’ll discuss which paid links are considered “safe” to acquire versus high-risk link building tactics you’re better off avoiding.
What is a Backlink?
A backlink is basically when another website links to your website. They’re pointing to your site, hence the name “backlink.”
When Site A includes a link that sends people to Site B, that’s considered a backlink from Site A to Site B. Backlinks serve as votes of confidence, indicating to search engines that the linked site has worthwhile content.
Having lots of quality backlinks from reputable sites boost your rankings in search results. Not all backlinks are equal, though – spammy or irrelevant backlinks can hurt your site.
The key is naturally earning backlinks from sites that find your content valuable and related to their publishing.
Backlinks are other sites linking back to you, which search engines see as a signal of trust and authority for your domain.
What are the Buying Links?
When people talk about buying links, they mean paying someone to place a backlink pointing to your website on their website.
The idea is that getting links from other reputable sites will boost your website’s credibility in Google’s eyes, helping improve your search engine ranking.
Of course, not all links are created equal – buying links blindly can do more harm than good if they come from spammy or irrelevant sites.
The key is getting links from quality sites that would realistically recommend or reference your content.
But since that’s easier said than done, some people try to take shortcuts by simply paying for backlink placements. Whether that’s a practical or ethical SEO strategy is debatable!
Buying links involves compensating other website owners to place your backlink on their site to gain a competitive edge in rankings.
The Benefits of Buying Backlinks
There are a few potential advantages to buying backlinks:
Quick Ranking Gains
One of the biggest appeals of buying backlinks is that it can produce positive ranking results much faster than typical “white hat” link building techniques. If done right, a well-executed paid link building campaign can result in notable jumps in search traffic and revenue within weeks or months.
Target Specific Sites/Pages
Unlike typical outreach campaigns, buying backlinks lets you hand-pick precisely where links are placed. This includes targeting sites with high authority metrics, getting links on relevant high-traffic pages, or geo-targeting links from sites in a specific country or region.
Requires Less Time Investment
Paid link building services handle all the heavy lifting of link outreach and negotiation. This saves you countless hours pitching and emailing webmasters to earn links. Instead, you pay for links, and the provider handles everything else.
Obtain Hard-to-Earn Links
Some highly authoritative sites in your niche rarely accept typical guest posts or link insertions. However, they might be open to posting paid reviews, sponsored content, or commercial links.
Buying links provides a way to obtain placements on sites that are usually difficult to earn links from.
The Risks of Buying Links
While paid links can still be effective when done properly, there are also plenty of risks involved:
Google and other search engines will manually penalize sites caught buying or selling links. This includes both sites losing rankings and sites willfully selling links intended to manipulate PageRank.
If your paid links use over-optimized anchor text, point to the same pages, or come from sites in an unnatural link pattern, it becomes easy for Google to identify. Too many paid links built without care for quality or relevancy can stand out as suspicious.
Low Quality Links
Some low-quality paid link providers use automated software to publish links or scrape low-value sites to build links at scale.
These tactics result in placebo links that don’t help with rankings. At worst, they can appear unnatural and damage your site’s reputation.
Links May Be Removed
There’s always a risk of paid links being removed down the road. This can occur if the site redesign gets penalized (removing paid posts) or removes old content. Maintaining paid links often requires ongoing payments and management.
Best Practices for Buying Backlinks Safely
The risks make it clear you can’t just buy any links from any provider and expect positive outcomes. But there are smart ways to purchase backlinks that can still benefit your rankings and traffic:
Vet Paid Providers Thoroughly
Only work with established, trusted providers with a proven history of delivering high-quality links safely. Ask for samples of past link placements and client results. Avoid any providers using automated or unethical tactics.
Avoid Over-Optimized Anchor Text
Don’t buy links with “money” anchors like your brand name or obvious keywords. Stick to branded, URL, or generic anchors like “click here” to appear more natural. Instead, follow the best practices for Google.
Build Links Slowly
Don’t blast your site with hundreds of paid links at once. Build purchased links gradually over many months, and complement them with other white hat link building efforts.
Prioritize Quality over Quantity
A few good links on authority industry sites are infinitely more valuable than mass low-quality links from spammy sites. Identify sites that would logically link to you and invest more per link to land the perfect placements.
Disavow Problem Links
Use Google’s disavow tool if paid links come from poor quality or irrelevant sites. This tells Google to ignore those links so they don’t harm your site’s reputation.
Diversify Link Types
Don’t rely solely on paid links. Build a blended link profile combining earned links from outreach, natural links from brand mentions/citations, paid links, and other link building tactics.
Monitor New Links
Keep monitoring your link profile routinely. If low-quality links appear from an irresponsible provider, act swiftly to disavow them. Ongoing link audits help spot issues before they cause lasting damage.
In the right circumstances, buying backlinks can still be an effective link building tactic when done ethically. However, buying links requires far more discretion and management than just a few years ago.
With proper vendor vetting, smart anchor text mix, strict link moderation, and link diversity, it’s certainly possible for some sites to purchase links safely. But for many sites, the risks likely still outweigh the potential rewards. Proceed with caution, start slowly, and monitor paid links routinely to avoid potential penalties.