Buying Links – It still happens, and it still works

Over the last 18 months to 2 years, there’s been a lot of cleaning up going on in the SEO industry, or tried to anyway. Brands have found new SEO companies to clean up their Link Portfolio. SEO agencies have found themselves clutching at new ways to get their client that coveted number 1 ranking.

Or have they?

Just cast your eyes over the old process of building a client a link as a general rule of thumb for SEO agency:

1) Bottom layer the link portfolio with directories
2) Fill the link portfolio with PR releases (free of course, more money for you!) and buy PR2-PR4 links on a reasonably bulk basis
3) Buy expensive PR5+ links from established blogs/link networks

Obviously that’s all been outed now, so let’s look at the general link pattern now:

1) Write some blog posts and make infographics
2) Put these on your site/blog
3) Share these on your social platforms
4) Pay someone like a national newspaper or established industry blogger to talk about these posts/a product
5) Offer something for free (pay/bribe) social followers to share your posts/products/infographics, creating you thousands of yummy “new” social links

Sorry Matt Cutts, it’s not working buddy!

Buying links can come in more forms than paying some shady link company to throw you some exact match anchor text links around the web. It comes in forms of bribes, prizes, rewards, shared audiences or however you can offer something in return for a link. It’s still buying of some sort! If your website isn’t being shared by users naturally and you’re offering an incentive for that, that’s buying of some sort yes?

Even excluding the part of the whole buying links thing that is really just marketing campaigns, actually paid links still happen. For most businesses they still have to happen too. If someone came to your business and said:

“I’m going to spend £100k of you money in the next 6 months, but I can’t definitely promise you any return. What I can tell you is that in the next few years, you won’t be de-indexed”

What business owner would honestly say yes to that? (By the way, that’s not my primary pitch effort!) Business owners, want to see quantities of links. As a natural result of “this new online thing” they want to see £X = Y results. That’s why buying links worked and as long as money is the bottom line for marketers, and results is the bottom line for businesses (that’s forever by the way!), buying links can and will still work.

Don’t believe me? Why don’t you do some proper research into some brands, REAL brands. Every day brands. That doesn’t include Dollar Shave Club – who are literally a 1 in 1,000,000 example – I’m talking your every day high street brands. Look at their link profile, it stinks. Do they rank well? Are their agencies doing well? Are their CEOs happy? Yes.

Buying links, it can, and has to work.

Note :: I wrote this a few months ago and was more of a dig at Google than a post declaring the importance of buying links. Personally, I hate it and it really gets under my skin that it works. Added :: have to chuckle in light of recent events (Interflora and BBC) that looks as though its finally coming to an end.