How to: Buy Links Without Being Called a Spammer

The types of link buys that Google has a distaste for are the links that are exchanged directly for cash. Modify your way of thinking just a little and there are a wide array of easy to buy high value links awaiting your purchase. The key to having a low risk profile is to make the link appear indirect.

Most links occur because of a value exchange of some sort. People link because

  • they find a resource to be valuable
  • they get paid directly for linking
  • they get paid indirectly for linking

Here are 18 indirect ways to buy links without looking like you are on a link buying binge.

Guest Blogging: Have a lot to share but little budget for exposure? Consider saving some of your best content for other websites that have the attention of your target market & offer to guest post for them. If you are looking for more general exposure and can't get onto the A list websites start by submitting to some of the B & C list sites that accept guest posts and work your way up. Services like MyBlogGuest make it easy to find relevant opportunities.

Featured Content:

  • Involve people in group interviews like SugarRae's link building interviews or SEOmoz's industry survey.
  • Create infographics & promote them to your target audience.
  • Create other featured resource content & promote it to those who link at quality resources. Internet Marketing Ninjas is great at this type of content creation & promotion.

Testimonials: Best thing ever. Buy now! ;)

Testimonials help increase sales because they are a sign of social trust. Many content management systems, web designers, programmers, and web hosts offer links to featured clients. Some keep full directories of sites using their services, while other sites, such as Pligg, also allow people using their software to buy an ad on the official software site.

Conferences: By paying to attend a conference and being social there some people may reference you on their blogs. Some conferences also list speakers, post an official list of attendees, and highlight sponsors with direct links. Giving away t shirts or coming up with viral games (such as drinkbait) will get you links.

Association Memberships: Trade organizations tend to have significant global authority and topical authority. In order to push the agenda of the organization many of these list members to show proof of social value. These links are often priced far below their value, and contributing directly to associations is a way to also get significant exposure in front of the type of people who are likely to buy from you and/or link at your site.

Contests: People are competitive animals. Contests like the Mahalo Follow refer a friend program also move the spamming activity away from the source and onto other people, thus allowing the central sites to profit from spamming without being called spammers.

Awards: Even if winning an award has absolutely no value people still like recognition. Winners like to talk about what they have won. In some cases you can even give award winners your product to get them to talk about it.

Donations: Support causes you believe in. Money is the fuel upon which charities can fund themselves and spread their messages. It is hard to call you a spammer for donating money to a good cause. If you get a bit of link equity out of it as a bonus why not enjoy the benefits of good karma? Better yet, you might be able to donate software or services to charities at little to no expense to you. How much is an SEO services by link on a PR8 charity site worth in branding and distribution?

Free Samples: This acts similar to donations, except it is easier to spread to a wider audience without appearing spammy, and if people like what you offer they may review it on their sites.

Widgets: Many embeddable tools (like analytics products, what is my PageRank tools, etc) provide static links back to the original source site. Some companies also provide emblems that their site is hosted on a green host or that they support some other cause.

Sponsorships: Many email newsletters are archived online. If you target a compelling offer to the right audience this may lead to additional links. Services like ReviewMe also allow you to put targeted offers in front of audiences who may help spread the word.

Web Directory Submission: An oldie, but an easy one to do. Here is a list of some of the better ones. The editorial guidelines are not as stringent as we are led to believe, and here are tips for getting the most out of your Yahoo! Directory submission. If you like video content here is a video about submitting your sites to directories.

Affiliate Programs: Even if affiliate links do not provide direct link juice, good affiliates still send a relevant stream of traffic to your site. Some affiliate programs also 301 redirect the affiliate links to the end merchant site. Affiliate programs allow clean companies to profit from the dirty parts of the web (think AdSense or Mahalo Follow).

Social Media: Partner with someone who enjoys writing junk for sites like Digg. If you are too lazy for that, StumbleUpon ads allow you to target ads to specific groups on StumbleUpon, and there are a number of Digg spamming services on the market. Here are some tips for link baiting.

Google AdWords or Other Ad Buys: You can buy ads and send targeted traffic streams to your linkworthy content. You can do it one keyword at a time, or target ads to specific websites. In some cases businesses get organic links just because people are talking about how often they see their ads, plus top of mind awareness leads to more usage and more links.

Link Out to Egomaniac Bloggers: This is a way of buying links by paying with your attention and distribution. People like getting mentioned, and are more likely to link to people who agree with them. Seth Godin linked to my blog again a few weeks ago and when I saw he mentioned my site (even if only in passing) for some reason that made me happy. Insightful blog comments are also likely to make a blogger want to talk about you.

Blog Carnivals: Blog carnivals are where a group of bloggers all talk about a topic and mention everyone else in the ring. These amount to a big circlejerk. If your site is legit and a market leader there is no need for this sort of stuff, but if your site is new in a saturated field doing this might be helpful. Plus others in the blog carnival may end up adding your site to their blogroll or talking about you again on their blog.

Press Releases: Do it too often and it looks cheesy, but some mainstream media outlets like CNN syndicate press releases, while others may choose to interview you based on your press release.

Hire Them / Buy Their Brand & Site: If someone already has a large following but is not monetizing it to the full potential consider hiring them and letting them help you build a more profitable business. You can also look for under-performing sites to buy. If someone is outside of your financial reach you may still be able to leverage their brand by interviewing them.

Published: August 17, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing seo tips


August 20, 2007 - 2:53am

Hi Aaron, I'm new. This blog is cool, thanks from Mexico. I will continue reading your blog. Excellent Work!!

August 20, 2007 - 1:48pm

Mmmmm you have got me thinking now with some of these ideas..

