Buying Links: Google’s Okay with It. Really

Feb 23, 2012   //   by John Tabita   //   Business, Internet Marketing, Marketing  //  No Comments

It’s as controversial as Keynesian vs. Friedman economics. Is buying backlinks okay or not?

Backlinks (inbound links coming from another website) are one of the most important factors Google considers when determining how to rank a particular website. The number and quality of incoming links are like a “vote.”

But acquiring a significant amount of backlinks is a time-consuming process. This has given rise to the practice of purchasing them through various link building services. And so, the debate rages on between search marketing experts. Depending on who you talk to, buying links is a really, really bad idea; or it’s a common SEO practice.

But it appears that Google’s really okay with buying links. They told me so themselves:

Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results.

That last line is critical: … when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. So it’s not as black-and-white as some would have you believe. Google’s policy says you can buy links purely for visitors or traffic, but not to improve your search engine results or PageRank.

Ironically, this past holiday season, Google was caught buying paid links to promote its browser, Chrome. Will Google have to ban itself for buying links?

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John Tabita

Marketing Evangelist and Blogger at SitePoint.com. Digital Strategy Director at HainesLocalSearch.com. Passionate about helping people and businesses reach their fullest potential and become wildly successful.

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