Paid Links – No Longer Worth the Cost?
By Carrie Hill
The WeBuildPages Blog posted a story last week wherein Jim Boykin stated that the WBP team would no longer be buying links that violate the Google Guidelines.
Boykin points out in his post:
Oh, we’re still building links…that’s still the cornerstone of our business right now….we’re just not paying for any of them…
One question though—where do we draw the line? Does a $50 a year directory that throws nice traffic your way—and also happens to openly link to you still fall in the “paid link” category? Is it a directory with benefits?
Publicly denouncing buying links could be an industry-changing position as the crux of the matter is—buying links still works. How long it will continue to work is something we need to ask the search engines. If their criteria say “don’t do this” they should work harder at removing sites from the index that are violating the guidelines many are working so hard to follow.
Any quality Search Engine Marketing firm should be considering each decision they make with regards to marketing a site against a certain set of criteria:
- Is this liable to get this client removed from Google, either today or next year?
- Would we still do this if the search engines didn’t exist?
- Are we comfortable telling anyone—including Google engineers we did this?
I commend Jim and his crew on being one of the first to emerge from the paid links closet. Maybe we need to pose a question to the rest of the industry? If we as search engine marketers stop buying links—will the search engines follow suit and truly devalue them?
Carrie Hill is the SEO Team leader for Blizzard Internet Marketing where she specializes in optimizing travel, tourism and accommodations websites.