Sunday, June 12, 2011

Digital Point: Paid Links Forum Review

There are many sources that webmasters can use to buy links, and it is inevitable that more will pop up as the ever-changing world of link building continues to evolve. I have talked about paid links in posts that I have written in the past, but I think it is always important to reiterate the following - buying links is a risk, as it is a tactic that can be used to manipulate Google's algorithm, and any action taken to manipulate that algorithm can result in a penalty. As a result, it is important that webmasters who resort to buying links or selling link opportunities understand that notion and tread those waters with caution. I want to discuss Digital Point, a collection of webmaster forums that discusses all things related to search engines, online marketing, and the technical aspects of web development.

 Most people that are looking for paid link opportunities are trying to give their rankings a quick boost or are having trouble acquiring natural links from other webmasters. This can result from having a brand new site, or a low quality site that does not necessarily offer valuable information to potential viewers. Digital Point can be a good place to start as you more often than not won't get any push back from webmasters selling links - if you can pay the asking price, you will get the link.

One of the forums on Digital Point allows webmasters to buy and sell links. In order to post or contact webmasters for opportunities, one must create an account first. After the account has been created, it becomes very easy to locate these opportunities. Webmasters that are selling links will post there opportunity in a thread, that typically includes the niche that the site is located in. For example, a thread may read, "Blog Posts on Business Related Site" or "Links on General, Business, Financial, and Education Related Websites." And for the most part, blog post and blog roll links are what you are able to find. It is necessary to set realistic expectations before going on your hunt for these links.

From what I can tell, the majority of sites will offer to write the blog posts for you, if of course you can add a couple of bucks to the asking price. Most blog post links cost between $10-25 dollars, while you may occasionally see a PR 5 or PR 6 site with a strong backlink profile offering blog post links for $50. The majority of blogroll opportunities offered on Digital Point range from 3-6 months, and prices on average cost between $20-50 depending on the strength of the site. It appears that a lot of webmasters offering links on Digital Point maintain a network of sites, which is why in my opinion the pricing seems to be for the most part consistent. I didn't notice anyone on Digital Point that seemed to be abusing the pricing scale, for example, offering a blog post link on a PR 2 site with a weak backlink profile for $50.

Regardless of whether or not you are trying to acquire a paid link or an unpaid link, the following tips/recommendations apply, and should be taken in to consideration:

1) Make sure that the website is indexed in Google. If not, the site may have been banned and you will want to avoid any connection to it.

2) Make sure that the website has PR. If the site is a PR 0 or has the gray bar, it is best to avoid any connection to it.

3) Analyze the backlink profile of the website. If the backlink profile is weak, it probably is not worth getting a link from it as it isn't going to have a positive affect on your rankings.

4) Analyze other sites that are linked to from the website. Are they ranking well for the anchor text that they are using? If not, are they even indexed in Google?

5) Analyze the blog posts. Try to be smart. If the posts are written in grammatically incorrect prose, it just isn't a good idea for obvious reasons.

Make sure you put the time and effort in to generate a sound linkbuilding strategy. If you can, avoid buying links from websites at all times. It just isn't the best approach from a longevity perspective. Acquiring natural links from webmasters with strong websites is. Digital Point does offer an easy and fairly straight forward medium for webmasters that feel that buying links is the only way to improve their rankings. Before you get to that point however, think about the other factors that may be holding you back, such as poorly written content or title tags that are not optimized for your keywords. No matter how many links you get, if your content isn't unique, and your site isn't optimized, search engines are not going to rank you high enough for people to locate your website.

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