A Step Towards Ethical Link Building—What Happened and What Now?

Ethical Link Building

Editor’s Note: My recommended backlinking strategy changes frequently in order to keep up with Google’s evolving search algorithm. You can find the most up-to-date backlinking strategy here. (Updated 10/2015)

“Natural link building by itself isn’t good enough. When your competitors are using every trick and tool in the bag to build lots of high quality links to their sites, you’re basically non-existent unless you’re using every trick and tool in the bag too.”

I heard this quote in an info-product I purchased about six months ago, and the scary part is that it was true…especially when it came to building niche sites.

Of course, there are several “tricks and tools” in the bag one could choose from—some more whitehat and ethical than others, but for the most part in order to have a fighting chance in the search engines you can’t just build an amazing site and write amazing, unique or even the best content about that topic—you have to somehow build quality links to your website, or else it’s virtually non-existent.

It makes sense that the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a website play a major role in its rankings, but the fact that you almost have to pay for those links just to compete, doesn’t.

Unfortunately, that’s just the state of SEO and where the past has led us.

Recently, however, Google has been making some major changes to address this issue. One move that happened last week affected tons of people and sent a clear message to everyone who is optimizing a website for search engine rankings.

What Happened?

Of all the “tricks and tools” for link building, one of the more popular ways to build links was to utilize a private blog network—a paid service that guaranteed high-quality, one-way links to your website by allowing you to publish a short article (100-200 words in length, with a backlink included) to one of several hundred or even thousand high-quality blogs owned and controlled by that company.

Blog networks were extremely popular because they were easy to use and they worked really, really well.

So well, in fact, that Google has pulled the plug on several private blog networks by de-indexing all of the blogs in their system.

This means that all of the sites in their networks can no longer be found in the search engines, and as a result, all of the backlinks coming from those sites become worthless.

Even BuildMyRank (BMR), which was always careful to accept and publish only unique, well-written content, announced the de-indexing of their sites and closure of their service last Wednesday on their blog.

Not all blog networks have been shut down yet—but they are on Google’s radar.

My Thoughts…

It was really only a matter of time.

I know a lot of people are upset because backlinks (that people paid for) disappeared overnight, as did rankings and earnings, but personally I feel that anything that makes ranking in the search engines more about the quality of the content on the site and less about paying for backlinks, the better – and that is what Google is working towards.

I say this, even as a customer of BMR who saw results.

Too many websites are sitting at the top of Google that don’t deserve to be there, and although this move doesn’t solve the problem in its entirely (and some may argue it doesn’t even put a dent in it) at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Getting rid of blog networks levels the playing field just a little bit, and with the content focused niche websites that I build, I feel like there’s a better chance for my websites to rank higher without having to use tools like blog networks just to give myself a chance.

The question is: is content ALONE good enough to rank a target keyword in the search engines?

Not yet.

Smart and diverse backlinking still needs to be performed and we all should pay close attention to how we build links and the risks behind those strategies.

How Does This Affect The Backlinking Strategy I Use?

As I mentioned before, I did use BMR (and before that, another network called Blog Blueprint) as part of The Backlinking Strategy that Works, but blog networks were just a small part of a diversified, two-tiered backlinking setup. As a result, almost all of my (current) 11 niche websites held up, and a few of them actually climbed higher because competitors (probably using blog networks alone) were knocked out.

The blog network part of the strategy was a “boost” – it created high quality backlinks in a relatively short period of time to speed up the ranking process, but now that those are gone the strategy is essentially the same, it’ll just take a little longer to see results, depending on the niche and existing competition:

Backlinking Strategy Update

Does this strategy still work?

Based on the results of my own niche sites, and several others who are posting their results in the comment section of The Backlinking Strategy that Works and on other sites too, the two-tiered strategy is still holding strong.

The good thing is that the main site is protected by the anchor layer, made up of article directories (which did get hit in the 1st Google Panda update, but article marketing is still a proven strategy and links coming from those sites still help), and blogs and web 2.0 sites that we have control over. All of the “heavy lifting” is done on the second, indirect layer.

The thing to worry about is that the second layer relies heavily on mass article directory submission using tools like Unique Article Wizard (UAW) and Article Marketing Robot (AMR). The main difference between these tools and blog networks, however, is they are simply tools that are meant to accelerate the article directory submission process – they don’t own the sites that they are linking to, and those sites are changing all of the time. There’s room for argument, but I don’t think sites that are connected to these tools will be punished – although I may be wrong.

So, asking the question again: does this strategy still work?

For now, yes – but I’d recommend even more diversification, if possible.

OTHER Techniques to Diversify Your Backlinking Strategy

Relying on just one strategy (and especially just one particular service) is dangerous, so diversification is key.

There are several things you can do, some more whitehat and ethical than others, and I’d advise you to really think about the kinds of links you’re building and how they really prove to Google that your site is worth a top spot in the results pages.

Google isn’t perfect, but they are working towards getting rid of sites and links that shouldn’t be there, and they obviously have the ability to change what works and what doesn’t at anytime.

1. Forum Profiles

I put this strategy here first because it’s the one I’d be most worried about, based on the latest trends.

Be cautious.

This strategy involves adding links that point back to your site (with the appropriate anchor text) on profiles of accounts in authoritative forums.

Like with blog networks, this strategy works way too well (I’ve tried it myself) and doesn’t add any value to anything whatsoever. At least with article marketing and the tools related to it, you’re publishing articles on sites that have visitors that could read those articles and benefit by learning more from your niche site.

Forum profiles are just spammy, “hidden” links.

I remember reading an SEO research article by Glen Allsop where he inspected the links pointing to some of the top websites in some of the most profitable niches.

His conclusion: spammy profile links work.

Glen followed up by saying, “I think this is a real shame because there are sites which deserve to rank above these, but the Google algorithm is still very easy to manipulate.”

I agree, although if I were Google, these kinds of links would be the next to go.

I’m not going to tell you what to do – but remember, Google is on the prowl and you should think about how the links you’re building prove that your site is worth ranking.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend doing any of this from this point forward.

2. Blog Commenting

Blog comments for SEO is typically associated with spam, but that’s because most people abuse it and use tools to automate the process.

Although comments from blogs are less powerful than they used to be, leaving comments that are helpful and add value to the post that you’ve read can be great both for link diversification and also for getting direct traffic too.

A link in the “website url” field is all one would need, and as far as nofollow vs. dofollow, to me – it doesn’t matter – it’s natural to have both.

3. Guest Posting

Guest posting is considered an “old school” form of link building, but it’s still one of the most powerful and more ethical methods available.

Some people I know use guest posting as their only strategy, to a great degree of success.

The issue is, with so many tools out there that seem to make backlinking “push-button easy,” methods like guest posting, which require a lot of hard work, have become less popular.

Maybe it’s time we start working for our rankings again.

The great thing about guest posting is that you can get links from highly authoritative sites, while getting in front of an audience that is perfectly suited for your content.

Guest posting for an authoritative blog that you own – sure, that’s what a lot of people do.

But guest posting for a niche site? Is that even possible?

It should be.

In obscure niches, it’s harder to find websites to publish on, so you may have to get a little creative with the type of articles you publish.

To me, any site that’s worth ranking should have an owner who has the ability to write (or research and write) a post that’s worthy on another website, and he or she should use that ability – if at all possible.

For some excellent advice about guest posting, check out Glen Allsop’s Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging.

4. Become a Source

If you’re having trouble finding blogs to guest post on (or even if you’re not), how about flipping the switch and contacting those who are trying to find you instead?

There are several sites that bridge the gap between journalists looking for sources, and vice versa.

Often times, when a connection is made, a link back to your site is created. Furthermore, you might see a surge of traffic when their articles are published too.

