Paid Links! Why the Hell Not?

Google’s team of search engine techies including Matt Cutts, have all made clear Google’s stance on paid links over the last couple of years. Buying and selling links to purposefully manipulate the search engines is bad, well… according to them anyways.

Their stance is understandable really, as it destroys Google’s ability to use links as an algorithmic calculation. Participating in buying or selling links results in both manual penalties and ranking penalties for those proved to be involved in manipulating Google’s calculations.

Understandably, many reputable businesses, sites, and individuals have dropped this method of link building and have been frantically looking for another way ever since. In this post I will outline some of the paid link building techniques that are still perfectly ethical, proving that you can still buy links without being slapped!

1. Charitable Contributions

Donate to charities and receive a link in return. It’s important to make sure the charities you target do have some geographical or topical relevance, otherwise the link is practically useless to you. Charity Choice¬†or the Charity Portal are two great resources for finding suitable charities to approach for buying links. Make sure you look through the site to see if they do actually link out to other sites, you may be wasting your time otherwise.

2. Sponsor Events

Sponsor an event (either online or off) no matter how big or small, you will receive a link from the events’ website and possibly from the attendees websites also. You can either search through your local sites or newspapers for upcoming events.

A simple search for ‘upcoming events + location’ work nicely. It is important that you stay within your topic market or your geographical location when choosing an event to sponsor. Not only do you have a chance of gaining a nice juicy link from this, the exposure you can receive is often times more powerful in the long run.

3. Purchase Content

Look for content within your industry that is of high quality and has already achieved a great deal of link popularity, contact the webmaster and offer to buy the content from them. If they say yes, congratulations, now ask them to 301 permanent redirect all incoming traffic and link popularity to the article on your site.

4. Purchase Websites

Buy a website that is on topic leaves and you’re free to do with the incoming links what you please. Simply redirect all the links to your main site wherever you feel it would benefit the visitors of the old site. Now this is not an easy method of getting links, there’s a lot involved, but a good resource for this is Bruce Clay’s post on buying sites for SEO.

These methods have been proven to be very effective, but all link building efforts designed to alleviate rankings come with that inherent risk. These are all techniques that should be undertaken relatively discretely.


If anyone has any more ideas they would like to share other than the ones I have covered here, then please feel free to share! runs on the Genesis framework

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  1. Great post Wes.

    I think, like you, that paid links of some form will always have a position within the SEO industry – some of the methods you mentioned are great and aren’t close to those who simply pay for article spinning and posts on low quality sites all over the internet.

  2. If you place a legitimate advert on a website then this is a form of paid link – does Google want us to stop paying for adverts too? Or is it OK if it’s set to nofollow! I think people will continue to buy links because it’s really difficult for the search engines to identify if it has been paid for

  3. I agree with buying links as long as the site is anti spam and of good quality. Of course Google will say its bad but that’s due to the fact it still works and they have no control over it. Quality over quantity and your good to go.

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