As was previously mentioned, some publishers may choose more aggressive means of link building, pushing the limits of public acceptability or altogether ignoring the Webmaster Guidelines set out by the search engines. Let’s discuss some of the more popularly used tactics these aggressive publishers put to use.

Buying Links

This is one of the most popular means for building quick quality links. Buying links has 2 significant advantages for the publisher. Firstly the simple fact is that It requires limited effort. You simply must find a publisher willing to sell the link, and agree upon a price then send him your url and the specified anchor text. A webmaster with a healthy cheque book can quickly obtain a quality backlink profile. The major downside to this strategy is that link buying is strictly forbidden by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google states:

Links placed in return for compensation may not be purchased with intent on increasing Page Rank

Links should be given freely to sites deserving of the links, and publishers should be made aware of other publishers intended linking. links should not be hidden or added to any site without the knowledge of the site’s owner.

Google is not trying to take a stance against publishers buying advertising on the web. its opinion is that links should only be purchased for traffic and branding values, not as a means to build Page Rank or to improve search engine ranking position. It is for this reason that Google recommends anyone selling links on their sites should use the No Follow attribute on their links, so as to not assign any SEO value to the links.

Something worth noting is that PPC campaigns using outlets such as Ad Words and Yahoo Search Marketing are not considered a violation, due to the ease by which these ad zones are identified by search engine spiders. Due to their nature these links do not pass on any SEO value.

Three major areas of paid links can be identified as follows:

Direct Link Purchasing

This is the straight forward process of contacting a web publisher and asking if they would be willing to sell a text link on their website. Many publishers have a specific page utilising their advertising rates and policies. This may however run the risk of being caught by human review, which needless to say, runs the chance that the link will be devalued by the search engine altogether. A better strategy is to ask the webmaster for an “in content” link on a page with the metrics you require.

Link Brokers

Link brokers work specifically to identify sites with potential ad space for sale, which they in turn sell back to other publishers at a fee. Brokers may offer a wide variety of available link placements. Google has sought out many of these sites issuing penalties to not only the brokers but the sites of the webmasters who used their services. I simply could not recommend using link brokers.

Donations to Charity / Sponsor Websites

Another form of purchasing links, perhaps less known by webmasters is by charitable donations. Sometimes these links don’t cost much money at all, and can come with a lot of authority if placed on the right domain. This however, is another one of those tactics which Google frowns upon.  You may be able to add legitimacy to your link by supporting projects relevant to your own content, but there is no guarantee that this will be accepted in Google’s eyes.

Finding these types of sites of course requires a lot of time and effort. We can though utilise search engines to help us. Try searching for phrases such as sports sponsorships. Of course I can’t list specific URLS as that would damage the actual sites and pages. Think “out of the box” a little seeking out for example teams that play popular sports but in lower divisions or perhaps young sportsmen and women. Another good example is that I was recently talking to a webmaster that had sponsored a charity bike ride. The actual homepage of the charity bike ride event was PR7 with extremely high page and domain authority!

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