Buying links for SEO or PR is not a good idea, but buying them for quality traffic is.
Google uses inbound links to rank websites. When they decided to use the inbound links as a factor in their ranking algorithm the idea was to see how popular the website is, and if a website is popular then it must have lots of valuable, relevant, highly targeted content. By counting the number of incoming links Google gauges the relevance of your website and ranks it accordingly. It makes perfect sense. But people started abusing the system.
It’s hard to know if your link appears on an external website because of your content, or the money you paid for that exposure. Currently Google doesn’t penalise people for buying and selling links for achieving higher rankings, but in future it may, if not penalise, start ignoring purchased links. It is already suggested that you use the rel=”nofollow” attribute to tell the search engines that the link is not for rankings but for straight clicks.
So if right now Google doesn’t penalise you for buying inbound links, why should you not invest in them? In the beginning I said buying links for SEO is not a good idea but I said that from a web designer’s and a search engine optimiser’s point of view, not a business person’s point of view. The long term solution is a collection of naturally generated list of inbound links. This is good for two reasons:
- your ranking is solid — this means no search algorithmic changes are going to disturb your ranking
- by providing quality content to your visitors you’ll be increasing your business.
Sure, buying links for SEO can get you quick rankings but if Google starts penalising websites for purchasing links purely for that you’ll be hit hard and you won’t be able to complain. The best policy is, generate highly valuable content so that people link to you on their own, without charging you.