Niche Site Duel 2.0 (Research Post): Effective & Long-Term Link Building for Niche Sites with Jon Cooper

Niche Site Duel 2.0 LogoThe official launch of Niche Site Duel 2.0 will be this coming Wednesday!

On Wednesday, we’ll kick off NSD2.0 with a post about:

  1. How you can follow along and participate.
  2. The application process for joining the ‘learning group’ of 5 people who I will personally select to not only ‘coach’, but learn with while we build our niche sites together.
  3. And also details about the schedule and what to expect.

Because this is such a public case study, I’m going to be very thorough throughout the entire process. I know you’re all anxious and want things to move fast, but I want to be able to provide the best case study and information to you. I don’t want to speed through this because this is the type of thing that could change a person’s life, as I learned in NSD1.0.

Plus, this is the type of thing that requires patience and hard work anyway.

So, look out for that post on Wednesday. The podcast for this week will be rescheduled for next Wednesday, which works out because I (and the rest of my family) are incredibly sick, and my voice isn’t working right now. 😛

For NSD2.0, I haven’t conducted any type of keyword or market research yet , so this is going to be lots of fun! I hope you’ll join me.

In the meantime, I have one last pre-launch research post – a guest post actually – from Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO.

This monster post will give you yet another vantage point of what’s working today in SEO and Link Building. After reading this post, I was blown away. With all of the research we’ve done so far (see the Niche Site Duel Hub for more), it becomes obvious that there are so many different strategies we can use to climb the ranks of Google. The challenge will be selecting which ones we want to use for our sites, and the long term viability of each, especially with Matt Cutt’s recent video about what’s to come in SEO this summer.

Thanks again to Jon for this wonderful guest post – I hope you enjoy. 

Effective & Long-term Link Building for Niche Sites

Whenever I get asked about how to build links for niche sites, one of the first follow up questions I receive is “should I use tactic X or strategy Y? Will it hurt me?”

9 times out of 10, they’re talking about something on the darker side of the SEO hat.

Don’t get me wrong – black hat SEO is still alive and well, but their cycles are getting shorter and shorter. This idea of burnout is the reason why, even though it can be effective in the short-term, I don’t like to play with it for niche sites, which usually have the goal of having long lasting passive income.

I wouldn’t call it passive if you’re back on Pat’s blog 12 months later reading Niche Site Series 3.0 wondering what new link building tactics will work for the next Google algorithmic cycle.

So for that reason, let’s throw both hats out the door, and just look at what’s a long-term approach, regardless if it’s Google approved.

Strategic Goals to Aim For

Before we get right into the nitty gritty, let’s understand some of the things we’ll be shooting for. The last thing we want is to invest a lot of time into tactical link building and to not see 100% returns on the effort we put in. I’ve definitely been guilty of this, because sometimes I’m so eager to get started.

First, you’ll be trying to get as many different link types as possible. Here’s a good list to get you started:

  • Editorial citations – getting mentioned within the context of an article from a blog or news website.
  • Resource links – getting mentioned in a list of links pertaining to the topic or subject matter.
  • Web directories – There are a ton of them, but for the most part, they can be split up into:
    • General – directories listing websites from every corner of the Web.
    • Niche – directories listing websites only on your topic matter; i.e. an environmental directory only listing environmentally friendly websites.
    • Local – directories listing websites only in a certain geographical area.
  • Blog comments – Leaving a comment with your name as the anchor text of what will most likely be a nofollow link.
  • Forum discussions – Getting mentioned in a forum in the context of a discussion.
  • Profile pages – Listing your website on your profile page if the website allows one.
  • Web 2.0 + article directories – Getting a link in the context of an article or Web 2.0 property.
  • Author Bios – getting a link in the bio you provide for a guest post or contribution.
  • Image links – linking an image, possibly with a keyword rich ALT tag, instead of text.

There might be a few other minor ones, but for the most part, a good portion of the links on the Web you’ll be trying to get can be split up into these categories.

Your goal is to try and not just get blog comment links, or just directory links, but to sprinkle in all of these different link types.

Second, you’ll be trying to get links at a consistent pace over time. This is called link velocity.

Don’t plan to have a link building binge on Week 3, then stop for 4 weeks, then go to town again on Week 7. Instead, set a steady pace for yourself. You can make this process manageable by doing the following things (just examples):

  • Grab the RSS feeds of different blogs you want to leave comments on and throw them in a feed aggregator like Feedly. Then, instead of leaving comments in mass, set aside 10 minutes every day to leave comments on the posts that went live that day.
  • If you’re going to submit to a list of directories, split them up into a weekly or daily submission calendar. I.e. set aside 10 minutes a day until you’re out of them.
  • (If there are any quality ones) Spend 10-15 minutes a day participating in forums, and only occasionally dropping a link to your site when it’s relevant. A good indicator of how you’re doing with this will be how many clicks your links generate and if the forum moderator removes them.

Again, these are just examples. You might have a lot of blogs in your niche, or very few. Same goes with anything else; find where opportunity is ripe, and make sure you divide up your time accordingly and not build a ton of links at once.

Third, you’ll be trying to have a healthy deep link ratio, even if your niche site is meant to target one particular head keyword.

One of the biggest upcoming factors in SEO that I’ve started to focus on is best illustrated by looking at the Top Pages of a particular website. If their home page has, say, 100 linking root domains (unique sites linking to them), while their next 5 most linked to pages have only 2 or 3, then that’s not a good sign.

You’re looking for a healthy deep link ratio. Deep links are links to your website that aren’t going to your home page. There’s no exact number you’re shooting for (consult your nearest keyword SERP to find your competitor’s average), but as an example, if I had 50 linking root domains to my home page, I’d try to get at least a couple subpages on my niche site to have around 10.

You don’t want Google thinking “well, it looks like people like this page on their site, but everything else is garbage,” because Google is increasingly looking to show brands in their search results, and brands usually don’t have only one highly linked to page, and no secondary pages being linked to.

Besides those 3 strategies of link diversity, velocity, and deep links, I’d also like to mention Alex’s rule of thumb in terms of anchor text. I think 20% of anchors being exact match is a little high, just because very few natural sites even have that high of a ratio, but for the most part, that shouldn’t be a deal killer.

The anchors I target are usually branded, partial match, and naked (URL). Those should cover the bulk of your link profile. For example, if my site was and I was targeting the keyword “blue widgets”, I’d aim for anchors like:

  • Bobs Place (this would be the most used anchor)
  • Bobs Place – Blue Widgets for Sale
  • Bobs
  • Bobs Place – Blue Widgets
  • Buy Blue Widgets at Bobs Place

Obviously mix in some exact anchors (find the average ratio of your competitors), your name as the anchor when leaving things like comments, and generic anchors like “click here”, “over here”, and “on this site”, but for the most part, these should make up the bulk of your anchors.

“But Jon, what about for Exact Match Domains?”

This is a valid question I get a lot, and they’re definitely a unique situation. Despite this, the biggest misconception I get with them is that you can get away with a lot of keyword rich anchors because your brand IS the keyword you’re targeting.

But that’s just not the case; sites hit by Penguin with heavy & unnatural anchor text ratios included a lot of EMDs.

So, instead of using your keyword as your brand name, use your domain name and URL more frequently. For example, use ‘’, ‘’, and ‘’ instead of ‘Blue Widgets’. Yes, you can be a little more lenient on anchor text (i.e. can aim a bit over 20%), but again, be safe and use domain & URL anchors.

Tactical Link Building

Now that you know what you’ll be aiming for, let’s get into specific tactics that will net you some high quality links.

Fail-Proof Content

Unfortunately, I’m not going to give you another lesson about why content is king or how content marketing is the new link building. I am, however, going to show you how to use content to produce measurable returns in terms of links.

In short, you’ll be creating content that you know, for a fact, you will be able to get links to. But to best illustrate this tactic, I’ll use a highly relevant example.

Back at the end of 2011, the niche site series Pat created was about a year old. He created a page on his website that outlined the entire series, and he also (at the time) linked to other participants in the duel outside of Tyrone Shum.

After realizing this, I went out and created a niche site series of my own (not linking to because it wasn’t anything special), then I sent Pat this email (I’m paraphrasing):

Hey Pat, your niche site duel series is over a year old, and from an SEO perspective, a lot has changed since then. That’s why I decided to create a more recent series showing how to do a niche site in today’s search engine environment, so is there any chance you could list the posts on your niche site duel page with the rest of the participants?

Being the kind of guy he is, Pat said yes, and within 24 hours I got a few links to my blog. Even better – they were sending clicks (according to Google Analytics, about 1,800 over ~12 months).

