Forgive me, for I could not resist the temptation of choosing a tongue-in-cheek title.
About a month ago I wrote an in-depth analysis of the costs of paid links. One finding during my research was, that you can buy a link on BuzzFeed for just $106.
Now, I am NOT a fan of paid links – I'm somewhere in-between Rand Fishkin's "You need to earn links through amazing content" and Glen Allsopp's "Eff it, who cares as long as it works now?" approach – and I am most certainly not a fan of BuzzFeed, but curiosity got the better of me: I had to buy that link for the glory of science!
So here's what happened after I bought the link.
Buying a Link
In the previous blog post I talked about that I found an online marketplace for paid links. I used that same marketplace to buy the link on BuzzFeed.
Now I don't want to endanger LinksSpy by buying links, but – being the geek I am – I have more than enough domains for a little test run.
I needed to select a website that I wouldn't mind if it were de-indexed and lost all rankings. Luckily, I have just the right website: An attempt at building a niche website around the keyword "shooting vest", that I started about a year ago and got tired of a month later. Next to no visitors, no incoming links, no one who cares about it too much – in other words: Perfect for this test.
With the URL in my clipboard and my credit card in front of me I set out to do a little research. Actually buying the link was straight-forward:
- select the listing (I knew which one to look for from my previous research)
- enter your CC details
- select the type of post you want (e.g. review of product, press release, advertorial or just a general post) – I went with "Publisher is free to choose"
- Enter target URL (http://shootingvest.org) and keywords ("shooting vests")
- Wait for the publisher to accept your offer
- Wait for the link to appear
You can think about such marketplaces whatever you want, but I have to give them credit on how easy it was to buy a link. Almost no friction there.
The Link Is Published
It took 3 days for the link to appear on the BuzzFeed website. Here's the URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/samarita/4-best-tips-for-buying-shooting-vests-that-will-be-ygdc
In the third paragraph you'll find the link I paid for, just the way you like your links: with the right keywords, editorial, DoFollow, surrounded by related keywords and on a website with a high Domain Authority.
And with BuzzFeed covering everything from "Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?" to "11 People Who Look Exactly Like Ikea Products" our sponsored article fits right into the mix…
Analysing What I Just Bought
OK. So now I bought that link. But what did I really get?
First of all, I got an 814-word article of above average quality. I expect it would cost me about $20-25 on a website like textbroker.com. The article is longer than I expected it to be and shows that the author did a fair bit of research. I had expected to get a poorly researched article of 500 words or less.
I have to say, that I am quite impressed by this.
Secondly, I got an editorial, DoFollow link in the user generated content section of BuzzFeed.com. The account the post was published under has exactly one (1!) published article – the one I bought.
Looks like the author is setting up a fresh account for every article they publish. That's obviously a good idea if you want to be secret about what you are doing.
In conclusion, I think that someone very cleverly either found a way to upsell her own services OR a way to combine TextBroker.com with a publishing platform to make a 400% margin.
Either way I have to applaud her business genius.
The Impact of the Link
The link has been online for just over two weeks, so it's a bit early to talk about changes in rankings for my website, but I'll make sure to update this article in about a month's time and let you know about any changes.
What I can however tell you, is that not a single visitor found her way to my website from BuzzFeed. In that regard those links are surely not worth it. Of course, this is to be expected. BuzzFeed is not related to the niche of shooting vests – or hardly any niche at all.
I think you can expect better results when you buy links from websites in your industry, but BuzzFeed is only interesting for influencing Google's SERPs – if at all.
If I didn't set out to do some research, buying that link would have been a major waste of money. But since I was curious and got the chance to write an article about it, this was worth it for me.
I think it is interesting that an article like this passes any editorial review process, but then again it's BuzzFeed we're talking about here – not the New York Times.
Is there anything further you would like to know my research? Let me know in the comments!
Lastly, let me say this again: I don't endorse buying links. I think it comes with a lot of risks and there are cheaper (and more fun!) ways to build/earn/get links.
I would never buy a link for LinksSpy – it is a link intersect tool; take 3 guesses what I do for link building 😉
If you want to learn what – in my eyes – the best link building technique is and want to get informed about more articles like this, sign up for my free email course on advanced link building: