Should you buy backlinks for your website? As one of the most frequently debated topics in the SEO industry, backlink acquisition remains one of the toughest tactics to master on the road to improving your site ranking.
It’s no secret that organic link-building is time-consuming and unpredictable. According to experts at MailChimp, a whopping 41% of businesses rank link building as their biggest challenge.
So, it’s no wonder that a number of websites have turned to buying backlinks in a competitive online climate. The question is, should you buy backlinks, too?
While pages with the highest number of backlinks usually rank best in Google, buying backlinks can be risky as well as rewarding.
If you’re still on the fence or want to learn more about how to buy links online, look no further. We’ve reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of backlink buying and compiled the ultimate guide on how to buy backlinks safely in 2023.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks, otherwise known as inbound links, can be defined as a link to a page on your website from a domain that isn’t your own.
For example, if a consumer is reading a fitness article and chooses to click on a hyperlink to your related source, they instantly become ‘referral traffic’. This opens up your potential to gain more qualified leads and achieve a higher ranking score from Google.
(Image Source: Medium)
If your website is consistently linked to authoritative domains, Google will quickly recognise you as a leader within your niche.
“The real challenge with backlinks is getting backlinks with a high chance of faster indexing. If you are starting fresh, then aim for the highest quality backlinks. Make authentic and quality connections, and nurture them,” claims Karan Sharma, A digital commerce expert and co-founder at Kinex Media Inc.
According to Backlinko, the top-ranking pages on Google have more backlinks than those with a lower SERP score. In fact, a whopping 94% of blog posts don’t even contain one external backlink.
Therefore, the proof is in the pudding. Whether you choose to buy backlinks or acquire them organically, investing in your off-page SEO strategy could be the key to ranking higher within the SERPs, boosting brand awareness and improving your digital PR.
How Do Backlinks Affect Your SEO?
If you’re looking to potentially buy backlinks in the near future, let’s first take a look at how improving your backlink strategy could affect your SEO.
From improving your Google ranking to boosting your chances at scoring more qualified leads, backlinking is one of the quickest ways to convince your search engine that you deserve to be on the first page.
“Think of backlinks as the LinkedIn endorsements of the SEO world. If your website is linked to another site that enjoys good standing with Google, some of that all-important influence will be bestowed upon your domain,” says James Blake, Founder/CEO at Vindicta Digital. “This convinces Google that your content is relevant as well as educational, authoritative and trustworthy (EAT), leading to a ranking boost.”
Let’s look closer at three SEO benefits of organically generating or buying backlinks in 2023:
Backlinks Can Improve Rankings
Google views an external backlink as a vote of popularity for your website. If another competing source within your niche provides a link to your content, Google is more likely to consider your referring webpage as an authoritative source for users to consume.
Don’t just take our word for it. According to experts at SemRush, there is a strong correlation between websites with a large number of quality backlinks and a higher Google ranking score.
In fact, in a recent 13-month study, 92% of the 100 highest-ranking domains had at least one backlink to their content from an external source. In comparison, 50% of qualified websites that didn’t generate or buy backlinks failed to reach the first page of a Google search once.
Backlinks also improve your site’s domain authority. While this isn’t an official Google ranking factor, many SEO professionals view it as a true indicator of your online success. The higher your domain authority, the more likely you’ll be to earn a top spot within the SERPS.
Google Uses Links To Crawl New Pages
Whether you choose to buy backlinks or generate them organically, investing in a backlink strategy could actually help Google find your website.
If Google finds a backlink to a new page, such as a recent blog post, it instantly crawls the page to discover and absorb as many new links as possible. Therefore, if you’re planning to externally link out to a new source, ensure that the blog post itself is packed full of internal links, too, for maximum SEO potential.
If you are planning to buy backlinks, the key to raising your DA is to acquire links from authoritative and relevant sources. You could have backlinks from every spammy website in the world, but without a high-ranking position themselves, they are much less likely to have a positive impact on your SEO.
“For backlinks to be most effective, they have to be high-quality and relevant. For example, aim to get backlinks on websites that search engines will find hard to ignore,” states Sharma. “Wikipedia articles are one example; search engines often show these at the top of search results. Of course, the link must be nonadvertising and helpful to readers. Wikipedia is available in many languages, so no problem for non-English websites.”
