PubCon: Buying and Selling Links, Good or Bad? (7:24)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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The Linkfluence session at PubCon reportedly had a packed out house with many opinions. We already brought you Aaron Wall’s take on the infamous link buying subject, and now we’re going to delve into Rand Fishkin’s ideas on the subject.

Here’s the question that causes so much debate: Is link buying good or bad? Which is it? If you are selling links and making money, then it seems to be working out “good” for you. Another scenario in which it seems to be “good” is when you are purchasing links and your ranking is improving.

In the above video, Rand says:

“The only people that think it’s [the practice of buying links] bad are search engineers who think it lowers relevancy.”

Rand goes on to say that sometimes it lowers relevancy and sometimes it doesn’t. In other words, the relevancy aspect shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether buying links are good or bad.

In his presentation at PubCon, Rand gave a few examples of how to buy links without actually “buying links.” A website purchase is one way to buy links without outright buying a specific link. CondeNet bought several websites and now links to them. The technique behind this is to find relevant websites, make a purchase, and then create relevant links that fulfill your needs.

Another way Rand suggests is through blogger product reviews. SEOmoz blogged about a free book they received and linked to their site. Build strong relationships with bloggers. Ask for a review, not a link, and most likely, you’ll get it.

A third method Rand suggests is through content partnerships. VentureBeat and Read Write Web are partners with the New York Times. The NYT needs their feeds and VentureBeat and Read Write Web are now associated with a big brand.

Changing subjects slightly, Rand also had a few remarks to make about Bruce Clay’s claim of “ranking is dead.” While Google’s personalization and localization practices will continue to influence ranking, Rand says it doesn’t mean that you should give up on SEO efforts to rank high in the search engines. SEO will always bring value to the results and user behaviors cannot change that.

As for Rand’s predictions for 2009, he indicates how he would like to see the rumored Apple search engine and foresees a renewed focus on organic search in the midst of a troubled economy.

Posted in: Linking Strategies, Page Rank, Paid Links, PubCon 2008, Rand Fishkin, SEO
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