While links are a significant foundation of how the internet works, Google is constantly analyzing them to weed out where people have gamed the system. Just when marketers think we’ve found a surefire way to work around that, big G finds a way to sniff it out.

Some link building tactics are quite clever, involving layers (or tiers) of sites receiving links from other sites, only to ultimately link to the real target sites. These approaches are meant to look natural, and in large part have succeeded for years.

But Google has started comparing its link profile data against its site analytics data to check for real traffic flow.

In other words, if it sees a series of links pointed at your site from other sites that don’t seem to have many human readers, and basically zero human readers ever arrive on your site because of those links, it will raise a red flag to Google that the links are suspicious.

That kind of thing is common in private blog networks (PBNs). (For the link, see the headline on that page “Examples of risky backlinks.”)

I’ll share a point I made before about PBNs: I know several successful SEOs that swear by them and even resell them. I know from this that there must be ways to skirt to the algorithms and win with them.


I’ve never seen the approach work personally. This is admittedly an area of limitation in my experience, but not one I’ve spent much time working to improve because it seems to me that Google is diligently hunting them out.

Consequently, while I acknowledge some pros have had success with them, this is why I don’t recommend them to anyone.

The Risk of Buying Links

First of all, according to Google any attempt to purchase or engineer links to your site is a violation of their terms of service. That certainly doesn’t deter anyone, but I put it out there so you understand the frame of what comes next.

Any type of successful backlink building scheme is necessarily done in a non-spammy way. Since at best any effort on your part to grow backlinks to your site is a gray area with Google, you have to tread carefully so as not to draw attention.

Most of the “bargain” methods of backlink building are the riskiest because of the methodology the low price demands.

I won’t pick on Fiverr gigs alone because there are plenty of other cheap alternatives that carry the same warning.

Fast, streamlined, and automated methods of backlink building include bot-centric spam comments, creating junk profiles all over the web with a URL in the bio, PBN blog posts, and social bookmarking sites.

The safest, most “legit” backlink building methods are time-consuming and require some finesse. Custom work.

Which do you think bottom dollar link services are using?

That of course doesn’t mean a company selling link services starting at $400 is automatically legit just because of the price tag. I’m in the process of exploring some of those options myself as far as outsourcing goes and will report back with feedback.

In the mean time, I recommend that you start here.