When I first heard of backlink advertising networks, I have to admit I was more than a bit skeptical. Of course backlinks are probably the most important tool in the search engine optimization kit, but buying or acquiring backlinks in an unnatural way has always been something Google and other major search engines do not condone. I took a look at a few networks hoping to find some answers.

The first network I looked at was DigitalPoint’s Coop Advertising Network (http://www.digitalpoint.com). DigitalPoint’s network allows you to create either banner or text ads that will then be displayed on various websites in the network with an active backlink. Websites receive a “weight” which determines how often they appear on other sites, although it wasn’t exactly clear on how a site gains weight. Further reading explained that certain factors such as Alexa Rank and number of pages showing ads may contribute to weight. It was even possible to target your ads by category. I was very impressed with the setup. So, I installed the ad network on a few websites and, sure enough, the system started to churn out backlinks.

After testing out the network, I decided to read what others were saying in their forums. Sure enough, my worst fears were realized. As I suspected, churning out links can have a negative impact on search engine rankings. Various sites complained of being completely dropped from Google or Yahoo’s index. The problem, it seems, was that links were not permanent. DigitalPoint’s network rotates links as you reload a page so you have no permanent backlinks. I immediately removed the links from my sites, and moved on to analyze the next network.

The next backlink advertising network I found was AdCaliber (http://www.adcaliber.com). I quickly read over their FAQ and was pleased to find that they promised permanent backlinks that only get removed when I choose. Other than that, the system seemed similar to DigitalPoint although it was a bit more flexible in ad targeting. After creating an account, I received 100 credits which I could use to bid for backlinks. Apparently, AdCaliber works on a bidding system. You bid a monthly amount of credits to obtain links on certain sites. For example, I bid 50 credits to obtain links on sites with a Google Pagerank of at least 5 and Alexa Rank of at least 500,000. Then, when an open ad slot appeared on a site matching those qualifications, the highest bidder would get the link. In my case, I would be debited 50 credits per month. I was very impressed with the system. I liked having the ability to target my ads precisely. I was also impressed with the ease of installation. With AdCaliber, you don’t have to upload any files to your server. You just simply paste a short PHP code on your website. It was very simple. The only negative thing I have to say about AdCaliber is that it is much newer than DigitalPoint and its network is not as large, therefore not as many backlinks are available yet. 

To sum it all up, DigitalPoint is a very effective backlink advertising network when you are looking to acquire backlinks quickly. I would not use DigitalPoint for long term SEO, though. AdCaliber seems to be your best bet for long term SEO and seems to give you better control over your backlinks.