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The Complete Guide to Link-Building

Are backlinks any good in 2021? Believe it or not, backlinks still work to make SEO campaigns successful. You can’t do without quality backlinks if you’re serious about getting higher search rankings and relevant traffic to your website’s pages.

  • Google considers site-backlinks as a vital ranking factor. 
  • Plus, backlinks help expand a brand’s audience creates more visibility for the business.

 

  • A backlink from an authority site is a sure-shot vote of confidence. It adds much-needed credibility to your domain. 

Can you now deny the importance of backlinks? Hell, never!

But here’s the thing,

Isn’t it enough if you’re focussing on creating high-quality content? Won’t backlinks simply follow?

The bitter truth is that you need to supplement great content with effective blogger outreach and link buying.

Don’t worry if you have no clue about how to buy links for your site. This guide will take you through the entire process of purchasing quality links cost-effectively.

Ready, let’s get started.

 

 

 

 

Buying Backlinks—What Does it Mean?

Buying backlinks means you pay a site to link to your site.

Buying a backlink could take the form of a sponsored post, a guest post placement, a link placement, a product review or any other such form of paid link-building. In this section, let’s understand more about paid backlinking, it’s key advantages and disadvantages.

What is Paid Link-Building?

Let’s take a look at Google’s definition of a paid link:

“exchanging money for links or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a ‘free’ product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.”

Whether you’re buying links or selling them, it’s against Google’s Webmaster guidelines.

Disclaimer: At Search Eye, we do not recommend or endorse any form of paid backlinking. Buying links or running a paid link-building campaign is purely a client’s decision. Paid backlinking is risky and attracts strict site inspection and action by search engines. 

How are Paid Backlinks Different From Organic Backlinks?

The critical difference between paid and organic backlinks is that you pay for the former. You can acquire an organic backlink by producing insightful content and connecting with bloggers who might want to link it

Paid vs. Organic Backlinks

But when you pay those bloggers a fee to include your site’s link or content on their site, it’s a paid link. 

Does that mean that all organic links come for free?

Not. 

  • You need to either hire an agency or an in-house SEO team. This way, you incur the cost of hiring an internal or an external team that builds those coveted links for your business. 
  • If you wish to hasten the process of organic link-building, you ask your team to purchase some of those links. This way, you incur additional costs for buying backlinks. 

Both backlinking strategies cost money, time, and resources. Paid backlinking may save you some time. But paid backlinks are risky as they can cause your website to get penalized by Google. 

Let’s now look at some of the benefits and pitfalls of buying backlinks.

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Buying Backlinks

Buying-backlinks comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. In this chapter, let’s look at why you should or shouldn’t buy backlinks.

Pros of Buying Backlinks 

First and foremost, backlink buying gives you more links, which is most likely to result in higher search rankings.

  • More and more businesses are buying backlinks.
  • Paid backlinking is a quicker process. The sites that sell backlinks respond quickly. The outreach process becomes much more comfortable when buying links.

  • When you’re looking to get quick rankings and traffic back to your site, it’s the paid link-building that might get better results. Organic link-building and outreach are comparatively slower processes. 

Studies show that paid link-building does work for many businesses:

78 percent of companies who buy legitimate paid links consider them to be efficient backlink building opportunities.

69 percent of businesses using paid link buying considered their campaigns to be efficient

  • The reality is that most of your competing businesses are buying backlinks. It means, if you’re not getting enough links at the desired pace, you’re likely to lag. Buying links is a common practice in many industries. If you realize that many of your top competitors who’re ranking higher up the SERPs have purchased a large number of links, you have no option but to buy them too.

While there are quite a few advantages of buying backlinks, make sure you buy links relevant to your niche. Plus, don’t forget to get links from high-quality websites. 

Let’s now learn about some of the possible disadvantages of buying backlinks. 

