Paid links: do you still have to worry about them?
Once again, paid links are a hot topic in the search engine optimization community. The website of J. C. Penney had number 1 rankings for many competitive keywords. It turned out that the J. C. Penney website obtained these rankings through buying links on over 2000 pages.
The paid links were reported to Google and many of J. C. Penney’s rankings dropped from number 1 to number 70 and below.
What are paid links?
If you pay the webmaster of another site to link to your website, then the link is a paid link. Paid links can be used to advertise your website on other sites. As long as the paid links use the rel=nofollow attribute, Google doesn’t have any problems with them.
The problem arises when paid links are used to get higher rankings in the regular search results on Google.
Google is very clear about paid links
Google does not like paid links. According to Google’s official statement, you should avoid paid links at all costs:
“[Some] webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”
Google even has an official form that enables you to report paid links to Google:
“If you know of a site that buys or sells links, please tell us by filling out the fields below. We’ll investigate your submissions, and we’ll use your data to improve our algorithmic detection of paid links.”
Should you use paid links to promote your website?
The problem with paid links is that they work. As long as nobody notices that you’re buying links, paid links can have a positive effect on the search engine rankings of your website. However, as soon as Google detects the paid links your website can get in major trouble.
There are several problems with paid links:
- A competitor might report your paid links to Google and your website will be penalized.
- A competitor might buy links that point to your website, report them to Google and your website will be penalized.
- A competitor buys links to a throwaway domain, sees where they appear, drops the links and waits for you to buy them. Then the competitor reports you to Google for buying links.
While paid links can improve your rankings, they are also extremely risky. If you plan to build a lasting business, you should avoid paid links. The potential damage exceeds the benefits by far.
Your website must have backlinks to get high rankings on Google
Backlinks are very important to get high rankings on Google. That’s why Google works so hard on filtering the wrong kind of links.
The links that point to your website should be from related websites and they should contain the keywords for which you want to get high rankings. Do not manipulate the links to your website by buying links and do not join automated link systems to increase the number of links to your website.
If you want lasting results, focus on ethical search engine optimization methods. There are many ways to get good links (related websites, blogs, social bookmark sites, directories, etc.). IBP helps you to get them all.
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