In the PPC world the more you pay the higher you rank. A #1 ranking on Overture for “search engine placement” would cost $8.01 and a #3, $5.25. It has generally been understood that this is a major difference between the PPC engines and the natural engines. You can’t buy placement on the natural search engines … or can you?

A relatively recent development in the world of the SEO has been the practice of buying links. The purchase of links serves two functions though only one is of importance for the purpose of this article. Paid links, like paid advertising, can bring you direct traffic through click on your link. This is the less relevant aspect for the purpose of this article. The main reason that the purchase of paid links has become as popular as it has among the SEO community is for the one-way links that it builds to your website.

For any of you who have ever done reciprocal link building you know that finding high quality, high PageRank links can be extremely daunting. If you are willing to pay for those links however the effort and time required comes down quite significantly (though obviously the cost goes up).

Paid links range in price from anywhere between $5/mth to thousands and take into consideration a number of factors including:

1/ PageRank of the site

2/ Number of pages the link will be placed on

3/ The number of characters allowed for the link (i.e. 20 characters long, 30 characters long, etc.)

4/ Whether descriptive text will be included

5/ Topic of the site

6/ Location of the link


The PageRank is arguably the most important of these factors. A link from a PageRank 8 site is far more valuable that a link from a PageRank 6 website.

Number Of Pages

This used to be very important but seems to be slipping. Once upon a time a Run-Of-Site link (a link on every page) was extremely valuable as it could translate into hundreds and sometimes thousands of links. It seems that multiple links are no longer valued in the same way as they used to be though there is still a very significant advantage in multiple links from the same site and that is intimidation. When you competition runs a backlink count on you and sees thousands of links pointing to your site they will not like their odds and may choose to compete for a different phrase.

Number Of Characters

When you purchase a link the seller will almost always specify the number of characters the link can be in length. The higher the number of characters the more words you can use as the anchor text for the link. This may or may not be important. If your anchor text is “SEO” then it doesn’t much matter if the link can be 30 characters or not. If your anchor text is “search engine placement” then it becomes a much more relevant factor.

Descriptive Text

Some site owners will allow you to include descriptive text for relevancy (much like reciprocal links pages but better). This is extremely beneficial if the content of the site you are purchasing links from is not entirely related to yours. This will help the search engines see relevancy between the two sites.

Site Topic

Relevant now and destined to become more important as time passes. If the content of the site you are purchasing a link from is entirely related to yours the link would be more valuable. Again, the importance of this will only increase as time goes on.


The location of the link on the page is very relevant. The higher up and further left the link is the more weight it will be given. A link in the left-hand navigation is ideal; a link in the footer is the least valuable.

So where do you go to find links to buy if you do want to go this route. There are a number of resources you can use. The first is Google itself. Running a search for “text link” your topic is a good place to start and you can refine your search from there.

There are also a few auction/brokerage sites that allow you to advertise the sale of links on your site and bid on links from others. A few of the more popular are:

LinkAdage (my personal favorite)

BuySellLinks (a good one for lower quality but less expensive links)

TextLinkBrokers (this is a brokerage firm that sells links for others)

Some General Rules To Follow When Buying Links

The buying and selling of links, like PPC campaigns, must be monitored to insure that you’re getting the best return on your investment. Some of the basic rules are:

– Monitor the sites you are buying links from on at least a monthly basis to insure that the PR they were when you bought is the same or higher.

– Try to get your link on many but not necessarily all pages of the site. If you can get your link on 20 key pages of a site rather than a run-of-site you are probably better off. As Google and the other search engines try to detect and reduce the weight of paid links, things like a link on every page MAY become indicators to them (I know I would add that in if I were Google).

– Look around before buying. Check all the auction sites and run some searches on Google to find the best values. If you want to get even better results you may want to use the tool I raved about in last week’s article; PRProwler. It will help weed out low PageRank links.

– Unless the price is just something you can’t refuse, try to only get links on highly relevant sites. Relevancy is sure to become an increasingly important factor as time goes on. It’s also a good practice if you’d also like to get real click-throughs from the site you’re buying links from (especially if the link is well located on the page).

I do hope that this helps you in your promotions. If you have any questions about paid links or other SEO issues please don’t hesitate to contact us.

SEO Warning: This technique is still useful but may be targeted by Google in the near future. A good rule of thumb is to be certain the site linking to you is relevant to the topic of your website.