This link buying guide will cover the basics, the costs and the work needed to secure new links for your site.
The whole issue of buying links can be taboo but the truth is every link is a paid link. This guide is aimed at those looking to buy links for their website.
In this guide you will learn
- Should you be buying links?
- What defines a paid link?
- Why pay for a backlink?
- The risks involved with buying links
- Google’s stance on link building
- How much does a backlink cost
- Finding good and bad links
- Where to buy backlinks
The Google algorithm ranks websites higher in the search engine’s results using backlinks as a main factor. That’s a well-known fact by now. However, Google has always publicly wagged its proverbial finger at website owners paying to secure these links.
Their message was always that they wanted sites to earn links by providing content that people liked enough to share by linking to it naturally, without being asked or paid to. That’s the summarized version of what Google considers to be “quality” content and links.
Over the years, Google has adjusted its ranking mechanism more and more through repeated undisclosed and public updates alike, in a concerted effort to achieve what they consider improvement of their search results.
In earlier years, you could rank a webpage at the top of Google by simply being the result with the most links. Mass link solutions like blog comments, link farms, directories, and reciprocal links were effective because Google did not combat them well.
Clearly, they aimed to put an end to that and eventually rolled out its Penguin update. Penguin was a colossal shift specifically targeting backlinks and the way they’re considered by Google. With this update, they defined the factors they considered to be a natural link and baked them into the algorithm.
Suddenly, the quantity of a website’s back links was no longer the driving factor behind its ranking. These days, it’s the quality of a site’s links that pushes it up to the top of the SERPs.
So, does this mean buying backlinks is dead? Quite the contrary.
First, paid links vary in the quality of their placement and source. There are paid links that are considered white hat, grey hat, and black hat.
Let me submit to you that buying backlinks is the ideal strategy to rank your website at the top in most cases.
Here we’ll cover why that is, how link purchases work these days, how to select the best link vendor, and more importantly, how to ensure you always get the best quality links possible.
What Exactly Is A Paid Link?
Buying a backlink means paying the owner of another website to link to your site. A paid link can come through many means like:
- An advertisement placement
- Paying to edit an existing article to add a backlink
- Guest Posting
- Negotiating a review of your product with a link back to it
That’s the obvious question here, and it’s fair to say that the entire subject of buying backlinks is constantly evolving. With every update (and there have been so many now), Google becomes more skilled at weeding out irrelevant and low-quality links. You can’t just buy any link you feel like now, and if you do, it will likely get you nowhere.
There are also those tinfoil-hat types that will tell you to avoid paying for backlinks at all costs, because Google sees all and will crush your site when they somehow find out you gave someone money for a link.
Here’s the reality no one will tell you:
You cannot avoid paying for links in any circumstance. By definition, every single way to get links to your site involves influencing it in some way.
Hard to believe, right? Why would Google try to lead you in the opposite direction of what it takes to rank?
Yes, why indeed? Let’s think about it.
Besides the fact that all of your competition that is currently above you is doing it, buying backlinks is more popular right now than it ever was. Businesses of all sizes are securing paid links because it’s effective.
Sure, you have to make sure you’re getting quality natural-looking links. That’s always been the case. However, the worst-case scenario of a Google penalty only happens if you overdo it these days. An example would be if you’re getting cheap, garbage links in exaggerated amounts.
A one-off spammy-looking link here and there will usually just get ignored by Google at worst, because they know sometimes a truly natural link can also appear paid. They really can’t know for sure and, with the best backlinks, there’s no detectable difference.
Also, the competition in SEO is serious. More and more businesses discover the importance of SEO daily, and links are still the biggest part of it. Buying links is the norm, not the exception, and it’s because of 2 things:
Time: Outreach is a huge part of securing seemingly-natural links. Getting a hold of website owners and asking for a link is a highly tedious process that can make you feel like you’re cold-calling all day. If you have someone on your side that knows many websites that accept paid links, you’re already ahead of the curve.