Cons of Buying Backlinks

The idea of buying backlinks does come with a fair share of risks. What are some of the pitfalls of buying backlinks? Let’s take a look:

  • If the search engines notice that you bought backlinks, your backlink investments might go down the drain. 
  • Google may impose a manual penalty on your site if it has the reason to believe that you’re buying links. A penalty causes you to lose website traffic. Plus, you need to put effort and time into recovering from it.
  • Buying links can cause a downfall in your link profile. 

Ok, so now that you’ve got a brief idea of the fors and againsts of link buying, let’s learn about how you can buy quality links to your site.

How to Buy Backlinks

The long and short of it is that buying links is safe as long as you’re purchasing those links from a solution provider who’s following the industry norms. You should stray away from buying links on spammy sites or from agencies that buy such links. In this chapter, let’s look at some safe link purchasing practices.

Guest Posts

When you acquire a high-quality guest post link, it improves site authority and fetches more site traffic. There are quite a few blogs and publications in every industry that offer to publish guest posts.

And some of these sites offer priority publishing along with a do-follow backlink—that often comes at a price. 

Whether you choose to go for non-paid or paid guest articles, you can outsource the service to an agency or a freelancer. 

What all to consider when buying guest post placements:

  • Make sure that the Domain Authority of the blog or the publication is higher than your site.
  • Visit the website to learn about content quality. Make sure you’re not buying guest posts on low-quality sites with no traffic. 
  • Emphasize the quality of the guest article. In some cases, the agency would create the content and get it placed, while in others, the publication would offer to write the article. Make sure the guest post is relevant to the niche and provides value to the readers. 
  • Choose sites that are relevant to your industry and publish content regularly. Don’t go for a website that published its last post six months ago. 

Private Blogging Networks

If you’re an SEO manager, then you probably must have come across this term called PBNs. Let’s understand a PBN and whether it’s an effective channel to buy links for your site. 

What is a Private Blogging Network?

A Private Blogging Network is a group of niche blogs created to promote or link to one specific website. A business may make such a content network pass link juice to their web property. Most often, the sites in a PBN are not related to each other. 

  • Businesses create PBNs by buying existing and aged domains that have a certain level of authority and backlinks. 
  • Once a company buys these domains, they start populating the relevant content on them.

Is PBN Illegal?

Google’s guidelines suggest that PBN links are spammy, and you should not consider them when getting links for your site. 

  • If the search engines find out that a website is buying links from a PBN or creating a PBN for building unnatural backlinks, the site might face a manual penalty. 
  • But backlink acquisition is a slow process. The following graph shows that the older a domain, the higher the rankings.

It’s one of the reasons why PBNs are an attractive option. 

Benefits of a Private Blogging Network

While PBNs are an illegitimate form of link-building, they do work for some businesses like this one.

That’s why many SEO managers and content marketers use PBNs to build links for their site. 

Risk of a Private Blogging Network

First off, getting links from a PBN is a blackhat SEO technique. You should not consider this option for link acquisition when aiming to build links the white hat way. The following image shows a clear-cut difference between blackhat and whitehat SEO techniques:

Coming to the point, if Google finds out that a site has acquired low-quality manipulative links from a Private Blogging Network, it will penalize the website. 

The search engines can discover such links because most PBNs have low publishing cycles, thin content, and zero internal linking.

Do all Paid Links Come from PBNs?

Some SEOs often make the mistake of believing that a paid link is the same as a PBN link. 

  • Many bloggers are upfront about selling a link on their website. Does it mean that all these bloggers are running PBNs? The simple answer is a clear-cut no. 
  • PBN links are mostly paid but not the other way round. 

In either of the two specific cases, you need to analyze the website and link-quality before going ahead. 

Media Coverage

One of the ways to get quality backlinks for your website is to look for media coverage.

How to get media coverage quickly and effectively?

To get quick backlinks from stuff like features and interviews, you need to hire a PR agency. 

