I was contacted by someone on a popular webmaster forum to buy a link on a .gov.uk site which has a valid PR6. The government site belongs to a council and because government sites tend to link to each other a lot, it has a lot of good quality inbound links. Getting links on such a site can really boost your ranking especially if you use a good targetted anchor text. However they are very hard to come by. Unless you’re a non-profit organisation or offering something unique which would be beneficial for the .gov.uk site and at the same time be relevant, you’re not going to get a link from them.
Part of me wanted to buy the link because I know that it will increase the PR of my site and boost my rankings as well. The price was $150 for 3 months, $250 for 6 months and $400 for 12 months. The link would be placed on the homepage and you get to choose your anchor text. I was curious and wanted to see if other people have purchased links on that PR6 .gov.uk site. All paid links were placed like halfway down the homepage as follows:
As you can see from the above example, all these links look like spam even if it comes from a reputable website such as this .gov.uk one. Placing your website’s link there could do you more harm than good. It is not worth paying $400 a year to get such a link. If you’re already receiving traffic from Google, why would you want to risk your organic traffic and be penalised?
I didn’t include the URL for this .gov.uk site deliberately but the only reason you can buy links on there is because they’ve got an immoral person working for them. Councils are not stupid to publicly do this sort of thing but a staff who has got access to the website (probably an IT guy who maintains the website content) decided to do a little business on the side. I’m pretty sure the council is not aware of this and the moment they find out, they will fire him.
The conclusion is that buying links can jeopardise your website a lot. You’re better off using whitehat techniques and moving up the SERPs slowly but surely than regretting the big mistake of thinking you’re purchasing once in a lifetime link deal to boost your rankings.