I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question from clients: “Should I use paid links for my website to help my ranking and traffic?”
In short, it depends. As a general rule of thumb I highly recommend clients stay away from paid links to boost Pagerank or game Google in the keyword ranking game. Why? First of all, it’s against Google’s TOS. Secondly, if you get caught by Google, they will bury you in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) most likely never to be seen or heard from again. To most that spend years building up their online presence for one website, this is totally unacceptable and quickly becomes a mute issue never posed again.
In fact, Google just reminded us yesterday of their stand on paid links. Google even provides an outlet of reporting those that violate their TOS on paid links so you you must be very cautious and expect the worst if you venture down this slippery (well defined) slope of buying or selling links.
However, getting paid advertising (links) makes total sense. This type of paid links look similar on the surface but most assuredly are different under the covers. The main difference can be summed up as: Paid links manipulate search engine results and ad network links do not. It’s the former that can and does get website owners in trouble.
Paid advertising networks are certainly an acceptable means of attaining a wide breadth of targeted exposure to your site and comes highly recommended by many, myself included. This avenue certainly makes sense when your website is new and you want to gain traction in the niche providing you have the budget for it.
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Paid links is much too complex of a topic to cover everything in this article. The objective of this article is to simply make all website owners aware and “leery” of paid links to boost your online presence and to make sure you ask the right questions to the person or company that is recommending it — take extra precautionary measures to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of paid links. Believe me, it can happen.