Buying links will also yield results much quicker because a service that specializes in backlinks can get links live in a shorter time. So, you can regularly buy more links as you need them and, more importantly, you’re in control now and can quantify the benefits more easily as a business.
Your Competition: No exaggeration, link buying is rampant. Your competitor, the one that’s at the top, is doing it – no question. If you don’t keep up, it will likely hold you back and that’s just reality.
What you want are quality, relevant links. You need to buy backlinks on sites and pages that are as related as possible to your niche. That’s what Google is looking for, and that’s why paid links that meet these criteria are the most effective solution to rank at the top.
The Risks Involved
Getting the wrong type of links can cost you a good amount of time and effort, in addition to money if you get penalized. The possibility of this puts off many site owners and some give up SEO altogether only to get further outpaced by their competition.
The risks that come with any backlink, paid or free, are:
Uselessness: You can purchase a backlink, or get one naturally from some other site randomly deciding to link to you, and it not even show up on Google’s radar. Therefore, it will do absolutely nothing.
Link Penalty: If a site that links to you gets viewed in an unfavorable light by Google, you can also be penalized by being associated to it. This will bring your site’s pages lower in the rankings.
Manual Penalty: If you are really pushing it with bushels of paid, low quality links, a red flag could be put up and Google would have one of their staff look into your site. If their manual review turns up evidence of spam or other unnatural link patterns, you will get a manual penalty. Getting one of those lifted involves a lot of begging and pleading, which wastes time.
Remember the reward: However, in the case of you buying quality links, the usual result is an improvement in the rankings of your site and an immeasurable amount of additional free traffic. This allows your business to benefit from the added conversions for months to years to come.
Google’s Stance On Link Building
The reason we hesitate to buy links usually stems from their policy that frowns upon paid links.
In their guidelines, it states that “link schemes” including “exchanging money for links or posts that contain links, exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a free product in exchange”, will negatively affect rankings.
So, judging from that and the rest of their policy, you really aren’t allowed to build links in any manner or even ask for them in any way.
However, when Google has been asked on multiple occasions about this subject, they have a history of saying one thing and then saying the opposite the next time.
Google has also been caught buying links for their own sites several times
Many would say that they have that official stance because they want to be the only one selling links through their paid Google Ads service, but we’ll digress.
However, the point for us website and business owners is that Google wants to rank websites that are really relevant to the user’s search and provide a good user experience.
They don’t want to be the ones to show a user of the search engine an irrelevant or spammy site in response to their search.
So, they tell you to get natural links. This is because if a site truly gets natural links, it would be because it really is the best content for the visitor.
Those Natural Backlinks Sound Great. How Do I Get Those?
This one’s a freebie, and you can thank us later. Here are the steps for your website to get those natural backlinks and do exactly what Google is saying to do.
1.) Put a page up on your site with some earth-shatteringly amazing information or media on it. This would need to be the type of content that would change people’s lives and has never been provided before.
2.) Go Viral.
3.) Wait and hope someone decides to link to you.
Whatever you do, though, don’t hold your breath.
You can take a guess at how frequently this series of events actually happens and leads to a barrage of natural links. It’s basically an approach of posting followed by sitting on your hands, praying and hoping.
Although it might help to become a viral sensation, business owners need to spend their time selling and fulfilling their product and not wasting their time rolling the dice on stardom.
That’s not advertising. It’s reading tea leaves. If you have that kind of time and money to waste, then more power to you. For the rest of us, we need to run something truly quantifiable for our advertising.
This is why, for most businesses, paid backlinks are the most profitable way to go.
There are a few sources of links, but you would usually either buy them from a Link Broker (we’ve got quality backlink packages currently available) or directly from webmasters by contacting businesses/websites and making offers for them to link to you.
The types of links available these days are usually in the following forms:
- Guest Posts – a site where you write an article for them that includes a link back to your site (medium risk).
