Ever since the Penguin update, links have moved to the center of the SEO universe.

We all know that Google is looking for white hat, organic link networks that are the SEO equivalent of doing your grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

While that’s great for some folks, there are plenty of site operators who aren’t quite ready to embrace that lifestyle and are still tempted by black hat methods like link buying.

Webmasters can definitely see some short term gains from this strategy, but the long term effects aren’t likely to eat up those profits in a big way. Before jumping over to the dark side, here are a few things to consider about link buing in the post-Penguin era.

Why Are You Buying Links in the First Place?

If you’re buying links for SEO purposes, and you’re reading this after May of 2012, you’re definitely wasting your money. One of the main points of Google’s Penguin update was to diminish the power of paid links. If simply increasing traffic is your sole strategy, it’s not as big a waste of resources.

Here’s what a poster called mtorregianihad to say on the subject over at frihost.com:

If you want to buy links only to get better ranked… well, probably is not a good idea, because you can get well ranked, but sooner or later your site will not be on Google… but on the other hand, if you want to purchase links to get more traffic, well, you take a risk, but you’re not buying for the pagerank, what you need is traffic.

It’s a risky technique and it definitely won’t help your overall SEO strategy.
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Google Really Likes Organic Links

It’s hard to overstate the importance Google is putting on natural link networks. They’ve recognized the damage that spammy links and content mills can do to their business and they’re fighting back hard. In short, the days of quick and easy SEO are gone for good.

Still figuring out linking strategies? Check out Post Penguin Link Building in 10 Easy Steps

It’s Just Not Worth the Trouble

At the end of the day, buying links is a short term fix that just isn’t worth the long term costs. If you’re looking for a solid cost analysis of link buying, we strongly recommend checking out Buying Links is Shallow, Short-Term Thinking. Buying Blogs? Now That’s a Strategy over at SEO Moz.

Link buying simply isn’t a viable strategy anymore. Stick with long term plans that involve natural link building methods that wear a white hat.

Are you still buying links? Let us know why, or why not on our SEO Forum.  

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