Backlinks are an important signal search engines use to determine rankings. But is manual link building worth the time, energy, and resources?
Yes. But buying backlinks has become an increasingly appealing option.
SEOs buy backlinks online to supplement and replace manual link building. Some SEOs build most of their links manually, while others prefer to buy high-quality links. But both of these practices prove beneficial when used properly.
Before link building services became accessible, manual link building was the go-to. Building backlinks was less challenging back then.
Several spammy manual link building strategies were still relevant at the time. But then, SEOs learned to manipulate search results for chosen keywords.
Eventually, Google discredited many of the very link building techniques it had recommended.
These days, manual link building is still an option, despite it being labor- and time-intensive. Even with this being the case, it’s still an excellent way to target high-quality backlinks.
The key to obtaining high-quality links is to ensure your links look natural.
Whether manually building links or using a link building service, you can achieve the same results in the SERPs.
This isn’t to say that manual link building is obsolete. Building high-quality links through manual outreach is still a cornerstone of SEO.
But to rank a site on Google, Bing, or another search engine, buying backlinks can be the better option.
Manual backlink building takes time and resources. So if you lack either, consider purchasing backlinks online from a reputable source.
Buying backlinks isn’t inherently good, nor is it bad. The truth of the matter is that even though it goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, buying backlinks online works.
While manual link building is white hat, it’s a tedious process. To get backlinks through manual outreach, you’ll have to:
Let’s not forget that you’ll need to automate the process to scale it. This involves creating systems, putting procedures in place, and more.
Some SEOs find they need to hire and train a team. As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into scaling manual link building.
Purchasing backlinks from a company isn’t exactly buying backlinks. Instead, you’re buying their process for acquiring links. This process enables you to scale link building efforts without creating one yourself.
Long story short, buying backlinks in 2020 is a great option, especially if you want to improve your backlink profile with a minimal investment.
Manual link building and buying backlinks can improve or damage your Google ranking. So it’s important to know what determines backlink quality.
The following information will ensure you know how to get high-quality links, regardless of the acquisition method you use.
The authority of the linking page is the most important factor for determining the quality of a link. This is because authoritative pages pass more link juice on to your site.
Google doesn’t publicise PageRank information. But it’s still a cornerstone of their algorithm as it takes authority into consideration.
Manual link building allows you to better manage the pages that link to your site. Once you find an authoritative page you’d like a link from, you’ll need to determine how you’ll get the link.
For manual link outreach, you’ll need a strategy. This usually involves creating something worth linking to or, if the webmaster accepts pay, negotiating a price. There’s also the option to find and replace broken links on the page.
In-depth link building strategies demand many high-quality backlinks. This in mind, backlink services can effectively supplement manual link building.
Buying backlinks from a link building service offers some control over page placement. But most of the time, they’ll have an SOP (standard operating procedure) in place to streamline communication.
It’s best to work with reliable backlink services that have some sort of guarantee. For instance, BigFatLinks.com offers a 100% link satisfaction on all orders.
The control you have over the authority of the linking page depends on the provider. But if the service is reliable, you can reach out and explain what you need.
A domain’s sitewide authority is also a factor for link quality.
For example, think about the links from authoritative sites like WSJ.com or Forbes.com. These offer more link juice than a link from a random blog.
Links from authoritative sites are more challenging to get. But they have a MASSIVE impact on rankings.
This is why backlinks from websites with a high “DomainRating” (DR) are so valuable.
For manual link outreach, you’ll first need to find authoritative sites. From there, you’ll have to contact the webmaster, wait for a reply, and hope to get a link. While most people will ignore these emails, there’s a chance you’ll receive a good link.
Authoritative sites are usually rather selective with outbound links to other websites. This is especially true if you haven’t established a relationship with the site’s webmaster.
Webmasters understand the value of a high-quality link. Thus, they’re not simply giving links away. You need to stand out, perhaps even do them a favor.
You can try using broken link building tactics. This method works if there’s a link pointing to a page that doesn’t exist anymore.
The webmaster’s goal is to provide the best user experience possible. So when you reveal a broken link, they’re grateful, which can result in a high-quality link.
