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Question: Should I purchase text links for my website?

My Search Engine Optimizer says that I should purchase text links from other websites to help promote my own site. A friend told me I shouldn't. What do you say?


Search Engine Optimization companies will try to get you to do all sorts of things to promote your site, and not all of them will have a positive effect on your PR (PageRank) or search engine placement. And on top of that, not all the techniques they'll suggest are entirely honest.

Trying to get you to purchase text links to increase your PageRank is definitely in the questionable area.

Why? Well, if your SEO is worth anything, he knows that most search engines penalize websites that sell text links. (Why search engines do this is a question worth asking, and maybe I'll address that another day!) So let's say you purchase text links from a bunch of PR5 websites. This will help your ranking...maybe it'll move your site from PR0 to PR2.

UNTIL the moment when Google (and other search engines) figure out that these sites are selling text links. At that point they cease to be PR5 sites, and will likely become PR0 or PR1 sites until they stop selling text links. And what happens to your ranking? Well, since your ranking was based entirely on being linked from PR5 sites, your ranking also gets flushed down the toilet.

And here's the kicker: while the sites that sold you links can recover their PageRank by removing the offending ads, your site will not recover.

In other words, you will have spent a lot of money for no long-term benefit.

HOWEVER, there is a kind of text link that it's okay to purchase, and that's a "nofollow" text link. This is a text link that instructs the search engines not to use the link to improve your PageRank. Why would you purchase a text link like this? For exactly the same reason you purchase any form of advertising: to gain real, live visitors to your site from another site.

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