Posted December 19, 2007 9:38 am by with 23 comments

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Link buyingIt seems that search marketers just can’t get their heads around the concept of life without paid links. It’s as if SEO just cannot exist without at least a sprinkling of links that include the exchanging of cash. Personally, I’m not a fan of buying links. No, seriously. Sure, I’ve experimented with them–those crazy days–but these days I’d prefer to create some kind of great linkbait than risk getting caught up in a paid link scandal.

However, I’m often asked my thoughts on the best strategies for buying paid links. So, I’ve compiled a list of ten strategies to use if you’re convinced that your only option is to buy yourself some link-love. And, yes, these tactics have all been approved by Matt–my brother Matt back in England, hi Matt! 😉

Before I get started, I’d like to offer a Jake Baillie influenced disclaimer: These tips are provided purely as entertainment and are not designed for you to try and circumvent Google’s noble efforts to clean up the web–or at least make room for its own spam knols.

  1. Only buy links from sites that are highly relevant to your web site content. If you sell ring tones, that link from an online florist will stick out like a sore thumb!
  2. If the site you are buying links from already has more than 5 paid links on the page, walk away.
  3. If the site labels the links as “sponsored” or “paid links” or anything like that, walk away.
  4. Be selective in your targeting. Don’t buy footer or sidebar links if you can help it.
  5. Vary your anchor text. Try to make your anchor text look natural. If you buy links on 100 pages, and they all use the same text, you’re asking for trouble.
  6. Avoid any paid link where the seller is also an affiliate for the broker. Those “earn money selling links”banners? Yeah Google can see those too!
  7. Check that the page ranks well for its targeted keywords. If it doesn’t rank well for its own keywords, it will likely not help you.
  8. Point the links at different pages within your site. Don’t buy lots of links for your homepage.
  9. Try to get the links in a contextual format. A link that is part of a highly relevant paragraph will be more valuable.
  10. I guess I should round this out to ten. 🙂 Don’t worry about buying PageRank. A brand new page may be highly relevant to your industry and rank well, yet the PR shows 0/10. Ignore that, PR takes forever to catch up.

There are certainly many other tips, and SEOs better qualified on paid links than I, so feel free to add your tips below. And, if anyone knows Matt Cutts’ IP address, let me know so I can redirect him to or something. 😉

(Some of this post originally appeared on Gooruze. If you were a member, you would have read this first!)

  • “at least make room for its own spam knols.”

    lol lol

  • Great post, gret Matt joke.

  • I saw the writing on the wall as far as paid links go awhile back and it’s one of the reasons I left a job at a link network.

    That being said, paid links are going nowhere. Some people will stop (or never did) buy links. Some will continue to buy links the same ole way and get in trouble. Then there will be the people who are smart enough to buy link as described above.

    And no matter how much link bait is done, there is no substitute for in content, perfect anchor text combinations.

  • I agree, buying links is just a fad of yesteryear. With so many opportunities for link bait and social media sites that use do-follow tags, it’s all about the content, the relevance and appealing to the right audience. Traffic after all is the goal, how you find it is irreverent.

  • @Jeremy – I didn’t know you had left. Good luck!

  • Matt joke is funny

  • Glad you guys like the joke. I do actually have a brother called Matt. 🙂

  • Loving this on two counts. Firstly the Matt gag and secondly the dig about Google knols. Spot on!

  • Poor Matt. Everybody picks on him.
    Knols, Schmols! If that doesn’t work they’ll move on to something else.

  • I fell for it.

  • Zen

    Say hi to your cousin Matt from England for me! 😛

  • That’s a good piece of advice. Thank you.

  • With all the comments about Matt Cutts, you may soon enough rank well for “matt cutts jokes” or…maybe even better. LOL. Should we start a G bomb for Google Guy…

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  • 0. Only buy links to on pages or sites that are actually indexed in Google! 🙂

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  • Contextual links truly are the way to go whether you are buying, trading or creating a resources page that is genuine. The old style of Title: Description is a clue to the SEs that the page is probably created for reasons other than providing relevant useful content.

  • Thanks for the tips:)

  • Nice post!

    We’ve been doing humor hook linkbait on the web since 1995 at

    It would be great to get your feedback on the comedy linkbait angle!

    Marketing Assistant

  • I guess they are useless. At least the 10th is 🙂

  • Nice post Andy.

    I am currently link building for an online casino and i tell you what, it’s busting my nuts as earning link on merit is damn near impossible.

    This list is almost an exact replica of the list of items we came out with during a recent strategy session in London.

    If you only learn ten things about where to look for paid links, this would be it. Put yourself in Matt’s shoes. If it looks like a paid placement to you, it’s definitely going to look like a paid link to Big G.

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  • Great tips Andy!
    For link buying I would say, we must have to go into great detail on the placement and integration of our link, so even a hostile human reviewer can’t prove that it’s paid.

    tripti’s last blog post..Link Building In An Economic Downturn