Even though that’s a very small example, and only yielded one link opportunity  (Pat’s site is highly authoritative and sends clicks, so it was still worth it), that should give you a good gist of what I’m talking about.

Let’s look at another example. Google this: “history web links”. As you’ll see, there are numerous university pages that are linking to history related content. If your niche site could host an original, quality article on a history topic that was somehow relevant, then in theory, you’ve got a huge list of high quality prospects that have already proven they’ll link to you.

“But Jon, how do you actually find these opportunities?”

A lot of times, you just have to keep your eye out for them, because there are only a few cookie cutter ways to go about finding these content opportunities. However, I’ll show you the one I use most.

  1. Look at the best links the biggest authorities in your industry have (could be competitors, organizations, trade shows, etc.) by throwing their domain into Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer. Make sure you’re looking at all the links to their domain.
  2. Starting with their best links, look for pages that link out to a fair amount of different resources, i.e. Resources pages.
  3. Be on the lookout for links on those pages, both working links and dead links (use this to find dead ones), that have a large number of LRDs (linking root domains). I usually aim for 100+.
    1. If you find a working page of content with a lot of LRDs, look at their best links and see if you see a theme in terms of the pages they’re getting links on. Can you also create similar content, and get links from these pages and similar ones?
    2. If you find a dead page of content with a lot of LRDs, use the Wayback Machine to see what content was on that page. Was it content you could recreate, then get in touch with those webmasters to switch out the dead link with a link to your newly created resource?

One quick check you should do when finding fail-proof content ideas is to ask yourself,

“If you reached out to those pages to ask for either them to add your link, or them to replace the broken link with a link to your newly updated resource, would they add it? Or would they have a valid reason not to?”

If you’re wondering what are some of the valid reasons for a webmaster not to add your link, here are a few I’ve run across from experience:

  • The domain name looks spammy. I.e. link to my resource at
  • Your website’s main theme is irrelevant. I.e. link to my resource at
  • Your website has commercial intent. Check the prospect pages to see that they’re linking to other commercial sites ahead of time.
  • Your resource is crap. They won’t say it with those exact words, but it needs to be up to par with the other resources listed.
  • They’re no longer updating the page. Yep, it really sucks sometimes.

I went into some pretty good detail about fail-proof content, but if you’re looking for some more examples and a different format to learn this tactic, check out my first podcast on this topic (WARNING: don’t expect a podcast with Pat Flynn like quality).

Everything Else

It sounds lame to go into such detail for one tactic, then group everything else as another, but the truth is, most of link building is pretty straight forward and has been talked about. I’ll try and guide you through these well-known tactics and give specific & essential tips for each.

Note: you can find a lot of opportunities for these different tactics simply by looking at the links your competitors have via a tool like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer. 

Broken link building

In the same way that we looked for broken resources that had a lot of links to them, we’ll be looking for broken links on pages we already know we can get links on (i.e. if the page already lists a few different competitors).

For example, let’s say we had a niche site related to fountain pens. With a quick Google search, I found this PR3 page. It would be an awesome, relevant link to get. But instead of pitching the webmaster to link, like everyone else, check the page for broken links.

If it has any (I found 4), then I’d reach out to the webmaster emailing him about it. In the first email, I’d just say I stumbled across a few broken links, and if he’d like, I can point them out to him. If he responds and says something like ‘yes thank you’, I’d say i.e.:

Of course, no problem. Here they are (

  • Link #1
  • Link #2
  • Link #3
  • Link #4

Hope that helps!

By the way, are you taking suggestions for new websites to add? I recently launched Fountain Pen Mania (, and so far I’ve gotten some great feedback on the resources I’m putting out. It would make my day if my site could somehow be added.

Well, thanks for your time!


To get the best results, mix up your templates and A/B test. Believe it or not, almost every niche is different in terms of the types of things they respond to. And personalize, personalize, personalize! If it’s obviously a template, they’ll be less likely to respond or add your link.

If you want more info on broken link building, checkout the Broken Link Building Bible by Russ Jones. It’s a lot more advanced, but it’s 10x as awesome.

Guest posting (cautiously)

I won’t talk about guest blogging much at all, just because it’s talked about so much and its low quality form has the potential of being hit in a future Google update, but I will say this.

A few guest posts won’t hurt, and they’ll help diversify things. Make sure you’re contributing content that’s of decent length (600+ words) and includes a link to you, but mix it up in terms of where it’s located. Also include links to social profiles in your bio, such as your Google+ author page to get authorship markup.

I do barely any work guest blogging because I use Blogger Link Up. Sign up, get the emails, and let the prospects come to you. A great walkthrough of this is actually a post on my blog written by Daniel Callis.

Blog commenting

Search for a curated list of blogs in your industry (i.e. “top pet blogs”) or by going to blog aggregators like Alltop or Technorati. You’re looking for blogs that allow you to leave a comment and get a nofollow link as your name.

As I said before, throw 10-20 of these industry blogs (or however many is good for you) into a feed aggregator, then check it daily and leave comments on new posts.

One common mistake is trying to use your keywords as your name. There are two issues with this. 1) Your comments are unlikely to be accepted, meaning you don’t get the link, and 2) you ruin a potential relationship with the blogger (which could yield editorial links in the future).

Forum participation

Not always are there relevant, click-driving forums in your industry, but when there are, take advantage. Just ask Pat –his Green Exam Academy site was built on sales driven from links on relevant forums.

Forum links are really unique & awesome because, as I said, they drive clicks, as well as SEO value. But make sure you’re not dropping links everywhere you can. Only include links when you’ve written something on your niche site that either answers someone’s question or sheds some extra light on a topic. Don’t drop a link just for the sake of SEO.

Remember: forums are a great opportunity to get links to deep pages on your site (because you’ll be linking to content that provides context), which, as I outlined before, is very important.

Article/Web 2.0 submission

I wouldn’t make it a priority, but if you’re still needing some diversification, have a few articles written that can be submitted to the following sites:


I wouldn’t submit more than one article per site (you can do more if you really want), and I’d never include more than 2 links.

Get the content written with a service like Textbroker, because the only thing it needs to be is readable; you’re really only doing it for the link.

Yes, some sites allow you to submit articles already published on your site, but don’t submit them thinking those links are going to have much (if any) impact on the bottom line.


I wouldn’t waste my time with general directories; there are a few good ones that can be diamonds in the rough, but even still, they won’t provide a ton of value long-term as they get overrun.

However, niche directories are worth going after. For example, if you ran a arts & crafts niche site, this would be a solid link.

The best rule of thumb, as Alex mentioned in his niche site link building post, is to sort through sites by whether or not they have PR. I usually look for PR2+ for niche directories, and PR4+ for general directories.

If you have a beautifully designed site (doubtful; it’s a niche site!), you can also get some quality links from CSS showcases. Just use Google to hunt them down; the most worthwhile ones aren’t hard to find.

 Use HARO (optional)

I guess really any of these tactics are optional, but I say this one is the most optional because it depends on whether or not you have any credentials in the field that your niche site is about.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a tool that connects journalists with sources. For example, I use it for my personal blog by looking out for press inquiries relating to SEO & Entrepreneurship, but it can be used in really any field, and best of all, it’s free.

As stated, if you don’t have any credentials or experience that shows you’re somewhat of an expert on the topic, then your chances of the journalist using your response in their story (as well as a link in 90% of cases) is dismal. Social proof is great evidence of expertise, so if you’ve got a following on social media or a website with social metrics that show people enjoy your content, then you’ve got a shot.

But to be clear – these links are usually VERY authoritative. A link from a few news outlets can go a long way.

If this sounds like something that you could take advantage of, Matt McGee wrote a great post breaking the entire process down.

Other quick tactics

There are a few others that don’t take too much explaining, so I’ll just fire them off:

  1. Press mention pages – Find high authority pages from relevant sites that list their mentions in the press, and see if they link out to more than just the CNNs of the world. If they do, interview their founder or CEO (by email), then ask if the interview could get listed on their press mentions page.
  2. Update old content – if you find a highly linked to page that’s severely outdated, ask the webmaster if you could help them update all the information (say you’ll do it all yourself). When you do, try and get a link to a relevant article on your site (where it fits).
  3. Fight Viagra hackers – or hackers injecting links about really anything. To best explain it, search intitle:“buy Viagra” KEYWORD/NICHE. You’ll find relevant sites that obviously have been hacked. Go let the webmaster know, help them fix it if they ask (do some research if need be), and if they give a big Thank You, ask for a link on an appropriate page.
  4. Q&A content – use a tool like to find mentions of relevant questions that get asked a lot, then create a really detailed article on the topic. Next time it’s mentioned on a Q&A site or forum, give a short answer, and link to your article for more details. Sure, the link might be nofollow, but it still provides value (and possibly clicks).
  5. Link Roundups – find relevant bloggers that do daily, weekly, or monthly roundups (they’re few, but out there; i.e. Kikolani), and get on their radar by leaving comments. Next time you produce something worthy of a mention, drop them an email letting them know. They’re quality editorial links, but tough to get.

