This article has been referenced in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nofollow) as a source for assessing the value of paid links.
The intent of writing this article is to help webmasters understand the risks involved and the low-value of using old growth methods.
Gary Illyes (Google) at the last SMX Advanced Conference while on stage he said that buying links from sites that sell guest blog posts and the like is the same thing as”literally throwing money out of the window.”
And here is Gary himself responding via Twitter to someone that offered him some “good DA” sites.
You may try to game the search results but Google isn’t counting those links anyway, and you are wasting your money.
Google now has much more developed blockers that ignore these paid or manipulated links and don’t penalize them as harshly or as much.
Let’s go through the 12 reasons why you shouldn’t use this tactic.
1. Paid backlinks cost money.
2. Search engines do not like it when people buy backlinks, and as a result, they might remove your website from their index without any previous warning (unnatural link building methods). Buying backlinks are considered spam (black-hat) SEO technique. It can put your website out of business permanently.
3. Bought backlinks give less value than natural backlinks, especially if the site linking back is not relevant to your topic/niche, i.e., a comment on a travel website that links back with irrelevant or no text at all, to a lawyer’s website.
4. I seriously doubt if bought backlinks can improve your ranking rather than earning them naturally. Note that earning backlinks can be quite hard.
5. Paid backlinks are time-sensitive. Either they disappear/break after a short while (usually removed by the webmaster), or the site linking back goes out of business or gets penalized, i.e., cheap PBN link sellers dealing with high deindex rates. Backlink vendors or VA’s that build links at public platforms are prone to spam (software blasts), and those links will not remain for long.
6. Webmasters commonly use the footer or the sidebar (non-contextual) for linking back, thus signaling an unnatural backlink.
7. Sites offering paid backlinks show recognizable patterns, i.e., bulk external linking, abnormal external linking graph, not relevant topic linking, non-contextual backlinks, no real traffic, built for the only scope of selling links, etc., factors that augment the risk for receiving sites. Of course, there are cases where the trade is not recognizable, and both parties keep the secret and quantities low. In this case, if the page is relevant, then the backlink will count. Freelancers selling those backlink packages tend to stick to the same patterns for every new client.
8. The prominent link brokers who advertise their services, i.e., openly via email marketing, or have built a platform for trading backlinks, are easy to track and are under the lens of search engine spam teams and sooner or later, will expose their network. Now, some people argue with that assertion based on the fact that the web is vast, and Google has limited resources to monitor link trading. If that was the case, how come websites being penalized for unnatural backlinks?
9. It is hard to find paid backlinks with a natural pattern that shows high page relevancy to avoid penalization.
10. Sites selling backlinks offer no guarantee against penalization. The risk is all on the receiver’s side. Providing reviews for their services does not change the fact that they break search engine policies.
11. If the receiver sees that the previous set of backlinks bought were inefficient, he/she might try with more massive quantities or extreme packages, eventually will get busted.
12. Spending money on paid backlinks limits opportunities to work on the real traffic, brand name, website authority, etc.