Yikes! I know what you’re thinking; there’s a white hat way to buy links?!
Well — yes.
In case you didn’t know, buying links for the sole purpose to gain authority & subsequent visibility in search engine results is against webmaster guidelines and can lead to manual action from search engines. But, there are indeed some ways in which you can spend money and it lead to inbound links for your business in a legitimate way.
Let’s see what they are!
Back in the days of the Yahoo! Directory, Business.com and DMOZ, it was relatively easy to build links with such resources at your disposal. But with many directories going away for one reason or another, there aren’t many left to get a link from, let alone the ones worth their salt. Nevertheless, some directories are still around and offer to review your submission for a fee. They include:
Directory inclusions have been considered “subject to editorial review”, which allows them to bypass the ‘paying for links’ stigma some have tried to attach to them — so apply while you can!
Buying a website is a simple and easy way to acquire a lot of authority quickly. After purchasing a site you can either begin regularly linking to your own site, or 301 redirect the entire website to yours. It just becomes a matter of finding the right website at the right price.
You can speed up the process by consulting with a business brokerage who can find exactly what you’re looking for. A few notable ones include:
Of course, you can always source your own leads and outreach to website owners directly, although it may take some time and negotiation on your part.
3. Domain Expiration
Thousands of website domains expire every single day. The domain owner may have forgotten to pay his annual renewal fee, or they decided to let it expire on its own as they no longer need it. Whatever the case may be, some valuable domains become up for grabs on a regular basis — a lot of them boasting considerable link authority and even some traffic — the problem often lies in knowing which domains are expiring and what the process is to register them before anyone else does.
This is where domain drop services come into play. Domain drop services aggregate the most popular domain name aftermarket & expired auction lists and display them in a single database which you can access for a small fee. They also include important metrics which you can also use as a filter to find the perfect domain for your business.
The most popular domain drop services include:
Similar to website acquisition, once a domain is secured you can simply implement a permanent redirect to redistribute the authority to your own site.
4. Event Sponsorship
Events are formal gatherings of individuals and companies involved in a particular industry or discipline. They can include any kind of forum such as conferences, meetups, trade shows and conventions to name a few. Every industry has an annual event or two — take a look at how many SEO events there are this year!
A quick way to discover the events in your industry would be through event directories such as:
As events are expensive to run and ticket sales are always difficult to forecast, sponsors are often needed to help fund the event. They can be incentivized to do so in exchange for some form of promotion, including a link to their website among other things. Some events even have levels of sponsorship, with exposure directly tied to the size of the contribution amount.
5. Chamber of Commerce
Almost every city in the United States has a chamber of commerce. While membership doesn’t seem to offer many tangible benefits (depending on which chapter you belong to), most offer a direct link to your website when you successfully join your local chamber and pay the membership fee — which renews every year.
One factor to be aware of includes the chance the local chamber only provides a nofollow link to your website. In that case, you would need to conduct a cost/benefit analysis and measure whether it would be worth the investment.
A similar case can be made for other organizations such as the BetterBusinessBureau, as they too exclusively feature nofollow links.
6. Donate to Charity
Donating to charity in exchange for a link is a popular tactic many have executed because it seems to have a compounded effect of not only gaining a link for a relatively low amount of money, but that it was also for a good cause, meaning someone less fortunate will directly benefit from it in some fashion.
Of course, there are instances where it has been abused — as in the case of MakeAChildSmile.org — which had hundreds of donors on their donation page, although it doesn’t seem to have had a negative search impact on any parties involved despite the fact they ended up shutting down a number of years ago due to a lack of funding.
The most pragmatic method of executing on this strategy would be to first see if your favorite charities have such an offering on their site, otherwise you can always browse through Charity Navigator until you stumble upon a few that do.
Sebastian Hovv is the CEO & founder of SEO 101 and the author of the book, The Little White Book of SEO. With over 13 years of experience in SEO, he has become an expert in the field and a contributor to the world of online marketing education through the online courses and learning material SEO 101 provides.