If you’re looking for some really creative & outside the box ideas, I asked some of the top experts around the world what was the most creative link they ever built. Some of them are really only possible with a decent budget to work with, but regardless, hopefully they can help spark some ideas.

Domain Disclaimer

Whether or not you realized it, the domain you choose plays a huge role in terms of the link building tactics you’ll be able to take advantage of.

For example, if you chose a 3 or 4 word exact match domain (i.e., don’t blame me when people are rejecting your requests to link. Your domain is screaming spam, and doesn’t look like a brand at all, so it’ll definitely be overlooked by human eyes.

However, if you choose to grab a domain that looks more like a brand (i.e. I don’t know,, then you’ll get a lot more positive responses, because you look like a real company.

Also, if you choose to enter a notoriously spammy vertical (i.e. insurance, poker, adult, etc.), then don’t be surprised either when you’re not getting any positive responses.

Final Words of Advice

If you do decide to take advantage of tactics like fail-proof content, broken link building, HARO, etc. that require an actual human to decide whether they should link or not, make sure you use zero SEO terminology. For example, I never use the word “link” in outreach emails. I’ll say something like “list” or “mention” instead. Once they know you’re doing it for SEO, you almost never get the link.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, if you choose to go the route of grey/black hat SEO, don’t be surprised when a year later you’re reading all the latest SEO posts on what’s working because your site(s) got torched.

If you’re looking for more link building goodies, check out my link building blog, Point Blank SEO, and follow me on Twitter (140 characters is all I need sometimes). If you have questions, I’ll try to answer as many in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and thanks Pat for the opportunity!

Thanks again to Jon from Point Blank SEO for the great link building tips. There’s definitely a lot here that I will implement during NSD2.0. Jon actually has a popular course about link building that I checked out myself and was extremely impressed by. I know we’re not quite there yet in the NSD, but if you’re interested in Jon’s course, he has offered a $10 off discount to SPI readers for a period of 2 days after this post goes live. You can get the discount and information about that course by clicking here. This is an affiliate link and I was given free access to his course, but as you know I wouldn’t share anything that I didn’t find value in.

Look out for Wednesday’s post, and let the Niche Site Duel begin!

  • Brandon Turner

    Great post Jon, thanks for sharing! I appreciate that you are looking at the big-picture, and not just at what will give rankings today or tomorrow but 3 or 10 years from now (hopefully!)

    I especially like the HARO ideas. I’ve been getting their emails (it feels like 50 a day, but I think it’s three) for months now but have yet to submit one. I think I’ll work harder on that, since it’s probably a lot easier than trying to find and write good guest posts. 80/20 rule I guess! Plus there are always reporters looking for finance and real estate questions, so being the largest real estate investing blog online I think I would have an easier time getting a link.

    Finally – Pat – sorry your family and you are sick! Hope you feel better soon. Looking forward to NSD2.0!

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Brandon! The 80/20 rule definitely applies, especially in a mention vs. guest post scenario. But HARO is great – my only concern is that it’s being overcrowded. I wish the guys who ran it could turn an average of 15 responses per email to something like 30, but there’s still easy opportunities in there.

  • Reggie Paquette

    With all these updates from Google I’m very curious to how this link building strategy will work for Pat’s site. Excited and will be following along! Thanks for all the great info, Jon.

    • Jon Cooper

      As Pat said, there’s a lot of different ways he can go, which is why I’m really curious to see which he picks (and if it works!). Thanks Reggie!

  • Joost van Vught

    Hey Jon, great post, nice to read it here on SPI! I have some niche sites lines up for the next half of this year, so all tips are welcome.

    PS I too can endorse Jon’s Link Building course. I paid full price a couple of months ago, but in hindsight would have happily paid double for that value.

    PPS Pat, liking the Niche Site Duel 2.0 logo! :-) Hope you guys feel better soon, eating (fresh) chicken soup tends to help!

    • Jon Cooper

      I really appreciate the kind words, thanks Joost! :) And good luck on the niche sites – ironically enough, just launched 5 in the last week, so I’ll be right there with you.

  • Joost van Vught

    OMG, just added my website as a .com instead of the – correct – .nl (what a noob)

  • Vince Lin

    I am so glad you did this Jon is awesome been following Point Blank SEO for a while

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Vince! I’m really glad Pat gave me the opportunity by reaching out, it means a lot.

  • Jafeer H

    Unbelievably Awesome Post

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Jafeer! Means a lot :). Great chatting with you via email.

  • Dash

    Wow Jon, excellent post loaded with content. This is what separates the cream of the crop sites from everything else. I’m sure I had a question at some point while reading because there was so much to absorb, but I think I will be re-reading this for sure!

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Dash! If you do remember the question, just reply to this comment and I should get to it.

  • Kenneth

    Good article that has the creative backlinking juices flowing. The broken link strategy seems like a real winner. I’m also looking forward to Niche Site Duel 2.0.


    • Jon Cooper

      Yep, broken link building is killer just because it scales well. Thanks Kenneth!

  • Bill

    What are your thoughts on tiered link building? I’ve been reading a lot about this lately and many are claiming to have great results with it. Basically, creating “buffer” sites and building more questionable links to the sites, and then link them to actual niche (money) sites. Creating 3 or 4 tiers, so that everything is diverse and more “natural’. Has anyone here tried this method?

    • Stephen Malan


      Check out this post from Pat that goes over his tiered linking strategy.

    • Jon Cooper

      I know more than a few SEOs who do this to perfection, but I personally don’t. I focus more on quality opportunities linking directly to the main site. Usually takes more time, but it’s more of a “set it and forget it” business tactic than something like that. Again, I know it works, I just personally haven’t played with it much. Thanks Bill!

  • Ryan

    Wow! Such great info in there Jon. It’s funny to see just how much link building has changed since I started in 2005. Since the beginning of SEO it has always been anchor text, anchor text, anchor text!

    It’s amazing at how ‘set in our ways’ we become over the years of doing things. It still makes me cringe every time I link with ‘click here’ or ‘visit us’ just because of old world anchor text conditioning 😛

    Thanks for the info and thanks for sharing Pat. I hope you and your family gets to feeling better soon!

    • Jon Cooper

      I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of anchor text; probably the best example of SEO changes over time!

  • Terrence Kommal

    Amazingly detailed post Jon!

    I think the value of high PR links from relevant sites could not be highlighted more!

    I was fantastic that you also stressed the importance of link velocity as many new site owners buy bulk links and it is usually an immediate red flag.

    HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is indeed fantastic but I am yet to get any of my articles published, hopefully soon one will stick!

    Many thanks!

    • Jon Cooper

      Glad you liked the post Terrance, thanks for the feedback!

  • Danny

    For a step-by-step description of Expired Domain prospecting, check out NoHat SEO’s expired domain series. It lays out the process in granular detail.

    Using a combination of ScrapeBox and Xenu Link Sleuth is the fastest and most reliable way to find these domains unless you are very familiar with auction houses.

    If you’re short on time, use’s SAAS app to QC your list (QC is the rate-limiting step).

  • Stephen Malan

    Thank you for another in depth post. I love the idea of throwing blog sites into a site like Feedly which would save us a lot of time.

    Thanks for that tip!

    • Jon Cooper

      Your welcome Stephen; Feedly is not the only reader out there, but my personal favorite (and loved that it got a lot of attention after Google Reader planned to shut down).

  • Jon Haver

    Jon, Pat

    Great practical advice. The broken link building tactic sounds excellent. I have never done it before (just bought the expired domain) but for resources no longer on websites that still exist it sounds like a pretty effective strategy.

    Looking forward to the launch and participating.

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Jon! (You have a great first name by the way.)

      Broken link building is great because it scales well. The only long-term threat is webmasters being sick of these types of emails, but I think it’ll still take a while before we get to that point.

  • Victor Willemse

    First off thanks for Jon for sending out his spam mailer 😉 this is my first time on SPI and will surly come back, looks like a great ball of information and tips just like Jon’s post.

    I must say I am doing half of these tips you pointed out Jon and I am seeing great changes in one of my financial websites! (must ad, it does have great content to work with)

    Cheers and good luck on the cold Pat!

