We shot up the Google rankings and have since won business .... and would recommend them to all bar my competition.

Tim Waters, Inverurie

How Much Should You Pay for Links?

How Much Should You Pay for Links?

I get phone calls and emails offering to sell me links to my website. Don't you? So what should you do, and how much should you pay?

It has been long-established that links to a website are a good thing. However, they are difficult and time-consuming to get. So buying 10, a hundred or a thousand seems like a good idea. especially if it's not too dear!

Spend 1 minute going through the following. Once you understand what's really going on, then you will know what to do and how much to pay.

In Google's eyes, it is the quality of links, rather than the quantity, that is important. For example, if the BBC's website were to link to yours, that would be much, much better than a link from a small, relatively insignificant website.

However, the relevance of the linking website is also very important. A link from a site that is in the same sector as you, providing complementary products or services, or relevant associated information, is much more valid than one from a site that has no apparently useful connection.

It is likely that you have a variety of existing links from all of the above categories. As a rule, I wouldn't worry too much. However, if you have bought links, then you may have cause for concern. Note, buying links is totally different from paying someone to develop good links as part of good SEO. That is fine. Link buying is not.

If you buy links, then the chances are that these are links that are being offered to others. It is unlikely that they are tailored to your industry or your location. Indeed, it is probable that many of these links are coming from sites which have been created simply to provide links. These links have neither quality nor relevance.

The best case scenario is that your paid-for links do you no good at all. However, buying links goes against Google's guidelines, and they even introduced an update called "Penguin" to penalise websites that had bought links. Have you noticed whether your website has fallen down the rankings? To add insult to injury, there are now stories of people being charged to have the links they paid for, removed.

So what should you do? First check with whoever looks after your website (marketing) to see whether they arranged for links to be bought. If everything appears to be OK, then congratulations.

But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Different things have to be done to address this problem. There may be some choice; some techniques are better than others. However, not all may be available to you.

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whoever looks after your website. However, for this particular issue, it is unlikely that they have been able to keep up-to-date with the confusing, conflicting and detailed advice necessary. You may now realise that website design and website marketing are two different skill sets. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 27th August, 2013

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

If you need to promote your business online, then contact us.