Here is a shortlist of websites where you can signup (for free) to become a “source” and select from several different journalists and bloggers who seek information about a topic you might have a website about:

5. Build Linkable Relationships

Let’s say you have a niche site about coffee. More specifically (just for the purposes of this example), it’s a site all about making French Press coffee.

Yummy. :)

You spend a good amount of time making your site the ultimate resource about French Press coffee. Your site has:

  1. Amazing content dedicated to the several aspects of making French Press coffee. The techniques, the equipment, tips, the history – everything.
  2. Gorgeous pictures that make the site fun to look at; and
  3. Incredible videos demonstrating French Press coffee techniques and equipment.

Your site dominates all of the other French Press coffee sites out there, but it’s relatively new and you’re still working on building links to your site.

Side note: as much as possible, this is what you should aim for no matter what kind of linking strategy  you want to pursue. Dominate is the key word.

At this point, you (or a virtual assistant) do some research and compile a list of all of the coffee blogs out there.

Maybe it’s as simple as typing “blogs: coffee” in Google.

Now, not only do you have a list of sites to potentially guest post on (and since you’re in a niche within a niche, your unique content and amazing site about French Press coffee might more widely considered), but you also have a list of sites where you can start to build a relationship with the owner.

  • Connect with them on Twitter.
  • Become an active fan of their Facebook Page.
  • Hook up with them on LinkedIn and Google Plus.
  • Leave thoughtful comments on their articles.
  • Send a very short but thoughtful email that asks for nothing in return.

Over time, you will get noticed – it’s inevitable.

As a blog owner myself who receives hundreds of comments, emails and messages a day – certain people do stand out and those are the people who I’m more likely to do favors for and potentially link to, or share.

A friend of mine who started a niche site a year ago quickly got to #1 in Google by developing relationships with the top players in his industry. He used his specialization within that niche to become someone who these top players could link to and talk about on their own sites.

Do you know the top players in your niche?

Again, for more obscure niches, you might have to be more creative, but even if you have a website about lipstick, if you have a website worth ranking you should be able to develop a relationship with some of the top make-up artist blogs and YouTube personalities, right?

6. Social Media

Short and sweet: all sites should be connected to social media accounts. It is known that SEO is becoming more social.

For niche sites, you might not have to keep them as active as you might with a more community-oriented authority blog, but if you’re building connections with players in the same niche that you’re in, these accounts could come in handy.

The issue I have with social media is that if Google is going to add things like +1’s, Shares, Like and Retweets into their algorithm, is there anything that can detect whether or not they are genuine?

I take notice of this because my security guard training site has recently been going back and forth at the top spot in Google the with a competitor that has an abnormally large number of Facebook likes (among other weird things). I’ll be talking more about this and why I’m not too worried in my March income report, but my point here is that if +1’s and likes and those sorts of things are added into the algorithm, we’re going to get to a point, again, where we feel like we need to pay for those things in order to keep up.

7. Write More Incredibly Useful Stuff

No matter what though, the best and most important strategy for your site is to publish lots of incredibly useful and unique information.

This is exactly what Google is asking for.

This sounds obvious, but there are still those who create thin 3-page mini sites and wonder why they’re not showing up on the first page of Google.

On the other hand, there are thin 3-page mini sites that are still ranking on the first page of Google, so there’s still a lot of confusion out there and speculation on what is the best thing to do.

Are mini-sites dying? It’s hard to say, but think about this: why should a more robust and flushed out website with better content ever be outranked by one?

To Finish Up…

I can’t predict the future and I’m not the headmaster at Google, so please view this post and the suggestions and opinions in it as just that – suggestions and opinions.

With that said, I am happy with where things seem to be headed, but we’re still a long way from a totally perfect system.

What are your thoughts on the latest changes? Where do you think SEO is headed and will we ever get to a point where all sites will eventually rank where they deserve?  

Let me know what you think. Cheers, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

  • Teresa

    Hi Pat,
    I have a question about SEO. Many WordPress themes have build-in SEO, like for exapmle Thesis. Is it better to use these build-in SEO tools or maybe it’s better to use highly recommended ones, like e.g. All-in-One SEO. What is better for search engines ? What do you use with SPI ?
    Thanks in advance for answer.

    • David

      I recommend Joost De Valk’s SEO plugin, Teresa. It’s so much more flexible than All-in-One (which I used to use) and offers XML sitemaps, canonical control, breadcrumbs etc. It even provides you with a preview of what a new post/page will look like in the search results based on the page title and meta description. It has solved 99% of all my WordPress SEO issues.

      I’m sure Pat will have a good recommendation or two also!

      • Teresa

        Thanks for advice

        • http://www.dailygrindrebel.com Darryl

          I would suggest you do not use Joost De Valk SEO Plugin with Thesis. He has quite publicly announce he will no longer support Thesis integration. Search on his blog or send him an email. It is not 100% compatible and can sometimes cause issues. Be warned.

      • http://plus.google.com/101516148582851507178/about Syamsul Alam

        Yups, totally agree with this one!

        I used to using thesis, but i hate thesis design and now i use WooThemes with WordPress SEO by Yoast. The result is fantastic. Awesome design, powerful SEO.

        WordPress SEO is the best SEO plugin (a lot better than all in one seo packs) and it also updated frequently. The creator (Joost) also a great guy with great blog worth following.

    • http://richkent.com/ Rich

      Hi Teresa – I know you asked Pat but I do plenty of SEO work and here’s my $.02. Most of the built in SEO gives you the ability to write Titles, Descriptions, and Keywords with each post. That’s a good start, but if you want to do more then I would use a plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast (better than All-in-one imo). WordPress SEO also gives you Title, Description, and Keywords, but also gives you the ability to control which pages are indexed as well as manually edit files such as .htaccess and robots.txt. You can one-click no-index the author and date archive pages on a one-author blog, as well as no-index tag pages and so on. You’d want to do this because the author archive will be identical to the main blog archive on a one-author blog and therefore is duplicate content. The same thing with many tag pages depending on how you use tags. Just a couple examples of why full-featured SEO plugins are more useful than built in SEO.

      • Teresa

        Thanks Rich,
        I didn’t know all these details you are writing about.

        • http://www.bestbuys4business.com/business-blog Michelle

          Hi guys, Yoast is amazing. Highly recommended to get rankings without the backlinking and guest posting. Imagine what you can do when you use those strategies as well. Cheers Michelle

  • http://www.dormroomcash.com Adam

    Pat, thanks for this article. I have been hesitant on building backlinks using some of these method because I wasn’t sure how they would work but I guess the only thing left to do is try and see what happens.

  • http://www.technofreaky.com admin@technofreaky

    Hi Pat, You are right here, content alone will not give you the edge. Link Building is backbone of any SEO Campaign.

  • http://www.strayblogger.com Nate Rivers

    Great writeup Pat, you’re dead on… Rankings can still be bought but small “sniper” sites are getting riskier by the day.

    The only way for the long term is to actually be one of the top 10 best sites on your topic like you said, and I’m narrowing down what I do to 3-4 sites.

    I have quite a few sites, some 100 pages+, and everything in between to several one-pagers that I haven’t got around to doing anything with.

    Weird thing is that the rankings are all very different… all of my sites with more than 30 pages maintained and even climbed a bit in the last 2 weeks, some of my sites with less than 30 pages dropped off the radar while some stuck around, and then some of my one-pagers that were on page one are still there.

    As far as websites it seems like there’s 2 ways to go in the future, build a top authority site that grows organically, or have a product that converts well enough and that customers like so that you get a lot of affiliate action.

  • http://www.theexpatguidebook.com/ T.W. Anderson

    Good post, Pat.

