The use of text link ads is a hotly contested issue among many SEO experts and most certainly by the search engines themselves. Google has as much noted that the sale of text links solely for the PageRank value is a form of sp@m. That said, anyone familiar with AdWords (and I highly doubt that anyone on our blog isn’t) knows that Google themselves recognizes the value of text links in directing traffic, their value in regards to increasing PageRank and boosting the relevancy of your site is purely a pleasant by-product.
When I received an email this morning offering a discount for paid links it prompted me to :
a) take a peek at the site and the quality of the links they were offering, and
b) post a blog on this important topic
While the major search engines cannot condone the purchase of text links for their SEO value, I am not a search engine. That said, one must be careful in the choices one makes in this regard. There is purchase of text links with hopes of it helping your search engine rankings and there is the purchase of text links SOLELY for increased PageRank. The later is not recommended.
When purchasing text links one should follow these rules:
- Puchase links from relevant sites. If it seems logical for a person to actually click on your link from the page it is being displayed on then chances are it’s a good link regardless of the PageRank. If someone would click it (an SEO link on a web design site for example) then there is an implied relevancy there.
- Base the desision to purchase a link based on the PageRank of the homepage not the linking page. A site with a high PageRank homepage (usually matched with a high Alexa ranking though not necessarily) usually indicates that the site is well regarded by both the search engines and site owners.
- Vary your anchor text. A sudden increase from 3 links to 5,000, all with the same anchor text is bound to look suspiscious to the search engines. Take a look at the content of the page your link is going on and adjust the linking text accordingly. Remember, you’re also hoping for real-for-real traffic here. A link that appeals to the visitors is going to provide that.
- Remember aging delays. Google (wisely) “sandboxes” links in much the same way that they do domains. A link that is a day old is worth virtually nothing whereas a link that is months old hold much more weight. If you’re purchasing a link purely for it’s affect on your Google rankings than be prepared to pay for it for many months (between 6 and 8) before you get the full weight though the value of these links will increase over that time.
There are a number of sites that sell text links, some good and some bad. The one I got an email from this morning is one of the better I’ve seen with a lot of selection and a directory (with a search function) that allows you to select sites that are relevant to yours easily and quickly.
Note: Link to text-link-ads.com has been removed. Text links are a dangerous dangerous game and I for one don’t want to be blamed for leading you, our valued readers, into an area that could get your site(s) penalized.
SEO news blog post by Dave Davies, CEO @ 12:54 pm on April 11, 2006