When Google’s John Mueller offers advice on link building, it is advice everyone should heed. In a recent Office Hours hangout, Mueller provided a series of solid gold insights into the effectiveness or otherwise of purchasing links to improve SEO.
Specifically, he was asked by a participant whether or not it is worth spending vast sums of money on links from authoritative sources. The participant concluded by asking “what should we do now”, having questioned the cost-effectiveness of pumping huge sums of money into premium paid backlinks.
Mueller responded as follows:
“What should you do now…I think that’s a super complicated question because there’s no one answer for everyone.
So I think first of all, like you probably recognized, artificially building links, dropping links on other sites, buying links, all of that is against the webmaster guidelines.
And we take action on that algorithmically, we take action on that manually.
And the actions that we take include demoting the site that is buying the links, demoting the site that is selling the links.
Sometimes we also take more subtle action in that we just ignore all of those links.”
The Ineffectiveness of Paid Links
He then went on to confirm once again that paid links in general are ineffective, irrespective of where they are sourced from.
“For example if we recognize that a site is regularly selling links but they also have other things around that, then we often go in and say okay, we will ignore all links on this website.
That basically means …a lot of these sites are things where people still sell links because it’s like they can sell it and they find a seller then of course they’ll try to do that.
But those links have absolutely no effect.
So that seems like a big waste of time from my point of view.”
The Google-Friendly Approach to Link Building
Mueller concluded his answer with a series of pointers on how to build links in a Google-friendly way, for maximum SEO benefit.
“That said, I do think that there are ways that you can approach the topic of links in a way that is less black hat where you’re buying links from other sites.
But where you’re actually kind of actively creating content that you know will attract links and then going out and reaching out to other sites and saying hey, we have this interesting content, don’t you want to take a look at it.
And …kind of encouraging them to link to your site but without this kind of exchange of value, exchange of money, all of that.
And that’s something where some people are very experienced in doing that and they can really kind of guide you to find those topic areas that are interesting for other people.”
Linking to Product Pages
He also discussed the potential difficulties involved in building links to specific product pages, as opposed to broader category pages.
“Where if you’re selling refrigerators then obviously a category page of refrigerators is not going to be very interesting for other people.
But if you can create a survey around refrigerators that is somehow fascinating to others that’s something that’s a lot more interesting for people where they say, oh… here’s this really cool survey about refrigerators.
Did you know that they were like this or they were invented like this or whatever.
That’s the kind of thing where you’re creating something that other people find interesting that other people want to link to.
From my point of view that’s the kind of link building that I have less of an issue with because you’re creating something that other people are linking to it because of what you’ve created.
But it’s not that other people are linking to your content because you’re giving them money to do that or because you have kind of these back door relationships with the other site.
So that’s kind of the direction I would take there.”
The full video of the hangout can found on YouTube at the following address: https://youtu.be/mPaRgzaMroU