August 20, 2007 - 5:19pm

Hi Aaron,

Surely you can't be advising people to pay for testimonials? Tell me i've misinterpreted this.

One thing I've been wondering about buying links is; since it costs money to get listed in dirs like Yahoo! (or at least it did last time I checked), would paying out for a Yahoo! listing just end up in a Google dive bomb, or is that somehow categorized differently? And if it is categorized differently, where is the line drawn?

August 20, 2007 - 7:35pm

What about Text-Link-Ads? Does Google look down on this sort of link selling/buying?

August 20, 2007 - 8:36pm

We use many of these techniques and they do work. One that was left off was simply asking others to link to you. A large number of websites want to show the "caliber" of site and will use your creative to link to you. Simply create a few banner ads and have a page with the html code ready to be copied and pasted in to their website!

August 20, 2007 - 9:26pm

Thanks for all the great tips. What is your opinion on text link ads?

August 20, 2007 - 9:43pm

Hi Chris
I am not advising people to buy reviews. I am advising people to consume good stuff, then trade outbound testimonials for links.

The other testimonial type thing I was suggesting was that companies give away free samples to get exposure, mindshare, and possibly some links too.

August 20, 2007 - 10:01pm

For Affiliate Programs, it's a little-known fact that Kowabunga allows direct links.

August 20, 2007 - 10:12pm

I keep hearing more and more about Blog Carnivals and may have to give one a try.

I have used both affiliate programs and consulting and both are very lucrative from a blogging perspective!

August 21, 2007 - 1:32am

Great article - really gave me some things to work on that I probably wouldn't have come up with otherwise.

August 21, 2007 - 3:59am

What do you think about contacting various sites in related niches who operate content based sites? The idea is to talk to them about having your content writers create articles for them, in exchange for a permanent link or two at the bottom of the article. We've seen a fair amount of success with this and gotten on a few magazines, and even once on the Guardian. Since I already have 2 full time writers its not too hard to have them take a day and write a nice article.

August 21, 2007 - 4:35am

Hi John
If you are getting that kind of exposure that is great stuff. Congrats :)

August 21, 2007 - 5:04pm

At last some common sense.

With reference to press releases I wrote 3 a couple of months ago and got several calls from Journalists who wanted to write a feature about us. I got interviewed over the phone and was promised a copy of the publication. To date no publication has arrived and I have never heard anything.

Good idea - bad outcome.

James DiStefano
August 21, 2007 - 10:33pm

We are in the final build out of our site launch. The tips provided her all seem to make sense. What would be the best place to start?

August 21, 2007 - 10:38pm

Hi James
It depends on the site, brand, and the community.

Links Junk
August 22, 2007 - 5:36pm

Thank you for a great articles. Although most of the ways appear to be very obvious - they are still very well categorized.

August 18, 2007 - 2:42am

Yup, hehe I use capital, and get links I've never really bought them accept for web directories. I'm not a link buying attic though :)

Adam Audette
August 18, 2007 - 4:44am

One of the best ways to get authority links is through email list archives. This takes patience and tact, not to mention specific knowledge and good writing. But if you can add value and build trust on a list, it's a great way to build backlinks. How about a link back from or Many more to choose from.

August 18, 2007 - 5:13am

Adam Audette: Do you have a list of the sites that you've found already? I might have something in trade, if your sites are valuable enough.

August 18, 2007 - 7:08am

Hi Aron!

Thank you for a very nice article - as allways :-)
I have been working in the SEO field for some years and related materials is allways good readings.

I use SEO Book and SEOMoz a lot and this are some of the best sites on the Internet that is related to this topic.

I have done very little work on link exchange, but perhaps I should put some more effort into it?

Since I live in Norway and we use different names on different products and services some exchange sites are totally NOT interesting even if they have a high pagerank (I guess?) Because of the "low quality score" from Google as a result of the mentioned problem regarding language/word differences.

Thanks again! :-)

August 19, 2007 - 1:29pm

Hi Aaron

I am really trying hard to build traffic but it bothers me that I should try to buy traffic that is not that interested in my content.

I know gardening and landscaping is not everyone's cup of tea - most people are looking for revenue that seems to be related to blogs about blogging.

Are there too many blogs now for everyone to get good traffic and make some honest money along the way?


August 19, 2007 - 4:18pm

Now were talking! Great hands on post - and very timely since I am just now buying links!


August 19, 2007 - 9:44pm

Hi Philip
Every community has leaders, followers, flavor of the day stories that spread, etc.

If you find yourself reading too many blogs about blogging then cut that back a bit and start finding some of the better blogs about landscaping and gardening.

September 9, 2007 - 6:05am

Wow! Like a chapter from your book. Densely content-rich with Google-guideline workarounds. Will be interesting to see how this article ranks over time :)

seo expert
September 12, 2007 - 9:00am

Thanks for the nice article aaron

October 8, 2007 - 9:53pm

If a site gets listed in Wikipedia as SPAM due to a hotshot SPAM hunter having a different opinion on what is relevant - how will that impact a website application for Yahoo Directory or BOTW?

October 8, 2007 - 11:03pm

Those two don't care what an overzealous Wikipedia editor think of your site.

September 19, 2008 - 8:05am

I want to buy links for Yahoo!, since they seem to only care about how many you have, not who gives em to you and they ignore no follow.

Let me know if there are still some around who didn't get killed by Google?

Website Designer
May 21, 2011 - 9:25am

Aaron, please. The word is 'choose', not chose. Chose is past tense. Just a tip , mate. It drives me mad.

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