Caveat Emptor – Buying Paid Links Is Now As Risky As Selling Them

by mjtaylor on July 15, 2011

Buying links has gotten riskier. Much riskier.

Buying and Selling Links

Both Link Buyers and Sellers Are At Risk

Google’s campaign against paid links, which first heated up in 2007, largely targeted websites that sell links; buyers were safe – until recently. This summer some webmasters who have what Google calls “possibly artificial or unnatural links” have been penalized.

The sites in question may or may not be buying links, but Google has ascertained that some of the links don’t meet Google’s guidelines, and have slapped offending sites with a penalty. Sites have dropped from the SERPs.

Here’s an excerpt from the message one webmaster received from Google:

We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

So, buying links is now as risky as selling them. Has this made you rethink your position on paid links – buying or selling?

You don’t have to answer that. ;)

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