Ever since Matt Cutts ostensibly went on the war path against paid links, I seem to have the same conversation on a daily basis, about paid links.
I seems that webmasters who have bought links are now panicking. And since I own an SEO forum, and have a toll free number, the obvious course of action is to call me up, send me a list of all the bought links, and ask me how Google will see this.
So, in order to save myself from a skyrocketing phone bill, here’s my take.
If you feel guilty about buying links, you’re probably feeling guilty for a reason. Perhaps your guilt comes from the fact that you are trying to rank a site for a keyword it doesn’t deserve ranking for. If that’s the case, stop trying to rank it for that keyword, and get your business in order. Get the site and your business to the place where you can honestly say that your site deserves to rank #1 for that keyword, and your business deserves to be #1 based on the merits of your business.
Another possibility is that you feel guilty because you have bought dirty whore links. You know then ones. If your bought links reside next door to Online Casino and Mortgage Rates, then you deserve to feel, not guilty, but stupid. Pages that have no editorial integrity will lose the ability to pass link weight, if they haven’t already.
Now, let’s say you run a legit operation, you take good care of your customers and provide a truly valuable service, and you’ve bought links from websites that have editorial integrity. Should you feel guilty? No. Is Matt Cutts going to break down your door in the middle of the night and beat you to death with a rusty tire iron? No. He’d like you to believe that he will, but he won’t.
It’s Matt’s job to scare the bejesus out of website owners. It’s your job, as a webmaster, to promote your site.
Buy links. Just be smart about it. There is a difference between spamming the search engines and promoting via SEO.