If the Internet were a city, then links would be the streets that connect one website to another, allowing web crawlers to easily find and evaluate websites within the same community. Trustworthy sites link to other trustworthy sites. The more backlinks to credible sites that your blog has, then the more credible and trustworthy it is deemed by Google, which means you’ll rank higher in search engine results.
Also known as the “Reasonable Surfer Model”, search engines have refined link network evaluation to a precise science, using complex algorithms to analyze the popularity of a website based on its links. Thanks to these algorithms, one of the best ways to boost search engine ranking is to link build.
SEO Link Buying: Is the Risk Worth the Reward?
Natural, organic links are far and away the best way to link build. But if you’re just getting started, it can be difficult to receive free backlink juice from reputable websites and blogs. Google, as well as Yahoo and Bing, claim that link buying won’t help your search results. But will it?
In short: no. The risk to reward ratio with SEO link buying is decidedly not in your favor. Link directly violates Google’s guidelines. For years, Google has actively worked to crack down on link buying, going so far as to send undercover representatives to infiltrate link buying groups. With the introduction of Google’s Panda filter, thousands of websites that were suspected of being link violators (as well as content farms) were penalized. Panda is a site-wide penalty, so if enough pages are tagged for poor content, then your site will be caught by Panda’s filter and removed from search engine results. Yikes!
Paid links are just as bad as link spam. Spamming blogs, forums and other web communities with links in hopes of driving traffic to your site will also result in penalties. Time is limited and valuable. Time spent buying and selling links (or spamming other blogs) is time that you are not creating original content or developing a relationship with your blog’s visitors.
So what’s the best way to link build? It all comes back to high quality content. Valuable, informative and entertaining content inspires social media sharing and blog comments. As a blogger, your content quality directly reflects on your personal brand. Content that’s fresh, unique and prompts debate is more likely to be shared, tweeted and reposted.
Infographics are also a valuable way to build quality links. For example, this Panda infographic created by Search Engine Land went viral within the tech blogging community – and sites (including Impress Themes!) continue linking back to it months after the infographic was first created. Sharing unique infographics on your blog (while giving proper credit to the source) ties your website into their link neighborhood. Check out Visual.ly for the world’s largest collection of online infographics, including the tools to build your own.
Still tempted to buy links? Just say no. Save your money and time for content generation. Your site will avoid harsh penalties, you’ll protect your personal brand, and your website will build a legitimate, engaged community. That’s worth more than spammy backlinks any day!