  • A professional PR agency will help develop your brand story that translates into media coverage for your brand.
  • A PR agency usually has existing relationships with journalists in almost every business vertical.
  • They will pitch you as an expert and get you interviews in respected publications.
  • There are tools like HARO and Muck Rack that PR agencies use for reaching out to the relevant journalists. They can pitch experts tips on your behalf and get you links and mentions on top tier publications. 
  • Some agencies also have networks in prominent niche podcasts. Becoming a guest on podcasts is the new buzzword—and it can help you position yourself as a niche expert. What’s more? It’s a reliable channel to get links and mentions for your business. 
  • Features and interviews are a great way to buy quality backlinks and earn business visibility.

Directory Links

When you think of search, the first thing that comes into your mind is a directory. Web directories are as old as the internet. 

  • The web is full of directories, but not all of them are the same. Getting your business registered on high-quality lists is an excellent way to gain valuable backlinks. 
  • Get your SEO agency or an in-house team to submit your site to the relevant directories. 

Let’s take a look at some of the common types of directory links:

 

General Directories

These directories aren’t niche-specific and the easiest to access. Check out directories like Hotfrog and Jasmine Directory

Business Directories 

Small business directories like Manta are great for listing businesses like Home Repair, Auto Repair, Legal Aid, etc. Some of these directories offer do-follow links, plus the facility to register your business for free. 

Local Citations 

It’s easy to create local citations on search engines like Google and Bing. You can also put your business details such as name, address, phone number, and website link on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Paid Directories 

These are directories where you need to pay to get listed. Since such directories have limited listings, the link-juice is relatively higher. For instance, the price of a listing on a directory like Best of the Web is USD 149 per year.

Niche Directories

The coolest thing about a niche directory is that the backlink you get is niche relevant. That’s why investing in such directories is a cool way to buy a backlink that fetches authority, traffic, and customers. For instance, this garden directory charges USD 4.99 to USD 34.99 for single website submission. 

Buying backlinks on the relevant niche directory is undoubtedly an effective way to enhance your link profile. The key is to focus on quality and to keep an eye on the business outcomes. 

Event Sponsorships

A fantastic way to buy links and visibility for your business is to sponsor niche events. 

  • An excellent way to start is to look for events in a specific geographical location or on a relevant topic. You can try a simple Google search or use platforms like upcoming.org or craigslist.org.

  • You can connect with the event organizers to understand the cost and terms of the sponsorship. Discuss the possibility of getting a backlink for your website. 

 

Whether it’s a local startup event or a health seminar, you can choose an event that aligns with your business niche, sponsor it and get a backlink. 

Content/Website Acquisition 

Yes, you heard it right—content acquisition. Content-acquisition may be a lesser-known way to spend money to get quick links, but it may turn out to be quite useful. 

  • You can look for content properties in your niche, which have a ton of quality backlinks. See if you can buy the whole website—this way, you can buy all the links associated with the domain. 
  • After you buy the website, you use 301-redirects to pass the link juice from the acquired domain to your domain. 
  • It’s also possible to buy link-worthy existing content and publish it on your site. Buying quality content may turn out faster than creating content that attracts quality links. 

Although content-acquisition is a terrific way to promote your business and acquire link-worthy content assets, it may be a little out of reach for small to medium-sized companies with significant budget constraints.

Donate to Charities

How about paying money for a good cause? If you donate to charitable organizations, they will list your business on their site, and you’ll get a valuable backlink. 

Find local charities online or visit platforms like Charity Navigator to look for causes and charities that might be relevant to your business.

  • Write an email to the charitable organization to understand how you can get involved. 

Link Exchange

What is a Link Exchange? 

Link-exchange is a way many businesses offer a backlink in exchange for another link. This way, site owners in a particular niche help each other grow their link-equity. The link-swap is usually content-based. 

Let’s understand link-exchange with the help of an example. 

Suppose you’re looking for a link back to an established blog in your niche. Let’s call it ‘X’. You pitch your content to the editor of X. X agrees to offer you a link, but on the condition that you provide X with a link back on a reasonably high authority website. 

