7 reasons why buying backlinks is bad

7 reasons why buying backlinks for your blog/website hurts more than it helps

Having a website linking to another website helps in SEO. As the search engines crawl websites, they also crawl the links given in any article. I attended a conference in 2019 August in Bali where Gary Illyes, A Google Trends Analyst, was giving a talk. It started about buying backlinks as this was a popular topic amongst webmasters.

So if you are considering buying backlinks from high DA websites for your (travel) blog, or any other website this is for you. Let me convince you not to do it and give you 7 reasons why.

Recommended read on SEO: Improve your ranks by increasing the speed

Google says No! to Buying Backlinks

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

Source: Quality Guidelines Link Schemes from Google Webmaster Guidelines

If you do not understand what is being said I will put it in layman terms: Do not attempt to try to trick Google Search Engine by having other websites putting links to your website.

One of the reasons why buying a backlink can impact your search result negatively:

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link

Source: Quality Guidelines Link Schemes from Google Webmaster Guidelines

These are citations, unchanged text, I copied from the Google Webmaster Guidelines. If any of your SEO experts tell you otherwise, you are being tricked into believing something that is not true.

Even though historically it seems to have helped company X to get more traffic, this was most likely just temporary. Google has been known to penalize such sites eventually, making them disappear from the rank they currently hold and move them down or even outside of the eyes of the user.

How a blogger lost 80% traffic because of buying backlinks (from Fiverr)

Losing traffic, graph going down

A blogger was tempted to buy 5000 backlinks to gain a boost in rankings. Although that’s what he thought.

The advertising showed: 10$ for 5000 backlinks within 24 hours on Fiverr. The reviews were 5-stars on average with more than 30 satisfied customers. This seems like a great deal right? What could it hurt, It’s only 10$!

The request was fulfilled within 1 day as promised from the advertising and delivery in the form of a CSV-file. This file contained a table with all kinds of links that would point back to the site. Now for Google to crawl these sites and find the backlinks to the site takes a while so for the effect to kick in would take a while.

Instead of 5000 links, 9000 were made, Hurray, right? This is because he was the first time a customer. Glorious what 10$ can do, 9000 links in 24 hours. Ok going through the excel file the backlinks were created on:

  • Forum Profiles with only spam
  • Blog comments which had nothing to do with the website
  • .gov and .edu backlinks which were removed within hours
  • Directory links, which were removed
  • Social Backlinks with nothing related to the actual website

Short term Impact

In the short term, the blog was overrun by spambots commenting backlinks for others who purchase links. More than 12000 comments were received in 1 month and had to be removed by the website owner. That is 400 spam comments per day! A lot of work to just remove that, and pretty demotivating to spend time on that every day.

Besides frustration came irritation, fighting spam is horrible at this level.

Long Term Impact

Consequence of buying backlinks, it's bad!

It took 2 months for the backlinks to settle in. The links that came from websites that had nothing to do with the actual content. These websites became associated. The keywords that the website was ranking for were being lost also traffic. Google started associating low-quality websites with the blog.

In the end, the webmaster lost 80% of the traffic which was a 3-month process for the cost of 10$.

Source: Quora Is buying backlinks on Fiverr safe?

Google Updates: BERT, Panda, Penguin it’s getting smarter

Google Search Console showing a website is removed from the search result page. A penalty for buying backlinks
What happens when Google Catches you!

Google has special updates in place to try and keep the quality of the pages served to its users high. With the search engines becoming smarter they know what a website is about, what a specific blog post is about. They will know if the backlink to a certain website is justified.

The screenshot is from an SEO company who’s search result disappeared from the search engines. It meant 0 traffic via Google for that website. This is very painful! Google found out and rewards it with a penalty.

An SEO company should NEVER buy backlinks for you, the second reason showed already what happened, 80% loss in traffic, and now this SEO company disappeared from the Search Engines.

Recovering from such penalties, well that’s just painfully difficult and will cost more money. If I remember correctly the SEO website just bought a new domain, rebranded, and had to restart.

Permanent Backlinks are not that permanent!

A website on a domain is not forever. Everyday many domain names expire and the website on it with all the backlinks is gone. This could happen to you. Some sellers would stand by it: Selling Permanent Backlinks.

These sellers are not in control of any other domain, they don’t own it. The real owner can just forget to pay for extending his domain, or the business model of selling links doesn’t work and doesn’t resume this kind of domain.

Everything can happen, permanent backlinks are not permanent!

Recovering from buying backlinks is hard and might take more than a few months.

You will need to get rid of the backlinks from sites that have no relation to your blog or website. Unless the backlink is relevant, with that I mean that the content on the page of the backlink somehow uses the information on your website or complements the content.

Remove the other backlinks with the Google disavow tool. Besides doing this, you will need to regain reputation by making quality trustworthy content. It is a long road to regain the previous positions and rankings, but doing this is the only way.

Association with bad sites loses your credibility and authority

Thumbs Down

Did you know that a backlink as “dofollow” associates your blog(post) with the other that is being linked to? Search engines crawl them both and the algorithm figures out what is the relation to each other. Is the backlink correctly used?

If you Wikipedia, they make footnotes for their sources. At my site I often use a source after citation or paragraph pointing out where I got the information from. Similarly is done when you hand in papers at the university, except you are a bit more elaborate on the sources used when writing such a paper.

Backlinking as nofollow is treated as a hint, but according to Gary Illyes, it’s also manipulating the system. If the backlink is justified you should have a normal do-follow link. Justified means that the source used for information does deserve a do-follow backlink. Like how I do it in this article.

Before I go to deep in that direction, buying backlinks is creating do-follow links from sites that have totally no association with the same subject or niche of the site/page. Imagine getting a backlink from some furniture catalog for an SEO blogpost. Google is smart enough to notice what’s going on here? And then getting suddenly hundreds/thousands of backlinks in a short amount of time.

Google will think: You bought links! time to get a penalty.

Wrapping up: buying backlinks is bad

So do you have a feeling how to use it better now? Let me sum it up for you:

  • Do not buy backlinks from Fiverr or SEO companies
  • Bought Backlinks will associate your website with non-related (low-quality websites)
  • Besides that, you will lose traffic (a lot) and rankings
  • A lot of spam will come to your website by mail or comments

My take on building backlinks correctly is to make quality content on your website. This will make your website a source eventually for other websites, and they will link back to you. I thought it would not happen, but it did. It’s a long process and there is no shortcut to this.

Having a website and improving its SEO is years of process. It’s not going to happen just because you paid some company to make some links for you. It doesn’t matter if you pay more expensive or not. The best way is to have websites with relevancy linking to you. That’s it. Focus on creating quality content and the rest will come by itself.

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