    Couple of friends of mine down here in Cancun have been using your strategy…we noticed some drops as a result of BMR, but the big thing to remember is that it’s all about diversity. BMR was just one of many tools, and content is king right now. Social media presence is huge.

    Definitely an interesting playing field, and one needs to stay on top of things to make sure you are remaining relevant. I think press releases also factor into this in a big way, because there is a lot of social presence related to media outlets. A friend of mine also mentioned the possibility of doing guest posts for places like Huffington Post or other areas where you are doing citizen reporting on things, even if you aren’t getting paid, just like you suggest in your guest post tactic….for backlinks.

    Anyway…modify and move forward :) Still tuned in and looking forward to progress!

  • David

    Hi Pat,

    I’m a professional SEO by trade and there’s what you say holds a lot of truth. The game is definitely changing. We’ve seen a number of high-profile algorithm changes over the last few years (Vince, Mayday, Panda, Venice etc.) as well as some fundamental infrastructure changes (Caffeine, Search+Your World) and, in my opinion, the playing field is now just changing far too rapidly for traditional keyword+links SEO strategies.

    Google (which leads the way with a market share around 90% UK / 75% US) is trying to move away from the manipulable backlink model that has dominated their metrics for measuring website authority, and are moving more towards social signals.

    They already play a part in the ranking signals, but soon we’ll see social factors influence search rankings much, much more. shares, tweets, likes, re-tweets, size of followers, links into social profiles etc. will probably account for 20-33% of ranking signals within 2 years.

    I will always recommend methods that offer targeted visitors as well as just links: guest posts, forum contributions (I really mean contributions, not just spammy thin-interaction), even article distribution.

  • http://www.mymultipleincomes.com Robert

    Pat, you make some really great points about top sites that could be spammy just getting there because of their linking strategies. I’m a huge believer that great content will get to the top – but most people don’t have the patience to build links naturally, and I think that is the problem: patience.

    I also think that is where guest posting and interaction come into play. If you are being a part of a community, and interacting, promoting, helping, etc., other members of the community will reciprocate, and your sites will get to the top of the SERPs. It does take time, and I’m glad Google is cracking down on these “fake” link building sites.

  • Raul

    Well, everything changes with time… so does backlinking strategy because change is unstoppable and we always need to adopt. This will surely lead to a lot of changes in the backlinking techniques. Well, lets just hope it gets a little bit easier :)

  • http://pointblankseo.com/ Jon Cooper

    It looks like your niche site is now not only behind a group of local listings, but also below another similar site (securityguardtraining-hq.com). Are you seeing the same thing?

    • Pat

      I addressed this in the post. I think it has less to do with the recent changes, and more to do with that site using certain techniques – the backlink analysis provides some interesting data, and as I said it has an abnormally large amount of Facebook likes.

      • Jerome

        I smell a Fiverr gig or two……. 😉

      • http://pointblankseo.com/ Jon Cooper

        Sorry about that, I guess I skimmed over that part. But yeah, after doing a bit of analysis, I’m seeing the same thing. Almost all of their best links are either blog networks or Digg links (the latter is a little surprising).

        First of all, time is on your side, because as we’re seeing blog networks go down, it looks like your competitor is built on them, so it’s only a matter of time before they drop.

        If I were you Pat, here’s what I’d do. Normally I’d suggest hiring a freelance writer that can crank out a ton of posts for guest blogging in a situation like this, but in this case, there aren’t too many related blogs worth reaching out to, so scratch that off the list. I noticed that there are a decent number of .gov or .edu pages related to this topic, so I’d say you should try what I call “dead content recreation”. Go to those pages, and usually they have a broken link or two on their site. Use the wayback machine to find what content was on those broken pages, and recreate it on your own site. Then reach out to the webmasters of those sites and tell them that you “took the burden” of recreating that content because as a user, that link was important to the page.

        Granted you won’t get an amazing success rate, it only takes 5-6 of these for you to really see an impact, and trusted links like those give you room to try some automated techniques that Google might not be too fond of.

        Hope this helps, sorry I went on for so long :)

      • Travis

        This is very true Pat. I had to employ quite a few varied techniques in order to finally beat you. It was more of a test then anything.

        First of all, you definitely created and executed a solid strategy. I commend you for the simple yet effective SEO plan that you laid out. It is a very time tested strategy that should be the basis for most seo plans.

        Secondly I believe that the most powerful part of your security guard site is actually your backlinks coming from smartpassiveincome as well as the other social/blogger sites across the internet that linked to your site as an example. You “went viral” in a way to where everyone was linking to you from quality sites.

        Also, you had some high PR blog comments in there that I never heard you mention in your strategy. I simply went through, reverse engineered, and then copied any high PR comments that I could get as well. Standard procedure for this type of thing.

        All in all, this project actually took more effort then I was expecting, which is a testament to your solid strategy. I created the domain in November, and started building in December. I expected a month tops, but your site ended up being much more difficult then I had expected… and it’s not final yet. My website is much newer so it is more susceptible to bouncing around and losing rankings.

        Lastly… great post above. SOLID information that everyone should listen to. DIVERSIFY!

        • Pat


        • http://www.appsandkids.com Ole

          I was also one of those who checked Pat’s keyword to see if how his site is doing after google changes :)

          It was great to see Pat’s site still on top, but also interesting to see another site even higher. The question was how it was done. It is fun to read a comment from the person who did it. Some kind of intrigue.. :)

          Anyway, reverse engineering (probably using Pat’s advices also..) and adding something on top worked… That’s another evidence that backing strategy works. At least for now…

        • tom

          So are you now going to delete the Unethical website and domain ?

          To purely copy somebody elses work to outrank them when they are helping us all by example is to be quite frank a disgrace.

          Do the right think and stop leeching off others hard work.

          delete your domain or of course you may find yuor site getts a ton of click throughs… or of course your site might see a ton of backlinks arriving on it forming an unnatural link pattern!

          And you do realise that by using tools all your domains are now public knowledge?

          Sad sad sad

        • David

          Tom as much as he doesn’t like it, I am sure Pat knew that someone would try to outrank him especially when he is so open and honest about the security website that he has as well as the strategy that he used to get top ranking.

          Regarding if it’s ethical for another site to copy the method, aren’t we all using the same strategy that Pat has shared and thought us to achieve high rankings?

          If the guy went directly and copied keywords as well as links that Pat is using then he’s not any better then a xerox machine but if he thought and using new keywords and build links from scratch then he deserves credit.

          In a way I am sure Pat might be upset about this but in a way Pat should be proud of himself as Travis only got his ranking because Pat is so transparent about his results.

          Pat is the master Jedi Master where Travis is just another Jedi 😉

        • http://www.profitablenicheblogging.com Rob M

          I suppose you are free to do mostly as you please . But to copy someones initial idea and then reverse engineer it and beat it is somewhat unethical. The skill here is to find a niche that has high demand low supply. It’s easy to pay and throw a ton of back links and paid Facebook likes at a page. However, it is interesting to see your results. This is why Google is doing what it is doing to stop this kind of paid activity. It makes sense to me.

        • Chris B

          Are you serious? Not only do you blatantly rip off Pat Flynn, who is genuinely and openly showing you exactly how to make money on the internet, you also have to come in here and brag about it?

          Your website is a contentless sniper site that only ranks because you obsessedly purchased links and social media shares and likes. Congratulations is in fucking order, now go away.

          I’d be interesting in how someone like you can even do this, yeah you call it an experiment, how about calling it a fucking ripoff? And to make matters worse you rip off the guy who is teaching you how to do it.

          THEN you have the AUDACITY to come in here and praise him for his linking strategy that caused YOUR crap site to overtake him?

          Sorry man I just have nothing but loathing for people like you.

          Pat – Keep up the good work.