They Send Referral Traffic to Your Page
Last but not least, investing in your backlink strategy generates referral traffic to your website.
Referral traffic refers to users who have been referred to your site from another source. This is usually via a backlink that leads directly to your website rather than a Google search.
Referral traffic introduces new audiences to your site, opening up new conversion opportunities.
If you’re using backlinking to gain new customers, it’s important that your target referral domains are highly authoritative and relate to your niche industry. A great way to monitor your referrals is to use an SEO tool such as Ahrefs or Google Analytics.
(Image Source: Ahrefs)
As you can see here, in this example from Ahrefs, using an SEO tool to monitor where your referrals are coming from will help you identify the best domains to buy backlinks on. With more insight into which sites your demographic is interacting with, you’ll be more prepared to target similar domains for backlink acquisition in the future.
Can You Buy Backlinks?
The simple answer to your question is yes, you can buy backlinks. However, when approached incorrectly, buying backlinks can often cost you your site ranking as well as your cash.
If you’re wondering how to buy backlinks, the process is actually quite simple. Once you’ve found your target site, the domain owner can insert your backlink within their content for a price.
Once a backlink is inserted on their site, it becomes part of your backlink profile. If done correctly, this backlink should generate referral traffic for your site, boosting both your ranking score and conversion potential for a positive return on link investment.
While the process of buying backlinks may appear straightforward, a staggering 41% of business leaders still rank it as their biggest SEO challenge.
(Image Source: Mail Chimp)
The question is, why?
Achieving paid links from high-authority sites is still incredibly competitive, leaving many site owners with no choice but to turn to low-authority alternatives, link schemes and spammy exchanges. Not only is this a risky way to buy backlinks, but your DA score could actually drop in response rather than rise.
“There’s a big difference between paying someone to build links for you and participating in a link scheme. If you choose to do the latter, beware. There are a lot of low-quality link sellers out there. And Google usually knows about them,” says Aleh Barysevich, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Link-Assistant.
“That said, there are links worth buying outright. For example, if you’re looking to boost awareness (independent of your SEO efforts), you should pay to be featured on reputable websites with properly attributed and nofollow links. These can be a great addition to your strategy.”
How Much Does It Cost To Buy Backlinks?
Before we learn more about how to buy backlinks, let’s have a closer look at the costs of link building in 2023.
According to a recent link-building study by Aira, just under half of all marketers surveyed spend more than $10,000 on backlink building annually.
There are a number of different ways to buy backlinks for your website. However, not all methods are recommended, especially if you want to keep your Google ranking rising.
Bulk Ordering Backlinks
The cheapest way to acquire a number of backlinks for your website is to bulk order them on link-building marketplaces such as Fiverr. While you’ll find packages full of thousands of links for under £100, these links are very unlikely to improve your ranking in any way, shape or form.
Most SEO experts shy away from bulk-buying backlinks, as without proper knowledge of the websites linking out to your website, you have little control over the content they are mentioned within and the referring traffic your link will be visible to.
The key here is quality, not quantity.
Niche editing is the process of asking a publication or site owner to add a backlink to an existing webpage for a fee.
On average, niche edits cost £300-500, making them one of the most expensive link-building methods on the market.
Paid Guest Posts
Rather than submitting a niche edit to an existing piece of content, you can also pitch your own guest posts that contain your desired backlink and anchor text.
While paid guest posting comes in cheaper than niche editing at an average price of around £100, the process is much more competitive and less likely to be favoured by top-tier publications and websites that produce their own in-house content.
Hiring Professional Link Builders
If you’ve got a larger budget and want to ensure that your link-building strategy is completely organic, investing your money into a professional SEO agency is a great way to buy backlinks.
Instead of paying for the links themselves, you’re paying for an expert team to create link-building content organically in the form of a guest blogging service.
Did you know that a staggering 60% of businesses choose to outsource their link-building to a professional agency like Solvid? Not only does this remove the pressure of creating competitive content and campaigns, but investing your money into an expert SEO team removes the risks associated with buying links individually.
