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Did Buying Links Work?


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 08:06 AM

Before SEO was invented, we called it "website promotion". In the year 2000, I worked full time as a user interface engineer and moonlighted at night doing search engine marketing work and my blog, and in that same year I was trained in human factors by my employer. That was when I fell in love with UX and began Holistic SEO and UX work, discussions, and promoting the union of those two opposing (especially in those days), fields.

 

Years later, as links became the method for marketing, one of my clients was paying a well known marketing company $10,000 for them to find him links that they would purchase for an additional several thousand per link. We would argue all the time about how his websites weren't user friendly, but he was paying out the whazoo for links.  While I was hired to redesign all of his sites, he refused to follow some of my recommendations. His sites were invasive and strictly marketing oriented, with no desire to actually connect with the humans coming to them. 

 

I got to thinking today about all the companies who paid enormous amounts of money to buy links, even after the crack downs against the practice.  I was never able to see how what they were doing was an investment that would benefit them for the long term. To me, the benefit was for the search engine marketing company that was hired.  

 

I was thinking today about this and wondered if the companies that broke their piggy banks to buy links are glad they did.

 

 

 



#2 earlpearl

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:04 AM

We haven't bought any. Can't comment. Though this is the type of thing I would never ask in a thread that is indexed and openly read.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:12 AM

I've always said that most websites only make money for developer/designers and hosting companies.  The owner doesn't turn a profit.

 

The reasons? 

 

1) There are only ten positions on the first page of Google.

 

2) PPC is so cut-throat competitive that almost any small business can not compete because they are unable to match the prices, combined with the conversion, fulfillment, wholesale and shipping costs of the most aggressive businesses - who are often subsidizing each order by several dollars with venture capital.



#4 cre8pc

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:18 AM

Though this is the type of thing I would never ask in a thread that is indexed and openly read

 

 

I giggled at this but you have a point. We do have our secret "Labs" forum for our long time members which is cut off from the world and search engines, for the "Illuminati" sector of SEO.... B:)  



#5 earlpearl

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 10:01 AM

 

 

I giggled at this but you have a point. We do have our secret "Labs" forum for our long time members which is cut off from the world and search engines, for the "Illuminati" sector of SEO.... B:)  

 

Don't get me wrong.  I've considered buying links and spoken with link sellers.  We've never pulled the trigger.  Never.  Never got close.  One element I found sort of pitiful was I spoke with a link seller through a contact who was friendly with the "peddler" (though a nice personal link seller).

 

The sites and places he was revealing were the types and places we were getting links on our own, without paying anyone but through effort that was generating links for reasonably worthwhile references or content that made sense.

 

Why pay anyone for things we are doing on our own.  Also the merit of these placements just wasn't dramatic...not nearly significant or dramatic enough compared to the risk.

 

Link buying or not.  One thing you should consider with any action of this sort is the risk.

 

To date, when it comes to risks the biggest hits we've taken via google penalties were downgrades because Google (AKA lawd almighty) deemed that links we had obtained years earlier through then perfectly acceptable ways, were later first degraded in value and later became the source of penalties.  (This whole changing nature of google rules defies business as I know it....but that is a different story)   So we ended up disavowing tons of what google had deemed crappy.  

 

In that case penalties removed.  Damned time consuming.  Why didn't they just speak to us???   Who the heck do they think they are???



#6 jonbey

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 01:36 PM

Good links help rank websites, whether they are bought or not.



#7 cre8pc

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:22 PM

Link buying or not.  One thing you should consider with any action of this sort is the risk.

 

 

Yes, that's what I was thinking.  I was looking at it like an investment, buying stock-like, investing in a 401k for example, where the purchase generates a return on the investment.  For a link that was several thousand dollars to purchase or a monthly commitment of $10,000, did that pay off for the purchaser or did it make marketing companies wealthy?



#8 glyn

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 11:25 AM

  • Organic traffic drops by approximately 10% year on year in the tourism vertical if your are doing things right, and I've seen up to 40% drops on y.o.y comparisons.
  • It accounts for anywhere between 30 and 60% of revenue. Let's call that half.
  • PPC accounts for less than 10%.

You can invest in Link building to increase your organic positions but it's a hard one to prove/sell as a service (but it can be done) or you can invest in content building but most of the content has already been produced and by sites with infinitely more authority than yours. Build the website for people is a good joke to because it keeps you living in the land of make believe that people really do give a sh** about brands any more, but bearing people in mind can at least lead to a friction-less experience which can make transactions faster.

 

I think about link-building as a way to distill and shape some of a website's keyword traffic around the themes you know will help it convert.

 

Google is a links engine, they hate it, but that's the reality.

 

PPC has average session times that are frankly inexplicable but despite this they convert and people pour money on it. If you took assisted conversion revenue value out of PPC campaigns then in all likely hood it would not be worth keeping the campaigns on. I'd like to see the last time someone audited PPC transactions to look at how much of a role the PPC campaign paid in the assist and then actually applied that to the PPC campaign data. I do this periodically for my Clients but you can bet you like that most agencies won't do and a whole lot of others are just view-throughing the whole experience!

 

Is link building a good way to get a keyword to position #1 in Google - Absolutely not.

 

G.



#9 bobbb

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Posted Today, 09:18 AM

 

In that case penalties removed.  Damned time consuming.  Why didn't they just speak to us???   Who the heck do they think they are???

They are the owners of a search engine and its data and thus the final word on any result they show. :)





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