How To Vet The Backlinks You’re Planning To Buy
If you want temporary rankings and income, rush out to any link selling and buying marketplace you can find, and place an order for as many links as you can get your hands on.
You’re guaranteed to tank your rankings sooner than later.
Whether you build the links yourself, or purchase them from a reputable seller, there are a few ways you can “vet” the links to make sure they’re going to help your rankings over the long term, rather than tank them in the short term.
Remember, as with everything else SEO related, these aren’t hard-fast rules. You have to use your own judgement and intuition, but the rules I’ve laid out below will help you get off on the right foot if you’re planning on buying links and want to separate the reputable sellers from the guys that are just out to make a quick buck.
It’s up to you to do your due diligence. Nobody else.
PA / DA / TF / CF / PR
Before I jump into this, let me clear something up for everyone that is reading and has some misconception about PageRank.
Yes, Google stopped publicly displaying it, so the metric is almost completely useless.
Yes, Google still uses it in their algorithm, because their entire algorithm is based around this simple principle. Their algorithm evolves, but PageRank is still at the core.
No, Google will not update it again, so any information that you have to go on is years old, and doesn’t reflect any changes that have happened since they announced that “Toolbar” PageRank would no longer be updated.
I had to put that out there for people that want to argue PageRank doesn’t exist anymore, and other folks that still seem to think it’s a viable metric to go off of when vetting links.
PageRank is outdated. There are newer methods, like PageAuthority, DomainAuthority, Trustflow and Citationflow that are more up-to-date, but still not as accurate as the PageRank metric used to be.
With all that said, there’s one other factor you need to take into consideration when you’re using any of these 5 metrics to judge the strength of the links you’re going to receive…
Unless you get a link from a page that is already showing a strong DA / PA / CF / TF, your link is probably going to end up on a brand new page of the website, which doesn’t have the same strength as the domain name you’re getting the link from.
In other words, unless you’re getting a link from the homepage, or the page that’s being updated already shows incoming links and has DA / PA / CF / TF attributed to it, your links is going to likely end up on a DA 0 page. In other words, not very strong.
The best way to buy links using these metrics is to buy them from pages that are already showing strong metrics themselves, such as a homepage or a page that’s directly linked to from the homepage.
Buying links from blogs tends to drop your post further down until it is completely off of the homepage, so if you’re using this, you want a direct, static link from the homepage to the page that your link is featured on.
If you’re planning on buying links from blogs, you’ll want to build more links to the post or page that your link is featured on. This will help the overall domain strength which will trickle back to the page or post you have a link on, while also directly strengthening the post or page your link is on.
There are multiple tools available that will help you check these metrics, but they aren’t necessarily set in stone. While higher numbers tend to equate to more strength, you really need to find a balance of relevant vs strength, if you want to build up long term rankings that are hard for competitors to work against.
Outbound Linking Patterns
This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make, especially when it comes to buying cheap links to their websites. Most sellers that offer lower-than-industry rates are going to have to sell more of their link packages to make a decent income.
Whenever they sell more links from their sites, they’re putting your site at risk. If one of the people they’ve sold links to finds themselves under a manual review for doing some shady stuff, you can bet that your links are going to be scrutinized, too.
That’s what’s called getting tied up into a “bad neighborhood”.
To get around this situation and make sure you’re buying from reputable sellers that actually care about the websites they’re linking from, and linking to, you need to look at the links that they’ve already sold and figure out which types of sites they’re pointing to.
The ideal scenario is to receive links from sites that are directly related to your own, that also happen to link out to websites that are in the same industry / niche focused topic.
The worst scenario would be to buy links from sites that link out to any and everything imaginable, from coffee to vacuum clears, to stock markets, gold, ETFs, to politics, payday loans, pharmaceuticals, and more.
This is something you have to use your own judgement on, with a scale starting on one side that is the most relevant to your own niche, but that also links out to only content that’s also related to the niche, while at the other side of the spectrum is a generalized blog that does not discriminate who they link to.
The niche relevant links are always going to do more for your rankings than a link from a strong page on a site that links out to irrelevant content all the time, especially when those links go to sketchy or shady websites.
If the person you’re planning on buying links from doesn’t care enough to keep the links tightly related and relevant to each other, you can safely bet that they do not care about your long term rankings or the long term viability of their own business model.
These types of link sellers need to be avoided at all costs. There are for more, better options to purchase links from than someone that is just looking to make a quick buck and will link to anyone with a few dollars in their pocket.
Relevant / Related Content
I touched on it earlier that the links you purchase obviously need to be featured in content that’s related to the page that you’re actually linking out to.
These links are going to be stronger, and better for your rankings than links that you’ve purchased based on simple metrics alone.
For instance, let’s assume that you run a website in the baby industry. You sell baby monitors, and need to rank higher for your chosen keywords. So you start searching through different marketplaces to find links that are for sell that will link to your baby related site.
You stumble on two different sellers.
One is providing you a link from a baby blog that links out to other baby blogs alone, but is on the lower end of the “overall strength” scale, in terms of PA / DA / CF / TF.