However, each blog placement earned can cost anything between £200-1000, making this the most pricey risk-free link-building strategy on the market.
Should You Buy Backlinks?
Should you buy backlinks? Do the rewards outweigh the risks?
While there is no simple answer to this question, learning how to buy backlinks is still an important skill for marketers to learn, especially when working to boost a brand’s ranking and industry awareness.
Those who buy backlinks open up their domain to more potential leads, conversions, and the chance to be recognised by their search engine as a leading source within their niche.
In fact, in some industries, buying backlinks is the only way to secure coverage placements.
With this said, if you choose to buy backlinks for your business, it’s imperative that you proceed with caution. Here are a few of the key risks and rewards to consider when choosing to purchase backlinks in 2023.
The Risks of Buying Backlinks
There are a number of risks associated with buying backlinks, however, when done correctly, it is possible to avoid them.
Here are some of the key challenges to look out for when embarking on a paid link-building journey:
Going Against Google
If you’re considering buying backlinks, one of the first risks you must weigh up is your Google ranking. While many business leaders buy backlinks in an effort to raise their search engine ranking factor, paid link inserts can do quite the opposite when it comes to Google.
Google has penalised websites for inserting ‘unnatural’ looking links and using artificial link-building methods.
In fact, Google’s stance on link building is very clear, stating that advertorial or unnatural link-building methods would not improve your search engine ranking and, at best, be disregarded by a crawler.
“Make a reasonable effort to ensure that advertisement links on your pages do not affect search engine rankings,” says Google. “For example, use robots.txt, rel=”nofollow”, or rel=”sponsored” to prevent advertisement links from being followed by a crawler.”
In fact, if a Google crawler does detect foul play when it comes to link building, the search engine may actually rank your site lower in an effort to provide its browsers with organic, authoritative content.
“Google has a variety of algorithmic methods of detecting such links, and they work pretty well. Claims Matt Cutts, previous head of Google’s webspam team. “At the point where people are recommending ways to make paid links less detectable (e.g. by removing any labels or indication that the links are sold), I wouldn’t be surprised if search engines begin to take stronger action against link buying in the near future.”
Those who buy backlinks also face the dilemma of short-term gains. While paid link building is a speedy way to gain coverage across a number of high-ranking domains, your potential to appear on the top page of a search result is likely to be short-lived or non-existent.
Buying links on forums and directories, for example, may not hurt your site ranking, but they won’t raise it either. Google is trained to ignore these types of links, so there’s a significant chance that you’ll waste your money.
(Image Source: Search Engine Land)
If you still want to buy backlinks, it’s important to invest in high-quality organic methods, such as niche editing and guest posting. Your paid link must provide evergreen value, have a relevant anchor, and be seen on a high-authority site if you want it to improve your ranking score in the long run.
The Rewards Of Buying Backlinks
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are some fantastic benefits associated with paid link building. If you’re considering buying backlinks, here are some of the key SEO rewards you could see.
It’s no secret that paid link building saves a business time and effort when campaigning to improve website authority.
Natural link building can take a long time to perfect and even longer to see results.
“The initial link-building process alone can take months. It depends on how fast you can find quality websites that will provide high-quality links without having to pay for them,” says Samuel Edwards, Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company.
“While you might see rapid movement for some long tail or local SEO terms within just a couple of months, the broad match short-tail keywords might take 3-5 years to rank well enough to get the leads and business growth you are seeking.”
However, if you choose to buy backlinks on high-authority domains, this process becomes twice as fast, leading to more traffic and visibility in just half of the time.
Improved Search Engine Rankings
If you buy backlinks from high authority domains, Google is more likely to consider them when ranking your website.
Not only will backlinks from key opinion leaders in your industry boost your Google ranking, but you’ll also gain greater brand awareness from your target consumers, too. The key here is to pay for links from websites and blogs that appeal to your target niche.
If you offer these platforms valuable content to link back to, Google is more likely to view your link-building as organic and informative, in turn ranking you as an authoritative source.
More Anchor Control
Last but not least, let’s talk about anchors. The anchor text attached to your backlink is extremely important.
