How to safely buy links in 2020: 4 Step Checklist
How to buy links and avoid a penalty (100% success rate)
Make sure these 4 things are present on any site you buy a link from.
100% White hat SEO is not realistic for most people.
Especially if you’re working with limited budget and number of hours each month.
Earning links is getting more and more difficult in todays crowded SEO landscape. Most white hat link building strategies already over saturated and expecting someone to link to your content, just because its epic and you asked them is not realistic – you need to give them a real reason to link to you.
Most SEO’s need safe and reliable link building strategy to produce quality links in predictable numbers each month.
Buying links is still the easiest way to do this
Don’t believe the misinformation spread by Google, paying for links is not going to get you deindexed unless you’re lazy and uninformed.
The major publications like MOZ, Search Engine Land, etc have to reinforce this information to appease Google and to be seen as doing the “right” thing.
Google doesn’t like paid links because they’re easy and they work
Google cannot detect them if you do it the right way.
I have been buying links for hundreds of clients for over 10 years now and I have never received a penalty. Paid linking works, but we’ve had to amend how we go about it.
The only sites I’ve seen get penalized were buying massive amounts of cheap, spammy links from nefarious sources, like Fiverr or the Warrior Forum.
What is a safe site to buy links from in 2020?
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. You need to raise your standards and only buy links from high quality sites that you have vetted yourself.
Actually finding these sites is a strategy for another article, what I want to define here is what we define as a SAFE site to buy a link from.
When we assess if a site is safe to get a link from, we look for the following 4 criteria are met. There are other metrics that we can and do check, but if these 4 are adhered to, then everything else will fall into place.
1. Google E-A-T Compliance
E-A-T is an acronym created by Google that stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness. It features heavily in the Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, which is used by a human team of evaluators who score the quality of results in Google Search.
The latest version of Google’s quality guidelines tells us a lot about what the search engine considers to be “quality” content. The acronym E-A-T appears in that document 134 times and Google explicitly says it’s “one of the most important criteria of page quality.”
If Google is putting such heavy emphasis on E-A-T, then we want to use this as our benchmark for quality too.
There are plenty of comprehensive articles already written on this topic and I’m not going to rehash them. We want a quick and actionable set of steps we can use to assess sites immediately.
A quick and easy E-A-T checklist
All sites that you’re getting links on should:
- Have a clear and accessible contact us page with email, physical address & phone number (preferable)
- Have a clear and accessible terms & conditions page
- Using HTTPS
- Have an author biography that is linked to at the bottom of each article
These criteria must be checked by hand. There is no way to reliably and automatically check for this list. Hire a virtual assistant on Upwork to handle grunt work like this. Give them a list of a few hundred sites to weed out any unsuitable targets before you start your outreach.
2. Organic Traffic
Forget Domain Authority, Trust Flow, URL Rank and the rest of those SEO metrics. The best indication of a quality site is organic traffic.
We’ve analysed hundreds of thousands of sites over the years and this metric is the most reliable indication of quality because It is so difficult to fake.
If a site is already ranking in Google for keywords and is receiving decent amount of organic traffic, they must already be in Googles good books.
How much traffic should I look for?
More is better. We want to see a minimum of 1,000+
This step can be performed in aHrefs bulk link checker, where you can check up to 200 sites at a time to get the estimated monthly traffic and number of keywords they rank for. Run a traffic check on large lists to eliminate any low quality sites before you start your outreach
3. Social Signals
Does the site have social proof? Everyone (at least all the major players) are on social these days. At the very least you want to see activity on Facebook and Twitter.
Does their content get shared on social?
You can run a blog through aHrefs and use the tool called “Top Content”. This will show you all of the pages on that site and the amount of social signals each page has.
Do they have followers, fans, etc?
You can find these numbers automatically using software like Scrapebox to eliminate blogs without any sort of social presence. Everyone know that fake followers can be purchased, luckily these are obvious. If you suspect this might be the case, spot check some of their network to see if they’re real people or empty profiles. A lot of fake followers could be a red flag.
Do they have real engagement?
Are their fans engaging with the social presence? Are they getting retweeted? Does anyone respond to their tweets? Do their posts on Facebook have likes and comments?
You can use scrapebox to automatically get their number of followers, but you will have to manually check for the quality and authenticity of the actual profiles. Visiting their Facebook and Twitter pages to check for engagement should be enough
4. Outbound Authority Links
Do they link out to supporting sources to back up any claims they make in their content? Google wants to see links out to authoritative sources.
We obviously also want our link included in an article and we want to blend in amongst their other links on the page.