This way, your website gets a link, and so does the established blog X.  In this example, we talked about two businesses exchanging links. 

But there are many bloggers, agencies, and SEO professionals who run and have access to private influencer networks.

These groups help each other get access to sites and links that may otherwise be hard to attain.

Is It Safe to do a Link-Swap?

Although Google is against any form of excessive or manipulative link-exchange, link swaps are quite common. 

In fact, a study by Ahrefs reveals that:

  • 74% of Sites Have Reciprocal Links
  • 27% of websites had at least a 15% overlap between the sites which they link out to and the sites that link to them (So essentially, 15% of their inbound links are the equivalent to a link exchange)
  • Ahrefs themselves found that 19% of the domains they link also link back to them

What’s the cost of a link-swap?

If your agency is doing a link-swap, they will invoice you for the final acquired backlink. If your in-house team participates in a link-exchange, you need to calculate the cost of earning or buying links for third-party sites. 

Product Reviews

A popular way to acquire paid backlinks is to get niche bloggers and influencers to review your products. 

The ideal way to start is to offer a free product trial to the blogger. Some high-profile bloggers ask for an additional fee to review the product. Take a look at this example of a product review by a fitness blogger:

  • Another way to build a relationship with a niche blogger is to share their content on your social media platforms. 
  • You can initiate a discussion with a blogger over a phone call or with a simple email message. Discuss the nature of the collaboration, and make sure you ask them for a link back to your website. 

Links in Existing Content 

Many authority sites are happy to link back to guides and resource pieces that add value to their content. 

Again, if you need to get such quality links, you can hire a content marketing and blogger outreach agency.

  • An outreach agency helps make a list of potential link prospects. They then publish the relevant content on your behalf.
  • After that, they pitch the content to the relevant bloggers through personalized email campaigns.
  • Agencies often charge a fee for every link acquisition from this channel. 
  • Alternatively, you can hire an in-house team to create content and reach out to famous niche bloggers.

Some bloggers are happy to link back without any fee, while others charge a fee for placing a link on their site. 

What are Niche Edits?

In the SEO world, links in existing content are known as niche edits. When you get a blogger to add a link in a piece of existing content or a web-page, it’s called a niche edit. 

  • A niche edit is acquired either through a manual outreach or through a private influencer network. 
  • The price of a niche edit is usually lower than the price of a link in a guest post. 
  • Some niche edits offer links that are less relevant to your business niche—that’s why such links command a lower price. 
  • Niche edits focus on link acquisition in posts that may be relatively old. While guest posts are about content quality, niche edits are about the convenience of getting the link.

With niche edits, you may end up compromising on the quality of a backlink. But you end up getting the cost and speed advantage. Go for niche edits that are close to your business requirements. Plus, make sure that niche edits aren’t the bigger pie of your link-building portfolio. 

Buy Backlinks on Fiverr

Fiverr is a freelance marketplace where you can find SEO freelancers selling thousands of links for as low as USD 5 or USD 10. The process of buying links on Fiverr may seem like a quick way to get a ton of backlinks.

But here is the vital question,

Does buying backlinks on Fiverr work?

The answer is relatively straight-forward—never fall for any quick link-building scheme on any freelancing platform. 

If you find a genuine freelancer who writes for authority sites in your niche, it might work as a decent way to buy natural backlinks. Make sure to check the freelancer’s credibility and the list of sites on offer. 

Things to Remember When Buying Backlinks

To maintain a healthy link profile and to stay away from spammy backlinks, you must follow some best practices while buying links. Let’s briefly look at the link-buying check-list:

  • Browse through each website diligently before deciding to buy a link. Make sure it does not have a large number of spammy outbound links.
  • Make sure the paid links are a small percentage of the total. Don’t include more than 25 percent of paid links in your link profile. Don’t jump into buying links in bulk. Go slow and work with one site at a time. 
  • Ensure your backlinks’ anchor texts are diversified—this is another vital strategy to safeguard your site from Google’s penalty radar. 
  • Don’t purchase sitewide links like footer, navigation, and sidebar. 
  • Do fall prey to bulk link deals.
  • Ensure not to buy links from “red flag” sites with lots of thin content and links.

