As an SEO specialist, you’re well aware that backlinks can really improve your rankings. However, buying backlinks for SEO is a controversial topic surrounded by a lot of misconceptions.
In today’s post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about buying backlinks and how to avoid common mistakes.
- What link buying is
- How much a link usually costs
- Google’s stance on backlink buying
- Some classic methods for buying backlinks
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Link Buying: What Is It?
If you’re working in inbound marketing, content, or SEO, you’ve probably come across countless articles on SEO blogs with titles like: “The Ultimate Guide to Buying backlinks for SEO”, “How to Buy High-Quality Backlinks, or “Where to Buy Backlinks”.
Backlinks have been a hot topic for years, and there’s a good reason why. But what is all this fuss about? And what exactly is backlink buying?
As the name implies, when you buy backlinks, you are paying for another website to link to yours.
In a nutshell, backlinks are a valuable asset because of how Google determines expertise and authority. Domains with inbound links from thousands of third-party websites are considered more authoritative than domains with few inbound links.
The more relevant, high-quality links are pointing to your website, the higher it will rank in the SERPs.
Link buying can take many forms, including:
- Paying to be in directory listings
- Paying for guest posts
- Hiring press release distribution services
- Using private blog networks (PBN)
- Paying for link Insertions
But before we move forward, let’s take a look at the cost of paid links.
Backlinks: How Much Do They Cost?
The truth about backlinks is that there isn’t an average price for them. Prices vary a lot.
Some of the many factors influencing pricing are:
- The type of link in question
- The Domain Rating of the site you’ll be getting backlinks from
In 2018, Ahrefs conducted a study, measuring link-building statistics across 450 websites. They found that among all the websites that charge for backlinks, the price for link insertions ranged from $50 to over $3300. It’s no joke that prices fluctuate.
Let’s take a closer look at link prices according to domain rating.
Link Prices According to Domain Rating
The cheapest quote was $50 for a link on a parenting blog with a 32 Domain Rating (DR). Meanwhile, the most expensive one was £2,500 ($3,312) for a link on a DR56 travel blog.
So, Ahrefs set the average price of a link at $361.44.
Furthermore, here’s a sample of a typical link vendor price for links:
All in all, buying backlinks is not going to be cheap. So, it better comes with a good ROI.
Let’s see what Google has to say about buying backlinks. Will buying links to your site really give you the results you’re looking for?
Google’s Stance on Buying Backlinks
Great backlinks will help Google identify your site as an authoritative source. However, if Google catches you buying backlinks, it will penalize you for it.
However, Google’s stance is a little more nuanced.
Google recognizes that “buying and selling links is a normal part of the web economy”. But the company strongly encourages content publishers to:
- Set paid links to rel=nofollow or rel=sponsored
- Disclose any paid partnerships
In short, Google objects to the purchase of links for the specific purpose of “passing PageRank.” Or, in other words, buying (or selling) links to manipulate SERP rankings. Google calls this type of shady link buying “link spam.”
What Is Google Link Spam?
There are numerous types of links that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Google strongly discourages:
- Buying or selling links to manipulate SERP positioning
- Excessive cross-linking
- Producing low-quality content with the sole purpose of link exchange
- Creating backlinks automatically (using programmatic SEO for black hat purposes)
- Requiring users to link to your website in your terms of service
- Not disclosing sponsorships, affiliate links, or paid promotions
At this point, you’ve probably already guessed it: We don’t recommend buying backlinks for SEO.
Next, we’ll review some classic methods for buying links “safely.”
The 2 Most Popular Methods for Buying Backlinks
Maybe you’ve bought backlinks in the past and you’re determined to do it again.
Buying links is risky and goes against SEO best practices. But it’s true that if you do your due diligence, it’s possible to mitigate that risk.
So what makes a paid link safe? Basically, safe links come from websites that:
- Don’t mention “selling links”.
- Are highly valued by search engines.
- Specialize in your niche
- Have inbound links from high DA domains
- Offer meaningful and valuable content
If you only choose websites that meet these criteria, you’ll find that link building has an extra benefit. It’s not only about getting you to the top of the SERPs. If you’re on niche websites that people actually read, your backlinks will bring you qualified traffic.
Method 1: Finding Sites Friendly to Advertising
Identify websites that actively accept advertising and sell “clean” backlinks.
When you find the site to buy the backlink, you must explain to them that you are looking for a sponsored post, not a banner or an insertion on a newsletter.
Make it clear to the site owner that:
- Your content should not be marked as advertising.
- You’re willing to provide a well-written, informative post.
- Links in the article should be dofollow, not “rel=sponsored” or “rel=nofollow”.
Method 2: Partnering up with Bloggers
The other option is to look for bloggers in your niche who may be interested in linking to your content.
A popular blogger may receive dozens of emails from SEOs asking them for free backlinks, every week. So offering compensation can be an effective way to stand out. Especially if the link will bring you qualified traffic, not just a small boost in domain authority.
Need extra help to build high-quality backlinks? Check out our link-building guide.
The Truth About Backlinks: SEORadar’s View
As we near 2023, buying backlinks for SEO is generally frowned upon, and its efficacy is being seriously questioned
Link buying is nothing more than a “shortcut” through Google’s authority ranking factors. However, it’s a flawed strategy. Having a lot of links from low-quality sites with no relevant traffic does not help build authority.
Most link vendors set up small sites with the sole purpose of building backlinks. These sites:
- Are usually filled with AI-generated content
- Don’t target any specific niche
- Provide little to no original value
- Don’t have a loyal readership
Conversely, building links by creating link-worthy content is the only real way for your site to genuinely climb in the SERPs.
Moreover, buying backlinks:
- Reproduces bad content practices. They prevent you from truly examining why your content isn’t getting organic links in the first place.
- Reduces your content marketing’s ROI. Buying backlinks is fairly expensive and usually brings very weak results.
- Puts you at risk of being penalized by Google.
To build links naturally, you should create content that people will link to, aiming to provide material that others can use as a resource.
There’s More to SEO than Backlinks
SEO goes beyond building backlinks. Broken redirects, misassigned meta tags, and missing alt tags can negatively impact your rankings just as much as the quality of your content.
SEORadar is an SEO auditing and monitoring tool that inspects your code, making sure that no technical errors are jeopardizing your rankings.
With SEORadar, you’ll receive automatic notifications whenever potentially problematic code changes occur on your site. That way, you can act soon and protect your rankings. SEORadar covers 100+ HTML elements. But you can personalize notifications to fit your workflow and preferences.