Link building is vital to the success of your website, yet there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there on the topic. Around 85% of SEO experts and marketers believe that link building has a large impact on brand authority and brand building.
If you aren’t properly informed about link building, you can easily end up hurting your online presence, or worse, get penalized by Google by buying backlinks for SEO the wrong way.
The fact is high-quality backlink building from high authority sites to your website is one of the top search engine ranking factors. We want to help you learn how to do link building the right way, so your business will thrive.
Let’s take some time to clear up some of those blurry lines. Below we’ve broken down the top things you need to know when you buy backlinks for SEO.
Do I Really Need Backlinks?
When we meet with new clients they typically ask: do I even need a backlink profile? The short answer is yes.
Backlinks aren’t a big secret. Most clients have heard of them, they simply don’t know what they can do for their websites. And if you don’t work in SEO, you may not understand the full scope of the power of backlinks.
We know with certainty that backlinks will always play a huge role in how websites are ranked. Although Google never reveals its algorithm, it always emphasizes backlinks in ranking.
This has been proven time and time again, and studies performed by big-name sites like Ahrefs still highlight the importance of backlinks.
Here’s an easy way to think of backlinks. Google’s role is to rank authority websites and each backlink is a vote for that site. The more backlinks you get, the more votes you have to show you’re a reputable source.
Ultimately, this will get you higher up in Google’s search results.
If you want to rank on Google, especially against big businesses, you can’t do it without backlinks.
The Three Hats Backlinks Wear and What They Mean
Backlinks are a golden commodity and have been since the beginning of Google. As long as backlinks play a huge role in ranking, there will be those looking to sell and buy.
Because backlinks and SEO can become extremely competitive some businesses owners resort to using not-so-legal tactics to rank above their competition. While this practice might get you ahead in the short term, Google will eventually catch on, and your business will suffer from it.
Actually, now would be a good time to take a look at the many hats backlinks wear and what they mean:
- Black-hat links
- Gray-hat links
- White-hat links
Let me be frank here; black-hat links are bad, and buying them is super risky for your website or business. Not only are they bad for business, but Google’s algorithms are known for flagging these types of methods.
Black-hat link building is a negative SEO tactic that shady backlink services use to boost a website’s rankings illegally. Black-hat link-building tactics are methods used to boost traffic by exploiting Google’s loopholes.
This enables a website to rank higher than it would normally rank if using organic SEO campaign strategies. Search engines such as Google are fully aware of these methods and are likely to penalize a website for using black-hat links.
Gray-hat links are SEO strategy practices that combine white-hat and black-hat SEO. Gray-hat SEO isn’t as openly high-risk as black-hat links; however, it is still a risky practice.
Gray-hat SEO exploits search engine guidelines to increase a website’s ranking. Gray-hat SEO tactics are just black-hat SEO methods that are pretending to be legal and clean.
You may be wondering if buying links is even legal at all. Yes! They are. White-hat SEO links are paid links that are approved search engine optimization tactics that have been designed to increase a website’s position on SERP legally.
Search engine results that show as a result of approved methods rather than black-hat methods are simply considered organic search results rather than loophole exploits.
Will You Get Penalized For Buying Backlinks for SEO?
Some of our clients have heard horror stories about other businesses purchasing a ton of links and getting penalized by Google. They ask if they’ll be penalized link building too?
In general, Google only penalizes websites that do unnatural link building. These are things like Private Blog Networks (PBNs) or getting backlinks at a crazy fast rate.
It is also best to avoid spammy, low-quality links. It would be best to buy quality backlinks from trusted sources. Also, boost your knowledge about link schemes, and Google’s rules about backlinks so you don’t risk getting penalized. Make sure all of your links are relevant and high-quality.
For example, if you get a few backlinks in one month that looks natural. But, if you get hundreds of backlinks in one day from a questionable source, they’re going to know something is not quite right and boom, you get penalized.
Another aspect of link building and not getting penalized is making sure you keep anchor texts natural. What are anchor texts? These are the group of words hyperlinked on a webpage.
We’ve boiled it down to three types of anchor texts:
- Exact match anchors
- Key phrases mixed into anchors
- Brand or natural anchors
Only a small percentage of anchor texts should be exact matches. Actually, an Ahrefs study suggests that exact match anchor text backlinks are no more effective at increasing ranking than non-exact match anchor text.
Too many times people try to put all of their “money” keywords in the anchor text and their link placements thinking it will result in higher rankings. Here’s the problem. If you overdo it, Google will notice and penalize you.
We recommend that clients focus on using a variety of different anchor texts: natural phrases, click here, learn more, or your brand name.
If you keep things looking natural, you will avoid Google penalties.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Buying Backlinks?
When I talk about paid link building and other content marketing, the most common question usually asked is that Google states that exchanging money for links or posts containing links is against their terms of service, so should I buy backlinks?
If you are buying links the right way from the right agencies with a good reputation, you are not going against Google’s rules. Therefore buying links can boost your website’s organic traffic and help you rank in SERPs.