- Outreach – contact real websites and ask for a link to be placed in an existing article (low risk).
- PBN – sellers that have their own network of sites and sell links on them (high risk).
- Blog / Web 2.0 – links from posts on web 2.0 sites (medium risk).
- Paid Feature – your business being featured or interviewed on a publication’s website (low risk).
There’s clearly no set price, and what you’ll pay on your own for a link can vary wildly. There are so many factors that come into play in the price for an individual backlink that it’s really up to luck and negotiation when you go it alone.
Real Outreach and Quality Backlinks can be had right on this site with just a few clicks.
There are a few things to keep in mind when considering the full cost of acquiring a link to your business. These are just some to be aware of:
Content Quality: Sites that are known for their content usually aren’t short on link buyers. This means they’ll be picky and charge more.
Who You Are: If you are a more well-known brand, prospective link sources will respond faster when you reach out for a link. Also, you’ll likely get a better deal or a more valuable relationship out of it.
Link Quality Of Your Target: How strong is the link you’re getting and, therefore, how much of a ranking push can be expected? If the site you’re securing a link on is a monster with long age and big authority sites linking to it, then you can expect a bigger jump in positions. Subsequently, you can expect lots of additional free traffic. A link like that is worth paying more for.
Niche: The type of business your website deals with can play a big part in how much a link will cost. Some industries just deal with more money than others, and therefore charge more for everything. Also, how much do you stand to gain with the type of product your site ultimately sells? That will surely influence the price.
Manpower: It’s not just about the cost the target site will ask for. You also have to consider the costs you’re incurring if you’re hiring staff to perform outreach. You’ll have to hire at least a couple of reps to do a project like link building on your own.
Let’s analyze the data on the subject of backlink pricing.
Case Studies on Link Building Costs
Below are 3 examples that put the cost of links into perspective:
In an independent case study performed by Siege Media, it was concluded that a website can fetch anywhere from $150 to $1,000 for a link. This is basically an average of $500. Read more.
Authority Hacker looked into this and solicited 6 separate paid link brokers to find out the average price of a link these days. The average price worked out to be from $100 to $1000 with varying levels of quality. Read more.
Widely regarded as the authority on link data, Ahrefs actually performed outreach in 2018 to 700 blogs and compiled the data of what these blog owners were charging. This is the most comprehensive study we’ve seen so far.
They found out that some blogs actually were more interested in exchanging the link for good content on their site from a well-renowned partner than charging them for a link. The average amounts per paid backlink was $361.44 before your own overhead is factored in. Read more.
So, How Much Should You Pay For A Good Backlink?
Of course, it all depends on your business and the company behind the site you’re placing your link on as well as other factors. However, based on the data, $500 is a good starting point to get a good backlink. You can go cheaper and be fine, but it’s riskier.
DFY Link Building
Link outsourcing or DFY (Done For You) can be many different things. It could be your Fiverr-type “I give you good link and rank you #1 google domination for $5” junk.
Or, they can be solid backlinks on decades-old sites with thousands of links from authority sites pointing to them, that also get thousands of real, responsive visitors monthly.
The following are the benefits of having an agency like ours here take care of your backlinks.
Lower Cost: Agencies are efficient and focus only on building the most links for lower rates. Your in-house team will not match the production of a knowledgeable, specialized, and optimized link building company, not to mention the prices.
Work With Experts: When you work with an agency, you have the benefit of having a whole team of SEO nerds on your side. You don’t have to guess anymore about what to tell your team when there’s an SEO question on how to proceed. Running an SEO team requires making many decisions for the good of your website’s rankings.
Less Stress: That last point brings us right to this one. You can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything yourself. You have enough to worry about.
Feedback Loop: With our experience just doing this for many years, we can tell you about your particular site and what you could be missing SEO-wise. There could be an issue to address with the links you already have, or a type of backlink you don’t have yet, that could be key to your site’s ranking success. That’s just a small example of the things you gain with an experienced outreach team on your side.