        • Pat

          Yeah – I always knew a bunch of people were going to go after the same niche – that’s just how things work when you reveal exact urls and strategies and things like that online.

          I was actually quite happy that it took so long, especially with most of the backlinking done in the first 3 months of the site, and nothing really since.

          Not upset, and I am still getting a ton of SE traffic from long tail keywords (actually the main keyword is only 14% of the overall SE traffic), so even if I were to disappear from the first page I’d still make out okay.

          I just wish the site was outranked by someone who actually cared about the industry and wanted to help people get jobs, which is what my site does – the job board proves that, and not by someone just running a test. It shows there’s still lots of things for Google to fix.

          The only thing I can do now (unless I really wanted to get into the issue of trademark and the domain being almost exactly the same) is keep going forward and doing what I do.

        • Alex B


          Thank you for showing me how I can go after another person’s website. In fact, I think I’ll test this out. Here is my plan:

          1) I will target the keywords of your SEO services site (I will not cite the link here, as you are certainly NOT worth promoting).

          2) I will create a website essentially reviewing your site, your services, and your character.

          3) I will advise any of your potential clients to not waste one penny with you, as all you will do is seek out the number one site site for that keyword, copy what they are doing, and top it off with a few unethical practices that Google will slap in a matter of time, sending your client’s site to the dogs, no where to be found. Instead, I will direct them to http://www.smartpassiveincome.com where your clients can find information to do everything for free, and actually be ethical.

          I am sure this is what you do, and you call it an “SEO Services Business Plan.”

          Also, just a side note.. It’s one thing to do what you did, but to come in and post about it is another. It really reminded me of this famous quote, which I am sure you are very familiar with; “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

        • http://myincomejournal.com Chris M

          Damn Google, it seems that Wiki blasts and high PR links still work for some people. Those private blog networks have a huge footprint. Just wondering if you got the unnatural backlinks notice in the WMT page.

        • http://www.psd2htmlpros.com Hans

          Interesting reply.

          It may seem a little harsh to some but Travis spoke the truth. Whenever you divulge your business (or strategy) to someone, always expect someone to do the same. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s business and it’s done by hundreds or companies. Which is why Pat keeps the majority of his strategy to himself. We should all recognize this and read between the lines. I would do not different.

          So moral of the story: Keep your keywords and business strategy to yourself, ALWAYS!

          Obviously I am sure Pat knows this but the goal of the dual was to show how a certain strategy works and he was successful in doing so.

          I am implementing Pat’s strategies and have seen some great results (in my own niche).

          Thank you Pat!

        • http://www.thelastbrokenhome.com Adam

          You’re being quite a bit nicer than I’d be, Pat. Dude’s taking food off your table as a test. Sweet article though…

        • Travis

          I believe that many of you might not be understanding me correctly…

          I am commending Pat on a solid seo strategy, and how he has shared this with everyone.
          I have been using a completely different strategy to prove to a group of my clients and followers that my methods work, and work better. The ONLY thing that I did that was the same as Pats was the High PR blog comments.
          Reverse engineer it, or even ask Pat. You will see that the strategy is much different.

          There is nothing unethical about this domain. Nothing was copied. My content is unique and in no way resembles Pats. My linking methods are far different from Pats as well, other then a few high PR blog comments.

          If you would like to see all the copy-cats, look at the next 4 pages in the serp results and you will see everyone else trying to copy Pats work verbatim, unlike me who used my own methods.

          The only thing I would have done differently, is not post here and just email Pat privately. That would have been the correct way to go about it.

        • http://justclickin.com/7-elements-of-a-good-and-successful-blogging-business/ Michael, Technology Blog

          Thanks for this wonderful article.

          Its absolutely right that we need to diversify the link and that’s the right way for link building. This is clearly explained in the picture provided in the above article.

          We just need to follow whats specified in here and that’s enough :)


  • http://www.learnnichemarketing.com Dave Tong

    Thanks for addressing the issue Pat.

    I believe Google will slowly and strategically weed out junk sites/posts/blogs within the “Anchor Layer” not be removing them altogether, but removing the auto-generated type of links.

    #4-7, I believe, would be the key to survival and hope that Google can find a way to quickly demote sites who use off-page spamming to get SERPs up, especially those SeNuke blasters, for example.

    Social media and bookmark referrals (including Pinterest) have been pretty good to me lately, on my site http://www.iphotocourse.com for example, I’ve moved away from relying too much on search traffic (used to be over 60%, now about 40%) and even with the recent Panda 3.4 where my previously ranking posts start jumping around, my traffic stats (and earnings) didn’t dip too much compared to last year when I was heavily reliant on search engine traffic.

    Keep it up Pat and knock that security site knock-off out of page 1.

    Dave Tong

  • Jack Alford

    Great post Pat. I’m new to all those and I am reading your blog and listening to the podcasts trying to learn all I can. Thanks for all your efforts!

  • http://www.yfncg.com Matt

    Great analysis Pat. I think diversification is truly the key here, keep trying new methods to build links and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

    For folks who have dozens or even hundreds of niche sites. some of your alternate links building methods might not be feasible. That’s why I also think it’s important for niche site owners to also have one or two authority blogs that they can build more naturally using guest blogging, relationship building, and some of these others methods. That, again, comes back to diversification….which you preach here all the time.

  • http://www.howtogetonrealitytv.net Dan Gheesling

    Epic post Pat. I did a Google News search on this update and couldn’t find any articles that were half as informative as yours.

    My biggest debate is whether or not to use your back-linking strategy on the latest site I’ve developed – http://www.HowToGetOnRealityTV.net

    From my understanding it is useful for Niche sites – which my site it – but it’s also more than that.

    Anyone have any thoughts on whether or not it would be a good move? And why?

  • http://www.sminso.com Chris

    I really do hope that Google eventually gets it right. However no matter what they do someone will “crack” the code and find a way to game the system. Then everyone else will have to play catchup and use the same tricks just to be competitive. Unfortunately this is just like Major league baseball and the steroid issue. Some players abuse the system, which creates a situation where other players if they want to keep up have to do the same thing!

    Google has made it very obvious that they are taking a sites Social presence into consideration, this scares me as well because its so easy to purchase +1’s and Likes.

    I agree that the best way to build links right now is to diversify! This way if one type of link gets hit you still have other methods, kind of link not putting all your eggs in one basket!


  • http://blog.momekh.com Momekh


    No one understands the rules according to which Google de-indexed the sites. Do we?

    I have submitted articles for two sites using UAW. I got some great results and backlinks from about 40 different sites.

    If UAW goes, for example, I can not get 40 backlinks. It’s that simple. Do I need those 40 backlinks? I don’t even know as no one knows how Google treats backlinks from these sites etc.

    The game is changing as you rightly point out, it was only a matter of time. Do you think Pat that UAW going out the window is also a matter of time? They have a distribution network and – as you mention – do not own the websites/blogs. But does Google even use that ‘blog ownership’ as a condition to de-index? Weird.

    P.S. Worth noticing, that those who pay attention now will immediately recognize new opportunities in niches dominated by ‘old methods’. As is usually the case, there IS an upside. :)

  • http://www.navynukejobfinder.com Dustin Sanchez

    darn pat, just when i figured how to get my sites ranked, google throws a monkey wrench in my system. Well I actually ranked w/o reverting to BMR but I was going to implement it soon. I hope they don’t switch to content only b/c frankly, I don’t have the time or ability to generate that much qualilty content for my niche sites. Is that wrong?

  • http://wasimismail.com Wasim Ismail

    Pat Search Engines are changing all the tip, and building good links is defiantly a way of building your authority and brand online. Love the idea of becoming a source within your niche. – The key comes down to putting together amazing content that your niche is in search for.
    Thanks for the article

  • http://corbettsbritain.com/ Ross Corbett

    Hi Pat, regarding a forum profile. Do you just set up an account on a forum and add your website to your profile or do you also then actually need to post in the forum?

