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Paid Linking - The Benefits And The Drawbacks

Nov 13, 2007
There are a number of methods to build website traffic, some good and some not so good. Text links are often considered to be the vehicle that helps to drive search engine traffic to your site, because the number and quality of links a page has is used to determine its relevancy and ranking. However, it is important to remember that text links can drive traffic directly to your site as well. Gaining links is always best done manually, in order to prevent links from bad neighborhoods and to ensure that you receive targeted traffic from your efforts.

SEO Link Profile

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a popular method of building targeted traffic to a web page. By including well researched keywords on your web page, and building links using these keywords as anchor text, you can improve your search engine ranking. A link profile is a measurement of the quality and quantity of links that you have for each page on your site. This link profile is used by the major search engines as a guide to determine how relevant a web page is.

Why Links Matter To SEO

Building links is obviously important to any SEO campaign. Some marketers spend a lot of money paying for text links from other pages. Usually, the cost of a text link is determined according to the PageRank of the page - the higher the PR the higher the cost. A per-term fee is paid for a month or a block of months and the text link remains until that time elapses.

SEO Link Considerations

- When looking to purchase a link solely for SEO purposes there are certain factors you have to consider.

- The linking page should not use a nofollow tag. These prevent search engine spiders from properly following the link and your link profile will not benefit from any link.

- Ensure that there are not too many outgoing links on the page. The more outbound links on a page, the less benefit your link will receive. Definitely ensure that there are less than 50 links, although this figure is still too high in reality.

- Page relevancy is always a consideration when linking. The more relevant the topic of the linking page, the more benefit your page will receive.

Debate has long been waged as to whether buying text links is an ethical, and viable, SEO procedure. Buying enough links to compete for major search terms may certainly prove infeasible because it can take a large number of links to really make a difference. For more specific or targeted keywords it is a possible option.

Shopping For Traffic Building Links

Text links aren't only beneficial to SEO campaigns because they can directly drive traffic to a website without even considering SEO. Again, page relevancy is important because it helps to ensure that anybody seeing your link is interested in the topic of your page. Targeted visitors also mean better conversion rates and, therefore, higher ROI. But, there are other factors to consider with paid links for driving traffic.

- Page popularity should be measured in terms of traffic, rather than PageRank or any other factor. It is also unimportant whether links use nofollow tags as long as they can be clicked by visitors.

- Link placement should be considered, including the page where the link will be placed and the area of that page. Every page has certain hot spots and the more prominent a link is the more likely people will click on it. In-text contextual advertisements have proven both popular and effective.

Building Direct Traffic

Whether buying text links is considered ethical or not, it is a viable method of driving traffic to your site and while search engines may attempt to prevent the use of paid links in SEO campaigns they cannot negatively penalize your site for their use. If you are considering paying for text links, then you should try to ensure that you are doing so in order to drive traffic directly to your site via this link. Consider how well the link will perform, how many visitors it will produce, and whether they are targeted. Calculate an ROI and determine whether it is truly worth it.

Is Paid Linking Right For You?

Paid links certainly have their place. For a lot of sites, this place has proven to be in an SEO campaign. Care should be taken when buying text links for SEO, that the link is a genuinely powerful addition to your marketing campaign without relying on it to improve your search engine ranking. Check page popularity and relevance, link placement, and ensure that the link cost and results offer a good enough ROI to justify the purchase of the link in the first place. Paid links could provide you with good traffic if you find the right ones at the right price.
About the Author
Omaro Ailoch is a senior software engineer, an entrepreneur and the founder of OC IT Services a highly skilled California based web development, design, and search engine optimization firm.
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