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Should Paid Link Building Be Part of SEO Strategy

Paid link building - yes or no for SEO?

Link building is one of the most critical aspects of marketing any online business. Why?

Because according to Google themselves, it’s one of the most important ranking factors for SEO.

And just in case we need to remind you of the effectiveness of SEO…

  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

But what about paid-link building, should it be a part of your strategy?

That’s what we’ll discuss in this article.

Understanding Link-building

There’s a common misconception that link-building involves building loads of technical websites and adding links to your website. Or even using software to send spam links.

The truth is that effective link-building comes down to partnerships.

You reach out to people or your network and get them to place a link to your website in their article.

But we’ll talk more about that later on.

Link-building Activities

When it comes to building links (and partnerships), the main activities involved include:

  • Researching suited sites
  • Prospecting/List cleaning (Finding their email address)
  • Reaching out (Sending emails/Linkedin messages)
  • Writing guest posts (If it’s a guest post)

Of course, you can get away without the prospecting/list-cleaning by making a Google search for “industry + guest post”.

However, this will only give you the industry’s most common guest post sites.

Regarding SEO, much of the gold you’ll strike in terms of results can come from getting higher-quality links than all your competition.

And for that, you need to reach out to sites manually using the process listed above.

How does paid link-building work?

Link building comes in many shapes and forms. And so does the paid-link building.

You have the guys on freelance sites such as Fiverr that will blast your site with links – which will likely result in a penalty – and definitely not a ranking increase. Please avoid such kinds of activities.

Or a better way would be to ask an authoritative & reputable SEO agency that has been successfully earning links for their client. ‘Earning’ & not buying!

Another way would be to reach out to those websites that offer “brand boost”, with appropriate attribution & those are nofollow links. These types of sponsored links can aid your PR efforts but may not be useful in ranking.

But are paid links against Google’s guidelines?

Although Google mentions that paid links are against their guidelines, this doesn’t paint the true picture. Why?

Because natural links through collaborations and similar activities are considered white hat.

Most organizations pay someone (whether an agency or an in-house team) to handle their guest posts, SEO collaborations, and links.

Is that considered paid link-building?

By Google’s definition, it could be, but this is the bare minimum that industry giants are doing.

Additionally, it raises the question of how Google would even know that a link is paid if it’s done well?

Exactly, it’s impossible, assuming your content is good and the link is placed naturally to improve the user experience.

Not just Links, Relationships.

It’s important to note that you’re not just looking for link opportunities when building links.

You’re also trying to build relationships with the other website owners and bloggers in your industry. This gives you a better chance of getting them to link to your site, as they know who you are now.

For example, let’s say you are in the food industry. If you build a relationship with one blogger, you might also get easier access to their friends’ blogs for collaborations and links.

So it’s not always about “How can I build this link on their blog?” — but also “How can I start this relationship positively, and what value can I offer to them?”

This way, you can develop collaboration ideas and build SUPER high-quality links.

The problem is that most business owners don’t have the time for this, and that’s where paid link-building can be useful.

Small business owners: Start with your network

Regarding link-building, you don’t need to start with the super high-profile websites in your niche. Instead, you can start by building links within your network (friends, family, partners etc.).

This is one of the best ways to get started when you’re a small business.

You may have some industry friends with a website or blog. If you do ask them if you could write a short guest post on your topic of expertise. Or, ask them if they can add a resource you created to one of their articles.

Your existing network is often the easier way to start.

Analyzing the value of a backlink

But how do we know which websites to target? Are all backlinks equal?

Those are some great questions.
SEO can confuse many business owners, but we’ll simplify it for you.

The three main factors you want to consider:

  • Domain authority
  • Traffic
  • Relevance

You can check these metrics using an SEO tool like Ahrefs.

We recommend aiming for sites in the 20+ DA range, but if it’s relevant/has traffic, you can go for sites below that too. In general, the higher the DA, the better. But it is a metric that can be manipulated, so don’t take it into account blindly especially when the website is a non-existent brand.

Should Paid Link building be Part of Your SEO Strategy?

A click on Google search ads these days can cost up to $54… yes, SEO is worth it.


SEO can get you 100s, or 1,000s of these clicks every single month (See this recent case study of a client of ours, Kevin Smith Transportation Group:

Plus, you buy links once and can keep the traffic for a long time because blog content has a long lifetime.

So the upside potential isn’t the question… But what about the cost?

With Google ads, the cost would be extremely high.

Of course, if you have the time, it can work if you do it yourself. But remember, it’s not just the time spent doing the above activities. It’s also time spent on:

  • Learning SEO (to do it safely)
  • Writing guest posts
  • Building systems to help you scale your outreach

Overall, it’s not something you do in a couple of clicks. Instead, it’s a time investment; for most businesses, paying someone with a system set up makes more sense.

Paid Link-building FAQ:

Do I have to build links for SEO?

Yes and no. The short answer is that you need to do something to help your SEO to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Building backlinks is one of the most effective ways to do this.

Some SEOs claim you don’t need links – which is technically true. But you don’t need an elevator to go up a skyscraper when you can take the stairs.

How much does a link cost on average?

According to Ahrefs, the average cost of a link is around $77.. But, of course, this depends on many factors, including:

The domain authority of the website
How competitive is your niche is
Where the link appears

Are SEO backlinks a good investment?

Yes, as we discussed earlier, the cost of SEO backlinks is much more cost-efficient than going with ads. It’s also an investment that can help you rank for years instead of just a one-time ROI like Google ads.

Final thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed this article. Finally, we wanted to summarize the article:

Link building is one of the most important aspects of SEO, and it’s something that takes time and a lot of effort to do properly.

There are a few different ways you can go about link building – such as guest posting, content syndication, relationship building etc. – but they all require skill and dedication.

If you’re a small business owner, start with your network and then focus on medium to high-authority websites for link building.

One last note… Please don’t get it mixed up. Paid Link-building won’t replace your content and brand.

SEO, marketing and your business should be a well-oiled machine where every component matters…

You need good content. You need good links too.

Do you want us to help you with your SEO and marketing strategy? Find out if your website follows the best practices as per search engine’s guidelines.

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