    • http://www.glowstickjunkie.com Trevor

      You create a profile in a forum that allows signatures, and then you post on a regular basis. Find a forum that you enjoy. I personally enjoy entrepreneurial forums and I post in them anyways, so why not let my posts benefit my site? At 2.61 posts per day, I will have 949 quality links within a year.

    • http://richkent.com/ Rich

      The bots and outsourcers create a profile, drop a link, and never post. Google does index the forum profile pages which is why this method works.

      Of course using Trevor’s method is better, but it takes some time – especially if you have a lot of websites. Also, you have to be careful about putting links in your signature right away, as some forums will flag you as a spammer and delete you for doing it. Better to wait until you’ve posted for a week or two before you add links in your signature – and also be careful what kind of links you use. Linking to a weight-loss site from a programmer forum will get you banned most of the time for example.

      • Aaron

        Rich, I have a question on Trevor’s example above.

        He notes 2.61 posts/day leads to 949 quality links. Is this accurate or is there a diminishing return? I was under the assumption that all links after the 1st one are greatly reduced in effectiveness.

        • http://richkent.com/ Rich

          You have the right assumption. Every link from the same class C IP has a diminishing return, so even links from different websites hosted on the same IP have dramatically less value after the 1st link.

          Although if your link is in a thread that is heavily linked to from other websites, then that particular link passes more ‘juice’ than a link on a different page of the same site, and by putting your link in more threads on the same site you have a better chance of having a link on one of those higher PR pages.

          I still prefer to place fewer links on more sites. If you spend lots of time on one forum and then your account gets banned or deleted, you could lose all the work you invested in that forum.

          Also, sometimes (relatively often) forums get hacked or the person running the forum gets bored, etc… and the forum shuts down – or gets taken down.

          Long story short you want link diversification across lots of different websites and different types of websites.

        • David

          Don’t forget that forums have the ability to actually send you highly target traffic in addition to just getting a link. If you find forums relevant to your niche, and you add real value to the discussions there, then people will trickle through to your website.

          The volumes of referral visitors isn’t amazing, but it’s ultra-targeted and, if you choose your forums carefully, they are much more likely to convert to your call-to-action (ebook, newsletter etc.)

          Also, by interacting with forum discussions, you’ll discover more about the needs of your audience, which can help to really develop your website into a true authority.

  • http://www.pleaforpower.com Estevan Montoya

    Great thought here. I have read several articles about the new Google changes. This is great reminder that we need to give value. I currently have 3 sites I am working, and I find that well researched quality is best. One market I am trying to target is the iTunes market. I am not sure how it plays into SEO, but I have been getting a response that way.

    Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.socialmediawriter.co.uk Philippa – Social Media Writer

    Great, sound advice as always, Pat! I didn’t use BMR but I know plenty of people are panicking because they did. Focusing on more natural, ethical approaches has to be the way forward.

  • Eryn

    As a niche blogger just getting started, I really value your advice and opinions, and I admire the fact that you advocate the “ethical” side of SEO tactics. I’ve learned a lot from your articles, and continue to be a happy follower. Thanks Pat!

  • http://www.genuineinternetmarketing.com Shane Eubanks

    Google has been warning the SEO community for years, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    For many people, though, this was a wakeup call…actually it was more like a splash of cold water to the face after not enough sleep.

    Too many people are asking, “NOW how am I going to build crappy links?”…and that’s not the question they need to be asking. They NEED to be asking, “Why should Google rank (recommend) my site to its users?”

    The focus should be on creating the best resource available…links will eventually come. People just tend to get impatient and want results immediately…which was fairly easy with paid blog networks and such.

    I’ve done a test recently with just social sharing on a brand new site getting natural facebook likes, tweets, pins, and +1’s. The result? It’s averaging about 60 visits from Google searches per day within the first two weeks.

    Here’s what Google has been saying…keep your content fresh, make it appealing so that users stay on your site (rather than hit the back button to search results), and make it social…don’t just add social sharing, but create content that people *want* to share.

    Pat, you pretty much summed it up when you said, “Maybe it’s time we start working for our rankings again.” That’s what it boils down to. Create something great that’s *worth* being linked to…not that has to pay to be linked to.


  • Jerome

    Does anyone know Googles take on duplicate content. There is a rather famous music blog that basically just copies content from other sites…..

    • http://richkent.com/ Rich

      Tricky area – look up ‘syndicated content’ to see why. Press releases can be published on many different sites and still get indexed for example. I think it’s a bigger problem when the entire site is duplicated – or when the same page appears multiple times on the same website.

      I think the consensus is that links to a website in duplicate content from other sites get discounted – likely more discounted with each instance of duplication, however a news article that gets published across many credible news sites that all contain a link to a specific site would still give a huge SEO boost to that website based on the credibility of the sites the links were coming from – even with exactly duplicate content.

      • Jerome

        Thanks Rich.

        Creating content is probably the hardest part for me personally. Seeing these sites do this annoys a bit…..how can we compete with a site posting 5 times a day albeit copied content…….

        Maybe the blogging community can setup a new set of ranking factors….. that do NOT include links

  • http://dbpmarketing.com/ Dror

    Great post Pat with some really great points.

    About your final question – will we ever get to a point where all sites will eventually rank where they deserve? – I think it will depend on who gets to make the final decision of which site deserves what position and as long as Google is the one making that choice, I don’t see that day coming anytime soon :)

    I assume that a site that deserves to be on top is a site with great and valuable content but I don’t see the day that the Google bots will be able to know what is “good high quality content” without the need to rely on many other factors, most of which can be manipulated.

    In any case, great post and it would be really interesting to see where things are headed from here.

  • http://www.commonsensemarketing.net/ Sarah Russell

    I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed to even see a mention of profile links in an article with the words “ethical link building” in the title.

    Setting up profiles on forums you’ll actually participate on is one thing – building spam profiles on unrelated forums for the sole purpose of obtaining “quality” backlinks is the kind of activity that gives SEOs and internet marketers a bad name.

    At least, with mass article submission, you can argue that you’re providing value by distributing good content on a larger scale than you could accomplish by hand. Building profile links that do nothing but clog up server space on generally well-intentioned forums does nothing of the sort.

    Do they work? Sure – but so do tons of other grey and black hat techniques that’ll likely be devalued by Google in the future.

    I’d caution people to stick to techniques #2-7 if they’re serious about providing long term value. There’s definitely some great advice to be found in those recommendations!

    • Pat

      Sarah – did you read the warnings that I put in along with my mention of forum profiles? I’m not sure if you just skimmed over the article, but I mention that because I wanted to call people out and warn people who are using that technique. If I don’t say anything, people keep doing it without a second thought.

      • http://www.commonsensemarketing.net/ Sarah Russell

        Definitely saw that – I think I just read it more as “this works, but could be devalued in the future” rather than “this is an unethical practice you shouldn’t pursue.”

        Saying that both you and Glen have tried the method and seen good results seems more like an implicit endorsement to me, even if you do recommend caution (and I suspect other people read it that way too, since there are questions in the comments asking how to do it).

        But again, I may have misread. If so – my apologies, and thanks for calling out a bad link building practice :)

        • Chris B

          Why is it unethical in your mind to get backlinks from forum profiles? I mean i understand if you had some kind of bot autogenerating them, but if you participated in a few forums or found some for your niche that sounds like a decent idea to boost the numbers a bit.

        • Pat

          I never said Glen used it, and I’ve made the warning much more clear. Sorry for the confusion.

