Proof that buying links works

Dave posted earlier today about how Economist.com was selling some high PageRank links. I’ve been looking deeper into the issue and it seems the links are working very well.

If you check out the people buying links at the bottom of the Economist.com homepage and then do some searches on Google.co.uk for the terms they are targeting such as “loans”, “car insurance” and “travel insurance” you can see the sites that have links from economist.com are doing very well, much better than they were doing a few weeks ago.

Most people think you need millions of links to compete for a keyword such as “loans”. In this case it seems like a paid link from a PR8 site will do the job just fine.

My only concern is that this is pretty much a “who’s who” of link buyers that Google could use to hand out penalties. However Google is quite clearly turning a blind eye to link buyers in the UK so it looks like these sites will reap the benefits for a good few months.

By Patrick Altoft. at 9:39PM on Tuesday, 22 Apr 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

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10 Responses to “Proof that buying links works”

  1. Google also let some people slide on a multitude of things. I was doing research on Filemaker issues and kept hitting a big name tech online learning website whose name is on a lot of the programming books I have here. Only when I got there, the content I was searching for wasn’t there. Obviously they were using cloaking somehow. Letting the spiders through to the paid content, but not letting visitors see it. I am not sure if that has changed yet. It was a while back.

  2. Google is too big. It is their right to be big, but I’m getting tired of them.

  3. Luke says:

    Do you not think that Google will allow sites that pay for links stay at the top if they are relevant and actually doing some good?

  4. D-2point0 says:

    I’ve been doing some link building recently and in my quest have been offered quite a few opportunities to buy links. Whilst I know the short term benefit is great I am still wary that ‘The big G’ will probably detect that it was a bought link.

    I try to remind myself that SEO is a long term arrangement and that genuine links are the best way forward, but it is still tempting!!

    Donna Adams

  5. Craig says:

    Economist.com is showing PR5 for me! Google reduced already?

  6. dev says:

    Ask, Altavista and other giants was beaten by GOOG coz they didnt though about “link as a way to judge the quality of page/site”

    at that time link was no business… only geeks appreciating each others work

    but to me, its no more good… in each 1000 word article you have 5-10 links where >10 add links surrounding it….

    i guess its the time for some researcher to come up with a better solution… may be way to distinguish between contents and ads, which is even harder in AJAX world

  7. james says:

    Patrick

    Looks like ASDA’s link aren’t there anymore…

  8. [...] is areas which are often found trying to gain advantage in the search engines by link buying. As Patrick Altoft puts [...]

  9. My site Portrait Wedding Photographers suffers from low backlinks, so I have looked at ways of increasing these. Paid link seem to be an easy way out, if you have the money! But it could be risky, as it has been indicated here, Google take a dim view of paid for links. So be careful!

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