Are Paid Sponsor Backlinks A Good Strategy For SEO?

Everyone’s talking about SEO. Well, okay, people are talking about AI, and war, and democracy, too. But in the Mandel Marketing world–the world of digital marketing–we’re talking a lot about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. A topic that comes up often in this discussion is backlinks.

We all know they’re important, but, seriously, what’s the deal? How do you get them?

One way to get backlinks, you may or may not know, is to buy them. Yep, you can just straight up buy backlinks for your website.

Seems to good to be true, right? We’re all fighting over backlinks all the time, and writing all kinds of great content and pitching it to media outlets just to get a trusted backlink from a high DA website (that’s Domain Authority, by the way), and then you find out you can just buy them? For real?

Yep. But–and there’s always a but–Is it a good idea?

backlinksTo answer this question, we consulted a number of experts in the industry and asked them to weigh in on whether or not it’s a good idea to buy sponsored backlinks for SEO. Here’s what these digital marketing industry thought leaders had to say:

  • Quality Over Quantity in Backlinks
  • Evaluate High-DA Site Backlinks Carefully
  • Paid/Sponsored Links Can Be Net Positive
  • Nofollow Tags Mitigate Paid Link Risks
  • Use Sponsored Links Wisely for Visibility
  • Quality Paid Backlinks Offer Quick Traffic Boost
  • Organic Backlinks Trump Paid Ones

Quality Over Quantity in Backlinks

The important aspect is not whether backlinks are bought, but their quality and the reputation of the sites. It is possible to buy links on reputable platforms such as Forbes, which shows that the distinction between paid and organic content can often be ambiguous.

For example, getting a lot of backlinks from low-quality sources or PBNs, with hyped Domain Rating (DR) and no traffic, can easily be perceived as a manipulative tactic, potentially leading to penalties from search engines.

Conversely, if the backlink is embedded in a well-designed, interesting article on a website that attracts significant traffic, it will look more natural. Not only does such a link add real value to readers, but it can also encourage referral traffic, thereby benefiting search engine rankings.

Olga Natalchenko, PR Manager, Wiserbrand

Evaluate High-DA Site Backlinks Carefully

Paid or sponsored backlinks on a high-DA site currently work well. However, the more backlinks the site sells, the greater the possibility that the link juice diminishes. Also, this may be on Google’s radar, and they may reduce or penalize its effectiveness. Evaluate each potential site and ensure it’s niche-specific. Also, check how many outgoing links it has from the page you want a backlink from. It’s also a good idea to obtain backlinks from other sources, including ‘niche edits’—links provided on age-relevant articles or aged articles—and guest postings.

Michael Santoro, Founder, Brand

Paid/Sponsored Links Can Be Net Positive

Almost any backlink is good, with the exception of spammy ones. So paid/sponsored ones are okay in my book. Would I rather have a regular ‘follow’ link? Absolutely, there’s plenty of evidence that shows having a paid or sponsored tag devalues the link somewhat, but overall, it’s still a net positive.

Isaac Hammelburger, Founder, Search Pros

Nofollow Tags Mitigate Paid Link Risks

Paid or sponsored backlinks come with risks if they don’t follow best practices, such as possible penalties from search engines and damage to your site’s overall visibility. However, if they’re from a site that is likely to send you a lot of relevant traffic, getting paid or sponsored links with a nofollow tag can be beneficial.

Armen Davtyan, Head of SEO, Market Apartments

Use Sponsored Links Wisely for Visibility

Sponsored/paid backlinks aren’t necessarily bad. They shouldn’t be the main part of your backlinking campaign because these links are crawled by search engines and are technically labeled as ‘non-organic’ links, which Google takes into consideration when ranking your site.

For PR purposes, to get your brand’s name, product, or service out there, it works great to gain visibility, not necessarily for boosting organic traffic to your site directly from the SERPs. Be careful when purchasing a paid/sponsored link; vet the website thoroughly so you don’t accidentally make a horrible decision by getting a link that has absolutely no value.

Joseph Jones, Senior SEO Specialist, Disruptive Advertising

Quality Paid Backlinks Offer Quick Traffic Boost

Paid or sponsored backlinks can be a tricky business. On one hand, they can provide a quick traffic boost if they’re from high-quality, relevant websites. I’ve seen businesses gain quick visibility through this strategy. For instance, when working with MBC Group, we saw tangible SEO results when we got a high-quality backlink from a site like Amazon.

But on the other hand, purchasing backlinks en masse, especially from low-quality or irrelevant sites, can harm your SEO ranking in the long term. Google and other search engines view this practice as an attempt to manipulate rankings and may penalize your site as a result. For example, in an SEO campaign for a client, we noticed a significant drop in their site’s ranking when they purchased a large batch of low-quality backlinks.

So, if you’re considering paid backlinks, I’d advise focusing on quality over quantity. Aim for backlinks from reputable, industry-relevant sites, and avoid buying them in large quantities from low-quality sources.

Matthew Montez, Founder, The MBC Group

Organic Backlinks Trump Paid Ones

So, paid backlinks for SEO—not the best move. Google’s not a fan. They’ve got rules against it, and getting caught means penalties, like a drop in rankings or worse.

Organic backlinks are where it’s at. They happen naturally when people vibe with your content. Paid links? They raise eyebrows and can mess with your site’s street cred.

Quality’s a gamble with paid links. You can’t always pick where they’re from, and some might be shady, hurting your site’s rep.

Search engines aren’t fooled. They know if your links are legit or bought. Taking shortcuts might land you in penalty territory.

Yeah, paid links give a quick hit, but it’s short-lived. Better to rock killer content that pulls in links naturally. Build connections, chat with your crew, and let those links flow in on their own. Takes time, but it’s the real deal for long-lasting results.

Taha Hashim, IT Manager, Webology

Contact Mandel Marketing For Help With SEO

Well, there you have it, folks. There’s a variety of opinions on the subject of paid backlinks, but everyone agrees that backlinks are crucial for building a solid search engine optimization strategy.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from all of it, however, is that good content is paramount. And that’s where we can help. Mandel Marketing provides content marketing for clients across the world, in tons of different categories. Set up a free consultation to see how we can help you.