Home > LINK BUILDING, OFF PAGE OPTIMIZATION, PAY PER CLICK (PPC) > What is the Difference Between a Paid Listing and Buying a Link?

What is the Difference Between a Paid Listing and Buying a Link?

Web Search Link Building

Web Search Link Building

Paid listings and Pay per Click ads are not the same as buying links. For example, iAquire got hit by Google early this year. The company was selling links for profit of course and even lost their court case due to link selling. The company allowed for clients to pay for relevant links after companies registered their sites on the market to iAquire that they were looking to buy relevant links. iAquire would then contact the company listed and notify them that a relevant link was for sale. These relevant links were all of a “follow” link attribute. Google knew iAquire was a high-profile link selling company so they were already on Google’s radar. You may ask why Google hit iAquire and other link selling companies? Here is why…


What is the Difference Between a Paid Listing and Buying a Link

This is where it gets really touchy. Paid listings vs. buying links. Google views a paid listings differently than paid for links. One way Google knows the difference from tracking code inserted on paid for links. This tracking code makes it easy for Google to know the difference between these types of links. Without the tracking code, the link selling companies could not keep track of the paid links to pay the ‘clients selling the space through their systems.

This is what has caused the downfall for the company’s selling links. Simply put, you place a link on your website that is being paid for by the company wanting to be listed on your website. In return the company who listed themselves with the third-party company is selling the link through the third-party company. So now you have a company wanting to be paid for listing the link on their website and a company paying for that link to be listed with a third-party vendor managing it all.

Now on the other hand, lets say you pay for a listing and not a link. This is different because your going to receive a “nofollow” link some of the time you pay for it. But some sites allow you to pay for the listing and still provide a “follow” link. This link has no appended tracking code therefore can not be tracked by Google. Secondly, you are paying a onetime fee usually, therefore not being paid for listing some other company’s link on your website. This is the main difference between the two types of links or ads. Paid listings are not considered link buying even though you are paying for a listing.


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Addressing Paid Search Marketing Issues

Paid search marketing works under the same principle. Yes, you are paying for links but indirectly. What I mean by this; you are actually paying or advertising space but not reeking the rewards of SERP advancement. Some still believe they have seen gains in the SERP’s once starting a Google AdWords‘ campaign but that is not true at all. You are paying for the advertising space and not the link.

If you have ever tried to determine whether or not Google AdWords ads are of “follow” or “nofollow”? I can tell you “NO”. Absolutely 100% of Google AdWords’ ads are of “nofollow” attribute. With that being said, you now have a better understanding of the difference between buying links, paid listings and AdWords’ ads.



If you are intending on or are currently buying links through third-party vendors it is advisable to stay away from this type of link building tactics. Google has strict guidelines against buying links of this method and it has been this way since day one. A lot of the time the rewards of buying links seems great but is short-lived. Eventually Google either catches you or the company selling the links. Think of it as a short-term gain with catastrophic outcomes. Go with a long-term strategy and refrain from buying links. This is good advice and I highly recommend it.

Do you think this is contradictory of Google and link selling companies?

Do you think that link submission services fall under the same category as link selling companies?

What is your take on this topic, would love to hear your thoughts on it?

“Avoid third-party link buying and stick to quality link building principles”.

About Ty Whalin

I am a web designer, SEO specialist, programmer and internet marketer entrepreneur. I attended Central Florida Community College where I majored in Computer Information Administration and Rasmussen College studying Computer Information Technology. I am the Founder and CEO of Link Worx Seo, played drums for almost 30 years, father of one daughter and enjoy everything life has to offer.

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