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Will it hurt me if I buy backlinks for my website?

Bogdan Govdia Tips & Guides October 28, 2017
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The definite answer to this is: yes they can, and they will. Sure, the most common search requests like “buy backlinks for my website,” “cheap links” are the best way to hurt your website rankings on Google’s SERPs.

What’s Going On?

On the one hand, Google has been assuring us for a long time that any low-quality paid links will never bring any negative impact towards the website’s ranking promotion, at least directly. So, it was officially accepted that those having paid backlinks just would not help for better online visibility in any way. On the other hand, however, the most recent practical tests reconfirmed a couple of facts we can rely on for sure. 

In fact, having either a particular kind of paid links (for example, from a definitely bad neighborhood on the Internet, paid backlink directories, link farms, etc.), or their prevailing count against the natural ones not only CAN but WILL crush the website’s overall ranking progress on the leading search engines like Google itself, as well as Yahoo and Bing.

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Good Chances VS. Severe Risks

That way, Google’s official position on this matter has recently changed. Now it’s telling us that those unfortunate outcomes are less likely, yet still probable. After all, is it reasonably enough that the modern industry of the Search Engine Optimization is so scared of the paid backlinks hurting online page rankings? Should it sound alarming for all webmasters and online business owners searching the Web for anything like “buy backlinks for my website”? I’m going to take a look at the following possible outcomes. Below let’s imagine that I decided to go out and buy some backlinks for higher website ranking on Google.

Optimistic Scenario

I can successfully get a pack of high-quality backlinks - spending a pretty penny amount of cash, I should admit. Yes, they may even look much like the best natural ones, as I decided to buy backlinks for my website from several different online sources smart enough to exploit a loophole in Google’s search algorithm that determines every web page ranking positions.

 That way, I’m going to enjoy the actual boost in rankings - wholly convincing and quite prompt progress. And it looks like I’m fine, right? Not at all! The thing is that the world’s search giant is persistently working on detecting any exploits, abusing, and manipulative actions to modify the major algorithm and fix every glitch like that. Doing so, every time a loophole is found, we can recurrently see the next forthcoming update. That’s why even the most optimistic scenario suggests that my lucky ranking boost will be inevitably lost just in several weeks, or at least a few months.

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Pragmatic Scenario

Imagine a link farm or any other source that offers me to buy backlinks for my website. Under the most realistic scenario, even considering that the links I paid for had been actually created, there is no guarantee that I’m going to benefit from that. In fact, Google commonly recognizes the lion’s share of such backlinks as the paid ones - usually giving them no value and weight to impact web page rankings. That way, getting paid links is more likely to end up with a pretty penny waste of money.

Adverse Scenario

I might as well be unfortunate enough to hit the jackpot - and get instantly punished by Google, probably in different yet still very harmful ways. And my search ranking progress would be instantly pulled down to the starting point. And don’t forget about the most adverse scenario, when my website could be completely blacklisted. That way, such a careless decision to buy backlinks for my website could even apply for deindexing, and hence my domain authority would be lost forever.


Of course, the main purpose of quality backlinks is building the website's authority. Also, they should make it easier for the site pages to rank higher for the main target keywords. But what if I tell you that there is still much to make out of my existing backlinks? It means I don’t need to buy backlinks for my website to enjoy a reasonably good improvement. You can simply use what you’ve got at hand!

Let's imagine that I don't buy backlinks for my website, simply because I'm not betting on their excellent ranking potential to put the whole website under such severe risks. Or, for example, I can't afford to buy backlinks for my website, at least for the moment. So, let's see how I'm getting much more out of my already existing backlinks. Keep in mind, that there is no risk at all! I mean you will never hurt your website's rankings taking any of the following steps:

  • Broken backlinks - audit your website to see what needs a quick-fix. Make a checklist using one of the following online tools, such as Screaming Frog, Semalt Analyzer, Siteliner, Ahrefs. And, of course, don't forget about Google Search Console.
  • Squeeze link juice - I mean running a very easy procedure with Google Search Console to find all links with 404 errors and give them 301 redirects either to your relevant web pages, or the homepage.
  • Redirect chains - find and fix incorrect 301 redirects using one of backlink checking tools I just mentioned. As for me, I featured Screaming Frog and Semalt Analyzer. Doing so, don't forget to check whether you have got any 302 redirects. Should it happen so, change them all to 301 redirects using the same tools.

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Bottom Line

Okay, below I’m going to list a few suggestions, namely for those guys saying anything like “I still want to buy backlinks for my website - at all cost!”. Of course, paid backlinks might as well be a well-formed decision, given that you are wise enough to act more carefully. Here are several major precautions I found reasonable for the first try to buy backlinks for my website something about two or three months ago. Make sure to avoid and never deal at least with the following:

  • Automated backlinks created with any online link building tools should be avoided like the plague, as well as the rest of other platforms and spammed software, such as SENuke, Ultimate Demon, GSA, etc.
  • Site-wide backlinks, I mean buying links from any navigation sections of the website, such as the sidebar, footer, etc.
  • User-generated links, never ever buy any types of these paid backlinks like blog comments, bookmarks, forum posts, and links created with the most of the social communities.
  • Backlink packages and any other “best deal” offers for bulk sets of paid links under quite attractive price tags - that’s probably the simplest way to earn Google’s penalty.
  • Link selling services and any centralized systems, such as Sape - all of them are going to be caught and penalized by Google sooner or later, both “providers” and their unfortunate clients.
  • Side-tracked domains acquired by the new owner upon expiry should be avoided as well, even despite their pretty decent look, as dropped domains are usually converted into link or article farms.
  • Too thin content websites or any ad-heavy pages overwhelmed with too many affiliate links - are nothing but revenue-generating websites delivering no actual value, so they are the most promising ones to be penalized by Google, just as it had already happened after Fred algorithm update.
  • Not indexed websites must be avoided under any circumstances, as they have been already penalized by the search engines, that’s why it’s strongly recommended to keep reiterating web domains of every backlink provider you are considering to deal with.
  • Online sources openly offering backlinks for sale must always be left on short notice, even if it may sound like a “no-brainer”, the Internet is literally swarmed with various web pages screaming something like “we do sell quality links” to be caught by the search engines in no time, besides it’s almost given that once they would simply get reported by some decently concerned fellows.

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For Conclusion

Well, assuming that I decided to buy backlinks for my website, I’m sure that my basic suggestions, as well as all possible outcomes, are enough convincing for you. So, you’d better follow all rules of the game and never apply for any paid backlinks. That way, you will be assured that everything is in place and nothing can hurt your rankings. However, if you feel like being an incredibly risky gambler by nature and understand all about potential damages and adverse outcomes, I still believe that my short article will be helpful under any circumstances. At least to avoid the most severe risks and the worst case scenarios. Yes, my previous assumption to buy backlinks for my website was promising enough to seem incredibly efficient. Nevertheless, it’s still extremely unpredictable for the actual real-life considerations.

In conclusion, I would like to state it once again - going for paid links should be your personal choice. Anyway, just make sure to consider the above bullet points. And, of course, be careful to stay clear of that crap stuff mentioned in my brief checklist of Not-To-Do’s.

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Andrew Timchenko
Head of Customer Success Department
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