Should you pay for a link? Yes, and no.
This answer was once a 100% no for us. But as SEO has become more and more competitive, we see many more sites in the top of the Search Engine results that are paying for links, and appear to getting better rankings because of it.
The type of links I am referring to here are directory links, not text in blog link farms, or anything developed for the sole purpose of getting your rankings to increase, with very little or no real readership.
A good link should have the potential to bring you more traffic, on its own, period. There are a ton of directories that are free, and do show up high enough in the search engines, or do their own advertising, to bring real prospects to our site. It does take some research to identify them, and the directories you choose should be dictated by the industry and location you are in.
It’s logical that a directory charge if the edit and review every submission, and have the expenses of keeping the site running. Although we are a big fan or organic natural ranking increases through great content and relationships, now and then paying for a directory listing does make sense.