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Victor! I came across SPI around mid-2011, it’s been a great resource for me, Pat’s done a great job.

      That’s great news on your site, glad to see it’s working for you as well.

  • Thomas

    Thanks a lot John for a great post,

    A lot of people I see now are not really thinking of “long-term” SEO success, just the “right now” of making a couple hundred bucks per month. Personally, I prefer to look at ROI and success over the longer term and I love it when I get good information, like this, about how to make that happen.

    Thanks again,

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Thomas, my thoughts exactly, glad to hear them echoed. Best of luck!

  • CAr lover

    Pretty good post there Jon. I have been following your stuff, getting your emails, and participating in your Webcasts. I am glad you have started doing guest posts and now that I have read your article I have discovered all kinds of good reading material regarding the Niche Site Duel.

  • Julian Hooks

    Ahh the wonder kid does it again. Nice post full of actionable items. And I’m happy to see you dip into niche sites to offset client work. It’s soooo much more fun, and way less stressful than having a client breathing down your neck.

    I figured after making so many business’s x amount of dollars you’d eventually use your skill-set to make your own websites and turn those into cash cows.

    • Jon Cooper

      Oh Julian, glad to always see that WVU football player keeping tabs on me. And yep – having fun with them, but I actually don’t do a lot of client work for both those reasons :). I still do some, but mostly partnerships with brands. Niche sites are fun too – just threw together 5 in the last 7 days.

  • KJ |

    I’m really excited for NSD 2! My site is inspired by NSD!

  • Josh Garrod

    Hi Jon,

    I found your site the other day for the first time and had a good read through your link building tip (I really like the way you arranged them btw). I’ve followed Pat for a couple of years now and was good to see you making a post here on SPI, personally it reinforces that what you say is solid.

    Thanks for the top tips!


    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Josh! Saying that I jumped at the opportunity to write a post for SPI would be an understatement, just because of the reason you noted. Cheers!

  • Sam Matla

    Great post Jon!

    I tore this one apart and made sure to take notes. Definitely something to refer back to in the future. Oh, and you gave me the final push to Feedly – I’d been putting it off for ages but I’m glad I signed up, it looks awesome!


    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Sam, glad to know you won’t be like 90% of readers that just read do nothing with it. And you’ll love it – I’d give the mobile app a 10/10.

  • Lynn Currie

    Hi Jon and Pat,

    Great post! I’ve already read through it twice and will go in for a third time as soon as I finish this comment.

    I’ve spent the last two weeks devouring many of Pat’s podcasts and reading through the original Niche Site Duel. As an experienced website and marketing person but a completely inexperienced niche site builder, I had made the commitment to myself to dive in and build a niche site starting today.

    Learning that NSD2.0 starts Wednesday is such an amazing stroke of luck (destiny?) for my journey! I can’t wait to start “drinking from the firehose.”

    Looking forward to it!

  • Takeshi Young

    Squidoo links are nofollowed now, FYI.

  • Matt Simpson

    This post came at the right time for me. There’s so many ways to build backlinks that it can be a real time-killer (and may not even be effective). I think I’ll finally start using Feedly (the app has been on my iPad for forever) to save time on finding blogs and directories. Thanks Jon!

  • Jacob


    Look for broken links then say “hey, you could link to my website since that link is broken!.” ROFL. That’s the funniest load of crap I’ve ever heard. This post should be titled “top ways to spam and irritate people in an attempt to get a link.” This is all so pointless. Really, Pat? I can’t believe some of the crap people are spewing out these days. Directories, really? Don’t you know that basically all web directories are considered spam?

    Links from any directories except the two majors are worthless. What a waste of time. Also, Pat, I can’t believe you’re still promoting horrific crap like Unique Article Wizard. That crap is so useless these days, and it’s some of the worst spam imaginable. You might as well go spam forum profile links if you’re going to use crap like that. Also, Pat what’s with all this secrecy crap? You’re “all about being transparent”, but you turn down someone who tells you what’s working with SEO right now, but you allow this jon character to post about his car salesmen link spamming tactics. Really?

    It’s honestly a bit ridiculous. Who are you kidding? Like any of these link spam tactics are going to last any longer than what the Becker guy was telling you about. Any link building is violating google’s guidelines. Why not just go big or go home with expired domain linking. You can get much better results much faster than all of this kiss google’s ass link spamming tactics. Let’s be realistic here.

    • Pat Flynn

      Hey Jacob, thanks for your honest comment. I appreciate you speaking up and sharing your thoughts about all of this.

      I featured Jon here because he’s been having great success using a lot of these strategies lately. These research posts are meant to show what’s working right now, not necessarily what I’ll be using during the upcoming case study. With the broad range of tactics being shared, from people like Jon and Alex through Spencer and Neil Patel, I have a wide range of strategies that we can choose from, and I’ll choose the ones that I feel are okay during this case study. Some link building has to be done, but what one actually does depends on each person. Even Matt Cutts mentions and favors guest posting, which is a form of link building, so there are definitely gray areas as far as what’s violating Google guidelines and what’s not.

      As far as the secrecy stuff, I’m not exactly sure what you’re talking about. Who you’re talking about as far as turning down someone – who is that? If I missed an email or something I apologize, and would be happy to feature another person’s stuff if possible and it makes sense.

      • Jacob

        Hey, Pat.

        I just came back to say I feel like a total punk, and the comment I wrote was very rude and negative. I respect you because you didn’t delete the comment outright — I probably would’ve done that. I respect you even more as a person for replying with a concise, professional attitude. It takes a real man to handle negative comments, like the one I left, with the professionalism that you did.

        I got very irritated when I read through this post because I feel that all of these link-building tactics are regurgitated and outright ridiculous. What was even more disturbing was all of the other comments saying how absolutely spectacular this information was. I just don’t agree in the slightest, but that’s my opinion. Honestly, I have no clue what I was getting at with the secrecy stuff. I actually feel really bad, and the last thing that I enjoy is adding any more negativity to the world.

        Heck, I’ll even say sorry to the Jon guy because it really is best to not say anything at all if you just have negativity to add. However, my feelings about this information remain the same, but honestly, please forgive me and understand that I sincerely mean it — hopefully that will undo the negativity that I left here earlier. Keep on helping people and do you, Pat!

  • Brett Nelson

    Excellent summary! Just signed up with Feedly and Blogger Linked In. I think I have my new “bible” for back linking for now :-)

  • Paul Hill

    Very informative post Jon…I think it is going to be very interesting to see how Pat’s challenge works out. On one side I don’t see how it can be anything other than success, his following alone will provide more traffic in a week than most new sites get in a year. The other side of me thinks that he is going to get hammered by search engines if other people (trolls) start to pollute his efforts…Link relevancy is going to be extremely important for him as he will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention to this project…I am sure it will be great but I suppose only time will tell…Great post and apologies to Pat for talking about him in the third person on his own blog :)

    Thanks Guys…

    Paul H

  • Mara Dall

    Great post, Jon, & thanks for these ideas. I find all the different SEO info can get overwhelming, so it’s good to have some strategies laid out like this in one place. I haven’t come across the idea of checking out broken links – sounds like a good one to try, & if done right in a non-spammy way, should be a win-win solution.

  • Dan

    You do realize Patt (and I am sure you do) that many of these tactics are pure blackhat (as well as the tactics in previous posts).

    Now if you want to do blackhat be my guest, but please do not be hypocrite to call it ‘gray hat’ or legimiate link building.

    You’re swaying back and forth lately between what you do (tools you promote on your blog, tactics like in recent posts) and what you *say*, in an attempt to look legit to your readers.

    In other words you’re losing credibility slowly but surely. Hence some a bit too angry posts above and I am sure there will be more to come.

    Remember you’ve built your fan base due to your honest personality, this foundation is getting shaky lately.

    Hope you take this under advisement.

    • Pat Flynn

      Thank you Dan, I appreciate the honest comment. Yes, I know some of these tactics and many other’s I’ve shared in recent NSD2.0 research posts could be considered blackhat by some, or grey hat, or whatever – but realize that I share this information to show people the scope of what is actually working right now, which goes across the entire spectrum. Now that I have a full range of what’s working from various sources, I can pick and choose the strategies that I feel are appropriate for myself for this experiment. Part of what I’m hoping to do is show people, during this case study, that a lot of those iffy tactics aren’t required in order to rank a website. I definitely did some grey hat stuff during NSD1.0, but I plan to be more purposeful and conscious about exactly what I’m going to do this time around.

      • Dan

        Thanks for replying Patt!

