Part of SEO involves getting links to point from other websites into yours. Link building (or off-site SEO) is a tricky and delicate service. It’s also extremely time consuming and tedious if you do it properly (see the list below!).
Many websites have been set up in various capacities (blogs, directories, article ezines, etc) with the sole intention of selling links to companies who need a boost. Even though Google has stated that link-buying for SEO must include certain criteria (such as nofollow tags and other hypocritical non-sense), the reality is that they’re just protecting their own interests. Link buying remains an extremely popular activity in the SEO world.
The best SEO companies don’t buy links from websites who fail the criteria of this link buyer’s guide or checklist.
I don’t recommend buying links from websites that fail most or all of the following (some points are absolute “do-not-touch” while others aren’t as severe).
My “Watch Out!” List
- The website links to pharmacy websites. For some reason, countless websites run by people in the SEO industry seem to think that they are going to strike it rich by linking to Viagra websites. This seems to be especially true of link builders in India. They put affiliate links to these pharmacy websites and think they’ll make big bucks. The reality is that if they put the same energy into developing quality blogs and other sites, they’d make just as much (and probably more money) in a more legitimate way.
- The website links to websites by way of affiliate links.
- The website TLD (top level domain) is one of the sketchier ones such as .info or .biz. The .info domain in particular was recently part of a Google ranking “scandal” and now more than ever, no one wants it. That’s why domain name registration companies are dumping them in sales (look around and you’ll find lots of “$2.95/year” deals for .info domain names.
- The website links to adult content websites.
- The website links to online casinos.
- All of the website’s backlinks are based in India and Asia but your site is in the US or Canada.
- The website is selling site-wide links. Too many links coming in too fast, especially from the same domain name, doesn’t look natural and can blow your cover!
- The website was registered yesterday.
- The website is hosted in some far off country. (No, Canada is not a far off country!)
- The website has “Google PageRank Checkers” all over it.
- The website is registered for one year and its expiration is coming up within a few months. Think about it – would you buy a link that is supposed to be lifelong (or for an extended period of time) from a site that may expire in a few weeks?
- The website links to bad neighborhoods (aka sketchy websites with tons of links and pages with no useful content).
- Links on non-hosted domains (for example, buying a link on whatever.blogger.com may help you but beware of who you’re buying it from).
- There are tons and tons of links on a given page (typically the one with the highest Google PageRank).
- There are many websites linked on a single page with completely different-themed links. For example, the seller is offering links on his homepage and it already has links to a real estate website, a car dealership, a printing company, a weight loss training program, and so on.
- The website generally just gives the impression that it caters to the person who set it up more than to the people who would buy links from it.