I spend a lot of time testing out services that offer link building at reasonable prices. And throughout 2017 I’ve tested several services, like FatJoe and Loganix, with only two making the cut for services that I recommend without hesitation. And these two services are the only ones that I will be using heavily in 2018 for my own sites, as well as client sites.
What type of links do I buy? This year, I’ve bought editorial links, PBN links, and outreach/guest post links.
Based on that experience, here’s one piece of advice: Don’t buy links unless you have the skills required to look at those links and determine if they’re good links or shitty PBN links masquerading as higher quality links. Several services out there are selling really shitty “guest post” links for high prices – from more than one service I was delivered a “guest post” on a PBN that got next to zero traffic. I don’t mind this from PBN links, but guest post links often have a higher price than PBN links.
The Downside of Buying Links
So, there are a few downsides when it comes to buying links. The most obvious downside is that you increase your risk of getting slapped by Google when you’re buying from public marketplaces. Theoretically, buying guest post links should be less risky than PBN links since your guests post should be on real sites getting real traffic — that’s why you pay more for those links!
The other big downside is that a LOT of sellers (in my experience this year) are not being transparent about the links that they’re selling. It seems like everyone wants to cash in on the higher prices of guest post links, but not do the work of getting legit guest posts. So, they end up selling you a “guest post” on a PBN. Based on my experience, this is a real problem with the smaller services and some of the well known ones.
At the end of October I got into a new guest post service from a popular service. I spent $220 for the guest post link and was delivered a report with the following metrics:
As you can imagine, I voiced my displeasure on this delivery of my link on a repurposed PBN domain instead of a real site with real traffic. Fortunately, the service offered to remove that link and try again with better placement. And they over-delivered by giving me placement on a site that had higher metrics than I paid for.
I appreciate that they went above and beyond, and this is why you shouldn’t hesitate to complain if you buy a link and don’t get what you paid for from the seller. And if you end up on a really shitty site, then be sure to ask for your link to be removed – even if you end up losing the money on the link. It’s not worth it if your site ends up getting penalized.
Best Place For PBN Links
I’ll keep this short because my recommendation here is really going to come as no surprise – Diggity Links.
As someone who has their own PBN, I can honestly tell you that the next best thing is renting links from Diggity Links. For some of my sites, I don’t even use my own PBNs because it’s easier/cheaper to scale with links from Matt due to the large upfront investment for a good PBN site.
I’ve been renting links from Diggity Links off and on since mid-2015. Just this month I ordered over 20 links for some sites. And I know a few SEOs who are absolutely crushing it with Matt’s links – I’m talking about Amazon affiliate sites earning over $20,000/month for each site.
The only negative I have to say about Diggity Links is that they are monthly link rentals, which can add up over time. But hey, if you’re spending $500/month on these links but making over $10,000/month, then you’re still way ahead.
Note: sometimes you can get some Diggity Links and not see the amazing movement that he showcases in testimonials. That could be due to a variety of things – maybe your niche requires more links for movement, maybe your site has some anchor text over-optimization issues, or maybe your site has other issues, or maybe something else is at play. So, don’t expect the links to be the rocket to making over $10,000 month within a few weeks of the links going live. Use these links as PART of your backlinking strategy and not as your only strategy.
I’m also currently testing the LionZeal PBN links, but I doubt my sample size will be big enough for me to share my thoughts anytime soon. I can tell you that they are a bit more expensive than Diggity links, at least for the niche I’m testing them in.
Best Place For Outreach Links
Let’s face it – doing manual guest post outreach is a real grind. And a lot of the providers who offer this service charge a premium price. Among the premium priced providers, I have yet to find one that delivers the high quality that the price leads you to believe that you’ll get.
However, there is one provider with cheaper prices that offers a service that I have been using with some regularity, and will continue to do so — LoveToLink.
As of today, I’ve ordered around 25 links from LoveToLink for a variety of sites and this is one of my favorite services. It’s currently my go-to place for links with a one-time cost. And I love that he includes the Ahrefs DR ratings for all of the sites that are available, as well as traffic stats and referring domains.
It really seems like Dan, the owner, is doing real outreach here. Once a link I ordered was cancelled because his team couldn’t get a response from the site owner. And another time a link was cancelled because the site owner rejected the topic of my site.
Speaking of Dan, his customer service game is on another level compared to all of the other services I’ve tested. Turnaround time for your orders is quick and he keeps you updated if something is taking longer than normal.
A few months ago I had a reader contact me for help evaluating a backlink purchased from GotchSEO’s guest post service. I gave him some tips, which I’ll share below in case you need a bit of guidance on evaluating your links.
The first thing that I look for is to see if the site has real traffic (if it’s a guest post, cause if it’s a PBN link there’s likely no traffic). You can use Ahrefs or SEMrush for that. Sometimes you can even use Similar Web if the site has good traffic.
Next, I look at the site in the Wayback Machine to determine if it is a real site or if someone is trying to pull a fast one by using an expired domain that they’ve repurposed for selling links.
Then, I check out the backlink profile of the site to see if it’s got good metrics due to spam links that inflated it artificially or real links.
Ideally, when I spend the kind of money that Gotch charges, I want something that is niche relevant and actually sends some traffic my way. When I pay for guest post links like this (I haven’t tested this particular service), I always compare it like this – could I have gotten a better PBN link for the same or cheaper? I know a lot of people don’t use PBNs, but I think as long as you don’t exceed 10% – 15% PBN links in your overall backlink profile then you’re fine. And also, I ask “did I see some movement in the SERPs from this link?”
Finally, what really pisses me off when I pay for “white hat” links like a guest post is if all, or most, of the last 10 posts are paid/sponsored ones. That’s definitely not something that I want to see on “white hat guest post links.” Of course, this is a moot point for PBN links since you expect all, or most, of the posts to link out to other random sites.
Like I mentioned, I buy and test a lot of services from link sellers, including individual sellers that I find in Facebook groups. If you’ve been considering buying links from an individual or service, then I may have tested it out already. So, feel free to contact me if you want my opinion and I’ll share my thoughts. I just don’t want to share my thoughts on any other services publicly since my sample size for places I didn’t like isn’t large enough for me to definitively tell you “this is shit” or “this is good.”
I also tested PBNHQ’s Mega Authority links a few months ago. I was really excited when the links were delivered because they were on very niche relevant sites that got a lot of traffic. However, the site I used them on didn’t budge much in the SERPs. Since I only tested them on one site, I can’t say if the problem was the links or the site. But, the sites the links were placed on were so good, that I wanted to mention it to you. (If you test this service out, I’d love to know how it does for you!)
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.