Search engines like to take the hard line and categorize things as either black or white. In some cases, they are actually grey. Say you are an artist and have a local frame shop you like to recommend. In turn, the frame shop might give you a small referral fee for sending all your wonderful clients their way. The online version of this is a link from the artistâ€™s website to the frame shopâ€™s website. It makes sense. Itâ€™s good marketing. Itâ€™s good business and that is what link-building and link buying is all about. Many times, a link is a great lead generator. Letâ€™s take the artist and the frame shop example again. You might get tons of traffic from that artistâ€™s shop. It is a great business link. You might buy links for credibility. Taken to the extreme, your link from the local Chamber of Commerce could be considered link buying.Personally, I think link buying is a perfectly legitimate practice. I don’t see the difference between a banner ad and a text link ad, as long as you’re not intentionally trying to game the search engines and you expect to get traffic and brand visibility from those ads appearing on the websites you are advertising on, irrespective of the SEO effect.
A pet peeve among panelists in a recent SEO Thought Leaders Summit was the engines’ opposition to the tactic of link buying. Christine Churchill had some wise words to share about link buying:
Zeeshan Parvez says
I would have to disagree with those who claim that link buying is legitimate and here is why. Google is a search engine trying itâ€™s best to provide people with unadulterated search results. Google judges your websiteâ€™s page rank and allots you a rating. Now how can you use a rating allotted to you buy a company to allow others to increase their SERP position? It is the company that allotted you the page rank and they do not want you to use it allow others to get a better Search Engine Rank. Without the page rank you would never have been able to sell links. How many people buy links to a website with a zero page rank?
So you see you are put in the position by Google in the first place. So if they do not want you to use something they have given you â€“ and for a good reason which is to provide unadulterated search results â€“ then how can you complain? I am baffled at why people are complaining. As a webmaster I whole heartedly agree with Google.