Will You Get Penalized For Buying Links?

To buy or not to buy?
SIA Team
July 10, 2021

Google tells us that buying links a big no-no, but how can they tell if the link you have has been purchased or is an organic link? We don’t think that they can tell the difference. We think that spam or toxic links flag for certain reasons, but not simply because they were purchased.

For this test, we decided to go all in on the spam links. We purchased a package of 10,000 blog comment links from Fiverr.com. Those packages have to be on Google’s radar, right? We splurged and went with the 1 day turn around and the total cost for it was $10. We provided 1 url and asked for the following anchor text links:

  • Paid link
  • I bought this link
  • Purchased link
  • This link is bought and paid for

Three identical pages were created and launched for this test. The 10,000 links were pointed to the #2 ranking page. After the links were pointed and a report has been sent to us from our Fiverr provider, we put them through a link indexed and set it to index 500 links a day. 


The test page moved from #2 to #1. Even though the links clearly identify themselves as paid links and they have been purchased from an obvious spam links provider on Fiverr.com.


Should you definitely go out and buy as many spam links as you can and point it to your clients’ or your money page? No, that would be a terrible idea. These links will probably be flagged, at some point, but we don’t think it’s because they are purchased links. We think it will look highly suspicious that 10,000 links hit a site in just a span of a day. 

However, we’re not sure if Google’s automatic process can even catch and penalize sites, based on how many links hits a site at one time. As we have seen with on-page factors, several crawls are required for indexing and ranking to take place. I would think off-page factors would follow a similar pattern. 

Clint’s Feedback

In this video, Clint talks about this test and his insight on Google and buying links.

This is test number 23 – Will You Get Penalized for Buying Links?

I don’t think you have attended a Webmaster Central with John Mueller with or someone asking about links, and getting links, and paying for links, etc, or SEO conference for that matter, even an SEO webinar without someone telling you don’t buy links, if you buy links, you’re going to get caught, Google knows them, Google will find them, and Google will penalize you. 

From a testing perspective, we wanted to see can you buy links, no matter what kind of links, just buy links and then rank a page. So we just kind of went a little bit crazy, bought 10,000 blog comment links, I know, we’re testing blog comment links at the same time. 

We moved the page from number two to number one. If you’ve ever moved, the page of the two to number one, that is pretty significant unless you’re using fake keywords, in our case, made up words so you can eliminate all the other factors, right? But still, it moved up.

Now, if you believe the talking heads, blog comments don’t work, you shouldn’t do blog comments, you shouldn’t do spam. So one, we proved that wrong, because Google didn’t filter those out, as a matter of fact, it rewarded the page by giving it an increase in ranking. 

Number two, we bought links, Google didn’t know that because it rewarded the page and kept it ranking. 

Number three, pretty safe to say for the most part, if you are buying link and depending on your sources, if your sources for where you’re buying those links are careful, Google will never know, ever. Short of – this link being paid for being added to the content or the area where your link is added, they’re not going to know whether you bought it or if it was made naturally or if it just grew out of thin air. That’s the fact of the matter. 

How do they find these though? So what happens typically is that there are Crusaders and they’re just bad SEOs who instead of upping their game and learning how to rank pages – go through their competition, find issues with it, and then report it to Google. Or there are certain people that will actually go buy into a network, reverse engineer that network, and then go report it to Google and that’s how these networks are getting fried. 

On the other hand, it’s also if you’re selling – let’s say you’re selling a new method, for example, like the YouTube Live, and everyone’s talking about how you can rank well on YouTube Live. And then eventually, John Mueller gets questions a lot about YouTube Live. And then Google looks at it and goes – wow, look what they’re doing to this. They just destroyed that and so they kill the ranking benefit of YouTube life. 

Same thing happens with networks all the time. 

Private blog networks or your own websites that you build links on, whatever you want to call them, they still work. But they can get busted if they get reported, for the most part.

The algorithm is not going to do it, or a manual review, and they stick out like a sore thumb and that might get caught too. But that’s very few and far between now as well, there’s a lot of dependency on the algorithms using its quality. I think Google’s gotten a little bit big for their britches and they think their machine learning and their AI is better than it actually is and I can tell you that it’s not. And reporting from other people, and it was driving into the manual penalty stuff and they’re reducing the manual penalty because they want to reduce their workforce. We want to reduce the workforce and increase the profits because 35 billion a year is not enough, you need 36 billion a year. And that’s just kind of the way that it’s working. 

Will you we get penalized for buying links?

Yes, you will, eventually, if you get caught. Probably less than 1% chance that you’ll actually get caught. And if you get caught, it’s because someone reported you or you drew the attention of a manual reviewer, and they just happened to find your network and they figured why not blast you. But other than that, the algorithm won’t catch you. It just won’t. 

Will you get penalized for buying links?

Yes you will if someone reports you or if you are blatantly dumb. I am not trying to insult you but if you are buying it from known networks that’s sold everywhere and they advertise everywhere, you are going to have some drama. Especially if they are advertised as private blog networks. Eventually, you are going to have some drama especially if you don’t have some qualifications like they don’t reduce the amount of people that are going to be in, they don’t edit their content that goes in there, etc.

Pretty much all of the providers that I know now, those types of links, are doing all of the above. They are limiting the people that can use it, they are monitoring the quality of the content that goes there, and they are particular.

Just be smart when you are buying them and you’ll be perfectly fine.

We have monitored this test and have set up a couple of tests on links also. Interested about them? Check out our test articles for more details.