Should You Buy Backlinks?

Buying backlinks, as most people do, is a recipe for disaster. However, as a link-building agency, we understand that backlinks have a cost behind them, and webmasters are well aware of this in today’s market.

The days of reaching out to thousands of sites and getting free backlinks are over.

But the question remains, should you buy backlinks?

We’ll go over all of that and more, below.

Let’s get started.

Should You Buy Backlinks?

Should you go on and buy the $5 package for 5555 backlinks?

Absolutely not.

However, if your website is in a competitive niche (think: insurance, transportation, real estate, SaaS), then buying backlinks is almost necessary.

Notice how I said “almost”. If your competition is building links, there’s a good chance either they are buying links.

If you don’t know how to identify a good, VS a bad website when it comes to linkbuilding, you should not buy any backlinks. You’ll end up building links from shady websites that will not result in any traffic increase or worse, a manual penalty.

The key here is that you need to vet each website on an individual basis. Not every website that sells links is out to scam you, but there are plenty of guest post farms out there that would like to do nothing more than to take your $50 and slap you with a worthless link.

Most people should start doing outreach first asking to do a link exchange, as you’ll automatically be replied to by webmasters who sell links.

You’ll also catch webmasters who aren’t selling links, but would love to do a link exchange. And the link swaps are a great way to get links that your competition is not getting!

You DO NOT need to purchase links to rank, full stop. It is the case at the highest level that you will need to engage in either hiring a link-building agency (which, technically, is still buying links) or doing your own outreach, and then you’ll still end up having to pay webmasters to place your backlink.

No matter which way you spin it, website owners are aware of the power of backlinks and use them as a form of monetization. You do however, need to be careful with how you proceed with purchasing backlinks because it’s easy to be duped if you don’t know what to look for.

What Does Google Say About Buying Backlinks?

Google has been known to give out penalties for websites that engage in backlink building. The reality of this situation is that, if it were true that every site that ever bought or sold a link on the internet was going to get a penalty, the internet would disappear before your very eyes.

Google counts link buying as “link spam”, and you can check out how they word it for yourself:

When you’re building backlinks (and paying for them), there is a risk involved.

The truth of the matter is, that you can do everything the *right* way, and Google will still kill your website. In recent times, Google has gone as far as pushing up popular sites like Reddit, Quora, and other user-generated sites above sites that have done everything by the book, and they’re still losing traffic.

If we take Google’s word for everything, no one would be paying anyone else to build links for them, as it would lead to a penalty. So you need to take this risk into account, but in all my years of link building, we’ve not seen one website get a penalty when buying links the right way.

Why Buying Backlinks Saves You a Ton of Time

You CAN get free links, but oftentimes these links come at a cost.

You won’t be able to link to your money pages and likely won’t be able to optimize the anchor text.

Free links often take forever to get posted (sometimes up to a few months). We’ve also run into the situation where we submitted our article only to get ghosted in the end, resulting in wasted time and money.

When you buy a backlink, you can send the link directly to a landing page that you want to increase the traffic to AND you have full control over the article.

Compare that to the process of doing a white-hat, PR-style type outreach where there is no guarantee that your time invested is going to pay out.

Yes, that’s correct, not every campaign is successful, and you may have a few duds in a row. And you’re the one that’s going to need to pay others to get this done or, spend your own resources to do it on your own.

Buying backlinks is a “you know what you’re getting” type situation, and for most webmasters that aren’t around 70DR+, buying backlinks and doing link exchanges are going to be your best bet to increase your traffic.

Where Can You Buy Backlinks From?

If you’re going to buy backlinks, only buy them from a trusted source. I don’t think that most backlink agencies are like us at Zen Backlinks, where we strive to build high-quality links.

Most of these agency-type backlink sites have a database that is likely not going to be highly relevant to your niche.

These “agencies” buy the cheapest links possible (think mom blogs and guest post farms) and then resell them to you for 3-5x the price. Sadly, these types of links are NOT going to cut it when it comes to increasing your traffic.

We recommend building contextual, niche relevant backlinks that are powered on websites that are taken care of and manually vetted.

Your best bet is to do the outreach yourself or hire someone to do the outreach for you, and then you do the vetting process yourself if you’re trying to save some oney.

You always want to be strict on quality control, as it’s your business, and you need to take care of the fuel that is being used to propel your website to the top of the SERPs.

But how do you identify what is a good site and what isn’t? We’ll show you everything you need to know below.

How to Identify a Good Site vs a Bad Site When Buying Links

Nowadays, it only takes me a few seconds to identify if a site is worth getting a link from. Most guest post farms are doing the same tactics, and they’re easy to identify.

Though there are cases where some websites look good on paper, once you check out their site on a site like or, you’ll quickly find that they’re up to no good.

I love keeping it simple, and identifying a good site is as easy as taking a look at it with your eyes. If the site in question has enough domain rating and traffic for your requirements, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the website have a purpose to exist other than selling guest posts?
  2. Does the website stay relevant to its niche?
  3. Does it look well taken care of?

