Articles for Webmasters     Purchasing Paid Links For Higher Search Engine Rankings

By Ryan J Lawrence

In the old days, search engine optimization was as simple as pumping your web site text full of popular keywords. However, these days, search engines like Google have gone to great lengths to hone their search algorithms in an attempt to kill off SEO, once and for all. And, although web site marketing through SEO may not be dead yet, it has certainly evolved. Nowadays, if you want your web site to rank on the first page of search engines like MSN, Yahoo and Google, you must have quality, one-way inbound links from related sites. There's simply no way around it.

If you're not an expert in SEO, you may wonder why these types of inbound links are so important. The answer can be found by analyzing the evolution of the search engines, themselves. Search engines like Google have worked hard to put the clamps on SEO tactics. They've created and fine-tuned their searching algorithms to spot SEO tactics and punish accordingly. The percentage of keywords and key phrases found on a web site used to be the main determining factor that influenced search rankings, and SEO specialists noticed. The result was a lot of high-ranking web sites that garnered their positions through deceptive tactics that took advantage of a flawed system. So, search engines responded by tweaking their algorithms. One of the ways they did this was by placing considerable value on one-way inbound links from related sites. In a nutshell: from a search engine's point of view, when a web site links to your web site and you don't link back, then that web site must think your web site is pretty good. The simplest way to look at it is to consider a one-way inbound link to your web site as a "vote" for your site's credibility. If the site linking in has content related to yours and its search engine "credibility" is high, then that specific link is worth even more. So, obviously one-way inbound links are valuable, but how do you get them?

Ideally, one-way inbound links should happen naturally, over time. The principle theory here is simple: if your site has good content, other sites will naturally link to it and you should begin to scale the search engine ladder without the need of complicated SEO strategies. This can be done by updating content regularly with articles or blog posts. The negative to this strategy is that it can take years to develop and can be time consuming and labor-intensive. Also, many sites require a reciprocal link before they will link to you. This devalues the incoming link as search engines are savvy enough to determine that the reciprocal link indicates that some sort of deal was made.

If you're like most web site owners, you don't want to wait months or years for your search engine rankings to improve. But, how do you get quality, one-way inbound links from related sites quickly? By far, the quickest way to get one-way inbound links is to purchase them from a link broker. The process is simple: you pay the broker either a monthly or a flat fee. The broker then uses a portion of that fee - minus his or her commission, of course - and negotiates with another site for a link. This process can be cheap or expensive depending on which broker you choose.

But, does this strategy really work? Absolutely. Search engine algorithms are highly advanced and constantly evolving to pick up new SEO tactics. However, the one thing they can't do is sit down and analyze whether a one-way inbound link is natural or purchased. They simply don't have the man power and even if they did, they'd almost have to be mind-readers to know for sure. Purchasing inbound links is a quick way to attach a proverbial rocket to your web sites rankings. Plus, it's a business expense and tax-deductible.

You might ask: If purchasing paid links is so easy and effective, why isn't everyone doing it? Just like most things in life, this sort of SEO has its risks. Bear in mind that search engines like Google don't like this sort of SEO tactic at all. They want actual rankings that reflect the true value of a web site. They know they do a poor job of recognizing paid links, and are willing to employ harsh penalties in an effort to dissuade web sites from purchasing them. A web site caught selling paid links often has its outbound links devalued and its overall ranking can be effected as well. You might think that, as the purchaser of the link, you may not be effected by this type of penalty. However, if you have purchased links from a specific web site, and that site are caught by Google, your links won't be worth much, and the money you spent will be wasted. Also, Google has set up a controversial way for web sites to report other sites who might be selling links, providing the perfect opportunity for web site owners to sabotage their competitors.

The decision of whether to purchasing paid links or not is a personal one. Like most strategies, it has its benefits and its negatives. If you do decide to purchase paid links, the best advice is to diversify you SEO campaign. Buy from many different sites so if one goes down, your site won't suffer a complete system failure. Though, not illegal by any means, purchasing paid links is highly frowned upon. Though, it can be an effective means of boosting search engine rankings, it must be done with a relative level of secrecy.

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