        • Pat

          @Chris – if you’re creating profiles in real forum’s you’re participating, that’s okay, but most people are creating links on sites they don’t even post or contribute to, or have anything to do with the topic of the site.

  • http://optima-lifestyle.com Cristina Ansbjerg

    I love the way you opened this post. It’s so true!
    Great analysis here. I’m sad that your security guard training site has so many copycats. I just checked that other site and even the description is exactly like yours.

  • http://www.ramblingprocrastinator.com Martin

    Great post and exactly what I’ve seen across the landscape happening. I am reading more and more that social indicators is what’s going to be driving a big portion of the ranking going forward. You see signs such as the social search indicators that are displaying at the top of google searches and all the +1’s everywhere. It’s good to see that Matt Cutts from the google spam division has been doing his homework with his team and targeting the spam that we all see in the SERPs. We just have to work harder and provide more quality over quantity.

  • http://www.internetincomepower.com Paul Gram

    I am pretty happy with the changes and think that it does level the playing field a little bit more.

    I definitely see “brands” dominating search engine results even more in the future so I am playing with some ideas to kind of “mini brand” a few of my niche sites to test some things out.

  • http://www.packingfortravel.com Adrian

    Hey Pat,
    Thanks for the post, and your awesome site! I was reading around the warrior forum about recent changes with Google and it seems no one has a ‘new’ strategy for backlinking that will be OK in Google’s eyes. I’ll keep following your advise and hope that it works out for me eventually 😛
    I’m new to all this website fun stuff and haven’t seen results so far, but I know it takes time. Looking forward to future posts on this subject.

  • http://www.profitlab.co Ark

    The Panda update was a bummer for well established blog networks but I have to agree that any change that can level the playing field and give merit where merit is due is welcomed change. There are plenty of people online who really care about their niche topics and are never seen, while crafty marketers and spammers muddy the waters for the sake of profit. I’m all for capitalism but sometimes you just want to see the underdog win.

  • http://outsourcingninja.com Yong Custodio

    So probably Article Samurai will give no-good results?

  • http://mikejuly.com Mike July

    Hi Pat,

    Great job as always. This may be the best post I’ve read on SPI – I’ll definitely be sharing this :)

    I have a question for you and anyone else who cares to chime in – do you ever foresee inbound links going the way of meta keywords? By that I mean with the evolution and ever-increasing importance of social signals, it’s pretty clear Google’s short-to-mid-term algorithmic plans are going to rely on more and more heavily on this. One would think that would slowly push out the importance of most inbound links.

    Is it reasonable to think that someday linkbuilding with no long be part of the algorithm at all?


  • Tipjar

    Noticed the SERP change with your Security Guard site, was hoping you’d do a post. Good stuff!

  • http://www.wpforbusinesswebsites.com Chris Hess

    I have a good friend who works as an executive at a company. A few years back they hired a company in India to do their SEO. It turns out what they did was put links in forum profiles and spam blog comments. My friends company was recently pounded by Google and they dropped in the listings. They had a message in their “Google webmaster tools” dashboard that said they had followed poor linking practices. He did a backlink search and found all of these links in forum profiles. When he contacted the site owners to see if they would remove the profiles (because he didn’t have access to) he found out a lot of these sites were hacked and didn’t even know there was hundreds of profiles that had been created.

    He is still working to rectify the situation but last I heard Google told him they hadn’t fixed enough of the links yet. I’m working on a post of my own about this but the moral of the story is be VERY careful what you do and who you hire to help you with your link building. I believe one of the best ideas is that if you are going to do anything that might hurt your site, use Pat’s plan to create a layer of abstraction and don’t link to your site directly. Then if something happens it doesn’t directly hurt your site. Overall I think these changes are good and will help those who put real work into their sites to rank better.

  • http://www.eustisshortsaleagents.com Jimmy Williams

    Pat, there will always be someone out in cyberworld trying to “game” the system. Hopefully the changes made by Google will help the serious blogger and websites and cut out some of the fly by night in your face competition. Content has to be king at some point. Just my little rant, your post does make one think of these ever revolving issues.

  • http://ticketbusinessfromhome.com/ John D

    I’m relatively confused about the how secure everyone feels about the buffer layer that’s meant to protect your actual money/niche sites.

    If people are blasting thousands of junk links at these web 2.0 pages it seems like it should be so transparent for Google to identify the real “culprit” that’s looking to benefit from all of that link juice. Seems like it couldn’t be any more obvious when it’s all going to an article on a single page in a directory where the only outbound links are in the author signature block.

    Perhaps I’m being too conservative because clearly people have had tremendous amounts of success with all sorts of link building methods that involve sending tons of lower quality links to the buffer layer.

  • http://www.internetmarketingtofreedom.com/ Nathan Sloan

    Hi Pat,
    I was quite lucky the blog networks I am using were not
    hit…this time round. Definitely food for thought though.

    Im not sure there will ever be ‘one’ way because it is human
    nature and ‘The Red Queen’ theory. As soon as changes are
    made people will find new ways to manipulate the rules.

    Here’s my two bits:

    1. Diversification and Quality is Definitely key.
    2. Authority websites will be way better than thin sites.

    All the best,


  • http://www.jonwiggens.com Jon

    Great insights Pat.

    I especially like your take on “building linkable relationships” and writing incredibly useful stuff. At the end of the day, trying to game the system may work in the short term but ultimately giving Google what they want – great content – is a strategy that will never get old and will continue to produce results.

  • Debbie

    What about bing? Any luck with rankings with them?

  • http://www.experimentincome.com/build-my-rank-is-dead/ Ramy Khuffash

    I agree with everything you say and it’s all worth the extra effort if the site you’re trying to rank for is a bigger, more long term project. I also agree with where the big Google is heading.

    The issue is that these bigger sites take up way more time and are still uncertain. Until a site starts getting traffic, it’s hard to estimate (accurately) how much income that site will make so a large chunk of time or money could be wasted.

    There’s also the added risk of having a couple of niche sites instead of many smaller ones. A large chunk of someones passive income could disappear over night if their efforts are focused on one or two sites and they start to lose their rank.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with 5 page sites as long as that’s all that’s required to cover the topic. Simply adding filler content actually makes the experience worse for people who just want a quick solution to their problem. The question is; is it still worth building a smaller niche site if all this extra effort is required for it to rank?

    My plan is to spend more time on Keyword Research to make sure the niches I go for have even less competition. So even if the topic only requires 5 pages, there aren’t even any sites currently giving the topic 5 pages worth of content.

    I’m not sure how things will pan out but I get the feeling that working on bigger niche sites that become more of a brand or authority (like your security guard site) will become more profitable.

    Do you think it’s now more important to focus on niche/authority sites rather than topics that only require 5-20 pages or so?

  • Alex B

    Hey Pat!

    Thanks for such a though provoking blog post! This is exactly what I needed to read on a Monday afternoon!

    Your tips and advice make perfect sense– and I certainly look forward to applying those strategies to my site(s). One thing I am starting to wonder/question — I am assuming you first set out to design your backlinking strategy to be ‘ideal’ for niche sites. However, as we see more and more of these Panda updates, and the backlinking strategy shifting to a process that is more natural, I wonder if it can start to be applied to authority style sites as well? Since after all, if you truly comply with what Google is looking in a top 10 site, you’ll find yourself defining a authority site, in my opinion.

    Anyone else want to share their thoughts on this?

    Thanks again Pat for all you do, the wonderful content, and always looking out for our best interest and providing us with the knowledge and skills we need to be successful!

    Best regards,

  • Claire

    Pat, I’ve submitted several articles to Ezine all of which were accepted over a month ago. However, I’m still showing no backlinks from Ezine. Do you know why that is? You say that article marketing still works, but if so why don’t those show up as backlinks anywhere?

