Paid Linking is Dying. Time to Move on.

Sat 20 February 2010 13:42, Editors

[Christopher Angus] The fields of Search and SEO are – at least in terms of the internet – not incredibly new areas of business, after all, since the early days, people have wanted their websites and web businesses to perform well for them whilst simultaneously outperforming the competition. It might not have always been called the names it has now, but we can all understand its methods and age in some respect, at least.

As an established and successful SEO myself, I’ve been around long enough to see business trends, methods and techniques rise and fall, with these days predominantly being affected by how Google chooses to mutate both itself and its algorithm.

One such method of SEO that has seen drastic change as the years goes by is that of linking. Plain old links to your website or business. More specifically, I’m talking about the practice of paid linking; something which – in the past – was a genuinely viable internet marketing and SEO tactic, which sadly – for some – is no longer true in this day and age.

As multiple and subsequent Google rule and algorithm changes have taken place over the months/years, paid links have been rendered nigh-on illegal in the eyes of the biggest search engine around. I say “nigh-on” and “illegal” because you can still technically seek out paid links to promote your site or business, yet Google will frown upon this and penalise your site as they see fit. So you can do it, but you’ll be punished for it. A bit like taking too many cookies from that jar in your mother’s kitchen. Sure you can go ahead and take that last cookie, but you’re definitely going to get busted for it.

Of course, there are practical solutions to and many a way around this potential predicament, with social media marketing and linkbait manufacture being viable alternatives. Social media marketing is in essence the practice of promoting something via social media/bookmarking websites such as Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and even Facebook these days is being used a viable area in which to exhibit social marketing tendencies. Linkbaiting is the technique of generating something of interest, be it an article, video, cool picture, or anything that people will want to link to and then getting it “out there” for people to see.

Both the social media marketing  and linkbaiting methods hope to gain links in what is very much a traditional method: by generating interest in something so that users/readers/etc are wanting to link to that particular item. The two are also often used in conjunction with one another, with social media channels being used to actively promote a given linkbait. Any SEO Company worth their salt will employ these tactics these days, especially above using paid links, due to the potential penalisation that they now carry.

 is a successful internet marketer and SEO, having been rated the 26th most influential marketer in the world in 2009. His company is Warlock Media and he can be reached via email at

  • Comments (18)
  • Guestposts
  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (18)


  • Sweet, first things first, promote yourself ofcourse, actually this article would have been great if it was published 2 years ago i guess, but i guess it still wake some people up these days.

    Can I see an overview of the other 25th world most influental marketeers? i'm quite curious about those, since i don't seem to know them all...

    Za 20 feb 2010, 16:09

  • "but you’re definitely going to get busted for it." - not really. 99% of paid links go unnoticed and unpenalised. Only the stupid or really high profile paid link schemes get caught. Paid linking, for all its bad publicity, still works. The key is to use link networks that know what they're doing, run by experienced folks who are one step ahead of the search engines.

    P.S. kudos to you Chris for getting not one but two followed links to your own company in there, and that on your first SC blog post. I've been blogging here on SC for +1 year and I haven't been able to pull that off.

    Ma 22 feb 2010, 12:23

    • Marketers 2009

    @Roy, the top 100 you can see here:

    Ma 22 feb 2010, 13:31

  • I agree with you Barry. Actually I think that in highly competitive markets there's no way you're going to get in the top 10 without paid links. But maybe I'm just too stupid ;)

    Ma 22 feb 2010, 16:27

  • How good are you really when you need to call yourself 'established and succesful'?. BTW: The last piece of the article is somewhat missing " is a successful internet marketer and SEO,"?

    Ma 22 feb 2010, 17:20

  • @Steven: now now, let's not go into "Chris Angus bashing" mode here. I know Chris from my previous job and he's a smart fellow who knows what he's doing. It's just a shame his first post on SC is not quite up to his usual standards.

    And I call myself an SEO as well - search engine optimiser. The last word of the acronym can have a slightly different meaning depending on the context. :)

    Ma 22 feb 2010, 17:38

  • @marketers 2009, thanks! that clears some stuff op. Let's plough through that list!

    Di 23 feb 2010, 00:25

  • I agree that link baiting is better, but the chance that google employers come across your site and penalize it manually is very very small.

    Di 13 sep 2011, 20:38

    • Arne

    Its now the linkbaiting that is trending. Still works, and I like the fact that you need some creativity for that.

    Yesterday on a webshop faire in Holland I saw some really brilliant linkbaiting that really impressed me.

    Vr 25 jan 2013, 11:37

  • I agree that link baiting is better, but the chance that google employers come across your site and penalize it manually is very very small.

    Do 10 okt 2013, 05:42

  • How is this anno 2014? Will the new Panda Update 4.0 penalize the cowboys finaly?

    Vr 23 mei 2014, 05:28

  • Yesterday on a webshop faire in Holland I saw some really brilliant linkbaiting that really impressed me.

    Di 18 nov 2014, 06:22

  • How is this anno 2014? Will the new Panda Update 4.0 penalize the cowboys finaly?

    Di 18 nov 2014, 06:23

  • Thanks for information.

    Do 18 jun 2015, 10:02

  • I agree with you Barry

    Thanks for information.

    Zo 19 jul 2015, 19:12

  • love this website's content.

    Za 5 sep 2015, 05:13

  • It was really nice to see again this website for blitz brigade hack and cheats i am so happy now and feel like free.

    Zo 20 sep 2015, 06:06

  • Amazing Stuff!
    Thanks for shared an interesting information.

    Ma 28 sep 2015, 06:28


  • HTML is not allowed. URLs are automatically clickable.
    * Email address is not shown

  • Using Google search
  • Is the order of links on a page important for SEO?
  • Christoph Cemper interviewed by Bas van den Beld at SES Berlin
  • Interview with Mike Grehan about SES Berlin and more
  • Interview with the SES panel "Search around the World" by Bas van den Beld
  • Web search strategies in plain english
  • Microsoft Bing Search - Product Tour of
  • Mike Grehan on the future of search

Last Comments


Last event


  • J-P De Clerck
    J-P De Clerck

    Profession: Customer-centric digi...

    Company: Conversionation

  • Sam Murray
    Sam Murray

    Profession: Senior Search Consultant

    Company: Verve Search

  • Susie Hood
    Susie Hood

    Profession: Head of Copywriting

    Company: Click Consult / SEO C...

  • Tom Bogaert
    Tom Bogaert

    Profession: Managing Partner

    Company: QueroMedia

Latest Videos



  • Lizette van der Laan
    Social Media Image

    Is it the real you, the witty you, the person who reads the most interesting articles, makes t...


Subscribe to SC Newsletter:

RSS Feed

Are you a bloggerFacebook


© 2015 - All Rights Reserved - All views and opinions expressed are those of the authors of Searchcowboys.

All trademarks, slogans, text or logo representation used or referred to in this website are the property of their respective owners. Sitemap