In the advent of digital marketing, link building has become an indispensable marketing tool for attracting traffic towards the sites. While you might be thrilled by the value of backlinks to your SEO campaigns, shady links are likely to drop your ranking in the search engines. Being a relatively new concept, there more questions than answers on to the real value of a backlink. A study focusing on five niches sought to establish the actual value of backlinks, involving 250 websites.

The link buying and selling market

The ever-changing search engine guidelines seem to influence what happens on the market. Every company is keen to act within the regulations to prevent penalties and low ranks that come with flouting these rules. As long as the Google continues to use link authority to rank sites, backlinks will continue to attract some level of transactions. In a bid to improve online visibility, high-quality links become the commodities that businesses need to achieve the goal.

The role of authority Directories

It started with sending your website to authority domains that often charged the review fee. While that might have yielded some results, the white hat tactics fall off Google’s guidelines and hence attracts penalties when applied. For instance, the defunct Yahoo directory charged $300 to include your site and link, which would improve your rankings, though would not allow all sites. Nevertheless, the link was not meant to increase online traffic, but rather improve Google rankings.

The rise of link buying

Barely two decades old, link building the most important yet difficult task in SEO marketing. It takes the time to get high-quality links to your site and hence the reason most firms consider buying the commodity. In the mid-2000s, the industry had accelerated towards selling links with sites like text link selling on a rental basis. You just had to pay a monthly fee based on the metrics of the site, often determined by the page rank.

A look at the metrics shows a price range from $30 every month for those with a PR1/2 site with high-ranking pages commanding fees more than $100 per month. A monthly fee of $100 translated to an increasing cost of $1200 per year, but was worth the price. Similarly, Review ME was a popular site where one could buy reviews for the products, or blogging services, with a hyperlinked text. The price varied based on the site’s metrics, and the site was publicly displayed for choice.

Googles stringent surveillance curbed link selling

As Google invested more resources in managing the web spam, the embarked on penalizing websites that openly sold links through third party forums and sites. The first penalty entailed a lower page rank and de-indexing in extreme situations. In the event users found paid links, Google encouraged direct reporting which saw a sharp decline in the level of activity. Nevertheless, that did not curb the business entirely, but forced the buyers and sellers to act with discretion. That way, Google would hardly identify those that were flouting the rules.

Today, buying links for higher traffic contravene Google’s rules and only earns you a lower rank in the search engine. The context extends to cash, product and service exchange for a link or a positive review that includes a link.

The current state of link buying and selling

While most SEO experts will not recommend buying links to improve rankings, they have little influence on what the users want. You had better prepare for the repercussions in the event of exposure. As you seek to cruise the risky path, you can buy links in the following ways:

Sponsored guest posts

There are numerous link building service providers, as there are potential users in the market. First timers might get it hard to settle for the best firm that gives customized solution to their marketing needs. While some offer actual link building higher fees, a vast majority mascaraed as brokers using sites for inclusion. You probably have received several emails requesting to make posts on your site for a fee, as we have previously. Some went on to contact some of the respondents to buy a backlink on the blog section. Most companies would probably give free backlinks for top-notch guest posts.

SAPE links

When you need to get backlinks from high authority domains, SAPE gives you the opportunity to raise your rankings for a monthly fee. The Russian Link network sells links directly or via site brokers at an affordable price. It might get you the traffic you need, but it is a mega black hat service that may cost your indexing. On the downside, the site is often hacked, shady links added without notifying the owner. You could be paying for spammy links that yields no traffic while risking penalties from Google.

Backlinks from bloggers

In modern living, the bulk of link buying and selling involves individual bloggers. There is no way to tell if a link from an editorial piece has been paid for, hence low risk for the users. Most bloggers understand the value of the backlinks and hence seek payments upfront, which explain the rise in the number of individual bloggers that target a particular niche.

The cost of the links

A look at some of the sites in competitive niches shows a whopping 18.4% of the sample size was ready to sell links. Nonetheless, the findings seem to favor travel niches that scored 48% of all that agreed to sell links. It signifies the essence of link building in the travel sector, a clear indication that Avast majority of travel sites buy links. The price of the links varied from one seller to the other with the cheapest quoting $101 from a fashion blog bearing a domain rating of 46. On that front, the highest priced sold for $590 annually from travel blog with a domain rating of 55, with the average standing at $352.93.

There is no doubt, into what link building can do for your website. There is a reason to believe that the industry is still alive, but whether they are worth the price and the risk vary from one firm to the other.