Link building

Should you buy links from random emails?


Every day I get emails from people I don’t know who offer to sell me links.

In fact, in the last 24 hours, I have received 12 emails offering to sell me links or perform “white label” link building services.

I understand. Bonding is difficult.

And a lot of people drawn to SEO don’t necessarily like nurturing the relationships necessary to organically build quality links.

Even so, should you buy links from that cold email contact?

The danger in the inbox

Most people understand that buying links is against Google’s terms of service.

Apocryphal stories about manual penalties and lost fortunes run around every SEO group.

But desperate website owners always respond to spam link sales offers that arrive unsolicited in the inbox.

Lately, these offers list a number of websites where links are “available” for purchase.

In some cases, websites appear to offer legitimate linking opportunities.

But in reality, these websites have either been hacked or some dishonest writer is accepting money under the table to put links in their copy.


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Most of these link building offers are worth about as much as the space they take up in your inbox.

Manual penalties are the least of your worries

I am going to tell you a secret.

You probably won’t get a manual penalty from Google unless you do something obviously wrong.

And if you receive a manual penalty, waiving that penalty is a painful but fairly straightforward process.

The biggest concern of most people who go gray or black in their link building efforts are the algorithmic penalties that can arise.

In my experience, Google just ignores most of the bought / paid links.

And in many cases, Google can tell when a link is purchased.

In this case, you paid for a link that gives you no value.

And in some cases, you might see your ranking drop inexplicably.

This happens because Google recognizes purchased links and algorithmically downgrades your site.

When this happens, it is impossible to know if the drop in rankings is due to shady links or if it is because of some other reason.


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This scenario is worse than a manual penalty, in my opinion.

We can do something about a manual penalty.

An algorithmic slap is much more difficult to diagnose and fix.

Why would someone associate with you?

Ultimately, all marketing speeds up the inevitable.

If a product or service is to be successful, marketing (including SEO and link building) will accelerate the timeline of success.

If a product or service fails, marketing will help it fail faster.

If you’ve got a great product or service, you’ve got something worth linking to, but it’s up to you to tell the world everything.

If you want to be successful in SEO, you have to create something that other people want to relate to.

It means digging deep and really understanding your unique selling point.

At the end of the day, the competitive analysis is excellent. However, if you just do what your competition is doing, you might match them but not beat them.

It’s best to focus on your own site and figure out what others will want to talk about – and link to.

Successful and linkable content is different for each site.

There is no silver bullet to creating a desirable link destination.

And of all SEO tactics, link building is the hardest to scale if you do it right.

No doubt about it, link building is hard work. But it’s not rocket science.

Essentially, all you need to bond for is create something worth relating and telling the right people about it.

In most cases, you don’t need thousands of links to be successful.

In fact, I’d rather have a Wall Street Journal link than 1000 random blog links every day.

But I’m not going to get a link to Forbes from a guy who sent me an unsolicited email.

Believe me, this calls for trouble – the kind of problem that hurts your SEO more than it helps in the long run.


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So should I buy links?

In my career, I have bought links for millions of dollars.

But about five years ago, I decided buying links was too risky for my clients and my agency.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had clients buying links. I don’t do it for them.

If you want to buy links, you need to understand that there are some significant risks as mentioned above.

The old adage: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the problem is, I don’t know which half, ”has never been more true than when it comes to purchased links.

My best advice is that if you are going to buy links, make sure the links are going to provide you with valuable traffic – not just PageRank.

And if you are going to buy links, I suggest you buy them directly from the site.

Don’t respond to random unsolicited emails with amazing links at an amazing price.


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If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

Key points to remember

Bonding is difficult. Scammers and spammers know this; in fact, they are counting on it.

That’s why your inbox is filled with link building offers that, more often than not, are too good to be true.

Don’t fall for the offer to buy links in your inbox.

Realize that when you buy links you could be wasting your time and money.

You could end up suffering the consequences too, and a manual penalty is the least of your worries.

Diagnosing an algorithmic downgrade is much more difficult than setting a manual penalty.

Create link-worthy content – content that the best sites will want to link to.

Create that linkable content and then tell the right people about it. Showcase your content to influencers with the best links. Pick up the phone and tell them about your great products, services and content.

I promise you will have more success talking to someone than sending them a random email.


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You need to stand out in your link building efforts, so pick up the phone and start launching.

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