Link Building Tutorial – The Official Complete Guide

By Monday, October 20, 2014 3 No tags Permalink 2

If there is one thing I get asked over and over again it definitely has to be link building. Oh sure we can talk about how important having a great content marketing strategy is, and how wonderful it is to go viral through social media; these are all important subjects but one thing is for sure, in the SEO world link building rules all.

As always today I am going to show you all of the different strategies that I currently see people using. I will not talk about ethics, the only strategies that we will not explore are illegal ones. I will also be using terms such as white hat and black hat. Please be aware that all white hat SEO is, is less risky SEO. Blackhat is just more risky SEO, keep this in mind as you read this great link building tutorial. For instance, I would never use blackhat SEO on my client’s websites, but if I am building a quick website to make me some money I may consider blackhat SEO. I will also discuss a few tools that can help you build links, to clean up any confusion I do not currently use any of these tools, but I am well associated with how they work and what they can be used for.

This tutorial is going to be simple and straight to the point. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how people are building links this is it here. If you have any suggestions of things to add to the list please comment below and we will take a look for you. Now without further ado, here is the list most of you have been looking for:

White Hat SEO

  • Broken Link Building –

Broken link building really is amazing, it can get you some super powerful links and get them quickly. All that is required is a little bit of time and effort on your part, when you use tools such as AHREFS or Majestic SEO you can really get some exponential results. If you want a non-risky way to build links that will rank you for a long time I would suggest looking at Broken Link Building. I would write a brief tutorial here but I have already written a great one for Rank Jane, if you want a good tutorial check out the broken link building tutorial over there.

  • Going Viral (Infographics and Interactives)

Going viral is what google wants to see. They figure that if everyone is talking about your site because of a cool article you have written it should rank higher in the search results. Most SEO’s’ spend a lot of time trying to fake this, they try to make it appear like their own site is going viral. So instead of trying to appear like you’re going viral, why not just go viral?

This is generally easier than it sounds, but is very niche dependent. For instance it is a little bit more difficult to go viral in a niche that specializes in auto loans than one that is a bodybuilding website. If you are in a viral niche we recommend doing the following:

  1. Go to the community (forums, Google+ groups) and find the most common questions asked.
  2. Create an infographic that answers these questions.
  3. Post it to your website, then spread it among the community.
  4. Email other sites in your niche to let them know about the infographic.
  5. Make sure the infographic links back to your site, then sit back and watch the links roll in.

Sounds good right? It works wonders as well, you’ll really be impressed with the results. If you have some cash and want to bump it up a notch I would suggest creating some kind of web interactive. This interactive needs to be something that will be useful to your community, you’d be surprised at how much these kind of things can get shared, and how excited other sites will be to publish I ton their own site. This is what Google likes to see, unique content that is so creative everyone wants to talk about it.

Sounds simple enough? That’s because it is, sometimes I think online marketers waste way too much time on expensive techniques that only fake going viral, when they could just be going viral instead.

Gray Hat SEO

  • Guest Blogging –

Guest blogging used to be considered White Hat SEO, in fact in many cases it still is. Guest blogging is great, but there are a few things you should know of first off. First you should avoid all networks that promise to do all of the guest blogging for you. Why is that? Well because Google has shown that they aren’t afraid to shut down these networks. Just take a look at what happened to My Guest Blog.

Instead my suggestion is to contact each of these web owners individually to offer them some quality content. How do you contact them? I like to do so through email and phone. There are lots of tools that can help you gain contact information such as Scrapebox and Group High, while these are great in the end you are still going to need to put in some leg work.

Don’t worry too much though, it may seem like a lot of work at first but in the end Guest Blogging is completely worth it, it’s a lot like using a PBN that you don’t have to upkeep, and that is less likely to get penalized.

Google has called out Guest Blogging as something negative on their radar. This is why I have moved it to the Gray Hat SEO section, so far I have had no problem Guest Blogging as long as I am adding value to the other site, but who knows where Google will move things in the future.

  • Web 2.0 Sites –

This is another gray hat SEO technique that may end up getting canned soon by Google. Penguin 3.0 is coming out soon and a lot of people have been abusing Web 2.0 sites in order to rank quickly. There is a good chance that they may be devalued for a little while so that Google can clean up the serps.

Regardless the strategy is simple, start a few web 2.0 blogs on places like Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress. Write unique articles for each of these blogs, post 1 article once every 2 days and once you have a few articles on there, post one that links back to your site. This should give the blog some authority and the link juice will pass on in to your site. The big plus is you can control the anchor text and you know that the article will get published.

If you really want to expand on the idea you can create hundreds of these web 2.0 sites, if you’re looking for a good tool to help you with this I would suggest FCS Networker, while I don’t use the tool it is definitely the strongest one available at handling web 2.0 sites.

  • High End Article Directories –

Article directories were completely destroyed by Google back in 2012. I can still remember the days back in 2010 when I would use tools like Article Marketing Robot to rank my site within 3 weeks for competitive keywords. Unfortunately those days are gone, and a lot of people have completely disregarded article directories.

