There are companies that specialize in the buying of and selling of links to websites. For a price they can get you links with specific anchor text pointed at any page of your website. “Fantastic”, you say. My website will be number one shortly. I’ll make my fortune and be drinking martinis on the beach before you know it. Unfortunately purchasing links is a violation of Google’s terms and conditions. If you violate one of Google’s terms and conditions you may quickly find yourself or your website, rather, the recipient of a Google penalty. You won’t need notification that you’ve been penalized you’ll be able to see it in your daily traffic results: now you see it, now you don’t. As easily as the traffic ramped up it will disappear. Google is really smart. Google has the ability to detect if you were paying for links, differentiating them from naturally occuring links, so that they can automatically penalize purchasers of links.
You know the old saying “to really screw something up you need a computer”, and Google is built on computers. Their algorithm has holes in it that perhaps your website will slip through. Don’t worry, you are competing against other businesses that would prefer their website ranked higher than yours. When they see that you ranked higher than they did, no doubt they’ll be trying to figure out how this has occured. When they see that suddenly your link popularity has jumped, and they pursue the source of your new-found link popularity, they will be all too happy to submit a spam report to Google to bring attention to your new found success.
Perhaps you read about JC Penney and the link buying scandal they were involved in Christmas of 2011, or BMW’s link purchasing- induced Google penalty. These large companies made the headlines of the national news. Fortunately for them as quickly as Google penalized them, and they confessed their sins, Google quickly removed the penalties. In the case of BMW the penalties only lasted a few days. Smaller, lesser known companies unfortunately do not get the attention needed to have their penalties lifted so quickly, if at all.