It’s always a good idea to track your backlinks regularly. You can trim links that aren’t good enough or affect your site’s link profile.

What Determines the Cost of a Backlink?

Like any other marketing strategy, you need to plan your paid backlink acquisition strategy. If you know the cost factors in advance, you can decide the type of links to aim at before going out there and buying those links. In this section, let’s understand the various factors that determine the cost of paid links.

Publication Quality

Every blog has a different quality of content and its unique readership. The cost of getting a link on a DR 70 website is higher than the price of a link on a DR 45 website. The simple rule is that you need to be prepared to shell out more $$$ when you wish to get links from higher Domain Authority sites and a larger audience.

Business Popularity or Site Authority

Every time you reach out to a site to request a guest post or a link back to your article, they’re concerned about your site’s authority and brand strength. It’s easy to get a link if you’re an established brand or a site with high domain authority. 

Because many other niche sites would want to link to content from your site; however, a new site may have to put more effort or invest more money in getting quality links. 

Business Niche 

The cost of buying links in different business verticals varies; why? Because every industry has a varying demand and supply of backlinks. 

  • For instance, the cost of purchasing a link in the travel niche is different from that in the marketing automation niche. 
  • The publications in both industries have a different set of offerings to link-buyers and PR professionals. 

Business Niches with Relatively High Cost of Backlinks

Let’s look at some industries where buying a link can be an expensive affair:

Loans: The loan industry is pretty big right now. If you’re looking to build links in the loans niche, you must first create some robust content assets.

Real Estate: The market for Real Estate backlinks has become quite competitive. Thus, the high price for links. 

Finance: Be it Personal Finance or Business Finance, many companies are vying for quality backlinks in this space. 

Casino and Gambling: Unless you are affiliated with sites in the Casino and Poker niches, you might have to pay a high price for links on such websites. 

Business Niches with Medium Cost of Backlinks

Let’s look at some niches where the backlink isn’t that pricey:

Technology: This niche is vast—it includes everything from Cyber-Security to web-hosting to Virtual Private Networks. Explore the technology niche, and you’ll find that it’s full of awesome link-opportunities.

SaaS Businesses: The SaaS industry is quite a competitive one. But at the same time, you’ll find lots of bloggers and content marketers open to building and exchanging backlinks. 

Legal: Legal knowledge commands a high-price, and so do legal backlinks. But you’ll also find a decent number of link-opportunities at a reasonable price.  

Food and Nutrition: The food and nutrition space is full of influencers with a large following. If you want them to link to your site, you must create some unique and valuable content. Else, to start a collaboration with these bloggers, you need to shell out the money.

Business Niches with Low Cost of Backlinks

Here are some industries where buying backlinks may be relatively cheap:

Charities: There are people out there producing content in this niche. As they’re doing it for a cause, they don’t charge a significant fee for backlinks. 

Education: Companies in the Education business have many great link-building opportunities—you need to go out there and reach out to the publishers in this niche.

Video Games: Video gaming content is in vogue; many publishers out there and some good-quality links up for grabs. Go out there and play. 

Hobby Sites (Entertainment, Cars): The Hobby niche links are easy to come by. That’s because there’s a great deal of demand for good content in this niche. 

Anchor Text

The anchor text in a link is a clickable text that leads to the linked page. 

Why does anchor text matter?

  • The anchor text of a link displays its relevance to search engines. 
  • It showcases the contextual connection between two linked pages. 
  • A suitable anchor plays a massive role in driving traffic back to the linked page. 

While buying links, you can either choose a specific anchor text or stay flexible about it. Although it’s not a compulsion to determine an exact keyword anchor or brand match anchor, being strategic about the anchor text can improve link-building outcomes. A study by Ahrefs shows a positive correlation between keyword-rich anchors and search engine rankings.

