There is a nice thread at WebmasterWorld discussing the real-world risk of buying links to improve your web site's rank in Google and other search engines. Senior member, wheel, stated his thoughts on the topic:
- paid links have been around for years.
- they're easy to get
- they work. people rank just on bought links, and on very competitive terms.
- except in a very few cases, Google isn't doing anything obvious to stop them. (which would be the risk).
- Google hasn't been doing anything obvious to stop them in years.
- The serps are filthy with people ranking over the long term using paid links.
- the serps are still fine. Nobody's complaining Google's serps are full of spam or junk. In fact, there's probably less complaints than there were before paid links became commonplace.
The main risk is that if Google does detect it, then you can either be kicked out of the index or suffer a major ranking deduction for a long time. I know sites that were hit by link buying penalties and they are not nice. But at the same time, how risk is it?
CainIV, another senior member at WebmasterWorld said:
However, there is risk - and when the sweep does come along, there are websites that get hit. Over a year ago two websites in one of the genres I watch got hit with paid links penalties and sat at position -51 for about one year.
Many businesses cannot afford this large of a hit.
So how risky is this practice on a 1 to 5 scale, take my poll below.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.