I have previously written about the backlinks that really matter for Google: the ones which come from authority sites. However, many, many webmasters and bloggers claim that one should get all the backlinks they can, no matter where they come from. In their opinion, Google won’t ignore discounted links even when they aren’t as valuable as the authority ones.
What are discounted links anyway?
There are three basic ways to look at it:
1. A discounted link would be one that comes from dubious sources, i. e., obscure pages that don’t have a strong reputation among Internet users.
2. Links from pages that contain duplicate content are discounted for sure.
3. All links coming from sites that don’t relate to yours might be classified as discounted, even when those link sources are reputable ones.
Who uses discounted links for link building?
They are mainly used by Internet marketers, webmasters, bloggers and SEOs who believe that quantity is as important as quality when you want to build backlinks. Some of these professionals will spend more time building links than working on on-page optimisation. Others try to find a balance among discounted backlink hunting, content creation, on-site optimisation, title writing etc.
But do you know what? All of us use discounted links in some way, even if we don’t like them and/or don’t realise we are doing it. This happens because we don’t have total control over the sites and blogs who link back to ours. When people want to link to our pages for any reason, they obviously won’t stop and ponder about how much link juice they will pass (or not). This is our problem, not theirs. So, among all these spontaneous backlinks that our sites get, there will certainly be several discounted ones.
Should discounted links be part of your link building campaign?
The only person who can answer this question is… you. It depends on what you think and want, really.
Personally, I still prefer a few strong links over a thousand discounted ones. But this is just my opinion. You may not agree with me. You may think that a thousand discounted backlinks are much better than no links at all — which makes sense, by the way.
If you do choose the “quantity over quality” route, at least try to get as many relevant links as possible. Avoid sites that have nothing to do with your pages’ topics. Unless said sites enjoy a very good reputation, of course. A strong backlink, even when come from an unrelated site, will always be precious in Google’s eyes.