Buying links to boost search engine rankings has long been considered a black art. The problem, however, is not so much paying for a link but being dishonest about it.
Google addresses the practice in its documentation, “Google does understand that buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web for advertising and sponsorship purposes.”
Google continues, “It’s not a violation of our policies to have such links as long as they are qualified with a rel=’nofollow’ or rel=’sponsored’ attribute value to the <a> tag.”
What search engines like Google don’t like is what some call link spam, the practice of buying links to inflate search rankings artificially. Link spam is always a for-pay scheme. There is no other reason to do it.
Here are examples of what Google and other search engines call link spam.
- Buying links on low-quality directory sites.
- Paid links in widgets distributed across the web.
- Paying to include links added to blog comments.
- Text advertisements that don’t block ranking credit.
- Paid advertorial or guest posts.
This last category of link spam — paid advertorial or guest posts — appears anecdotally to be on the rise.
First, Google Trends has reported an uptick in searches for “buy backlinks.” Google Trends uses a relative scale of 0 to 100 to show search volume. Thus, 100 on a Google Trends chart indicates the most proportional search volume for a given period.
From January 2004 to the present, the interest...
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