        Personally I don’t care if you go blackhat or whitehat. But just keep it all on the table clear and concise since that’s what we like you for that is all!

        If we wanted double talk and hypocrisy we got the rest of the SEO industry for that.. I hope you continue keeping yourself away from this mentality!

        All the best.

        • John

          You guys need to stop riding on Pat’s ass on every little problem you find. Obviously if you want to do things the right way then go and SEO your site the long and normal way. There isn’t any shortcut or tips that is whitehat, period. Any easy way to SEO is gonna borderline gray/black hat. So why are you guys here??? Let me guess you want to find an easier way to SEO besides the long and normal way. So why bash on pat for just doing his “research”. And Pat isn’t a SEO god that is going to magically create something that is untouchable by Google algorithm. He is going to pick and choose “methods” that will net the best results in the long run. So cut the guy some slack. Sheesh.

      • Mitch

        I don’t understand why you are looking to all of these other guys for link building ideas. If you are truly the leader in this area of making money with niche and/or authority sites, shouldn’t you already know what is working? I mean if you are really in the trenches doing this stuff, I would expect to hear what you are personally finding that works. I expect that you really are not doing much of this stuff anymore, or perhaps that you never really did do much of it.

        To say that you are simply showing what is working now doesn’t wash. Black/grey hat stuff has always worked to some extent. Why are you deciding to showcase it now? It looks like you are sort of at a loss and reaching for straws at the moment. I am not criticizing the content from Becker or Cooper. I will use anything that works, white, black or grey. But the things you are doing lately are a real change up and it just makes me think you are a little out of touch with the process of ranking a site and you are looking for direction. Not what I would expect from an “industry leader”.

        • John

          I have a strong feeling you didn’t read NSD 1.0…Pat was never a pro at SEO…in fact he was like the average guy who is just starting out learning SEO and during that time he research to find out what works and what doesn’t. What makes people follow Pat is because we can relate to him. Almost everyone out there has gone thru the trial and errors of the SEO world. And he was kind enough to blog every step of that process regardless if it was successful or not. For NSD 2.0 he is doing the same thing, he is researching on what works and what doesn’t. Because of the ever changing Google algorithm, nobody is really an “industry leader”.

        • Pat Flynn

          “you are a little out of touch with the process of ranking a site and you are looking for direction.”

          Yup! You are 100% right. Hence, all of this research. I never said I was an expert at SEO. I don’t claim to be an expert or industry leader. I just want to know what people are doing right now that works before I go and do something myself. The first time I did this it was because I didn’t know where or start or what to do. This is 2.0, and a lot has changed since I ran the last case study. I mean, I straight up say that in this and many of the other posts. Get it now?

  • Paul Caparas

    Definitely a good read and post. I’ve been lacking in my link building and SEO for the past 6 months so it is a reminder what I should be doing. Plus I haven’t been reading blogs here for a while so I need to start that habit back up. Thanks Jon and Pat!

  • Moe

    Very Good post full of some great actionable ideas. Most people that have kept up with SEO that past few years will be familiar with most of these ideas & concepts.

    For me it was a great reminder of some methods that i haven’t practiced much lately or just forgot about, so i may revisit some of them. I definitely picked up a couple fresh angles i might try out as well as implement in the upcoming Niche Site Duel 2.0.

    There is one thing i have to say about black-hat and Grey-hat SEO. Providing you have a good website to start wiith, If you find methods that work it can give you a good jump start. A site that ranks well and gets traffic will build natural organic traffic a lot quicker then a great site that receives Zero.

    Take a look at Pat’s “Security guard training” site, It was originally promoted and ranked using spinning & automation software, definitely not the way Google would approve. Once he took the top spot the natural link-building fell in to place and took on a life of its own, then he backed it up with more quality content and white hat methods. The methods he originally used are considered obsolete and ineffective today, yet it still ranks #1.

  • Robert

    A large chunk of this should have been called ‘How to Game Google like a Pro’.

    – Faking anchor texts
    – Faking link velocity
    – Posting useless content just so to embed links (aka spamming the web)
    – Getting links in return for services (clear and direct violation of Google TOS)
    – Classic comment spamming
    – Using software to scrape websites (which gets your IP into quite a few blacklists very quickly by the way – for attempted Denial of Service attacks. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and try, just make sure first that your internet provider won’t disconnect you for abusing its own TOS).

    There’s thousands more ideas like this on websites like blackhatworld, senuke and so on.

    Welcome to the blackhat club Jon and Patt.

    • Pat Flynn

      Thanks for the honest comment Robert, I do appreciate it. This post, again, was published to show what’s working for some people right now – not necessarily the exact tactics that I’ll be using during this challenge.

  • Robert

    By the way @Moe above, the seucrity guard training site has links from very high authority sites like this site (, and the new york times.

    It got these links in the context of how Patt makes money from niche sites, *not* in the context of security guards.

  • Shaun

    I liked the article and the ideas it spawned. But as a total newbie I was totally confused on that section about anchor text. What is that all about? Some clarification would be helpful.

  • Jason Rothman

    As someone who got into the niche website building business about 2-3 months ago I have a fresh and unbiased-by-the-glory-days perspective. I got in post-Panda and post-Penguin and it appears to my fresh eyes that the days of “link building” and “(insert color here) hat” are over.

    This article, Pat’s podcast with Neil Patel, and other recent articles seem to be saying that “if you want to be highly ranked over the long term, then get the most natural looking links as possible, in fact, you should just get natural links.” And Patel took it a step further by advising great and unique content like an eBook published on your website.

    The days of black hat and link building are over. You know why? Because Google is really, really smart. Shocking concept, eh?

    Google is getting better and better at sifting out black hat and non-natural link building each and every hour. It is in Google’s best long-term financial interest to give their customers (people searching) exactly what they’re looking for. And those customers are not looking for one of your three hundred websites that you built over the course of a day by farming out the content to someone in India. The searchers are searching for real content, meaningful content, and valuable content. And Google is going to make sure they get it. Because if Google doesn’t deliver what people are searching for, then their customers will go elsewhere and Google will go broke.

    Google is one of the largest, smartest, richest, and most powerful organizations on Earth. And you’re just a smarter-than-average dude who read the 4 Hour Work Week and has a nice laptop.

    Who do you think is going to ultimately win that war? You really think that you can fool Google over the long run?

    I don’t. And that’s why I build my sites by focusing on authority, quality, and longevity. I know that in the long run, if I produce awesome content, linkable (naturally) content, and content that HELPS PEOPLE, then Google is going to reward me and give me a good rank. For some niches this might take two months. For others it might take two years (or more). As Spencer Haws always says, it’s all about competition.

    Focus on market size and focus on competition. Some niches will be less competitive and only take a few months to rank for. Other niches will be very competitive and take years to rank for (but highly lucrative once you rank). Make your goals and make your timetables. And then come to peace with how long it’s going to take and put ALL of your focus towards creating great and valuable content.

    If Pat selects me as one of his “five” then I’m going to be known as “White Hat Rothman.” The only link building that I’ll be doing is natural link building. Things such as blog comments (real and thoughtful comments) and reaching out to authoritative websites to be listed as a resource because I know that my content will HELP their readers.

    Generating passive income is hard. But why shouldn’t it be? It’s the one thing that everyone wants, second only to you know what. If you can generate enough passive income then you don’t have to work and you get to do what you want with your time. That last sentence is the kind of life that everyone dreams of. So why shouldn’t that be a hard thing to accomplish.

    It’s time to do great keyword research, produce great content, play the long game, and let the chips fall where they may. Niche Site Duel 2.0! Here we go!

    • Steve

      Hey Rothman,

      You are giving Google too much credit and even if you are correct, and they will be able to stop all spam and show only 100% relevant results in their SERPS (which will never happen IMHO) that will take time.

      Plenty of time.

      Why not use what is working now and cash in? Just to remind you, we are talking about building niche sites, not the next Amazon or eBay or any other huge brand.

      Do yourself a favor and search Google for “how to get your ex back” and see what ranks first… That is an 18,000 exact match search and the #1 site was created a month ago and it simply redirects to a Clickbank product!

      The number one result in Google is a site that redirects to an affiliate product. That doesn’t really sit well with all your praises for the big mighty (and not evil) Google.

    • Mitch

      If authority sites are the way to the top of Google, then how do you explain Bob the Builder’s mishap?

    • Priyank

      Hello White Hat Rothman,

      Nice attempt to impress PAT. But stop blaming others. I am an Indian and I felt bad while reading your post.

      I am sure there are thousands, if not millions, Indians who are doing much productive things online than just to blame others on someone else’s blog to win popularity.