    Thanks Pat ! Your site has been so helpful!

    • Pat

      Where are you looking for backlinks from? What tool are you using? Even the best tools don’t show all of the links pointing to a site. To really check if the backlinks are working, type in site: followed by the url and if it shows up in Google, that means it’s indexed, and if it’s indexed, then the backlink is doing it’s job. Also, just double check the link itself in the anchor text pointing to your site, to make sure there wasn’t anything misspelled.

    • http://www.profitablenicheblogging.com Rob M

      I had a similar experience. Frustrating isn’t it? I don’t think Google webmaster tools list all back links. I was seeing differences between the old yahoo site explorer and Google webmaster tools. In some cases the links eventually appeared but some did not. Doesn’t mean they are not there though. Rob.

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    Pat, I have left quailty comments on blogs (everyday), used social media (friends sharing my post) and have had 3 guest post with a few more to come, is this enough?

    • http://SupremacySEO.com Travis

      Enough for what? Are you ranking where you want to be? If yes then it is enough, if not then do more. IMO you should be diversifying a lot more then just blog comments as your main weapon.

      • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

        I gues I have to be more intentional about what I’m looking for. I do get a good amount of search engine traffice though. Thanks for the tips

  • http://www.blueglobalmedia.com/blog Christelle Hobby

    I really like the direction this is headed. Not to say the updates haven’t jostled some plans, but like you said, it isn’t shocking that Google would go after these types of sites. Anything that is going to provide an SEO shortcut is something to be weary of. Google has been loud and clear about wanting quality. The best thing you can do for yourself, your site and (most importantly) your readers is create quality content worthy of a page 1 position. Thanks Pat!

  • http://couchable.co Tyler Herman

    Article spinning and all of the other grey/black hat techniques are eventually going to get hit by Google. They are going to be coming down hard soon. Just look at all the sites being de-indexed and the people losing their Google Adsense accounts right now, and this is just the beginning.

    I’m not sure what they are going to do about web 2.0 sites, but article submission is dead as disco.

    You either need to be prepared to start over and change up your strategy or go legit.

    • http://www.northorangecountyrealestate.com Samuel

      Disco isn’t dead though Tyler. Check out the Rhonda parties in LA.

  • http://www.thehomeforsurvival.com Survivor Mike

    Great post Patrick!

    Will be sharing this with my readers as many are into SEO.

    Keep adjusting right?

  • http://www.build-a-blog-site.com Joe Elliott


    Great information here and i still believe great content works wonders, whether it be a post, an article, a web 2.0, forum or blog comment… If you write decent stuff Google will reward you, it’s not a easy job…

    Thanks Again
    Joe Elliott

  • http://www.ivblogger.com Sheyi

    I do not think anything good can come from Google again. They are here to disturb us always and we will also dance to their tune which is not good with me.

    I prefer using fb ads now to promote fb fan page and solo ads too. Then send fans to your website which is more okay for me.

    You can also use e-mail marketing but it does not work with adsense sites very well.


  • http://incomepress.com Joey

    All I’m saying is that “Out with the Old and In with the New” is slowly becoming “Out with the New and In with the Old” 😉

    Old tactics and techniques still work. Even more so now because everyone’s been using the new stuff. And most only know the new ways.

    If you have experience with the old ways, I think you’ll have an advantage over the rest. I use a version of my own similar to Pat’s backlinking wheel. And it works for me.

    Yes it’s tedious and takes longer. But like all things, it can be outsourced. If you really dread doing it the old fashion way, then have someone else do it for you.

    I never used those Blog Networks cause I just never trusted them. And thank heavens I didn’t. Lot’s of people gonna be hurting cause of this.

    I’m with Pat here though. diversifying is key. Very important. Don’t just rely on one method or resource. Do it the right way from the get go and you’ll be fine.

    Pat, thanks again for a bad @$$ post. This definitely deserves a Podcast version 😉

    • http://www.moneynaut.com Russell Houghton

      I agree Joey! The “old” way of doing business on the internet, is just doing business, I think we have so much corner-cutting that the “old” way is foreign now. As marketers I think we forget that we are not necessarily Google’s customer, the average Joe search user, is their customer, and Google is going to do their best to ensure they are getting controlled, “quality” information from their searches. If you are outside of that line Google has drawn in the sand, its only a matter of time before they notice. I think our focus should be more on providing, and less on finding ways to minimize; minimize our effort, minimize keystrokes, content, postings, intervals etc etc.

  • http://thepolicetrainingacademy.com Ryan Sprout

    You’ve got an excellent link building strategy that I’ve used for all my niche sites! So far, it’s worked out pretty well however I’d like to add that Drop My Link is an excellent .edu linkbuilding tool!

  • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

    I think with Panda and all the de-indexing going on, the main focus of Google is to get everyone to focus on the most important thing: delivering value to others. I wrote a post the other day on the one question Panda has taught us to ask ourselves and I think it also applies in this case as well.

    Here it is: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-one-question-google-panda-has-taught-us-to-ask-ourselves/41781/

    Great stuff as always Pat!

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Best_Country_First_Dance_Songs_2012 Jason

    I just listen to a webinar a few weeks ago pushing blog networks. These people were paying big money to get links from the network. I think the end result of everything Google is doing is basically making real, useful content ( and the links to the real content) the answer. If it isn’t helping people get the info that they are looking for, then Google will find a way to let you fall out of the search rankings. Gone are the easy days. Good post!

  • http://www.passiveincomedude.com Matt Foden

    Thanks Pat- a really great post as usual- I was stung with BMR too- I used it heavily on a few niche sites, and now many of them have been badly hit- I agree that this is a good thing- anything that requires sites to rank based on merit can only be a good thing in the end! I guess there is no real shortcut is there? But then, that’s a good thing- I’ve learned a really valuable lesson with all this!

  • http://www.sybersquad.com Christopher Knopick

    I’m curious if sites like infobarrel.com were included in the Google de-listing? Been thinking about branching out with my writing a bit more but with this…not sure if it’s worth it.

  • http://www.leavingworkbehind.com/ Tom Ewer

    I think the 5-7 page niche sites will be around for the foreseeable future, as they are able to target specific long tail keywords far better than most “authority” sites, but I believe that *my* long term future is in authority sites.

    That being the case, my focus would be on building up relationships with likeminded bloggers, maximizing the impact of social media, and creating great content. In order words, steps 5-7 above. Onsite optimization would be very important too, but with the above approach I would probably do nothing in the way of black hat SEO.

  • http://www.livingauthentically.org Evan

    Excellent. It looks like google is finally catching up with those of us who want to make our money ethically!

  • Jerret

    This is funny because these were the SAME discussions happening in 2004/2005! I find the “ethical” argument funny too. This isn’t life or death people. And, no matter what any guru says, nobody knows the whole truth about Google. I’m sure they love it when the SEO community starts sounding the death knell every 2 weeks.

  • http://www.erim.net Erim

    Great post, Pat. Thanks. Always good to hear your thoughts on things. I have been reading a lot lately about overall changes Google’s making, trying to Panda-proof and improve my sites.

    Overall, I think this will all be a positive step forward, and actually eliminate busywork doing stuff like BMR to begin with. I never used them specifically, but I used ALN a bit, and I imagine that’s part of the reason for the Google dance I’ve been experiencing. But this is obviously all part of Google’s push to base rankings on site quality, and less on in bound links.

    I’d rather spend my time improving my sites than trying to game the system, whether it’s with inbound links or FB likes. Regarding social indicators, how they’re becoming more important in SEO and people will be more inclined to use tools to fake them – I used SYNND briefly, and then I realized that I wanted social indicators like that to be genuine, particularly things like FB likes.

