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Are Paid Links Worth The Risk?

Jul 15, 2008
Paid links are a major topic of discussion after Google penalized many sites for buying and selling links. Sites that would buy and sell links had their PR and listings reduced. The result was a fierce debate across the Internet marketing community about the ethics of paid links.

Are Paid Links Black Hat?

The only reason paid links is now considered Black Hat SEO is because Google changed the rules. Before the middle to end of 2007, selling links was not black hat. The main point is that Google dominates the search market and we must care about being indexed by Google. Google has changed the rules many times over there years. They changed the weight of meta tags, link exchanges, directories and social bookmarking. Each time Google makes a change, the SEO industry simply adjusts.

Its All About Risk

It all comes down to a question of risk. Link buying and selling has not stopped, but just gone underground. People aren't openly talking about it, but they still do it. Those who are conservative in their SEO will want to avoid paid links. If a competitor researches your links, and reports you, you make get penalized by Google. There are many who are still buying link, getting away with it, and making good money from it. Its just a choice about risk. There is no need to get wrapped up in the debate of the ethics, or if Google is right or wrong. Simply, paid links get results and Google does not like that. You have to ask yourself if your willing to gamble your site's rankings to get ahead.

SEO is all about results and keeping up with Google. Google is constantly changing, and when it does, you need to keep up to stay ahead. So, it time to adjust. Change your strategies. Risk when you can risk, but protect your legit and important sites by not buying links. For some sites, the risk is too high. Paid links get results, but come with a series of possible side effects if you get caught. The important thing is having the knowledge and making an informed decision. Understand people are getting reported and everyday.

Should a Site Buy Links?

The answer isn't easy. The rules can be bent, and if you do, you may receive great results. If you get caught, you must understand the consequences and face them. You can make cash either way. It all depends on your strategy. It' s possible to make great money online without having to buy paid links. At the end of the day, producing quality content that will generate natural links is the best way to build links. Don't make your ranking 100% manipulated, but provide something for those who find you in Google. And as always, do the standard methods of link building: comments, articles, social sites. Stop taking short cuts and try to produce real high PR one way links because your site is just that great. That type of content will guarantee success. Those with great sites don't have to be concerned about paid links.
About the Author
Justin Briggs runs a blog about SEO that provides a Search Engine Optimization guide that teachs basic SEO lessons.
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