Making sure you get your choice of anchor in a backlink may push up the backlink cost. At the same time, you might end up with better business results from such links. 

Do-Follow and No-Follow Links

One of the things that showcase a link’s quality is whether the attribute is No-Follow or Do-Follow. Do-Follow links pass link juice to the site earning the backlink, while a No-Follow link does not. 

That does not mean that No-Follow links aren’t useful for your website. 

No-Follow links can send a ton of valuable referral traffic to a site. Do-Follow links are still more practical and would cost you more than No-Follow links. You can check whether a site offers a Do-Follow link or a No-Follow one by checking out their page source.

Buying Links—The Process

Acquiring links is a time taking process. Purchasing links is undoubtedly a faster exercise, but you need to plan for better results.

  • Make sure to have a minimum Domain Authority criteria. Share it with your vendor before looking at a list of potential websites. The Domain Authority of a prospective site should be greater than your site. 
  • A quality domain will always show up in the Google search results. Make sure you do the necessary check.
  • Go for an English language TLD without any hyphens.
  • It’s not a good idea to select websites that make heavy use of stock photos.

  • Make sure the backlink is a natural part of the content. There’s a huge quality difference between a link that’s force-fitted into a content piece vs. an editorial link. 
  • Another vital factor to consider is the TAT of a backlink. Plus, the guarantee that the link won’t be removed for at least one year.

The Cost of Buying Links?

It’s natural to want to know the cost of buying links. That’s the best way to plan for your link-building campaign. In this section, let’s learn about the average cost of buying links from different link-building channels.

Whether you’re pitching a guest article or a guide you published on your site, the goal is to get a link. There is always a percentage of bloggers who are ready to offer a quick sponsored link. 

According to a study conducted by Ahrefs, in 2018, 12.6 percent of bloggers were prepared to sell links. These bloggers belonged to different business verticals such as Fashion, Fitness, and Travel, etc.

The Ahrefs study found that the average cost of buying a link from bloggers is USD 361.44. A significant cost factor for such links is Domain Authority. The following image graph shows how the price goes up with the target blogs’ Domain Rating.

If you closely observe the above graph, you realize that a larger proportion of sites have a DR higher than 40.

Ahrefs also conducted a study to find out the proportion of bloggers charging for guest posts.

The study revealed that the average fee for a guest post was USD 77.80; this was back in 2018. Here is the break of the authority of sites included in the research.

If you look at this graph, you’ll notice that most of the blogs in the study have a DR lower than 39. 

 

Hence, a lower average cost of buying guest posts. 

 

Buying Links from an Agency

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find various agencies selling all types of links. Make sure you choose an agency whose focus is on organic link-building and high-quality backlinks. 

For understanding, let’s suppose you were to buy links from an agency like Search Eye. 

Here is the price list of the different type of links offered by Search Eye:

 High-quality Guest Posts: USD 65 – USD 310 per link/mention

 Manual Outreach: USD 515 per link/mention

 Niche Edits: USD 65 – USD 135 per link/mention

 Digital PR: USD 515 per link/mention

Podcast Booking: USD 625/interview

Let’s now look at the comparative price chart of some of the popular link-building agencies:

 

Agency Hoth  Search Eye loganix Fatjoe Outreach Monks
Price of a Guest Post on Medium DR site USD 160 USD 145 USD 200 USD 95 USD 109

 

Final Thoughts

No doubt buying backlinks can help you get links at a faster pace. At the same time, paid links can be risky as they are against Google’s regulations. But if you properly assess each domain’s quality and authority, then buying links can fetch more backlinks in less time.

More backlinks are likely to result in higher search rankings and traffic. If you do a thorough quality analysis, you’ll end up buying relevant and non-spammy backlinks. The trick is to buy links that are as good as natural links—that’s when you’ll never face a penalty. Plus, your link profile will remain clean as well. 

I hope you found this guide on buying links useful. Do share your experience and suggestions in the comments section below.