Paying for other websites to link your content is an old practise; there was a time when it was seen as the easiest way to get visitors flocking to your site. Now it’s not an advised practice since Google and the other major search engines are wise to it and don’t look upon such antics favourably. Links being thrown around the internet willy-nilly in exchange for money goes completely against the values of a search engine. It makes it difficult to gauge whether a site has genuine, sought after content or if it’s popularity is simply down to paid links. Because of this, Google and others will come down hard on any site that is buying or selling links. As a search engine they want to give there users worthy results to their search queries and don’t want the wool pulled over their eyes.
There’s not a great deal of use in having an eye-catching website if there are no eyes pointing towards it, so in order to get connected with your intended audience the advice should be to not cut corners and use tricks but rather to simply provide valuable content that will genuinely make your site a hit. Then, hopefully, not only will your traffic increase, but you will be able to slowly cultivate a healthy number of links to your content, either through word of mouth or through a subtle request, ultimately resulting in even more hits. So, the more backlinks, the better… right?
Well imagine this… Instead of being indebted to others for providing backlinks to your interesting and useful content, you’re so bombastic and pompous about the value and genius of what your site has to offer that you know consider it a privilege for an external site to link to your priceless content. In fact, if they want to link to your site at all they have to pay for the benefit. This obviously sounds absurd. Why would anyone want to pay to link into your content?
Well, according to the National Newspapers of Ireland (The body that representing Ireland’s main newspapers), linking back to their websites is a privilege that merits paying for. We’re not talking about republishing an article or even using a few snippets of content, just a simple link has a price. They argued that the display and transmission of links does constitute an infringement of copyright under current Irish law if used commercially, without prior consent and payment. They have also told domestic violence charity group, ‘Woman’s Aid’ to pay for hyperlinks to articles on their site.
Think for a second about what the word ‘web’ means when used to refer to the internet. It conjures an image of a construction made up of all the trillions of links that make it so powerful. Any control or regulation placed on the right to link from one site to another could eventually bring the entire internet crashing down, just as paying for links the other way threatened to cause harm. It’s moderately understandable for a newspaper to want to break the internet, but should Ireland or any other countries with similar laws (in respect to copyright) validate claims such as the NNI’s, what will be left of the World Wide Web?