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Gray Hat/Black Hat :

As we previously discussed, some publishers choose to push the limits or ignore the Webmaster Guidelines in their quest for links. On the next few pages we will look at some of the more popular tactics in detail.

Purchasing links for SEO :

Historically, one of the more popular spam techniques was to buy links. This had two significant advantages:

  • It is easy. There is less need to sell the quality of the content of your site. The only things that need to happen are determining that the third party is willing to sell a link, and setting a price.
  • Since the link is an ad, you can simply specify the anchor text you want. Anchor text is a powerful ranking signal, and this is one of the major reasons people engage in link buying.
    The practice of buying links has fallen out of favor, even among aggressive SEO professionals, as the risks with this practice are very high.

Google’s policy on paid links :

The major downside is that buying links for SEO is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Here is a brief summary of Google’s policy on paid links:

  • Links given in return for compensation should not be obtained for purposes of increasing PageRank.
  • The link should be freely given, and the publisher of the potential linking site should be informed of what the publisher is doing. An example of a link where the publisher is not informed is one that is hidden in the NoScript tag of a JavaScript-based widget.

Google is not saying that publishers should not be able to buy ads on the Web. Its policy is that links should be purchased only for the traffic and branding value they bring. Google also recommends that publishers selling ads on its site use the NoFollow links, which means they will have no SEO value.

On another note, PPC campaigns using AdWords, BingAds, and other popular advertising platforms are not considered a violation of the policy against paid links. This is because search engine advertising links are easy for the crawlers to recognize, and the search engines simply don’t count them as a source of link authority.

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