When you’re buying links, you know that you’re risking a site, that you’re going against Google’s guidelines (and let’s face it, that’s the engine we all want to conquer), and that you could end up with a serious mess on your hands if your site gets banned.
Here are four big mistakes that you should avoid.
1. Not explaining the risks of paid links before you start buying.
I doubt you’ll find a client in a competitive niche who is unaware of the risks, but there’s a high likelihood that you will at some point be approached by a sweet grandma who wants to sell homemade dog cookies and has invested her retirement savings into the business. If you fail to explain the risks to Grandma, someone should come after you with a baseball bat. Actually, if you buy links for Grandma, someone should come after you with a baseball bat too.
2. Not answering “yes” when a webmaster asks if a paid link can hurt his site.
We’ve seen toolbar PageRank drop for sites that we’ve placed a link on for a client in a fairly sketchy niche. We’ve not seen this happen for our more reputable clients, though. However, this tells me that there’s definitely a possibility that, if you accept a paid link on your site, you could indeed see a drop in PageRank (if you care), rankings, and traffic.
3. Not giving a reason when you ask to move your link from one page to another.
If it’s because of a drop in PR, say so. If you’re buying a link on someone’s site and thereby putting the webmaster in a potentially bad situation, have the guts to explain the reasoning behind your request.
4. Giving out examples of paid links you’re responsible for, regardless of whether you have a non-disclosure.
Just because you and the client have accepted the risks involved in link buying, that is absolutely no excuse to expose the client’s dirty laundry. It’s perfectly natural for a potential client to ask to see examples of your work, but if you’ve purchased a link, you’re an idiot to show it to anyone, whether or not a legal agreement is in place.
This is one of the best reasons to continue to impose very, very strict standards on your link buys. If you can’t give out client examples, you’re going to have to depend upon your reputation to stay in business. If the links that you buy are no different than the white hat links you’d build, then you’re doing something right.
Paid link building is risky, period. However, it’s also risky to throw $30,000 into Adwords and get zero conversions. It’s risky to place an ad in a magazine or a newspaper. Marketing is always risky, but that doesn’t excuse you from being upfront about it.