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In this post, I’ll explain why you can’t buy backlinks as a strategy for your off-page linkbuilding profile. Yes you can buy the links itself, however we would never recommend this, and I’ll explain why. Please keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying backlinks for SEO.
Well, a backlink is basically any link, that is linking to a website. This can be a link from your own website (internal linkbuilding, this does not however give you any link juice) or links from other websites (external linkbuilding). External links can be anything from wikipedia.org, forbes.com or justarandomblog.com. Just kidding. In other words, a backlink is just a link with a certain amount of link juice (read our off-page SEO post to learn more about backlinks and link juice) that is passing over to your website. Without getting into more details about linkbuilding itself in this post (we’ve created other posts about this already), this is just the essential you need to know.
It saves time. Like a lot of time.
Basically that’s the main thing, but there can be several reasons. In order to acquire backlinks from other websites such as blogs, news magazines, forums and other websites and media, there are a lot of steps (usually) just to get 1 link. Depending on your own website/ business and the link you get, it might be worth, or it might not. You really have to decide by yourself because it depends on a lot of factors, and thats not the main point.
Another really common reason, is just that buying links will get you faster results (if done correctly). Yes this can potentially boost your rankings and help your site to rank faster. Then you could focus on other SEO tasks or maybe other aspects of your website or business, such as conversion rate optimization (CRO), e-mail marketing, UX or something else.
Some of the common steps to get a backlink from a normal outreach:
- Creating really high quality content (blog post, video, infographic etc)
- Research relevant websites/ business that might be interested in your specific topic
- Qualify these and filter out the ones who haven’t already made/shared the same content
- Contact all of the prospects and build trustworthy relationship with them
- Request the prospects to share your content/ link to you
- Testing different outreach strategies and approaches to increase the responsiveness/ backlinking rate
- If you don’t have the exact right content, you’ll need to hire someone to do it or re-write to make it fit
- Repeat and optimize..
When you create some unique content you can either post this on your own site and make others share it or link to it, or you can make it available for just one specific website/publisher where you post your content on their site and link back to yourself.
Pro’s of publishing on your own site Vs. Other sites:
So basically, most of the time you aren’t “buying” backlinks, but more often just buying the process of doing so. If you have hired a manager to do it, you pay him, or otherwise you’ll have to do it yourself, but even though that doesn’t “cost money”, well time is money, right? So you could have spend time on other things than just trying to build backlinks (which is actually against Google’s guidelines and violation if it’s solely for SEO purposes), but there are other ways to do improve your organic rankings. You can do on-page SEO of course, increase your social signals through social media or you could also use a private blog network (PBN).
What is Private blog network (PBN)?
A private blog network is a network of sites and domain you create and run, to (most of the time) increase rankings for a money site / main site as shown below.
In short, the point is to create multiple maybe 100’s of sites (web 2.0 and other types) and generate links and content to these sites. Then you use all of the linkjuice from all your sites and point this back to your money site / main site, to push up the rankings and therefore generating more traffic and leads/revenue etc.
We’ve covered PBN’s in another post, but now I’ve tried to compare the 2 solutions/methods.
Some of the common steps to building a PBN:
- Finding good expired domains or buying new ones
- Qualify and rank all the domains by analysing all of them
- Purchasing the domains and hosting for these
- Setting up the CMS (wordpress) or any other platform
- Creating the layout and the website profile and theme. Setting up menu’s and homepage etc
- Writing and creating content for alle of the sites
- If the site’s meet your min. SEO criteria you pass links to your main site
- Creating even more content and links to the PBN
- Creating social signals
- Repeat and optimize..
This is even more time consuming than the first one and will require a lot of money also, because you have to buy for example 50 domains + 50 hosting. So everything you do will be X50, and this will greatly increase no only the time consumed but also the cost of it. You will need to do all 10 steps for all of the sites. Yes, all of the sites, depending on how many you want, you might not be able to do this yourself, which means you also need to hire 1-2 people building your PBN or finding a PBN service provider to help you.
Either way, you’re buying the service or buying the process, once again.
You can however also just buy a single link or a link package from a variety of online marketing services providers. Which leads over to the next question…
In the terms of “buying” links, you can actually buy links from Fiverr, and other places around the web where “marketing agencies” want to sell you 10 backlinks for 100 USD, or something similar. The point is, you can buy backlinks many different places, but most of the time the links is from unknown sources, and 99,8% of the time not relevant for your site, or even worse, spammy sites or sites with Google penalty which means these sites will drastically hurt your sites rankings. On top of this all of these sites is from sites with low to none authority which means it’s worth nothing to Google, which means you get 0 link juice, which means it doesn’t have any positive effect.
So everything sounds great, buying backlinks is maybe not the right way to do it, but I can rank faster and earn more money with buying backlinks or PBN instead? NO, is the short answer. Remember, it’s against Google Webmaster’s guidelines so you shouldn’t do it, but it isn’t helping your ranking, so you should just focus on building a natural linkbuilding profile. And remember, Google doesn’t care about link quantity, only quality, so you could still get amazing rankings with only 20 backlinks, so don’t worry too much about this. Also if you do violate any of Google’s guidelines, they will eventually (maybe tomorrow, maybe next year) figure it out, and then your site will never be able to rank organically because they will give you an insanely big penalty for doing so.
