Title graphic for GrowTraffic blog about paid links

As a digital marketing agency that specialises in SEO, we are often asked about paid links. To some business owners and marketing managers, paid links seem like a quick and easy way to get their website ranking on search engines, such as Google and Bing.

Unfortunately, paid links aren’t what they seem. In this blog, we’re going to discuss paid links and highlight the difference between paid links and paid ads. We’ll also share our tips for building backlinks organically.

Paid Links: The Definition

One of the best ways to increase your websites ranking position on search engines is to get other websites to link back to it. This is of course known as ‘backlink building’ and is an essential part of SEO.

However, paid link building is the process of paying a third party to put a followed advertisement or followed link on their website that points directly back to your domain.

Once upon a time, paid link building was a great way to improve your website’s domain authority and increase your ranking position on popular search engines. That was before black hat SEO agencies and so-called professionals began to abuse the use of paid links in order to manipulate the search engines.

Google will penalise paid links

Google’s algorithms use backlinks as a natural signal. So, when people started to manipulate the algorithms, Google knew that changes had to be made. And along came Penguin. The huge Google algorithm update, which rolled out in 2012, changed the way many SEO professionals go about their work.

Ever since the Penguin update, paid links have been forbidden. And Google is quick to penalise websites that continue to use paid links.

What Is The Difference Between Paid Links And Paid Ads?

You may be reading this article and thinking “But I advertise on other websites?!”. However, there’s no need to panic. Paid links and paid advertisements are different. And Google will not punish you for advertising your business on another website, so long as you’re following the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Advertising on another website is not against the Webmaster Guidelines if the link is a ‘nofollow link’. Basically, ‘nofollow links’ do not pass ‘link juice’ to the other website and does not manipulate the search engines.

In simple terms (aka without the industry jargon), a paid advertisement is designed to increase brand awareness and sales. Whereas a paid link is designed to trick the search engines into ranking a website higher.

It’s explained in a little more detail here:

How Can Paid Links Damage My Business?

Paid links are now considered to be a dangerous SEO strategy. Google’s algorithms look for trustworthy and relevant websites with high-quality content and natural, organic links. The search giant can quite easily recognise a paid link, regardless of how well hidden it appears to be.

Once Google recognises a paid link on your website, it will likely penalise your website and give you an un-natural link warning notice. Following this, your website will drop in the rankings and you will probably notice a significant drop in traffic to your website. It only takes one paid link to undo all your SEO efforts.

Here at GrowTraffic, we advise against using paid links – regardless of whether they are high-quality or low-quality. Instead, we advise you to climb the rankings using ethical SEO strategies, such as organic backlinking and on site optimisation.

How Can I Build Links Organically?

We’re not going to sugar-coat it; backlink building takes a lot of time and effort. But it can make a huge difference to your ranking position and can grow traffic to your website.

You can attract backlinks organically by producing high-quality, relevant content that resonates with readers. You can also build organic links by developing relationships with relevant companies or bloggers and guest blogging on relevant high-authority websites.

Our blog is full of useful advice and tips on how to build links organically. For example, we recently wrote a blog on ‘How To Build Backlinks’. Plus, we’ve previously touched on how much you should spend on link building.

Need Help From A Digital Marketing And SEO?

Here at GrowTraffic, we are experts in digital marketing and SEO. We offer a range of services, which can be tailored to your needs and budget. We understand the importance of gaining high-quality backlinks – organically.

In fact, we believe that link building is all about communication and relationships. It involves us getting in touch with a relevant person from within your industry and creating a relationship that’s mutually beneficial.

This means they get something from you and in return, you get one of those valuable links, which are the foundation that Google’s results are based on.

If you’d like some more advice on link building or would like help with building quality links, get in touch here! Or call us on 0161 706 0012.

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est. 2009

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