      I would like to see your GREAT CONTENT if you have any resource. Just give URL in text format so that all can learn what EPIC CONTENT is that you are talking about. Hope I am not asking for too much.

      Read Steve’s comment here or go to Alex Becker’s blog to get real idea of how Big G can be manipulated, if needed. I am not saying that you go and do Black-Hat. Mind well, Google is not after Spam or anything, they are after SEOers and Webmasters who doing their bit to share online revenue.

      If that wasn’t a case, why do we see some crappy buffer sites with 100’s of affiliate links ranking in Google? Do they provide any value?

      I agree with you that winning links is much better and long term strategy than going after links. I am sure 99.99% people who build niche sites have target to start earning at least in 3-4 months. Do you think that without outreach and smart backlinking, that is possible?


  • Adrienne

    Hmm reading the post and agreeing with the comments. Too much obvious blackhat and in your face violations of search engine terms of use.

    Also some of these tactics are so complicated there’s a matter of effort vs. reward here – having content that people want to link to simply sounds easier to me.

    It may take a few months more but it will stand firm. And will DEFINITELY convert to sales better.

    Better than it taking less time to rank but then you have to start over a few months later.

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Adrienne. But I think “in your face violations” is a bit extreme; this are some of the least manipulative practices out there. If you really want “in your face violations” (and it really doesn’t matter if they’re in your face or not; it matters whether or not it works and if it’s got longevity), go read forums like BHW and WickedFire.

      • Ryan

        Oh man WickedFire! I wish I had a dollar for every minute spent just tooling around on that forum haha.

        In all honesty, I didn’t see anything super controversial like everyone is claiming. Jump back to the days of 06-07 when we were serving different pages to bots vs humans, adding styled links on sites/forums where the link is the same color as the background on non-relevant sites, then yeah that’s controversial lol.

        I used to do a strategy similar to your Link Roundups called Blog Carnivals. It worked in the same way and was great at getting links/trackbacks/pingbacks/mentions when done in moderation. I haven’t tested it in a couple years but if your seeing results, I’m sure it still does.

  • Tim

    Oh Em Gee!! I can’t wait till Wed roll around. :)

  • Ethan James

    Jon’s site is quite good actually (lots of cool graphics that keep my attention). This post is only for a profile link in my name to my site. Does this even work? maybe i will be more subtle about it next time.

    Legit pat no matter how much money you make off this site thanks for all the help. You truly have a great resource here that keeps me coming back.

  • Stephanie

    This post will be outdated with Google’s next update which drastically reduces the power of links and common link building techniques. At some point (I hope), building a legitimately good website will be what ranks you well and not gaming Google.

    Secondly, I don’t understand why we need a re-hash of link building strategies. This isn’t original at all and does not show that NSD 2.0 will be any different which is disappointing for me. My current concern with NSD 2.0 is that I will follow through with everything and not learn anything I haven’t learned in the first NSD. None of your podcasts researching NSD 2.0 strategies have really been that eye opening.

    I love SPI and I love most of the content here. However, some of your guest posts just don’t match up to the standards I have learned to hold your blog to (because you generally produce great content). Undoubtedly, posts like these reflect poorly on you and perhaps, you should take a bit more careful consideration on what content you let through to your blog.

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Stephanie, but I highly doubt more than a couple of these will be outdated in the next G update. Couple reasons:

      1) The webspam team has far bigger problems on their hands than people creating content for the purpose of getting links, then doing outreach to get them. They’re still not doing the best at catching up with things like blog comment spam, spun content, expired domains, and other link schemes that are more scalable and detrimental.

      2) It doesn’t matter if a link is natural or not, it matters if it appears to be natural. That’s why paid links still work like a charm. It doesn’t matter about the email exchange behind the scene, it matters whether or not someone could say that a particular link doesn’t look like a legitimate vote for that website.

      • Stephanie

        Just because these methods haven’t been caught yet doesn’t mean they will never be. Just because you can fake success, doesn’t mean you’re successful. Building a business can be cutthroat at times but it’s really a different story when you have to cheat the system to gain your success. In the end, a cheater is still not a winner.

  • Randy Brown

    I’m looking forward to this. I want to use the SEO and keyword info to improve my current site and I want to start a brand new site. This will help with both.


  • Hasan

    What to say, I’m speechless after reading this 😛
    Nice to read this article Pat.


    • Joe

      I wish I could agree with you, it’s just that need adjustment and also work even better in blogging.

  • Margarita

    It seems that people are bit skeptic with some of the methods mentioned above. Honestly, if you’re into niche sites, then you’ll realize that many of them works well. Diversification is the key to the success. Moreover, you are not supposed to stick to 1 or 2 methods instead use all of’em.
    Anyway, this is a really nice post jon. I have been getting some success lately with many of this tactics (call it white, blue, grey, black or any other color hat you want).

  • Brian Dean

    What an epic post, Jon! You did an awesome job of covering the higher-level strategy AND the tactical link building techniques that niche site owners need to rank. Because it’s so thorough and well done it’s literally the best post on link building I’ve read so far this year.

    • Jon Cooper

      Thanks Brian! That’s high praise coming from you and what you’ve been publishing lately.

  • Leah Latini

    WooHoo!!! Can’t wait!

  • Dinesh Kumar

    Can you fix me? Is directory is really helpful?

  • Fretchie Richmond

    Thanks for sharing this informative blog that you have been shared. this is really great! Thanks again for the best strategies on link building that you’ve shared.

  • Daniela Tulum

    I love to visit this website, as always great advices for reading, this was exactly what I been looking for, thx Pat :)

  • Paul Thewlis

    Nice to see a genuine link building article when a lot of other bloggers are now writing about black hat tactics again

  • Tom

    Cannt wait to read the article on wednesday

  • Chris

    I am not sure but after reading this, it’s sounds like using Neil Patel 200×4 strategy is very good idea which I was sure about.
    I think the best way of seo is not doing it. Instead find friends (blogers ect.) with same topic website and make a friendship with them.

  • Zach Sarette

    Wow, this is wonderful! It actually saved me a ton of grief.

    I got a domain that was not very brand-able and very spammy, and I didn’t realize it until I read this article. Luckily I did some more research and got a different domain for my site. Something much more brand-able.

    I’ll try to follow your stuff more closely.

    -Zach Sarette

    • Chris

      I was going to do the same as you Zach, but now I will think twice before buying any domain.

  • Chris

    Great article! It answers a lot of questions I had! Is it normal to be spending 16 hrs consecutively on my computer & loving it? My brain is going to EXPLODE from all this information! Lol

  • Jason Love

    Glad you have decided to start this week. I was considering starting early, but tomorrow is Wednesday and the timing couldn’t be better.

    Ready to Rock n’ Roll the Niche Side Duel 2.0.

  • Chris

    I’ m really looking forward to reading your article tomorrow, its exciting!

  • Nick Kizirnis

    Thanks Pat for having Jon on, this is a great article, and I love how the different perspectives and insights all come together. The overlaps and the differences are really interesting. Of course all of the link building/promotional work will take a backseat when we start sweating the keyword research.

    I’ve already got LongTail Pro fired up and ready to go!

  • Omar

    Waiting for Niche Site Duel 2.0 to learn more.
    Cool logo you created for that.


  • Robert Jackson

    Hi Pat,

    Great article, loads of food for thought.

    I particularly like that you’ve mentioned “link velocity”. I think I’ve noticed the affect of this on my site. I have had it for 4 years now, and I quite often link to it from one of the related forums where I add valuable(?) content in answer to questions and link to one of my posts.

    Sometimes I don’t use the forums for a month, then my traffic goes down. When I start linking again, my traffic goes up…Maybe there are other factors but this definitely seems to be one of them.


  • Justin Hill

    Excellent Post!!

    Thanks for all the info Jon and thanks Pat for having Jon as a guest writer.

    Was gutted I didnt know about your site Pat when you did the original Niche Site Dual but will definately be with you for NSD2.

    Looking forward to your post tomorrow.

    PS: Hope you and your family are feeling better soon.

  • Igor Carvalho

    Hey Pat,

    This is a really nice post, as always.

    Dude, I want to make a suggestion for Niche Site Duel 2. Please do not share your site in a public view (obvious reasons). Or I think you should create 2 sites (one public and the other private). 8) .
    I know, too much work in the side, but it would be really nice to check your achievement.
    Anyway, I´ll be here…

  • Andreas

    Hi Pat,

    It’s my first time on your website and I really like your articles very informative and inspiring!
    Thank you very much !


  • Ibrahim

    Hello Pat,

    Nice to see the new project. I would love to start with NSD 2.0. I am bit lazy about link building. Hope i will get good stuffs for my sites.