It is also safer in general to acquire backlinks from real genuine sites than old/ sketchy/ spammy sites, in terms of doing linkbuilding in general. Which means, if you really want to buy backlinks, focus on quality and relevance every single time. My team and I do not recommend any grey/black hat SEO strategy as well as buying links, however it’s up to you how you want to grow and build your site and business.
It is possible to grow your site and business in the right way without violation the Google terms, also hiring people to do the SEO work for you which isn’t violating any terms and isn’t illegal (obviously, doh..).
So you might think, well what do I do now then?
Well you generally have 3 options:
1. Solution – Hope and pray to the Google algorithms
If you’re willing to take the risk of buying links or a PBN, you can do this. However you will have a risk of that one day you might loose 100% of your traffic because of google giving you a penalty.
However if you know what you’re doing and your buying links or PBN in a very natural and meaningful way without spammy links, crappy sites, fake spun content etc, this might the solution for you.
In general building a PBN is riskier than just buying 1 link from a real blog or website. You can take this into consideration when choosing, but if you just buy 1 link here and there, you might be good to go, but I can’t tell for sure. Buying 100’s or 1000’s of links from spammy providers or Fiverr or something similar is mentioned above, is NOT recommended in any way and will not help you in any given way what so ever. This is just waste of your time and waste of money.
2. Solution – Using proxies
Using a proxy site or many proxy site, to decrease your risk of getting into any Google troubles. Fx if our business was named “Pryma Digital Marketing” and our business website is www.prymadigitalmarketing.com we would then create a site called www.digitalmarketingguru.com or www.onlinemarketingexperts.com or anything similar.
Creating something which is still relatable but not the exact business website. Then you create all your content on the proxy site(s) and if it get’s punished by Google you wouldn’t lose your “real” business site. However it’s not a bullet proof strategy because if you have any links between your main site and any of your proxy sites, Google will be quick to figure out if there is any relation between them, and then just give all of them a penalty.
3. Solution – Investing in other aspects of your site
As mentioned earlier, SEO can be very time consuming and very frustrating to work with. It can easily take up way too much of your time and many people get “distracted” in their business just because of SEO. Thinking of how to optimize their website loading speed to increase their Google insight speed score from 80 to 90 or how to get more backlinks or anything similar.
It’s important to spend your time well in your business, and also SEO. If you’re not an SEO expert yourself (yet), you can hire someone or outsource this to an agency or maybe a freelancer or 2 that can help you. If you don’t want to spend money on this, don’t worry and keep reading on our blog we’ll help you out!
It’s easy to get trapped in the SEO bubble and forget about other important tasks and aspects of your business. Remember it doesn’t matter how good your SEO are if no one cares about your product or services. There are just 1 exception and that is affiliate marketers, who doesn’t need any product and can shift between them if he/she want to.
So, these are some of the options you can invest time and capital in, besides backlinks:
- General product/service improvement and development
- Customer service and experience
- Content creation (text, video, audio, pictures, basically anything you want)
- On-page SEO optimization (page speed, content, technical optimizing, internal links, sitemap etc)
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
- Growth hacking
- Branding and design
- Paid traffic (adwords, youtube, facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat)
- Influencer marketing
In other words, there are a lot of great ways you can improve your website and business, and these are just some of them I use myself and have good experience with, as well for our clients.
You can use some of them, none or all of them together if you want to, it’s just to meant to give you some inspiration.
Most business want to value and prioritise the investment that gives the higherst possible return on investment (ROI), however this can be difficult with SEO. I’ll try and break it down for you.
ROI marketing math
In order to invest your money into one or some of the options above you also need to know a few things about your business. If your business just launched and got a new website, this can be e-commerce, affiliate, SAAS and any other business, you might not want to invest in off-page. Because your site is brand new and doesn’t have any authority or content you need to focus on this first. You can’t really build trust with backlinks to a site with no content. In short, start with content and building a good site, that’s responsive, works on mobile and fast, and then focus off-page SEO.
The REAL investment of buying quality backlinks
It’s expensive. If it’s a genuine good quality link from a real, highly relevant website it’s often expensive.
They know they are worth something, and that’s why they’re charging a premium. 1 link can cost anything from 300 – 1500 USD.
You should consider this as well, because a new site will probably not gain any noticeable better ranking from this 1 link if the rest of the site suck, and it will be a horrible investment. Focus on building your site, and a few relevant, “low hanging fruit” backlinks at first. This can be from a forum or local blog or something similar, and then buy more premium links to give you the real boost and increase in rankings.
A few other things you also could invest 1500 USD in:
- Getting about 150.000 reach with facebook ads (depends on the specific ad and targeting)
- Getting 4x 1500 words article written by professional freelancers, to get more content on your site
- 50 hours of web design and development (for an average of 30USD an hour)
- 75 hours of video editing (for an average of 20USD an hour)
- 6 high quality influencer post/ promotions for your brand and business
The big take-away here is that there are many different approaches to how you should investment your money when it comes to growing your business and especially SEO. SEO is a long term game, and backlinks are difficult to get, if the quality and relevance needs to be good. You will have the 3 options listed above to chose from.
Make sure, if you decide to buy any backlinks, use only the higherst possible blogs, magazines and websites with good genuine traffic and with relevancy to your site, or an outreach service for paid blog posts etc. However when you focus on backlinks and off-page SEO in general, remember to have a strong and solid website and foundation already, otherwise you waste your time and money.