Purchasing backlinks is less time-intensive and guarantees a link from an authoritative site. You choose the domain authority of the linking website, which makes it easier to get authoritative backlinks.
While backlinks from sites with a higher DA cost more, they’re more challenging to get. Thus, they’re worth the premium price.
While site authority is important, site relevance also plays a significant role in link quality.
For example, let’s say you have a website about pest control. Will a link from an authoritative site about dessert recipes move the dial? Probably not.
Andre Weyher, someone who worked on Google’s search quality team for two years, explained that each member of this team covers a specific “market” or” specialization.” He handled content quality and backlink profiles.
During this interview,
Weyher explained, “getting a link from a high PR page used to always be valuable, today it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PR.”
Regardless of how you get links, they should come from authoritative sites relevant to your niche.
Manually building links gives you control over the relevance of the sites linking to you.
You can check your competitors’ backlink profiles to get an idea of what types of sites are relevant to your niche. But it’s crucial to avoid duplicating their backlink profiles.
Get a good idea of which sites are relevant to your niche. Then, conduct some more research to determine which sites you’ll contact.
You’ll also have to decide on a strategy to get the links before contacting each site’s webmaster.
Legitimate link buying services categorize their services by niche. So when it comes time to choose a relevant site for a link, the choice is simple.
Rather than performing hours of research, the tedious work has been done for you. This gives you immediate access to authoritative and relevant backlinks. The entire process is simple and requires minimal effort on your end.
John Mueller from Google discussed the value of positioning links in the body of the content. He said that “this is the area of the page where you have your primary content, the content that this page is actually about, not the menu, the sidebar, the footer, the header…”
Mueller further explained, “The other thing to keep in mind is you still need to make sure that within your site you have a clear linking structure.
That can happen if you have a clear set up with a sidebar, menu…”
“But if you don’t have a clear linking structure, then we pick up just a bunch of links to external sites, then what might happen is we can’t really crawl the rest of your site properly because we can’t discover it properly,” Mueller elaborated.
Simply put, sitewide links still carry weight. But the links embedded in the content of a page are more valuable.
Manual link building strategies give you complete control over link positioning.
For instance, if you reach out and score a guest posting opportunity, you’ll create the guest post content. This way, you’ll know precisely where you’ll place your link.
Usually, guest post backlinks are either placed in the content or the author bio.
You can also use a broken backlink checker to uncover contextual link building opportunities. With complete control over which manual link building strategies you use, you’ll decide where you position your links.
Paid backlink placements offer some control over link positioning too. Before you buy a backlink, you can ask where the provider plans to place the link.
If the link position doesn’t work for your needs, you can find a backlink elsewhere. Yet, more often than not, a backlink service will have control over the link positioning.
Regardless of where your link is placed, the backlink must appear naturally.
According to Google, “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
But what does this mean exactly? For starters, you’ll need to be more selective about how you build your links.
Each backlink must appear natural. Generally speaking, you want links that are either editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page.
Manually building links means you know precisely how you’re acquiring your links. This ensures you avoid widely distributed links placed in footers and site templates.
For genuinely natural relevant links to your site, Google says the best method, “is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community.”
For this to work, you’ll need to create useful content that’s valuable and encourages readers to link to it. But it’s possible to achieve the same results while buying backlinks.
Google employees suggest avoiding link building entirely. But many SEOs find success paying for links. Whether manually built or paid backlink placements, the key is to make them look natural.
Even the most thoughtfully created, carefully-placed, and authoritatively sourced links aren’t always natural. But it’s possible to trick Google’s algorithm, even if it’s becoming more difficult with each passing day.
Avoid spammy backlinking techniques. This will ensure your links look as natural as possible.
For example, let’s say you buy backlink packages.
It’s best to avoid spikes in your referring domains to keep your links looking natural.
This is easier when you have your paid backlinks you can drip over time.
Purchasing backlink placements can appear natural. But you’ll need to buy backlink packages from a reputable source.
Think of your backlink building service as a partner in your link building efforts. They win every time you win. So it makes sense that they will provide excellent service to ensure your backlinks look natural.
Google uses your link anchor text, or the clickable text of your link, as a ranking signal.
For instance, let’s say you score a link with the anchor text “bears on unicycles.”
