You don’t want to pay for links on shady sites. You don’t want to exchange links with them either. You don’t want to invest time and effort, looking for the perfect site, just to learn that it uses shady linking strategies to avoid its precious link juice from rippling to your site.
It’s difficult to define the concept of “shady linking.” It’s difficult because it’s my own license, and I generally classify as “shady” all sites that involve one of the following:
- link farms
- “NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW” tags (particularly blogger blogs)
- attribute rel=”nofollow”
- robots.txt that block the link pages from being scanned by the search bots
- odd redirects
- other non-ethical means
Why don’t you want to exchange links with none of the above? Because it makes no sense. Assuming that you involve mostly ethical linking strategies (buying links is still a matter of debate and basically everything you do to manipulate other webmasters to link to your site is controversial) and that you don’t try to “hide” your vote to a site with a “nofollow,” only the site you link to has something to win from this deal. What might come to you is traffic.
But in my experience, sites using the above mentioned shady linking techniques don’t provide for quality traffic either. So what can you do to get quality links? Simply provide good, informative content and hope for the best. Or employ an SEO company to identify the most lucrative linking strategies for you.