With Google cracking down on link buying, those of us who do invest in link buying are going to have to buy links a lot smarter if we intend to continue to see an RoI (Return on Investment) from our link buying activities.
I believe that Google is actively attempting to discount links from directories.
But with prices as low as $43 for 1,000 directory submissions, I still have most of my sites submitted to the directories.
I believe that Google is actively attempting to discount links from article sites.
When I have articles that I can't publish on my own sites, I send them off to be manually submitted to article sites.
At $8 per submission, it builds some very inexpensive links.
Links on Links Pages
I believe that Google is actively attempting to discount links on links pages.
I've bought a bunch of bulk links in the past where most of the links ended up on links pages.
I consider the money I spent on those to be wasted.
Sponsored Blog Posts
I was an early adopter of sponsored blog posts. I am backing away from that now.
Why? Because of link labeling (see below) and because of the quality of sites selling blog posts.
Most of the sites selling blog posts are only selling blog posts. A link-level analysis from Google would be able to identify a huge list of potential link buyers. Then, a reverse analysis would identify a huge list of additional link sellers. After a few iterations, Google would have a good idea of every URL involved. A dampening filter would be easy to implement.
Do I believe that Google is doing this? I would if I were Google.
I would still love to buy blog posts -- on blogs which are not regularly participating on selling blog posts. That's similar to the key to other types of link buying -- doing things a bit differently from your peers.
Many links sellers are following Google's guidelines and labeling paid links.
I do not buy links from anyone who labels them as paid links.
I believe that Google is actively attempting to discount "footer" and "sidebar" links.
Because of CSS, Google can't really tell that a link is in the footer. They can, however, easily discount links which are not surrounded by text.
I am focusing now on buying on in-content links and I believe this is going to be absolutely critical in the future.
From what I am seeing, but without a good scientific-level analysis, it appears that deep links are doing me a lot better than homepage links.
One Domain, One Vote
I am currently operating under the assumption that Google heavily discounts multiple links from one domain to another domain.
As a result, I try to only purchase one link for each of my domains from each domain belonging to a link seller.
With so many link resellers operating now, I have not always been successful at this!
I am currently operating under the assumption that Google does not discount multiple links from the same IP address range.
I could be wrong. :D