Google analyses that anchor text and expects the content behind the link to be about “bears on unicycles.”
But keyword-rich anchor text can impact the quality of your link either way. Overdoing exact-match anchor text links is spammy and can be problematic. So it’s best to avoid it to keep from optimising.
Again, manual link building gives you control over your link anchor text. In the case of your anchor text, this helps you avoid over-optimisation.
As you build your links, it’s best to track the anchor text for each link using a Google Doc or an Excel sheet. This ensures you maintain a healthy anchor text ratio of 50% target anchors, 25% miscellaneous, and 25% brand or URL.
As you buy backlinks, you’ll still need to track your anchor text. The main difference is you can plan your backlink profile well in advance.
Each time you buy backlinks, you’ll choose the anchor text you need. This control over the anchor text ratio ensures you don’t over-optimise.
Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s Webspam Team, wrote a post on his personal blog about how guest blogging for SEO is a thing of the past.
Cutts claims, “it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging, then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”
Despite this insight, guest posts can be valuable for backlinking purposes. But your guest posts should be value-driven and posted on authoritative, relevant sites.
Google Webmaster Central Blog recommends using nofollow tags where appropriate. Also, it explains the importance of disclosing the relationship if it’s sponsored content.
Google’s documentation on Link Scheme includes “Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.” So it’s best to proceed with caution when you run guest post link building campaigns.
Guest blogging is an excellent way to build links. This is your chance to create an authoritative, high-quality post for a highly targeted audience.
Besides SEO, the right guest posting opportunity can deliver web traffic directly to your site. But there’s more to guest posts than that.
If you have authoritative, engaging content on your site, other people will link to you.
For guest posting to work, it’s crucial to pitch selectively. The name of the game is quality over quantity. So a guest post on an authoritative and relevant site holds more weight than links spread across a dozen authoritative sites.
If you’re in the gardening niche, you won’t benefit from publishing a guest blog on an interior design site.
Find a site in a comparable niche. Your guest post should appeal to the site’s audience, enticing readers to check your website out, as well.
You’ll also have the chance to check the site’s performance. Some key indicators of a high-quality guest post backlink include:
You’ll need to conduct this research on your own. But the quality of your guest post backlink will reflect the time you’ve spent.
If you don’t have the time, you can also pay for guest posts.
Backlink service providers offer guest posts too. The main difference is that these services secure the guest post and write it on your behalf.
Instead of performing outreach yourself, a team works to find the best guest post placement available. Guest posting packages can help your site rise in the SERPs and drive targeted traffic. The right guest post placement can also help build brand awareness and credibility.
When you buy guest posts online, you choose the DA too. So if you want a guest post on an authoritative site, it’s as simple as making the purchase and specifying your needs.
Buying guest posts helps SEOs save hours on research and outreach to get similar results. But some SEOs find better results while performing manual outreach.
Ultimately, the results depend on the SEO’s research and the processes in place.
The nofollow tag (rel=” nofollow” tells search engines that the linking site is not endorsing your content. Rather than giving your content a vote of confidence, this tag lessens the value of the link.
For SEO purposes, “dofollow” links are best. But some sites might not offer backlinks without a nofollow tag.
All links are dofollow links until the nofollow tag is applied.
As you’re performing your manual outreach, you’ll need to check that the webmaster doesn’t tag your link as nofollow.
The most common way to get dofollow backlinks is through guest posting. However, other manual link building methods can work.
Some SEOs comment on forums to drive traffic to their content. Since millions of readers interact with specific topics on forums, there’s a chance that some will want to link to the engaging original content.
Dofollow backlinks can also be the product of building and nurturing relationships. But buying dofollow backlinks has its place in SEO too.
Paid dofollow links can also benefit a site. But these links need to appear natural.
Depending on the seller, buying backlinks online usually means they’re dofollow. While some services will sell nofollow backlinks, dofollow backlinks are more desirable.
Manual link building is challenging. This fact is why SEOs who know how to effectively manually build links are in high demand. But sometimes, manual link building techniques aren’t enough to beat the competition.
Buying backlinks from a link building service is an effective way to get links. However, while manual link building offers highly targeted links, you can achieve the same results without tedious outreach by purchasing links online.
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