With that being said, let me give you some positives and negatives to link buying to help you decide what is best for you and your company:
Pros of buying backlinks for SEO
Some pros include increased website traffic as referral traffic from bought links as long as they are relevant and high-authority. As I’ve mentioned, it is important to only buy backlinks from reputable link building services like The HOTH which only use white-hat links, and follow the cleanest backlink practices. That will ensure you avoid penalties, it may also save you a lot of time in outreach and networking.
Buying backlinks may also increase your rankings for targeted keywords that are already placed inside of your high-quality content. As a result of adding high-quality links, you should see a leap in ranking positions for different phrases and keywords.
Another upside to link buying is an increase in domain authority and conversions from organic traffic to qualified leads. As a resulting factor, you will increase sales and traffic due to a higher position in SERPs.
Another great pro to buying backlinks is less effort from you, but a higher rank than some of your competitors.
Cons of buying backlinks for SEO
Your budget and the price of buying backlinks can become a con. In fact, The average cost of buying a link is $361.44. Search engines don’t usually like it when websites buy links, but if you are buying the right type of links such as white-hat links, then you should be okay in the long run.
Buying backlinks can sometimes give less value than natural link building because you aren’t making the connections with other companies in your niche.
Another con is that if you plan on learning SEO optimization, then you won’t learn anything about backlinks, outreach networking (such as reaching out to bloggers), and link-building if you are buying all of your backlinks.
However, if your budget allows you to pay for methods from SEO experts, webmasters, freelancers, or agencies then this may not be a con for you. Many companies who outsource link building spend about 25% of their SEO marketing budget on link building.
What Type of Backlinks Should You Buy?
Now that you better understand backlinks, you’re probably wondering what type is the best for your website? There are many to choose from and you don’t want to be penalized.
The HOTH has tested many different strategies over the years, but we believe there are two types that can safely help you out: foundational links and in-content links.
Foundational links are just as they sound. They help build the foundation of your website and they’re pretty easy to acquire. They come from creating social media profiles, making blog comments, and adding your business to directories like Yelp or Google Business Profile.
These types of links won’t directly drive your rankings for keywords, but they’ll show Google that you’re a legitimate business and drive that authority.
In-content links are links to your website that are found in the content of other sites. If, for example, you get mentioned in an article with a link to your website it’s considered an in-content link.
Then, if you get an in-content link with generic anchor text, Google will be impressed that you’re being referenced and boost your rankings accordingly.
To summarize, foundational links are a great way to diversify your link building and establish your website. Whereas, guest posts are great for driving your rankings for very specific keywords, and should typically be used for your “money” keywords.
Where Do You Start With Link Building?
Are you ready to start link building? We hope you’re as excited as we are.
The most important part of building links is getting started! If you’re not actively building links, your traffic is probably plateauing.
No matter what link-building approach you start with, as long as it looks natural your website will gain authority.
Of course, if you’re buying links you need to be strategic in order to maximize your return on investment (ROI). If you have a smaller website or you’re in a lower competition industry, foundational links can be affordable and effective.
But, if you’re competing with bigger businesses for more competitive keywords, you’ll need to focus on building strong in-content links. The best way to do this is with guest post links from high-authority websites.
Use tools like our Free Backlink Checker to see what backlinks are pointing to websites like yours. Then, you can try to get links from the same source.
When Should You Consider Buying Backlinks for SEO
Let’s say for a moment you are completely stuck, your traffic is at the lowest it has ever been, your content is great, but no one is seeing it.
Let’s also say for a moment that your schedule is packed and you barely have time to sleep let alone time to outreach to other businesses in your niche.
You may want to consider buying backlinks if your budget allows for it and if you don’t want to put the work in to create backlinks naturally.
- How many backlinks do you need?
- Perform a link gap analysis
- Drip dates
- Consider your budget
It’s a good idea to figure out how many backlinks you actually need before you target a keyword. Otherwise, you may end up trying to rank for keywords with such a high search volume that you would need a huge budget to rank for it.
As a tip, the best way to find how many backlinks you’ll need is to use The HOTH’s Keyword Planner. This will help you find the right keywords for you and give you a good idea of how many links you should purchase.
Knowing how many backlinks you may need is a good start, but it isn’t enough. You may also need to know the authority of the websites you need links from. The way to figure that out is through a link gap analysis.
Analyze your top 5 competitors and their link profiles. That will help you to figure out guest posts, niche edits, and more.
Drip your dates! If you do decide to buy links you want to avoid buying them in batches. It’s much better to buy links randomly than in bulk because it looks natural.
As I mentioned before, backlinks can come at a hefty price. If your budget allows for you to buy a few backlinks from a reliable source. Then by all means go for it. It may save you a lot of time and effort.
Now You’re Ready to Buy Backlinks for SEO
If you’re going to build links or buy backlinks for SEO, it’s important you do it the right way. One of the best things to do is let someone who has a ton of experience take a look at your site and your competition.
Need some help with that? We’d love to chat.
We have access to the best SEO tools in the world. With those tools, we can take a quick look at your site and give you a personalized plan about how you should approach link building strategies.
If you’re interested, book a call with us now to discuss strategy.