The second seller is providing you a link from a high PA / DA page that has a ton of links going into it, but the content on the page (and the pages linking to it) are nowhere near related to the baby industry.
Which seller do you go with? The irrelevant, high strength link, or the lower strength, highly relevant link?
If you want long term rankings, you purchase the link that is featured on a baby related website, that has other baby related content, with links coming into it’s pages and posts from other baby related websites. That link is going to have a much more substantial impact on your rankings that the second example.
While the second example wouldn’t necessarily be a bad link to have, you always want to take the links from the most relevant pages and websites first. Here’s why…
If the websites you’re getting links from have content related to your own, they’re going to have a lot more relevance to the keywords that you’re trying to rank for.
Their internal links are going to pass more authority to the page or post that your link is featured on.
The links pointing into their website are going to contain more baby related relevance, which strengthens your site in the eyes of Google.
You will find your link on a page that’s also linking out to other related baby sites, so if you ever happen to find yourself getting a manual review, they’re not going to blink twice at the fact that a baby related site is getting links from another site that’s also related to the baby industry.
Let’s scale this strategy a little bit, and you’ll see what I mean.
Let’s assume you get 100 links from baby related sites, and 100 links from higher strength, but unrelated websites. Let’s also assume that all of these sites are getting scrutinized under a manual review process.
The 100 baby related sites that are linking out to other baby related websites aren’t going to look that unnatural. However, the 100 websites that link to all types of content, and happen to include links to your baby related website right next to a link that points to an automotive or car insurance website is going to look unnatural.
It’s going to be easier for the manual reviewer to assume you’re buying links if your portfolio consists primarily of “high strength” links that come from a website that links to anything they can feature. If all of your links come from baby websites, you will probably never get a manual review to begin with.
Freshness / Regularly Updated
This is a factor that’s somewhat debatable whether or not it matters.
Rather than get into the science and testing behind how the algorithm works and whether or not freshness matters when it comes to links, I’m going to hit you with a bit of logic. Then you can make a determination for yourself on how much weight you want to put into this.
The freshness of a website may play a role in the strength of the links pointing to your website. If not the strength, it will have an impact on your website if you happen to receive a manual review.
To help you see what I’m talking about, I’ll give you some context.
Let’s assume you purchase a set of 100 links. All of those links are coming from pages that haven’t been updated in years, and are only updated to include a link to your website after you’ve made the purchase.
In the eyes of the algorithm, they’ll pick the links up the next time they crawl the page, and will see that the “freshness” has been changed to reflect a newer date. If a manual reviewer happens to look at the pages, though, they’ll see that the only update was to include a link to your website.
Then, if they start digging into your recent links and see that all of them fit this same profile, they may have an issue with the process and figure out that you’re actually buying links from aged pages — which points to manipulating the search results, more than it points to you buying them for the direct traffic / advertising.
Now, remember what I’ve already said. This is debatable, and just one scenario that you could find yourself in if you’re buying links from aged websites that haven’t been updated in years.
If you do plan on doing this (because it does work, and a LOT of legitimate sellers put this into practice), you want to make sure you’re mixing them in with other links that are on “fresher” pages. This will throw off the reviewer in the chance that you do get a manual review.
Legitimate Inbound Links
The last factor you need to take into consideration when you’re planning on buying links is the inbound links of the websites that you’re actually buying them from.
This goes back to the example I gave you about buying links from websites that have relevant and related content to the content on your own blog or website.
For instance, baby related websites that have links from other baby related websites are going to do more for your rankings than non-related websites that have links from other non-related websites.
So if you’re planning on buying links from a baby related website, you want to do your research and ensure that the links pointing to the site you’re getting the links from have their own links from other baby related websites.
This is going to help you in two different ways.
First, it’s going to increase the relevance that flows through from the website you’re buying links from to the website that you’re purchasing links for.
Second, it’s going to make sure that the links you purchase are around for the long haul, having long-lasting effects on your search engine rankings.
If a website that you’re buying links from has artificially propped themselves up by purchasing links from unrelated websites (in an effort to make their site appear stronger), they run the risk of getting a manual review or having their website devalued by the algorithm.
This is pretty much a guaranteed way to ensure you’re going to waste your money.
To sidestep this, spend a bit of time researching the types of websites you’re going to be purchasing links from, and ensure that the links they have pointing to their pages are from related websites and blogs.
With so many people buying expired domains to use in their networks, you don’t necessarily have to worry so much about this, but if you’re trying to find links as cheaply as you can get them, you can safely assume that the links you’re going to be purchasing have been artificially propped up.
When you purchase from people that are using legitimate expired domains, and you know they have done their research to ensure those domains have links from relevant websites that weren’t built within the last 3-6 months, you know that they have a quality network and you’re safe to purchase links from them.
However, if those websites have a ton of fresh links and those links are coming from websites that aren’t necessarily related to the expired domain, you can assume that they’re trying to pump up the amount of sales they make in the shortest time possible, which puts your website at risk down the road.