Well the secret is that these things can still rank your website, I see websites ranking with these kind of backlinks all the time. How do they do that? Simple, only post to article directories that are high end and high maintenance. Make sure that they have some kind of quality control, and make sure that they give you a “dofollow” link. A good example of such a site is Street Articles. This is a gray hat technique, and who knows how long it will continue to work for.

Black Hat SEO

  • 301 Redirects –

301 redirects have become a big deal recently. A lot of SEO’s are finding out that 301 redirects don’t usually send on penalties, and if they are they are definitely delayed. This means that in theory you should be able to take a penalized spammed out site from the past and 301 redirect it to your current site. It will then pass on the link juice without passing on the penalty.

You could also buy an expired high DA domain and redirect it to your site as a powerful backlink. If you’re feeling really devious you could then spam the heck out of that redirect with exact match anchor texts and then watch your site blast up the serps.

This is of course a blackhat technique and one that could easily get you penalized. Google is probably looking at putting a stop to this in the future, but for now I still see sites ranking using this technique. I personally have not used it but it is definitely an option.

  • Private Blog Networks –

Private Blog Networks are all the rage, Google is currently trying to take them down and right now people are running around claiming that the sky is falling as they watch their own networks become deindexed. As such you have been warned, Google doesn’t like Private Blog Networks, that’s mainly because they work so well.

Most people build up a network by buying high authority expired domains, they then throw some unique content on them in blog form, and slowly build up the authority like they would on any site. Then the link back to their own site from the blogs, since these blogs have a lot of link juice they generally use them for exact or phrase match anchor text, and dilute it with other links to their site.

Some SEO’s will get really sneaky and monetize their blog networks as well with ads. Others will try to disguise them as a normal site, and others will just leave them as basic blogs, focusing on their own site for the ROI. Which works best is up to you to decide, the fact that Google is so bent on destroying Blog Networks is a good sign that they work.

In places such as BlackHatWorld people sell these kind of links all the time, whether or not their networks are penalized is a good question, and now that google is focusing their attention on these networks they may be a good thing to avoid for a little while.

  • Forum Links –

Forum links used to be all the rage, tools like Xrummer could create thousands of these at once and rank you in an instant. I can remember back in 2009 buying links from Xrummer suppliers and ranking churn and burn sites like crazy, the ROI was ridiculous. Google put a stop to all of that nonsense and Xrummer is no longer considered the powerhouse that it once was.

Despite this I still see a lot of sites ranking with forum links. The trick is that they use dofollow forums only, and a lot of the forums that supply these types of links are hard to post on from automated tools. You can leave links on your forum profiles by signing up for these sites manually, or create your own bots using a good tool such as zennoposter. Xrummer is still strong in the right hands, but if you’re a newbie looking to build blackhat links I would recommend trying it manually first.

This is not for the faint of heart, forum links can be considered toxic and are definitely risky.

  • Blog Comments –

Ah blog comments, I think every SEO should be familiar with Scrapebox, they should also be familiar with how Scrapebox completely changed the landscape of SEO. Blog comments are a great way to build a link, and using tools like Scrapebox allow you to build thousands of these links in the matter of minutes back to your site. So what gives? Well most Scrapebox links will get you penalized long before they rank you.

So what can you do? I have seen that links from blog comments that are dofollow still can increase rankings. Using tools like Scrapebox you can find any blogs that allow for dofollow comments and go on and manually leave a comment. This will give you a good powerful link, but be warned that these kind of links can be toxic, and just like forum links are very risky.

  • Pure Spam –

Some tools are just designed to spam your link out all over Google. Currently the most popular tool that does this is definitely GSA. This tool can create an astounding number of links extremely quickly, a lot of people use this tool to build links to their web 2.0 links or to their 301 redirects. If you are going the spam route I would suggest checking out the tool, just be aware that you should never use it on a client’s site, and only on your own test sites. I personally have not used the tool, but I have seen it in action many times.



Building links is an important part of SEO. Even if you are not going to use all of the above strategies you should be aware of what is available, and what is still ranking sites in Google. This way when you are doing competitive research you can see how your competitors are getting their links, and what their weaknesses are. In conclusion I just want to recommend that staying white hat, and using Guest Posts in my opinion is a great way to rank a website. White Hat techniques that are less risky are generally just as easy as the more risky techniques, and the rewards pay off much more in the long run.

Any other strategies that you want to suggest? Did you like my post? Let us know in the comments below.


Nils wrote this

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  • Priya
    October 21, 2014

    Great tips! thank you for sharing..

  • Scott
    October 21, 2014

    I’ve bookmarked this for later reading, as well as the link to Broken Link Building. Thanks for the informative post!

  • Jeanne Melanson
    October 22, 2014

    Hey, great article. Link building is quite a process, better done slowly and organically than quickly through illegal means. Thank you for sharing with us. I’m going to go have a look around your site now. Talk later.

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