Not only is this the piece of text that should encourage a consumer to click but anchors that contain searchable keywords are also more likely to be discovered by your target demographic, as well as Google.
When you buy backlinks, you have more control over the anchor text a website uses when inserting your link. Especially if you’re using a niche edit strategy, choosing your own anchor is a great way to ensure that the link drives more traffic to your website.
3 Examples Of Positive Paid Backlink Building
There are many forms of backlink building to consider when embarking on a paid linking journey. If you’re wondering how to buy backlinks safely, here are 3 strategies that carry the least risk.
One of the safest ways to buy backlinks is through publishing ‘sponsored content’. This method involves paying for a sponsored guest post or brand mention on a high-quality website or publication.
(Image Source: Brand Mentions)
As you can see here, sponsored posts are often advertised as paid placements and reveal the name of the brand publisher in the author’s information.
If you opt for a sponsored post, the website owner is also likely to tag your guest post or link with a rel=“sponsored” or rel=“nofollow” tag.
These tags tell Google that you paid for the backlink, meaning that while you’ll not be penalised for paid link building, this strategy will also not directly raise your ranking score.
However, sponsored content is great for driving traffic to your site. If you pay for a sponsored mention or coverage on a top domain within your niche, you’ll increase your chances of exposure to potential leads.
Another method used to buy backlinks is the process of niche editing. Niche edits have become popular with SEO professionals as they provide the link buyer with more control over the referring domain and the backlink anchor.
Niche editing consists of reaching out to website owners within your industry and offering them money in exchange for a link to a piece of valuable content or a relevant service.
While niche edits do carry some risk, it’s much harder for Google’s algorithm to spot this type of paid backlinking. If you choose a high-authority website and submit a relevant, keyword-rich anchor, it’ll be tough for Google to differentiate between a paid and organic link.
Paid Guest Posts
Guest posting is one of the most common paid link-building strategies on the market. With many of the same benefits as niche edits, paid guest posting can help boost brand exposure and domain ranking.
The only difference is that you’re submitting a piece of content rather than just the link itself.
“Paid guest posts are often referred to as a method of getting unnatural links, but it’s not that simple,” states Alex Kirik, Co-Founder at PR Posting. “If the content is valuable to users of the donor website and the article does not look like blatant advertising on a blog, the link cannot be considered unnatural. It should solve particular problems of visitors.”
Therefore, your guest post should be valuable for your destination site and its readers while still directing viewers back to your own website and its services. The key here is to not be too promotional and find a way to insert your brand organically within the content.
3 Examples Of Negative Paid Backlink Building
Buying backlinks has a bad reputation. While it can be done risk-free, many associate backlink buying with link mills, freelance marketplaces and spammy websites.
If you’re on a mission to learn how to buy backlinks safely, here are 3 methods to avoid when you buy backlinks.
Freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr or PeoplePerHour are often the first places new site owners go to on their hunt to buy cheap backlinks.
While some of the services within a freelance marketplace may offer traditional and white-hat link-building campaigns, many also sell ‘bulk backlinks’ at a low price from low-quality websites.
Not only will google catch this backlinking shortcut in seconds but gaining a link from a spammy website could send your ranking sinking.
Links From Link-Mill Websites
Once upon a time, the website with the most backlinks quickly became Google’s top search result.
On the back of this, many business owners continue to prioritise quantity over quality regarding link building.
However, engaging in many paid link partnerships or signing up for ‘link mill’ schemes won’t provide you with the ranking score you’ve been hoping for. In fact, acquiring large quantities of low-quality links simply tells Google that you’re manipulating their algorithm for search success.
So, no matter how clever the linking scheme or how reputable a link mill website looks, you should only engage in partnerships that offer content value for both websites and their consumers.
Links From Sites Unrelated to Your Industry
While a site backlink may not be spammy, it could still harm your ranking score if it isn’t relevant to your industry.
For example, if you’re a bakery paying for a link on an automotive blog, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb to readers, as well as Google. Worse still, your links will likely be ranking within the wrong niches, making them harder for your target audience to find.