  • Travis Robbins

    Great post Pat. Can’t wait to follow this thing. This duel has come at the perfect time for the development of my site, so thanks for doing it again.

  • John Timmins

    It seems like the interest in NSD 2.0 is exploding which means I’m always late to the comment game! I’m sure there will be another 2 or 3 by the time I hit submit. Nonetheless, had a question. I started a niche site a while ago with NSD 1.0 – it’s still okay, making a little money and I’m starting to focus on it again. However, the first time around, I was guilty of getting over excited and posting crappy comments on blogs. As a result, akismet (I’m assuming it is akismet) automatically blocks my comments. Any advice? I think akismet works based on the website listed with the comment and not the email / ip because I can post on blogs from the same computer but linking to other sites….

    • Jon Cooper

      You could potentially set up a new site with some OK content on the home page (nothing fancy), then once you’ve got the comment links you want, you could 301 the site to your old site. Only solution I can think of if akismet filters out based on the website (which I’m not 100% sure is the case; haven’t done my research).

      • John Timmins

        Thanks Jon, I hadn’t thought of that – interesting idea, I appreciate the reply! And yeah, I have to to a little more research / testing on how akismet works.

  • Derek


    Great post, very helpful for link building. I plan to use a lot of what you recommend for my website.

    -Thanks for sharing your knowledge!!

  • Perry Ning

    Hi Pat and other experts,

    I am trying to decide on a domain name for an equipment niche among “PumpHQ”, “PumpHub”, or “PumpBlog”. Could you tell me which one is the best? Aslo, a Blog may have less authority than a HQ, but would the personal touch of a blog make it up?

    Thank you,


    • Eyram

      PumpHub definitely sounds the best.

      Although we can debate about what sounds like an “authority” and what doesn’t, in terms of being branded, PumpHub is best since it is easy to say, easy to remember, and it can be used as a nice logo. Also, more people can refer to that as an authority in the future because (as the article just mentioned) it doesn’t sound spammy and can be perceived as an official site.

  • Amanda L Grossman

    As sort of a precursor to NSD2.0 I have taken many of the things from your previous few posts and used it to optimize my top ten adsense posts on my current website. I will be joining your duel (missed the first one, but am now a full-time writer/blogger, so I have the time to dive in!), but I wanted to also use the information outside of a niche site.

    Hopefully it works!

  • Jenni

    I pay a quick visit daily some sites and blogs to read articles or reviews,
    except this webpage offers feature based articles.

  • Paolo

    Pat another great post full of useful tips. I have learned a lot reading all the NSD2.0 posts and listening to the podcast you have shared in preparation of yhe duel. Thanks also to all the guys you’ve interviewed for sharing part of their knowledge for free.
    Can’t wait to begin!

  • Venchito Tampon

    Jon always provides great tips about link building strategies. All tactics have the same goal – not building links but building relationships with the target audience and influencers.

    Thanks Pat for this post. :)

  • Adam

    Wow! Two things….1) NSD2.0 starts on wed! I’m so stoked and 2) I feel like a sponge that can’t absorb any more after reading that post. I don’t even know where to go to find more information after reading that. Thank you for the awesome post!

    to Pat and Jon– I hope you two get everything you want for christmas this year! Thank you for providing such awesome information

  • Piyush Agarwal

    Wow Jon….that’s an amazing post. Really thorough and well-written. I have always been uncomfortable in carrying out link-building activities specially when it involves to reaching out to owners of other websites. But your post throws light on so many ways of going about it and still make it NOT look like you are asking for a favor. Really helpful..thank you for compiling this one.

    Pat, looking forward to get started with duel!

  • Beth

    WEDNESDAY!? That soon?!? I can’t wait. I’ll be reading this post a few more times. Can a relatively inexperienced blogger do this? I’ll find out.

    Thanks Pat.

  • Ian Braganza

    Hi Jon and Pat,

    Thanks for an amazing and eye-opening post.

    i can’t wai until the next post. I will be joining NSD2.0 for sure.

  • sagbeec

    Nice Pat,

    Again Very Good Strategy shared by jon. :)

    Beside for “Niche Site Duel 2.0” How can I apply as a Student? What should be the criteria to select the students?


    There’s no doubt now that I’d join Jon’s link building courses.

  • Ronny

    Nice overview of linkbuilding methodes. I will try some for my website.

    I will be joining the NSD 2.0, no doubt :)

  • Stephanie

    Hi Pat,

    This is mind blowing stuff about seo. I really can’t wait for the niche duel 2.0. Let the cat out of the bag.

  • Kenny

    On you mark…
    Get Set…
    Let’s go create change in our life!!!

  • Terrence Kommal

    Hi Pat,

    Am writing in from South Africa, maybe I’m just to eager on this one, but its Wednesday here, and I can’t wait to get started, esp. cos have already found s few good niches, that need maximising.

    Looking forward an update on the opening.

    Best wishes!

  • Glenn


    Like always I love your posts. I hope you address one very important point though. You’ve discussed outsourcing other functions, but never outsourcing SEO. I have put a lot of time into learning SEO, but I would still rate myself “fair to poor” at this stuff. I want to outsource it. The problem is that everyone and their brother says that they are good at SEO. I don’t want to just outsource it to Joe Schmo because he could actually hurt my website rankings, or even get me blacklisted if he does it wrong. It’s also hard to measure success. Here’s what I would love to see…
    1) A list of people that are credible and know what they are doing (maybe people who are vetted by their peers), yet aren’t going to cost a fortune.
    2) A ten step plan that I should ask them to follow. What specifically am I asking them to do for me?
    3) How do I measure their actions? Of course, my ranking is the only thing that really matters, but I want to take this away from the vague. I want to see what they are doing.
    4) As a bonus, I would LOVE it if there was a SEO guy who was confident enough in their abilities to charge me a minimal upfront fee, and then a “commission” or “bonus” when the goals are met.

    Maybe you can work with your network of people and come up with something like this Pat. I recognize that SEO is something that I suck at and quite frankly, I don’t want to learn. I will do what it takes on my end, but I want to outsource it to someone who is REALLY good. I see this as a key element in making my business passive.

    By the way, what I have outlined here would make a great business plan for someone.

    Thanks Pat!


  • Edgar

    I agree with you Pat. i cant wait for the final results, hopefully this will be successful like your security guard site.

  • sid

    you said NSD 2.0 can change person’s life
    Glad to heard
    its seem your commitment toward each SPI subscriber
    awesome……pat ..Go on….and Rock on…..

  • Chris

    Awesome post, very detailed and actionable info Jon. And it’s Wednesday, let’s do this! Pumped for NSD 2.0 and the excellent results that I know will be achieved by so many!

    • Iain

      I hear you Chris.

      Jon did a fantastic job of outlining how you can go about linkbuilding for a niche website. Many of the practices could be used for a normal site as well I imagine.

      Also, I hope everyone succeeds as well in the Niche Site Duel 2.0.

      I hoping to get in on the action. We shall see.

  • Heather

    Pat – I think the #1 thing that makes it hard for people to successfully move forward with building a niche site stems from information overload. There are so many sites and blogs with instructions about how to drive traffic – a little like all of the flavors at Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream. Hard to know which one to choose and then to stay the course. I’m looking forward to seeing the 2.0 strategy that can be used consistently, and over a long period of time. I’d love to have a bullet point, step by step strategy that could be followed, without having to jump to this blog post or that podcast or another link.
    Here’s to great success with 2.0!

    • Lior


      As Pat I believe mentioned in another podcast/post, there is and cannot be a step by step guide, simply because each niche is so different and may require different forms of content. Keep that in mind when creating yours as well!

    • Gillian

      My thoughts exactly. Well said.

  • Lyle Fredette

    I have to say that I’m chomping at the bit for NSD 2.0 to get started. It really couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve just begun the process of researching my first niche site. Also, thank you Jon for this incredible post. I have a feeling I’ll be referring to it time and time again throughout the NSD 2.0 challenge.

  • Bryan Knowlton

    Wow, now that was another EPIC post! Amazing. I am so excited about Niche Site Duel 2.0 and this was a great way to start it all off and get us all prepared for what will be taking place. I am going to be participating as much as possible and will be able to host other peoples participation stories on a public vbulletin forum if anyone is interested. I would love to be part of this all!!! I already have researched 2 niche website ideas!!!

    Can’t wait to get started!


  • Aida

    Hi Pat!

