How much is a backlink really worth

backlinksOn a daily basis now, I have to delete spam comments on my blog from people fishing for a free backlink. The thing is, my blog still has a PR0 ranking and, because of personal and professional crises in my own life, I hadn’t even updated it for a month. I finally did start adding new content on Saturday and intend to restart adding to it regularly, however I still wonder – why is there so much attraction to these knuckleheads to want to get a backlink on my blog anyway? What’s it worth to them?

Not Much

Not to put myself down, but the fact is that my blog needs a lot of work that I just don’t have time for – I need to do more backlinking of my own and really build it up more. I know it has potential to be a top personal finance blog.

However, a combination of illness (I have diabetes and it has been acting up the past month or two, making things difficult for me) and professional commitments (my blog doesn’t yet make enough for me to be able to able to drop some writing clients) means that links from my blog are not worth a whole lot. And yet, people keep coming back, looking for more.

The Difference Between PR0 Links and Pr4+ Links

Let’s break this down. PR0 or PR1 are pretty easy to come by. Everyone starts out with a PR0 after their first few weeks online and achieving a PR1 ranking doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. On the other hand, once you begin getting into the range of PR4 or PR5, then it gets a lot tougher to achieve those kinds of rankings.

You need serious traffic and serious backlink numbers to get to that point. Google’s engineers know this and most SEO experts know this also. That’s why they sell such links for so much money.

But I Saw PR9 Links for $5 Each!

Okay, first, if you happen to believe that you can buy a PR9 link for $5, then I’d like you to send me a private e-mail so we can discuss a bridge I have for sale. It’s got a lovely view of Brooklyn. But seriously, there are places that claim to be offering packages of PR4 and PR5 links for just a few dollars for a few hundred links. Are they lying? Not quite. It’s just that they’re not telling the whole truth either.

Page Rank is on a Page, Not a Website

Page rank doesn’t get conferred onto a particular website. Facebook has a PR10 ranking, but that doesn’t mean that my blog’s Facebook page is the equivalent of a PR10 page with a PR10 link. My blog’s Facebook page in fact ranks a PR0.

When people tell you that they offer packages of PR4/5 (or even the fabled PR9) links for very little money, what they are saying is that they’ll create links somewhere within the website and that the website’s front page has that ranking.

Now, if you happen to find that the package includes a link from the front page, then it may be worth something. Though even in that case, it pays to ask – how long will the link stay on the front page? Unless you are buying a link which will be there in perpetuity, it’s not worth all that much.

What You Get With Those Packages

Most of these packages by the way, which are often sold on Fiverr.com, are in fact just blog comments or forum profiles. These not only do not confer the page rank of the parent page, but they also don’t confer much value at all because Google’s engineers know how easy such links are to get.

So Are they Worthless?

Not exactly. If you’ve read my article on the main page here about how link building works, then you know that link building is about either getting backlinks from popular sites or getting thousands of backlinks from the unpopular sites.

I assume that’s why I keep getting these ridiculous spam comments – because people see my blog as one stop along the way to getting their thousands of backlinks. What I don’t get is why they keep coming back when none of them ever gets posted. Oh well. It’s off to the spam filter I go…

12 thoughts on “How much is a backlink really worth

  1. I have a great question for you in regards to this post. What if in fact you have the option to buy a group of high pr links PR6-9 that are also on strange blogs but have a mile long list of comments on it? Better yet. What can happen to a site if you push too many links in too short of a time period?

    Thank You

  2. Excellent question. Basically, a page that has a mile long list of links will not keep its PR6-9 ranking for long since Google will classify it as a link farm. In other words, it’s almost completely worthless for link juice purposes. On the other hand, if the site is getting lots of traffic, it is good for getting referral traffic…

    And pushing too many links in a short time, officially, nothing except that Google will ignore those links. Unofficially, this is known as link spamming or Google bowling (if someone does it to you) and if Google’s engineers feel you’re doing it deliberately, it’s possible they could penalize you, though for all practical purposes, I find that Google will just ignore a massive number of links and assume you’ve been Google Bowled.

  3. I enjoyed reading this blog and you are correct. Most backlinks don’t have any effect whatsoever, in fact Google doesn’t even find most of your backlinks.

    Page Rank isn’t an important factor, and again you are 100% when you say it isn’t the site it’s the page that gets the Page Rank. However, that isn’t to say that it isn’t a good thing to disregard this completely. And indeed you don’t say that.

    What I try to do is leave backlinks in a number of different places, but try to stay within the topic of my websites/blogs. For example, I’ve found from personal experience that 100 backlinks from sports sites are better than 10000 from other random sites for my sports website.

    Again with everything in life, I’ve found it’s quality and not quantity. I don’t look at page rank too much, except when it comes to general sites like article websites and I prefer to only spend time writing for high PR sites.

    Wonderful insight into the world of backlinks. Thanks.

  4. Very true. On the other hand, if you can’t get the very best backlinks, it’s not worthless to get links from other sites. They do have some value and will eventually push you up to the point of getting noticed by places in your own niche.

  5. Are backlinks worths anything at all????? I too get many many automated spam blog comments on my blogs, I know they are automated due to the patterns etc, and I filter them out automatically. But hundreds of companies are making money out of blasting 1,000’s of spam comments etc etc. But also quality backlinks – are they worth it??

    I am trying to find any evidence that they are.

    I have just done a manual analysis on Google for competitive keyword, through 4 pages of google, looking at the commercial competitors.

    There was NO correlation between links (Yahoo or Google) or Page Rank, and position. The one with most (11,000) yahoo links was position 7 (page 2), the one with the most Google (23) position 8 (page 2).

    Really no evidence that links = PR = position at all.

    Is this just a massive con by the SEO community to create work???

  6. No, they really do work. However, backlinks are just one part of an overall strategy of SEO which includes high quality content, backlinks on quality sites and backlinks which actually mean something (blog comment backlinks are the easiest to get, but the ones inside of articles are much harder). And you are right that PR doesn’t convey position in the SERPs. It’s a measure of the value of a backlink.

  7. THANK YOU! I can’t stand when people think just because a home page of a site has a PR9 that you’re somehow going to get that juice by being on some subpage or even worse, nofollow comment.

    What methods do you use to achieve some of the higher value links? I’ve started trying to acquire blogroll links which are dofollow, since they show up on all the site’s pages.

    1. I don’t happen to like blogroll links very much because those are actually kinda spammy in Google’s eyes. The two best ways are to use guest posts and to use CommentLuv enabled blogs, which put recent comments on the front page.

  8. PR is mysterious, and it isn’t the only factor. It is a multiple in the algorithm… For example, you have all the factors, like number of domains linking to your site, domain age, url relevance, onpage optimization, link diversity grade, etc., multiplied by page rank gives you your standing. If the number you’re multiplying by your pagerank is low you will rank low. But as you can see, since its a multiple, the difference between PR1 and PR2 is pretty significant. But also keep in mind it is for the PAGE not the entire site.

    1. Well the most mysterious thing about it is that Google doesn’t let us know exactly how they calculate it and as such, it’s impossible to know with 100% certainty what works and what doesn’t. That’s why good SEO people are so hard to find — you have to constantly be ready to try new things in order to make it work for you.

    1. Can you tell us specifically what you found useful about it? That helps me to know what to write in the future.

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