By Damien Alcock

When you inspect the underbelly of high-ranking websites in search engines such as Google, you soon discover that they share a common trait: they have backlinks from other websites. The most important backlinks are ones that are related to the website being linked to, and from websites that are seen as ‘authoritative’ in their respective field. Before we tackle the topic of buying backlinks and if it is dangerous to do so in 2023, it is important to first understand what backlinks are and why they are so heavily sought after by business owners.

What are backlinks?

A backlink is any hypertext link that points from one website to another. If you own a website, your aim is secure high-quality links from other sites, back to your site. Hence, the term ‘backlink’.

Why are backlinks important?

While Google hasn’t explicitly said so, it is common knowledge among SEO professionals that backlinks are in the top 2 of most important factors that determine search engine rankings. The other critical factor that influences search engine rankings is on-page content.

This is a valuable Search Engine Optimisation strategy used by many websites to boost traffic and rankings in search engines. Given how vital this feature is to websites’ performance, many website owners strive to possess them. There are primarily two ways of getting backlinks for your website, namely:

Building backlinks: This involves websites earning backlinks naturally, by creating excellent content that compels other websites to link back to the high-quality content. While this is the most ethical method of obtaining links and one that complies with Google’s policies, the reality is, getting backlinks by having others link to your content is extremely difficult and time-consuming.

Buying backlinks: buying backlinks is in violation of Google’s policies. Backlinks that are purchased, provide a shortcut for business owners wanting to bypass the considerable time and effort involved in building backlinks the honest way.

However, after knowing the various ways of getting backlinks for your site, it is essential to point out that building backlinks can be tiring, mentally exhausting, and time-consuming. Many websites opt for buying backlinks rather than building them. This is the best option, given that you wish to avoid the demands associated with building backlinks, but it has some risks. These risks are discussed below.

Risks Associated with Buying Backlinks

Buying backlinks might seem like the easy way out, because you get to achieve backlinks for your website without sacrificing all the time and effort required to build them the ethically. However, if you do wish to pursue this option, there are risks involved, which can have implications for your business.

Note: While there are potential repercussions involved when it comes to purchasing backlinks for many search engines, the risks outlined below are specific to Google.

Google has a set of policies known as Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines), where it provides its list of technical requirements, approach to dealing with spam and its best practices, among other things. Google provides an in-depth list of instances that it deems to be Link Spam. When a website is discovered to have purchased backlinks, there are risks that:

The links will be devalued or discounted: As mentioned earlier, the primary aim of adding backlinks to a website is to increase its ranking in search engines. However, when the website is discovered to use bought backlinks, Google may elect to devalue or discount them altogether, making them worthless for ranking purposes.

The links may result in a penalty: While the first risk is something many website owners feel they can deal with, there is a second and more severe risk. The use of purchased links may lead to your site being hit with an algorithm penalty or manual penalty.

If you feel that your site may have incurred a manual penalty, be sure to check your site in Search Console and navigate to Security & Manual Actions > Manual Actions.

Why Do People Buy Backlinks?

Despite business owners understanding the risks of buying backlinks, they still continue to do so, regardless. This brings us to the question of why people still buy backlinks, and these are some of the reasons:

As indicated earlier, building quality backlinks is very time-consuming, requiring you to create an in-depth article, research potential sites that may wish to publish your article (with an included backlink to your site), compose your outreach emails, contact your list of prospects and await their response. The reality is, in the event that you do actually receive a reply, it will typically fall into two categories:

  1. Rejection
  2. Success – on condition that you agree to pay a fee (hey, wasn’t the whole point of this to avoid paying for backlinks?)

When earning backlinks the traditional way, you don’t have any control over who links to your site, nor how long it takes for other sites to link to your content – if ever. It is this frustrating reality that often leads businesses to look to buy links instead, in spite of the potential dangers of doing so.

How Much Do Backlinks Cost?

The cost of paid links vary tremendously. A link from a low quality site can be bought for peanuts, while one from a highly regarded site can cost a small fortune.

Niche edits: This involves asking to add a link to an existing webpage for a fee, The price is influenced by the niche and its value. Links for niche edits generally start from around $200, rising to $500 and beyond.

Paid guest posts: This involves writing an article or creating content containing links to your website and its featured web pages and paying another website to publish the content or article on their webpage. However, the websites mainly used for these kinds of backlink building are blogs. The cost involved for this form of paid link is generally lower than niche edits. The cost for a paid guest post can range from around $50 to north of $200.

Why Do Backlinks Cost So Much?

The straightforward answer is competition. It all comes back to supply and demand. You are one of many website owners providing content in that niche because others desire to boost their website rankings on search engines.

Still considering buying links? Be mindful of the following before doing so.

The following is a list of things you should be mindful of before taking a risk and opting to buy some backlinks for your site.

  1. Does the website look disreputable? Buying backlinks would not have attracted risks from any Search Engine if there were guarantees that every link used for backlink building is legit. Still, because there is a fraudulent website, you must use safe and legitimate websites when building backlinks.
  2. Does the website get consistent search traffic: Essentially, websites that receive very little or zero organic traffic, are deemed to be worthless in the eyes of Google. Inspect the organic traffic of the site by using your preferred SEO tool such as SEMrush, Ahrefs etc. If the site attracts less than say 500 organic visits a month, then avoid reaching out to them for a link.
  3. Is it obvious that the site buys and sells links: The more obvious it is that a website offers paid links, the greater the chances are that the site will be devalued or penalised. Such sites are not good candidates for paid links.
  4. Are you proposing a helpful link: Is the website related to your industry, or does it allow paid links for every generic topic you could possibly think of?


While backlinks remain an extremely important rankings factor, it’s best to avoid buying links in 2023. While your site won’t necessarily be penalised by Google, the links that you do buy made be devalued or discounted by Google, rendering them a complete waste of money.

Need help building quality backlinks to your site?

If you do wish to build links for your business site, get in touch with a trusted Gold Coast SEO company such as SEO Web Logistics, who provide eCommerce SEO services, Google Ads services and much more.