    Get better soon! Looking forward to the launch so that I can learn more about creating a successful niche site but also I really want to learn about SEO strategies so that we can incorporate them into our existing window cleaning business. This article was amazing, a little over my head but still helpful. :)


  • Aida

    Hi Pat,

    One more thought, I like the idea of a step by step guide for newbies such as myself but I think a simple glossary of SEO terms to go along would rock as SEO terminology is a language all in itself. :) I think that’s one of my hurdles in wrapping my mind around all these strategies.


  • Gillian

    Pat, I am so looking forward to NSD 2.0. I just hope that with the army of followers you will have there will be enough niches to go around!

    Get well soon.

  • Victor Willemse

    I don’t know what was more exciting the post or the comments! haha classic.
    How do you get to be in the NSD2.0 group?

  • Matt Sullivan

    I was wondering if anyone would be interested in doing a mastermind group – I started a community on Google Plus, but would be willing to join or be a part of someone’s for accountability and inspiration. Thanks, Matt Sullivan

  • Chris

    I’m super excited for NSD 2! I will be following along and hopefully be a to get something together that will get a fraction of the results you get Pat. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing all that you know and do.

  • Mike Szostech

    Thanks Patt – totally stoked for the Niche Site Duel, mentally preparing to take part in it!

  • Mike

    its Wednesday wheres the post for the official launch?

  • The Financial Blogger

    Hey Pat!

    aren’t we Wednesday today? I’ve been refreshing your site every 15 minutes since this morning to make sure I don’t miss it.

    I seriously thinking of quitting my job and going full time with my online company. You have such a great timing!

  • Adrian Abrate

    Can’t wait to see how you go Pat. I find these types of journeys inspiring to follow.

    Do you think the new Penguin 2.0 update that is just being rolled out will cause you to revise parts of your strategy?

  • Kris Wenzel


    It’s Wednesday! Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleve regarding the launch?

    Is it here yet? :)


  • Nova York


    this is really great information about creating a niche blog.
    I am going to create my niche site and follow up your updates :)

    Rui from Nova York

  • A Fan

    I’ve been keeping up with the preparation for the niche site duel for awhile now, and haven’t heard you mention that you won’t be using your “online celebrity” to introduce yourself in emails and help make connections? Considering the potential attention link-givers can get from being a part of this project, and the fact that you already have a reputation and massive network, you kind of need to promise your readers you won’t use your expansive network to help your site. I think you should commit to outreach or link building campaigns using a pseudonym or alias. Even maybe consider not sharing the URL you decide to use because some people you reach out to may be readers.

    What do you think?

  • Juliet

    Thanks for this information and keep up the good work in this website. Cheers!

  • Britt McCrimmon

    Great post on link building. You just laid out a whole strategy. Now start building!

  • Daniel

    Good article, especially the tip on fighting viagra hackers. A quick search in my area found a bunch of sites that had that.

  • Andy

    Awesome guest post! Link building and SEO overall has gotten much more artistic and less scientific over the years. Which makes sense, since that’s exactly what Google wants: something not as simple as 2+2=4, but much more subtle than that.

    Hope I can use this info to help propel some of the more informational articles on my site!

  • Trendmx

    Link diversity is key. Using web 2.0 sites like wordpress, tumblr, newsvine etc are all good sources of links.
    The key is to post 100% unique content using none keyword anchor texts to your own site, and a few links out to wiki, about, and other authoritative sites as well.

  • [email protected]

    Natural linking based on Good content…

    Niche Sites, have to becoming Saturated by now… At least you serious competitors are not SEO experts, that could give you a leg up..

    I still like creating programs members are willing to pay you a monthly fee for.. If you think in terms, it only takes 1000 people giving you $10.00 dollars per month.

  • Derrick Barber

    I gotta tell you, I’m very excited about this. Over the last 9 years, I have created over 60 niche content sites, none of which have done particularly well.

    I’m going to follow your each and every post during this process, take action, and hopefully come out of it with a successful niche content website!

  • Jet Banks

    Wow! I’ve learned a lot from this post. Thanks Pat & Jon

  • Vira Lisa

    Great post! This is very informative. Thank you for pointing this topic out. I’ve so much to learn from your blog. Please do keep us posted. Again, thank you

  • Anton Ivanov

    Great article, Pat! I have been following your entire Niche Site Duel 2.0 series and was wondering – are these marketing strategies generally applicable to larger, non-niche websites, such as Smart Passive Income, for example?

    I’m planning to use much of what you write about for my own website, which I wouldn’t consider a niche site. I don’t see why these strategies wouldn’t apply still, but am curious what you have to say about that.

  • Javin Paul

    Great post. Link building is really tough task but tips mentioned here are well thought and for long term. I come here everyday, and learn something new, if not from Pat then the community around here. Great place and Thank you guys.

  • cunjo

    Great tips on this post. I’ve just read about this Niche Site Duel 2.0. I hope it’s not late for me to join. I think this is a huge opportunity for all niche websites owners to actually follow a solid SEO plan to rank their websites and hopefully make some money in the process. Pat is really unique marketer I’ve never seen such and honest internet marketer. He doesn’t hold anything back.
    Thanks Pat thumbs up to you buddy!

  • Hector Avellaneda

    Jon – I’ve already connected with you on Twitter even before I finished reading this post (I tend to multi-task – isn’t alway a good thing) but I just wanted to say that I took so many golden nuggets of information from this post.

    I am actually working on building niche site (plan to make it more of a blog) for people that tend to be more constitutionalists, believe in free-market capitalism and that gold and silver are the only real money.

    I have a book that I published on Amazon last November and am currently working on the audio version of that book to make it available to my readers but of course traffic is what I am going to have to build on.

    I’ll definitely be following Pat on this NSD2.0 to get more tips for generating tracking, etc.

    Thanks again for this great post and I look forward to learning a lot more from you. Thanks to you too Pat for making your blog available for this post!

  • Grant

    Excellent once again! So much to take in, I’ll be following closely!

  • eUKhost

    It is really required to develop a niche friendly website for visitors because to increase CTR a site performs really well and link building can be done to earn reputation to create service as a brand.

  • Boelens

    Great tips indeed, very helpful!

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  • Daniel Adetunji

    This is an highly inspiring and thoughtful post.

    I think I’ve got to put Google Authoriship into account.

    Thanks bro



    You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve read anything like this before. So nice to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  • Matt

    I have just built my first squidoo lense as a backlink building strategy. Is this a good idea?

  • Faith Watson

    I still don’t understand link building. I’ve tried, but 3/5ths of those bullet points are utter jargon to me. I get certain aspects of SEO and I understand content. But this really throws me every time and makes me concerned about my plans to do well joining the Duel 2.0. I’m new to this and still have a day job, so how will I get up to speed on these strategies? I’ll be able to do a few, but I don’t even know what “submit to a list of directories” is. I’m like unfrozen caveman writer.

    • The Marketing View

      SEO , is like everything else at first it seems like a lot, over time it becomes a profession, or at least something you are very knowledgeable about..

      Use your friend Google when you have a question.

      • Faith Watson

        Oh I’d say Google is more like my lover, than my friend. 😉 Thanks for the encouragement–the more I read about natural links through quality content the more at ease I become. Guess I’m a high road kinda gal.

  • The Marketing View

    Internal linking can be helpful, and Wiki is the master of such…

    Most importantly is Natural links, a method based on how well your content of your site is delivered to your members and who naturally link to it due to its content nature is really good.

    Natural linking is a more favorable , long lasting and most authoritative in nature…

    Natural linking also has other benefits as you can use it to analyze your site to see what is driving traffic to your site…

    Most importantly Natural linking is the link that keeps on giving, as you do not have to work every day for you next link, it happens on its own.

  • Joe Shelerud

    Great info with actionable items that we all can use. I especially liked the section on using broken links to build new links to the site. I’ll be reading The Broken Link Building Bible on my return flight home to get more in depth on the strategy. Thanks!

  • Chris

    It’s not very often that I see new and non-spammy ways to get solid links. Thanks for the ideas. I’m looking at the Point Blank SEO page now. It sounds like it has more ideas like these and that could be very helpful.

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  • Winifred Robertson

    This is a really informative article and I think internal linking do help us in some way. Also guest blogging is really effective in which you can write a guest post for the blogger and in return can include link in the author bio to your blog.

  • Rina

    really not easy to do link building and I think this needs a lot of time and energy
    thanks for link building tricks above, very helpful

  • Spook SEO

    Hi Pat!

    This is such a good article. Thank you for sharing the 3 strategies for link diversity and velocity. I totally agree that if we are going to submit to a list of directories, we need to split them up ( the comments) into a weekly or daily submission calendar. We really need to set aside 10 minutes a day until we are out of them.

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