“If a lot of backlinks come from places unrelated to your brand (i.e. using key terms unrelated to your brand), things can start to get muddled,” says Neil Patel, CEO of NP Digital. “Suddenly, search engines start thinking unrelated keywords are relevant to your brand, and you can start falling in results for keywords that actually matter.”
If you choose to buy backlinks, it’s important to find target sites in relevant fields and industries. These are more likely to share your demographic and appear as organic sources for Google to crawl.
How To Buy Backlinks Safely
If you want to learn how to buy backlinks safely, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the key steps to prioritise and what paid strategies to avoid when buying links in 2023.
Prioritise Site Quality
One of the first challenges to overcome when buying backlinks is the curse of low-quality, ‘spam’ sites.
You should only buy backlinks on high-authority domains that are well-regarded within your industry. Not only are these websites likely to be more visible to your target audience in a Google search, but ranking algorithms are more likely to take your backlink seriously if it has been inserted into a trustworthy site.
The question is, how do you check a website’s quality? Here are some of the easiest ways to audit a domain for link insertion:
- Review a Site’s Current Content: Is the content on the website relevant, valuable and consistent? A high-quality website should update its content regularly.
- Check The Domain Authority: Using a domain checker such as Ahrefs or Moz is a great way to determine whether your chosen website is well-ranked against its competitors.
(Image Source: Moz)
Depending on your niche and industry, a positive DA/DR score can range anywhere between 50-100.
- Is The Audience Engaged?: Monitoring your chosen domain’s traffic is one thing, but is the website’s audience engaged? High-quality sites should receive comments on their content, social mentions and shares regularly.
- How Many Referring Domains?: Why not also take a look at your website’s own backlinking history? How many key players link out to your site? If your chosen location has numerous referring domains from top publications, it’s likely an authoritative source to buy backlinks on.
This strategy applies to all link building, not just link purchasing. Google can never know for sure if a link is paid for or organically placed. Therefore, if you’re partnering with a site that is a trusted voice within your industry, as well as a high-ranking domain, search engines are less likely to get suspicious.
Choose A Good Agency
If you’ve chosen to enlist an SEO agency to aid you in your link-building strategy, it’s important to also review their backlink-buying strategy in order to reduce the risk of a penalty.
Choosing the right SEO agency for you can be tricky. Before outsourcing your backlinking efforts, ensure that the chosen agency has a transparent link-building strategy, a clear record of their previous link-building case studies and a number of positive testimonials.
A high-quality SEO agency will often showcase their previous client work and the results they achieved. Review these results and take a look at some of the link placements already obtained for a closer look at the types of referring domains the agency could score for your site.
The key here is to avoid agencies that promise guaranteed results for suspiciously low prices. In organic link building, there are no guarantees. If a service promises a high number of backlinks from specific sites, they could be in contact with low authority domains or part of a private blog network.
Review A Site’s Link-Selling History
Before you buy backlinks on a new website, it’s crucial that you take a look at their link-selling history.
For those learning how to buy links safely, one of the challenges to overcome is partnering with obvious link sellers. If your chosen site is constantly selling backlinks to a number of different domains, a Google penalty is probably just around the corner.
One way to check for this is to review a website’s recent content and search for oddly placed links and anchors. If their content linking looks unnatural and leads to only commercial or service pages, it would be smart to buy backlinks of another domain instead.
Are You Selling An Asset?
Last but not least, it’s time to review your own content. If you want to buy backlinks from a high-quality site, you must also offer the domain high-quality content.
Well-ranked publications will only accept a link to an asset. This could be an informative blog post or a relevant service page that their readers would find valuable.
Ensure that you are linking out to your best content for a chance of scoring a backlink on top-quality websites.
So the question is, should you buy backlinks? The simple answer is, that the process of buying backlinks comes with a number of risks and rewards.
With a whopping 92% of SEO experts claiming that backlink acquisition will still remain one of the most important ranking factors in years to come, it’s no surprise that a number of business leaders plan to buy backlinks in the future.
The key here is to do the research before you buy backlinks. Avoiding link mills and low-quality websites could be the difference between SEO success and a Google penalty.
When it comes to link building in 2023 and beyond, proceeding with caution is crucial, but it’s clear that modern-day backlink buying will continue to play a vital role in the marketing strategies of many.