11th December 2007

Good links are hard to come by, but if you throw enough against the wall, something always sticks.

By regularly submitting to web directories*, making sure your blog is pinging news services, submitting your RSS feeds, submitting content to article directories, and even by linking to your own internal pages with good anchor text, you’re going to continue to grow those inbound links.

This post is dangerously outdated
See Revision  2012 

 

“Rented” links are another story, and Google’s position is that paid links are definitely bad. They are aggressively fighting to identify and devalue any inbound links that are determined to be paid, and they are penalizing sites that are selling the links.There’s no denying that it still works, because they can’t catch everything, but as time goes on, they’ll catch more and more. For now, there are still too many ways to “fly under the radar” and they can’t possibly catch them all, but if you’ve been buying your links, it’s time to consider a more long term strategy.

What Google can do, and what they ARE doing, is “penalizing” websites that are selling links without the nofollow tag, and they are penalizing them by lowering their green toolbar PageRank.

At this point, Google has not yet lowered these sites rankings, but in my opinion, this was sort of a warning shot across the bow to warn those selling links that they should stop, or that’s next.

I’ve personally paid for links for my own sites before, and some even on a monthly basis, because I believe they have value in the traffic they might bring. It’s a safe bet that if Google “catches” those sites selling links, then any value they have for my ranking will be removed, if it hasn’t been already.

In my opinion, Google can never penalize someone for buying links. Otherwise, an entire cottage industry would pop up buying links for your competition. Instead, what Google does is devalue an inbound link that they determine to be paid and put in place only for ranking purposes.

I believe that the way that they devalue the juice of an inbound link is not by devaluing the link itself, but by devaluing the overall PageRank of the site that is passing along the link to you – i.e. – that makes your link worth a bit less.

The bottom line is that without some sort of link building going on, you’re just not going to be pulling ahead of the competition, and you have to try everything within the Webmaster guidelines.

It’s also extremely important to build links to many different pages on your website, and with many different variations of anchor text too. There’s never a reason to focus all of your link building activity on a single web page, or with identical anchor text. When a site naturally acquires links, they come in all different flavors, to different areas of the site. The key to success is to appear “natural”, so be sure to diversify tour targets and your anchor text accordingly.

Linking to others, commenting (intelligently) on forums and blogs, writing great content of your own, and creating useful tools are only a few ways you can make links happen. Here are a few other link building ideas that might spur your imagination…

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    15 Comments    

    • Tipster says:

      What a fascinating article. I have a sports betting site, and have picked up some useful tips for spreading my links over many more pages. Thanks

    • Scott says:

      Glad you liked it, Tipster!

    • Link Building Bible says:

      Thank you for talking about how diversification is the key. Many people think they can just get a ton of forum signature backlinks and win the SERPs… or a ton of XYZ link, or a ton of this kind or that kind. Balancing them all is the key. Buying a few links if you don’t get caught is alright, but diversifying is important so those arent your only links, and if they do get devalued it doesn’t hurt you too bad.

    • Detox Diet says:

      useful article, thanks, How do you know that your site was penelizing for selling links?

    • Graham Gallagher says:

      Some fantastic ideas in this article, I will get to work on them and hopefully the link juices will flow.

    • April says:

      I have bought links in the past when google was taking so long to send me traffic. Now I understand that there is such a thing as the sandbox and therefore it’s just a case of waiting and getting links from legit sources. Luckily there are still many niches that easy to get up in the SERPS by using all the legit methods instead.

    • Neil Williams says:

      Great article! I followed your link here from your article on Linkvana, which I am still considering.

      The problem with all the various methods of link building is that it takes soooooo long to do it properly and get links from so many different sources. It’s almost a full time job in iteslf!

      Can anyone recommend a reputable SEO company that will do it all for you? And not just submit to directories for a fixed fee, but the whole shebang – article directories, PR releases, blog posts, link directories, forum posts, website links – everything! Anyone know of a good one that they’ve had experience with?

    • Scott says:

      I’ll be interested to see any responses (other than Search Commander, Inc.) – thanks for commenting ;)

    • celine says:

      Fantastic post, you covered everything that matters most in link building. I think among all, the most important factor in any link building campaign is variation of “Anchor Text”. Optimizing websites with different keywords is required .This is because as search engine optimizers have learnt that anchor text helps improve search engine rankings they inevitably built incredible number of WebPages that link to their websites using identical anchor text. Naturally, search engines soon gotten onto this trick and filter out those links because such linking patterns appear unnatural.

    • Selbourne Submitter says:

      Link buying has been penalized by Google. But then sites text-linkads . com which are in the forefront of offering these service have a good and healthy PR of 5. Wonder why

      • Scott says:

        But TLA’s website, and sites that show TLA’s can have their visible PR lowered, and have their ability to pass link juice limited too…

    • Build Links says:

      About TLA, their rankings were affected too?

      • Scott says:

        Well that’s hard to say – i really don’t know…

        • Scott says:

          Update March 2012 – After receiving the Google Webbmaster Tools “warning letter” a client decided to kill off their TLA links – they killed all 35 of them in one day that were costing about $220 a month. Two days later, rankings tanked off page one for the two affected phrases.

          The lessons learned? #1 is that you should back off slowly in your quest for “compliance” maybe 10-20% fewer paid links a month and no more while you build GOOD links to take their place. #2 is that we can pretty much assume that TLA links still help rankings…

    • Dave Williams says:

      You hit the nail on the head here – fantastic man!

      Dave
      Webmaster for LCD monitor enclosures

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