Buying links: a bygone SEO technique?
Today, there are different strategies to achieve better positioning in search engines. Previously, the only possible strategy was to optimize your site so that it corresponded with the keywords on which you wanted to be positioned. Google has revolutionized this site classification by using new parameters including the quantity and quality of links pointing to a site. He thus opened the door to a whole new industry…which he is now trying to close.
It must have been suspected that some companies and individuals would start selling links from their website. Indeed, if Google gives it a value, why not monetize it? The fact remains that for Google, this sale of links distorts the relevance of its search results and consequently, the quality of its search service.
Result: Google has been claiming for months that it decreases the "link juice" of links that are clearly from the purchase of links. On the other hand, the message did not really seem to get through... Google therefore decided to raise its voice and penalize sites selling links by using, among other things, 2 new methods:
- decrease their “Page Rank (PR)”
- decrease their positioning in Google search results.
Many believe that Google is bluffing, as evidenced by this survey . It seems not since the first victims, including the Standford Daily, saw their PR reduced at the beginning of October. The Text link Ads site, a leader in the field of link sales, has also tumbled significantly in the Google index, now positioning itself in the 5th page for its own name “text link ads”.
This message does not bode well for companies whose business model is largely based on selling links for search engine positioning. Indeed, these sites will lose value in the eyes of Google and their links will therefore no longer have value if the trend continues.
If you use this strategy to position your site, it is important to mention that buying links is not a very dangerous strategy. Indeed, Google cannot afford to reduce the positioning of a firm that buys links since it could penalize companies that have done nothing wrong. Let's take the example of Adviso, which decides to buy links from dozens of sites that point directly to its competitors. Would it really be relevant to reduce the positioning of these?
The risk lies rather in the ROI associated with such a practice. Indeed, in many cases, a single link can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. Would you invest $10,000 annually in a link that might not bring you anything?
By doing so, Google is probably securing even more Adwords revenue. Indeed, if this strategy can no longer be used to optimize a website, it is a safe bet that some companies will turn to Adwords to guarantee their positioning. In that sense, they are probably already making a few thousand dollars a month more with the Text Link Ads site. Relegated to the 5th page of Google as mentioned before, the company must now pay the total to be first in the sponsored results on its own name! Very funny…