A lot of buzz has been generating in the SEO community about the launching of In Links, InLinks.com – The new Text Link Ads program that is an Inline Link Buying Program. This link buying program seems to be virtually undetectable (but not under the radar 100%) by Google (which is much better then the “elephant in the room” old version of text links TLA offered), and puts the links where they matter most, right into the content of blogs, articles and other places where content is on your website. I think the only way users can be detected is if they abuse the program. If they do abuse, they can be caught and probably will be punished by Google.
Nothing new here, but lately I have been noticing how footer, blogroll and general sitewide links are having much less effect on rankings as they once did (even on search engines like MSN and Yahoo). I still think they provide value for pages being indexed and crawled (which is the first step to getting ranked) but as far as factoring into helping improve the ranking of a keyword – not so much anymore! If they are useful sitewides that can help with internal linking and link to good content, then I still feel those can possibly help you improve your rankings, but that is more of an internal linking strategy. That is all this new program is trying to provide. If you think about it, it is a much improved link placement system, and does actually bring some value and place links in appropriate places and content that matches.
Aaron Wall points out that he feels this program would be beneficial for those in the 8 – 12 ranking positions to move up to a profitable spot, but would not be good for someone ranking in the 100s hoping to move up to the front page. Aaron, who I have been reading for years and trust, and feel is one of the greatest SEOs is promoting it, and gives no major warnings.
I am going to give it a try, and maybe do a follow up post later on sharing some of the results.
WHY THE CONTROVERSY?
Well for one, in public Google frowns on buying links, and feels this new program may even violate FTC rules by Bloggers not disclosing compensation, even though Google has been turning its head for years when it is the profitable thing to do so, (as pointed out by Shoemoney) Think about the Google Adsense program and the way it has been abused for a profit, and how Google has been making money off this paid link program for years.
MY TAKE ON ALL THIS:
I have always felt that any kind of link – paid, natural, worked for etc. needs to have value, and add value. I would agree that there are many text link programs out there that are worthless, and add no value. I do not feel this InLinks program is one of them. As long as there is a ROI for paid links, people will keep buying them. Other SEOs, or Internet Marketers may not come out right and say they buy links, but they do. I do not see any SEO arguing that this program is bad, or goes against anything they already do. Like with any links you build, if you have the control for the kind of places your links show up (which you do on this program) you can make the ultimate decision if the link you are getting is going to add value and help out.
I don’t think it should be a Google decision, or a Yahoo or MSN decision whether or not buy links, it should be a business decision of “will this benefit my site, and add value?”
Look at it this way:
If you have a site you are wanting to promote that sells picnic baskets, and are looking for picnic basket related anchor text links, and a home and garden website blog has a post about different picnic tips, and they want to allow you to have a link from them (through this program), then what is the problem? It is very related, and targeted and SHOULD help in traffic and rankings. There should have to be no disclosure. You don’t see me driving around in my Lexus with a big “I financed this car through (insert bank name here)” magnet on the side of my car disclosing it, do you? There is no difference finding the links on your own and asking the owner for a link, and the link you would get through this program. This program just makes it easier.
If you are wanting to learn more about this paid links program, and give them a try to see how they work for you, feel free to join InLinks here…and NO I didn’t get paid to post this …