There is no penalty for buying links!

7 Oct

There, I said it. That’s what I believe is true; there is no such thing as a ‘you have been buying links so you should suffer’ penalty. At least, not if you do it correctly. I’ll make some statements about buying links that probably not everybody will agree on, but this is what I consider to be the truth.

If you don’t publish your link buying tactics yourself and if your website’s link profile doesn’t contain >90% paid links, then:

  • Buying links cannot get you penalized;
  • Buying links from obvious link networks only results in backlinks with little to no search engine value;
  • Buying links ninja style will continue to get you killer rankings;
  • Selling links can only disable your ability to pass link juice or PR (but you might want to read this);
  • Google will never be able to detect all paid links

Just about every time the topic finally seems to be left alone, someone out there heats up the good old paid link debate again. This time, Rand Fishkin (unintentionally) causes the discussion to emerge once again. By showing the buying and selling link tactics of several websites on SEOmoz’ blog (this info has been removed now), he made it very easy for the Paid Link Police to add some more websites to the list of websites to check out while building the Paid Link Neglecting Algorithm. Several people got all wound up because of this, including (at first) me, because these sites would more than likely receive a penalty (just checked, none of them has been penalized yet).

However, it is almost impossible for Google to penalize you for buying links for your website. At least, not if you didn’t scream “Hey, I’m artificially inflating my link popularity!” on your OWN website. David Airey penalized? Jim Boykin analyzed his penalty earlier and the same thing happened here. In some cases, it may seem that certain websites have been penalized for buying links. What in fact happened, is that the link juice tap of some obvious paid links has been closed, what resulted in less link juice, followed by lower rankings.

In most other cases, you can buy all the links you want and not get penalized. You could buy the same links for your competition, right? And if Google states that Spammy Backlinks can’t Hurt You, paid backlinks probably can’t hurt you either. This basically is the same thing.

The worst thing that can happen is that you buy hundreds of text links that only provide traffic. And, if you managed to buy the right ones, there’s nothing wrong with that.

2 Responses to “There is no penalty for buying links!”

  1. Brandon Drury October 7, 2007 at 7:46 pm #

    Of course, to many people, the notion of their purchased text links providing zero SEO benefit is a form of “penalization”.

    I guess that’s why we all keep going in circles about this topic. Does “penalize” mean the site selling will lose rankings? Does “penalize” mean the site buying will lose rankings? Does “penalize” mean only the link itself will lose PR juice?

    The latter, as you pointed out, seams to be the only one that is true, even though I still think that throwing X dollars away is some kind of penalty…just not the worst one.


  2. Wiep October 7, 2007 at 9:20 pm #

    Brandon, I consider losing (and not a drop in) rankings to be a penalty. And if you bought the right link, you’re not throwing money away if a link doesn’t pass link juice, you’re “only” paying for relevant traffic.