The State of Links, 2024

April 17, 2024

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It should be fairly obvious by now that the Google does not like sites that buy and sell links.

So if we're going to be engaging in this behavior, there's a couple requirements that become foisted upon us.

One, we have to accept that choosing to participate in this environment will automatically classify us as persona non grata in Google's eyes, once discovered.

Both ends of the spectrum...buyer and seller.

Recognizing this we have two choices:

We can abstain from the behavior or we can accept the inherent risks and limitations.

If it's within your skill set and budget to choose the former, I would highly recommend it.

If you have skills and the budget to go out and build viral link building/digital PR campaigns, the type that gets you the links that you just cannot buy, then that is obviously going to be a better choice.

These types of links will always perform better than the types of links you can cheaply buy.

These types of links will retain their value much longer than the types of links that you can cheaply buy.

The offset here is that viral link building campaigns don't always result in great do-follow links, and not every site is a good candidate for a digital PR campaign.

Additionally, as you wade through the reviews of these services, you'll find that many expensive PR campaign providers aren't actually getting their clients links.

Creative campaigns are fairly easy to generate. The links that come with them, not so much.

If you are going to choose the former let's talk about the risks and limitations.

The risks are fairly obvious:

Google is on the warpath against sites that are selling links.

Their algorithm is actually quite shite at determining if a link was naturally acquired or paid for. But the trends of sites that are selling lots and lots of links becomes fairly obvious over time.

It's good to remember that if a website is willing to sell your site a link, it's most likely willing to sell many sites links. This is just the nature of the beast in this environment.

We'd all love to pretend that our websites are precious creatures deserving of special consideration but the reality is that link sellers are ruthless and they'll gladly stuff a porn link next to yours next week, should the opportunity arise.

If you follow my advice on the natural anchor text protocol, you're limiting your future risk with regards to formerly strong sites becoming weak and formerly good links becoming toxic (FredCore™).

However, you cannot minimize the risk of your investment in paid link building eventually going to zero, even if you utilize smart future-proofed anchor text SEO.

With this in mind, it's probably best to think of your investment in this type of link building as an SEO rental more so than something you do once and reap the benefits of for ever.

If you want to do things once that reward forever, you'd be much better served doing some viral link building campaigns, Mark Rofe style (who has an excellent product on the topic btw, and might even be a good provider for the service...I'm not sure on that last bit).

If you are unwilling to future prove your SEO, then you should probably stop buying links because eventually Google is going to find out all these sites.

Google is going to strip the value out of them, one by one as they find them out.

If you haven't planned for this by building links with proper anchor text, it will hurt you in the future.

You're going to pay the price. You're going to feel the pain. It's inevitable.

And if you're unwilling to accept that links you buy today are likely to have a greatly diminished value in six months or a year or worst case scenario next month (or week, it truly is a game of whack-a-mole), then you should probably stop buying links and start building them yourself.

Or shoot your shot with a Digital PR provider.

Two, we (and by we I mostly mean me, as your potential paid link provider) we have to do our absolute best to get links on sites that provide maximum value.

If the decay is inevitable, we need to both delay it as long as possible while making it financially worthwhile before it sets in.

When I first got into this part of the business, I was a buyer...not a seller.

And boy did I buy some shitty ass links.

From big name reputable providers.

Names you'd immediately recognize if I cared to drop them...

The more I bought and the more I dug in, I realized their quality control metrics were absolutely asinine.

DR20+, TF15+, Domain Traffic 1000+

I buy better f^$&ng expired domains than that, minus the final traffic bit.

And these are supposed to be premium placements lol.

So I created better standards for myself and my team.

But it soon became clear that using anybodies 3rd party data was a low value proposition, at best.

Ahrefs, Majestic and Semrush will paint you completely different pictures.

One shows a site completely in decline, another in the upswing...a third never liked it but says it's strong anyway.

Throw in click-through-rate manipulation tools getting picked up by their upstream provider (Clickstream) and at least Ahrefs constantly tweaking how they measure traffic so that any long term graphs are useless, at best...

What to do?

Did what I always do.

Took a peak at the only place Google lets us look inside the black the SERPs.

How much Google likes a site directly relates to how valuable a link on that site will be to your site.


No other metric has come close in the last 5+ years I've been buying and selling paid links.

I suspect it was true long before then but I didn't bother to look.

How do we know if Google likes a site?


Does Google rank that site in the top 30 for high volume high CPC terms? If no, pass.

If yes, is it more than one or two pages? If no, pass.

What's high volume/high CPC mean?

Personally, in my tests...If you get links on sites that rank multiple (5+ is nice) pages for terms that PPC guys are willing to spend $1000+ for....links on that site will do you good.

But I also want at least one of those pages to be a banger...say $5k+.

Or if not $5k+, then multiple at $2k+ and a few more at $1k+.

Sites that have a handful of pages that barely crack $1k with no bigger value terms typically get tossed in my recheck tab, to be analyzed again next week

Maybe they'll improve (it happens all the time), maybe they won't.

Ultimately though...Value is like beauty.

You know it when you see it and describing it adroitly is nigh impossible.

If this sounds like a giant pain in the ass, it is. It's why we're not cheap.

I don't know anybody else that cares about providing the best possible ROI on your link purchases and I'm always going to go the extra step to ensure you succeed with us.

Marketing myself and the team is fun and all but I'd much rather do so well that you can't help but tell your friends and peers.

Results that provide word of mouth leads so strong that instead of marketing, I'm working on hiring more operations people and going snowboarding more.

1250 words, wow.

Had no intention of writing a chapter on War & Peace but I felt like this was a topic that needed to be out on the table in plain sight.



P.S. If I didn't dissuade you from wanting to buy links,

P.S.S Want to qualify big lists of site links yourself quickly?

Top 10 Traffic/Total Traffic*Traffic Value/100,000

The final division by 100k will give you whole numbers. Anything less than 1 is borderline. Double check these manually.

Anything in double digits is SEO sex.

it's not a perfect representation of term value but it's the closest I've managed to come up with so far.

I still double check the questionable ones but the correlation rate is well over 95% now.


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