What Is A Paid Link?

Paid links are a controversial search engine optimization (SEO) practice in which website owners or marketers engage in link building by buying links from other websites, usually to improve their search engine results on platforms like Google.

However, these methods of manipulating search results go against Google's guidelines and are seen as a type of link spam. It's important to remember that not all paid links are low-quality links. Some may lead to high-quality backlinks. 

However, paid links unnatural links and are still a controversial part of SEO strategy because they can lead to penalties and hurt a website's Google rankings.

Paid Links Vs. Organic Links

Paid and organic links are two distinct hyperlinks that influence a website's visibility on search engines.


Paid links involve exchanging links for money. This is often done as part of link schemes that try to boost the ranking of a website. Selling links as part of these schemes is against the rules of search engines, which can lead to penalties or less exposure.

Organic Links

Organic links are naturally occurring and editorially given by other websites as references due to the following:

  • Quality
  • Relevance
  • Value of the content

These links are the backbone of search engine rankings, indicating a website's credibility and authority.

In essence, the difference lies in the authenticity and intent behind the link: organic links reflect genuine recognition, while paid links can be manipulative attempts to manipulate search engine algorithms.

2 Types of Paid Links That Are Perfectly Fine To Use

Regarding link building, it's important to focus on strategies that adhere to ethical practices and provide value to users and search engines. Here are two types of links that are perfectly fine to use, considering the terms you've mentioned:

  1. Sponsored Links on Reputable Websites (White Hat Link Building): White-hat link development entails legitimately acquiring links and providing good content. Through link placement, it directs users to related resources and gives value. This strategy follows search engine criteria and can boost ranks. Hence, a linking page should have 3–12 sponsored links to maintain a balanced link profile.
  2. Organic Editorial Links from High-Quality Content (White Hat Link Building): Organic editorial links from high-quality content development are also permitted. When you write useful material, other websites may link to it. Editorial links are typically genuine and boost search rankings. These links are earned by your content and its importance to viewers, not bought or manipulated. This method creates a diverse, authoritative backlink profile.

Remember, not all backlinks are created equal. It's essential to prioritize quality over quantity and focus on building relationships with reputable websites for sustainable link-building success.

How Can We Help?

SEOLeverage is one of a growing number of SEO firms that can help you avoid damage to your ranking by giving you advice on paid links. We'll give you tips, best practices, and tools to help you make the most of your efforts and improve the search engine rankings of your website.