Quality is in the eye of the beholder, but you usually want a good link to be all of these at a minimum:
- A Dofollow Backlink
- From An Authority Site
- Relevant To Your Industry
- Receives Traffic From Google (use a traffic checker)
Basically, you’re looking for a backlink you would be proud to tell everyone you got.
Now, if you’re just starting out getting links, you want to get your research together. What are the bare minimum metrics you would take from a prospective host? Do you want the linking site to be one with at least 50 domains linking to it? 100? Is there some minimum rating you’re looking for?
Always know your minimums and stick to them. This makes sure you don’t waste your time seeking a link if it’s not worth your effort. A good way to start is to know your website’s Domain Authority (a Moz metric) and seek links from sites that exceed that. Ahrefs’ Domain Rating is a good one to use, too.
This way you’re always rising up in the niche (and rankings) with your link building.
There are some things that should be an instant “No” when shopping for prospective websites to link to yours.
Make sure to watch out and move on if you see:
- Adult or Obscene domains
- Sites that are not indexed in Google
- Sites that are not showing up as results when you search for their page or company
- Domain extensions (.com, .net, etc.) that are not in the same country or language as your site
- Domains that receive no traffic from Google
You could definitely get more specific with the backlink metrics you require.
That includes checking for additional recommended factors like:
- A Domain Authority of over 20
- Amount of domains pointing to the site of over 50
- More than 500 visitors a month
- All sites pointing to your site should be https these days
- Having been updated in the last month
- Anchor text in links are varied
- Authoritative websites are referring links to it
- There’s a trend of rising organic traffic
- The majority of traffic comes from your country
- The majority of recent content doesn’t appear paid
- org looks non-spammy as far back as possible
Factors To Watch Out For
- Unnatural-looking or unrelated links
- Authors that are not real
- The article makes little sense and looks like cheap content
- Having a public page that solicits paid links can be a red flag
Remember To Ask About Any Concerns
Don’t hesitate to be thorough when soliciting a paid backlink. Remember, your website will forever be associated with theirs as soon as that link is live. So, asking every question you can think of will pay back tenfold. This applies to direct links from websites or ones acquired through a broker.
Some good questions to ask include:
- Will they show you the backlink before they publish it?
- How long will it take to go live?
- What are some real examples of backlink placements they’ve secured?
- What is the refund policy and guarantee?
- Will they provide references you can contact?
- Will the link be marked in some way as paid on the site?
How Do You Spot A Bad Link?
There are many things associated with a link that can spell trouble. A link that is not contextual in the middle of a post, anchor text that is not associated with the website’s supposed niche, and a website/page with too many links going out are all examples of placements to steer clear of.
Basically, if you wouldn’t click on that link as a reader, look the other way and find something else.
You can find fantastic link builders here but you will have to do all the research yourself and possibly pay them by the hour. You might get lucky and find a great worker straight away, most likely they will need access to tools such as ahrefs and mailing platforms to get started which means more costs.
Avoid at all costs for link building, these sellers are almost all using tools to build spammy links. Fiverr can be useful for graphic, content and other services but not backlinks.
Now that you know what to look for in good links and how much you should pay for them, go get your site some links and rank.
If you go with us for some quality outreach links, just know we take care of all the hunting and filtering for you. All included in our rates.
All outreach is performed manually by our staff and handled with the utmost care. You sit back and collect your authority links.
If you decide to go it alone, keep in mind:
- Make sure you set your minimum criteria and stick to them.
- Make sure your links are Dofollow.
- Ensure the quality of your links.
- Be inquisitive when shopping for links.
By knowing what to expect prior, vetting your links before you get them, and doing your research you can make sure your SEO pays off and your website’s rankings will increase.
Don’t forget that there is no visible difference between a natural and a paid backlink when you do it right.