Rand Fishkin On Buying Links For SEO – PubCon Review

Rand-Fishkin-live-linkbuilding-6I love Rand Fishkin. He very well may be my idol in the SEO world.

About an hour ago, I attended a session about purchasing links to influence your search engine rankings. I have always thought of buying links as black hat SEO and Rand reconfirmed my belief this morning. I wanted to quickly summarize his presentation on purchasing links, why you shouldn’t do it, and what you should do instead.

Believe it or not, Google employs a team dedicated to searching for webspam. They invest lots of time and resources into finding and shutting down effective paid linking opportunities. This is the number one reason why you should never participate in paid links. Once Google finds you, you are done!

Paid links are paid links. They cost money! Rand hit on some better ways to invest your money in other avenues that will help you acquire links in a more natural manner. Here is what he said to do:

– Spend the money necessary to increase your webpage load speed. This will decrease your bounce rate, make your visitors much happier, and possibly cause them to link to your content.

– Invest in user generated content and contributions. Spending money to create content that will be on the internet for years is a much better way to go than purchasing or “renting” links.

– Hire community managers. Managing your place in the online community can definitely help you obtain links back to your website. Providing your customers visibility into your business wherever they are is the best way to get traffic and drive links to your site.

– Organize and sponsor events. At SEO.com, we organize workshops for the local community that help us get links all over the internet. Rand and the SEOmoz team organized and sponsored a party on Wednesday evening. That party got a lot of attention and links back to the party page on their website. This can be a very effective way to get a lot of really good, natural links.

– License content or technology for nominal fees (free if possible). Making something of worth available to your customers to either purchase or obtain for free can be a great way of getting links and promotion to your cause.

-Issue press releases. We do this for many of our clients. Press releases are a great way to generate buzz about your business and get links back to your website, if you have something newsworthy.

– Collect research data and share it with others. If you have collected truly valuable research data and you share that data for free, you can expect a lot of links coming back to your site.

– Take some time to look at optimizing the link targeted content from a conversion standpoint.

– Advertise link targeted content. It isn’t a sin to purchase links to advertise your link targeted content. You are trying to get the word out about what you are trying to offer or share with others. You aren’t trying to get rankings for that page with the purchased links.

These are most of the things that Rand spoke about. They are all really good ways to think outside the box and spend money on efforts that will bring natural links back to your website.

In closing, it is important to remember why we don’t want to participate in paid links. When you take a look at link acquisition speed, natural links grow organically or naturally. The number of links you acquire can and will fluctuate each month.

Not only that, natural links have less targeted anchor text, unlike paid links. You definitely don’t want all of your links to have the anchor text of your main keyword.

As with everything you do for your SEO campaign, you should always think twice when considering any gray or black hat tactics. Keep in mind that it is much more difficult to make your efforts look natural when you participate in anything Google looks down upon. When Google sees red flags, which they will, you are toast!

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  1. Nelson James says

    I thought I was your idle in the SEO world. What gives?
    Okay, if it’s confession time, I really like Rand as well. He’s a smart SEO cookie. All good info here from him.

  2. Nick Johnson says

    On the surface this seems to make sense, but in the real world I think it just favors large companies. If you advertise then it is not like buying links even though it will count as a backlink? but if you buy a backlink, and get a lead you will get clobbered? Large companies can spend million for on line advertisement, but small business cant spend a few bucks for backlinks without getting shut down? All the suggestion for for getting links the “right way” sound good, but are actually fringe ideas, that most will find impossible.

    For example: “- Spend the money necessary to increase your webpage load speed.” In this day and age when the bandwidth is been shooting up, why would we limit innovative use of flash, video, images, voice, you name it? Is this harmful to the internet, like smoking is a public area?

    This is starting to feel like it is worse then government regulations. At least with government regulations, they publish all the specifications. With the search engines all their detail specifications are kept confidential and there is no notification of penalties imposed.

  3. Jeffrey Chatham says

    Of course Rand is against paid links. His clients were burned a few years back because he was buying paid links via Text Link Ads. It was lazy of him to do that, but Rand is a follower not a thought leader, so he was simply doing the same dumb things everyone else did. Here is the page on TLA where Rand praises and recommends buying links.

  4. Mike Erickson says

    I’m also calling BS on Rand. He blatantly advertises his own link buying services on SEOmoz! To quote:

    “Link Building Campaigns (From $10,000+) – One of the most classic SEO services, link building campaigns range from small, selective optimization of a keyword to large, overarching efforts to boost the total link popularity of a website. Our services include custom link-requests, link searches, social media work, directory submission (where warranted) and paid links (as necessary).”

    I really don’t see how he can be condemning paid links, then offering link buying as one of his services. Here’s the link to the page where he offers it:

  5. Joan Jepson says

    Now I’m really worried. Have I done the wrong thing? I’m getting a bit antsy about gaining poularity in the Google search engines for my web pages so I joined Unique Article Wizard, posted an article, went through the rigamarole of changing up the content twice and submitted the article.

    Would you call this a link farm?

    I have worked my butt off developing this website and don’t want to screw things up but it’s a helluva slow road posting ezine articles, Squidoo lens and so forth and my traffic still doesn’t seem to be growing very rapidly.

    I am starting to lose heart and I’m not a quitter.

    I bought your seo course and I think I’ve done a pretty good job on keyword research but like you said Amazon and the big guys have us beat.


  6. Heather Johanneson says

    Yah, I think Rand screwed up a while back with text-link-ads, or else he just wants to keep a low profile on that technique, but perhaps he is still using it? Come on Rand, fess up!

  7. Bobby Carswell says

    i used market samurai to search seo professional services. i found their best links and tracked to the link site. I found Many professionals buy high PR links.

  8. Bruce Jenkins says

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