Vital advice about Paid Links

I’m taking an unusual step here and using someone elses article – but that’s because CReed has addressed the very issue I’ve been asked about lately – Paid Links.

I’ve sold a few links on various sites, but I haven’t solicited them and I doubt there’s been more than 5. It’s not the business I’m in. But people do sell links on blogs, directories and regular websites. It’s a discreet form of advertising and can be a good way to get a high profile inbound link to your site. Some offer only SEO benefits, others offer human traffic.

So, if you’ve exhausted all the free directories and don’t want to get into link exchanges then maybe paid links will be the next step. If so, then read on.

When buying links it’s up to the buyer to be sure they’re getting what they pay for. More and more link sales here at DP are not what they appear to be or as advertised.

I see members buying expired or dropped domains with existing PR, upload a directory, wait for the cache to regenerate and then advertise links for sale on a PRx directory, blog, whatever.

What these members fail to disclose its that the blog, directory, etc. is on an expired/dropped/purchased domain with existing foolbar PageRank or the PR is the result of a previous temporary redirect.

I seriously doubt that they have any intent to properly promote the domain in a manner that will maintain the existing PR and provide any ROI. I see no attempt to further promote these domains, so it’s wise to exercise caution.

What can you do?

  1. Check the cached version of the page. If the PR is the result of a previous redirect, the cache will likely not match. Use a PR verification tool if you’re not comfortable with the cached version of the page or if it appears that there are insufficient links to support the displayed PageRank.
  2. Check the Whois. I like using whois.domaintools.com as under the Registrar History they list the Whois History and you can easily see the how far back the records go. Many times the creation date is recent, yet there are records from a number of years ago. Red flag.whois.domaintools.com also displays a thumbnail image which may not be updated and you can see what the site looked like previously, even if the link seller waits for Google to update their cached version.
  3. You can also check Archive.org and see if there is any history there.
  4. Look at the domain name for the “directory” or “blog” – many times it’s totally unrelated and enough of an indication that you should look a bit closer before purchasing a link.
  5. Check your favorite search engine for the domain name and the phrase “for sale” or do a site:domain.com search and see what pages are still indexed that don’t match the current site.

Don’t get blinded by the cheap prices for the PR or you may find yourself disappointed when the PR drops after the next foolbar update.

CReed provides quiet but effective promotion for select clients. You can make contact at DigitalPoint: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/member.php?u=16684

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Sarah King Written by:

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7 Comments

  1. November 19, 2006

    In fact this is a problem we all should be aware of. Directories appear as mushrooms these days, most of them will disapear within a year or so. I’d suggest people to carefully choose where they submit their links, or their effort may be useless because in a short period of time all the links will be vanished.
    Powerful trustful directories (paid ones mostly) tend to be the only way IMHO.

  2. November 19, 2006

    Amen!

    Been seing this for more than a year now. Good for getting the word out.

  3. March 24, 2007

    Excelent advise, always do a little research before buying paid link.

  4. June 17, 2007

    Can you suggest “reliable” directories that are unlikely to go out of business within one year? Or better directories listing those directories 🙂

  5. July 16, 2007

    Problem seems to be that we’re all hunting for a good, better, best pagerank using backlinks.
    While we’re ignoring the fact that today up above might be down tomorrow (specially if the big brother changes his search criterias), we’re blinded by futurised income thanks to prospected pagerank on our backlink payment.

  6. December 29, 2007

    If only you know then what we know now – specifically that paid links (by Google especially) are frowned apon. That being said there will always be a place for paid links, and as long as everything is in context (ie no completely unrelated links) i, personally, don’t see a problem with such methods of link building.

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