And that’s it. It takes work to verify if each website is following our guidelines, but the result is that you only build backlinks that are powerful and stay powerful.

Websites that only exist to sell links will degrade over time, and unfortunately, will eventually stop providing you with backlink juice.

You want to build backlinks on websites that are either a real business or have content that they’re constantly updating that is providing their website with consistent traffic. As soon as you see a website with a ton of different categories like this in the header:

Then that’s a sign that you want to avoid them outright. Once you’ve done this standard “sniff” test, that means you move on to the second portion of the vetting process where we start to drill down and look at several different factors to ensure we’re building real links from real sites.

Domain rating

We recommend going with at least a 15-20 domain rating (based on when first starting. While this is the bare minimum of DR we recommend, it’s only a recommendation.

For instance, if there is a quality, niche-relevant site with 15,000 traffic that’s taken care, of and 10DR, I would prefer it over an irrelevant 60DR link with 1000 traffic that isn’t relevant to your niche.

For our clients, we guarantee at least 20DR as most sites building links quickly get to the DR30 area where they need more powerful links for the long term. This IS the minimum amount of DR you want, but DR can still be faked (more on that later), so it’s just a guideline.

Traffic(and traffic trend)

At least 1000 traffic is the bare minimum for the websites that you should be wanting to buy backlinks from. The trend should either be flat and stable or trending upwards. You do not want to see a rollercoaster ride, or a chart that has been at 0 for many years and then suddenly popped back up again.

You also want to avoid any sites that look like this:

As it means that the site was once doing well, but is now not being picked up by Google at all, and is going to be worthless.

If you see that a site has steadily lost traffic but is still being taken care of, then the backlink may still be a good purchase.


Always check the keywords to see if they are relevant to the site in question. You do NOT want to see any keywords that are strange like “best torrent sites” or “how to watch movies online” type keywords that aren’t relevant to the website’s niche you’re looking at.

Many keywords are easy to rank for and can pump up statistics, so always give them a look through to see if they’re ranking for keywords that are relevant to your niche.

Outbound links

A quick way to see if a website is doing anything shady is to do a search in Google with the operator “ casino”

If you see a lot of results, then it’s the site you want to avoid. There are exceptions, where they may speak about casinos but don’t link out to casinos, and in those instances, you can check it on via the “Linked domains” feature.

You can type in a few different keywords like adult, porn, CBD, and stuff like that, to see if the site you’re looking at is selling links to any website. If they are sending outbound links to these types of websites, you should move on to the next option.

Inbound links

You want to make sure that the links that are being pointed to the website you’re looking at have backlinks that are real.

Domain metrics can be inflated due to link spam, like Google Maps redirections, and it will be fairly obvious when you see it. Filter the links by domain rating, and go from the top. If they have a high domain rating, but you don’t see any good referring domains, you should move on.

Another trick some webmasters will do is buy dropped domains that have singular links from big sites like or and other high-authority websites. The link will look like it is pointing to the website in question, but it’s a redirect. You can check this in Semrush or Ahrefs in the referring domains section.

Use Common Sense

More often than not, the best way to check if a site is a good site or not is simply by using your common sense. You’ll know right away if you spend 1 minute investigating. Once you’re sure it’s a good site, then you can start negotiations with the webmaster on payment.

Final Thoughts

The game of getting backlinks has changed a lot. While splurging on backlinks might seem like a shortcut, it’s not as simple as it used to be. Those days of scoring loads of free backlinks are pretty much over, especially in hotshot industries like insurance or real estate.

But should you go all out and buy backlinks? Well, not exactly. Sure, if you’re in a super competitive field, buying links might feel like a necessary evil. But diving headfirst into those $5 backlink packages from sites like Fiverr? That’s a definite no-no.

Why? Because if you’re not careful, you could end up with links from sketchy sites that’ll do more harm than good in the long run. It’s all about quality over quantity, folks.

Google’s not a huge fan of buying links either. They call it “link spam” and might slap your site with a penalty if they catch wind of it. But let’s be real, if Google penalized every site that bought or sold a link, the internet would be a ghost town by now.

Buying backlinks can save you a ton of time compared to hustling for them the old-fashioned way. But be warned, it’s not foolproof. You still gotta be smart about it and make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

So, where should you buy backlinks from? Trust me, not all backlink agencies are created equal. Some just peddle links from random sites that have nothing to do with your niche. You’re better off doing the legwork yourself or finding someone who knows what they’re doing.

When it comes to vetting sites for backlinks, keep it simple. Look for sites that make sense for your business, have decent traffic, and don’t look like they were built just to sell links.

And hey, don’t forget to haggle on the price. Backlinks can be pricey, but it’s all about finding that sweet spot between quality and cost.

In the end, buying backlinks can be a handy tool in your SEO arsenal, but it’s not a magic bullet. Approach it with caution, do your homework, and you might just see some real results.

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, the founder of Zen Backlinks. I've been building links for over four years, and with my wealth of knowledge, I'm happy to share everything I've learned and what has worked for our clients. You can contact me on my LinkedIn or