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?
- 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.
- 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.
- You can also check Archive.org and see if there is any history there.
- 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.
- 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.