    There were two main reasons: One, it’s easier to tell what kind of genuine social engagement you’re generating, without having to weed out the spammy stuff. And two, the more people spam these kinds of things, the more Google will try to figure out a way to pick out the spam. And they will. It might take them a couple years, but at that point everybody will be talking about how they’re sites are getting slapped because of the latest algo changes that are picking out the fake FB likes they created back in 2012.

    Thanks again, Pat, and keep up the good.

  • http://www.mmatrainingrevolution.com David

    Hi Path, great content here,

    I agree it seems quite logic that Google search engine goes more social, and specially using +1 metrics. Up to this point I was focused on building content and backlinks, but I think I’ll start digging more on social websites for my niche site.

    The problem with this, is that it is more difficult to build a community of followers for small niche sites or local small business, so I don’t know quite well how fair this measure will be…

    Thanks a lot,

  • http://freetoliveyourdreams.com Emily

    :( I’m glad I planned to cancel my account with Blog Blueprint (I signed up earlier this month) after my 30 days was up.

    Well, maybe I should put a :) instead, b/c I HATE HATE HATE backlinking, and would much rather use the time to write real stuff for my sites!

    Anyway, thanks for keeping us updated, Pat. I had no clue this was happening. This totally clicks with what I heard a guy who used to do SEO for a living recently say: content, content, content.

  • http://www.victoralexon.com VictorAlexon

    Always think about the pros and cons in the long run when you are making any decisions for your business.

    It may take longer for you to see results with an ehtical approach to link building, but it sure will be safer and better in the long run.

    Think about the tortoise and the hare.

    Best regards,


  • http://www.maigrir-du-ventre.org/ Lisa

    Google isn’t the only search engine changing its algorythm. Bing and Yahoo are doing the same. Using Rank Checker, I noticed a huge drop in the rankings of several of my niche sites. These sites are clearly lacking social backlinks. So, have Bing and Yahoo given a heavier weight to social media for their serp’s ? Most likely, I’d say.
    So yes, social media must be included in seo, even more so than ever before.

  • Rob

    Finally, I’m glad they fixed that error in their indexing. I always laugh when these changes happen and “web marketers” scream bloody murder. It makes me happy….


    Because its annoying as hell to those of us that work hard to make a living on-line without utilizing tricks to cheat.

    I have spent 5 years of long hard work building my blog and brand to the point I could live off of it. I’m not quite there, but so close I can smell it.

    Thus every time Google makes a change to page ranking, and people that use dirty tricks to get to the top sink, meanwhile I grow in prestige and rank. For the last 3 years, every time Google made a change to the algorithm, my business grows.

    There are NO short cuts to succeeding on-line. Only hard work and descent products will last for the long haul. Bloggers (especially “spam” bloggers) tend to be “flash in the pan” brands. They use black-hat to get to the top of Google and it may last for 6 months, a year, 3 years… but sooner or later, they lose.

    Meanwhile, those that take the slow, but steady White Hat approach to building a brand, have been rewarded for the extra time put in as well as making money during the times the black hat’s are trying to figure out their next scam.

    Sooner or later, Google will figure out technology that will eliminate almost anyone that uses cheats to get a head, leaving those of us that have been building a loyal brand will have years of authority behind us and the black hat guys will be out of business .

    Food for thought…

  • http://lyndsysimon.com Lyndsy Simon

    It seems to me that those who stay ahead of the trends are the ones who make money, while those that adopt a strategy when it is seeing success are constantly “kicking the can” down the road to stay ahead of Google’s updates.

    I’m de-emphasizing traditional SEO for my part, and focusing instead on building a social graph and a personal brand. I’m taking a much larger lead on tying my own name and face to the things I write – and potentially, soon, I’ll be creating pseudonyms where I’ll do the same. As Google continues to move towards incorporating this type of information into their results, with luck my sites will be positioned to ride the wave to the top.

    In time, people will see that social is the way to go, and will create “private profile networks” or something similar, in an attempt to game the system. As soon as I start to see WSOs offering to target my strategy hit WarriorForum, I’ll know it’s time to start investigating what Google’s Next Big Thing is.

  • http://harrydelgado.com/ Harry Delgado

    Pat, you have definitely opened up my eyes on this whole back linking strategy stuff going around on the net. I am still learning and have several sites I am still trying to rank but have not allowed much back linking. I use UAW heavily on these sites and I am very happy so far.

    Thank You, for this great information Pat.

  • http://www.profitablenicheblogging.com Rob M

    Again a great post. I have always seen the back linking process as slightly scammy or unethical. Posting tons of spinned content all over the web just for a backlink always seemed odd to me. There must be better ways. Paid advertising is probably one of the best. Invest your link building money into some banner ads or facebook ads. Or create a lot more on Youtube. They are Googles best friend at the moment. In fact it is easy to get on Google page one using Youtube. See my blog…

  • http://www.sohelpmetodd.com Todd

    Personally, I’m all for it. As primarily a “consumer” of Google’s services, nothing chaps me more than searching for something I’m interested in, clicking on one of the first few links and getting useless content.

    You know the content I’m talking about, it’s those articles that aren’t quite “right”, with that odd assortment of synonyms that sounds like Google Translate spit it out.

    As a contributor to information on the internet, I’m encouraged that Google is refining their methods so that truly beneficial and original content shines. My blog posts usually take me between 2 and 6 hours to write, and I write them either because I have a strong opinion about something or to answer a question that I had but could not get answered on Google.

  • Paul

    Some websites are by their nature more prone to get links than others. Some topics are just plain boring. Even if you have great content, people may just not be inclined to link back to the site very often. In such cases, a website would almost be forced to do artificial link building if there were other sites competing for the same keywords.

    Pat, I would be interested to know how many links coming into your security guard site (and your other niche sites) are coming in organically versus those you have created with your linkbuilding.

  • http://lifesearlyadapter.com Ryan C McKay

    Personally, I think this is a VERY good thing for most of the people who care about the content of their blogs as much or more than just page views. It’s always been my opinion that if you have to “trick” people to get what you need from them, then you deserve whatever treatment the Google’s of the world decide to give you. I can’t begin to say how disappointed I have been with so many Google results over the last 3 (or so) years. I see so many blogs at the top of the rank that are the same re-packaged garbage…and all too often, selling either the latest Pyramid Scheme or (worse) a system for getting you to the top of Google by peddling worthless crap. I applaud Google!
    (“Life’s Early Adapter” and Pie Enthusiast)

  • http://goldcoastspringwater.com Gold Coast Spring Water

    As part if my diversification… I have several 3 page mini sites. They are a great affiliate marketing tool. If these mini sites are knocked out by google… it means it will knock out half the affiliate marketers in the blog-o-sphere. There needs to be a way to identify genuine affiliate marketers from the push button spammy sites. I wonder how this could be achieved??

  • http://www.robchipman.net Rob

    Pat – good post, as usual, and, as usual, I learn as much from the comments as I do from the post itself. You’ve built a great community.

    I like the idea that quality will be rewarded more, but I’m still confused. I write stuff, spin it for a high unique rating, but when you send out 100 spun versions of the same thing it isn’t that rewarding. Still, I need links before anyone will see the good stuff I have on the niche site.

    I’m going to start the forum comment plan that Trevor uses. I’ve noticed that I get good links from places like your blog, Pat, and I don’t post here just to get a link. If I’m visiting other forums I may as well get the same payback, since I’d be doing it anyway.


    You wrote “WordPress SEO also gives you Title, Description, and Keywords, but also gives you the ability to control which pages are indexed as well as manually edit files such as .htaccess and robots.txt. You can one-click no-index the author and date archive pages on a one-author blog, as well as no-index tag pages and so on. You’d want to do this because the author archive will be identical to the main blog archive on a one-author blog and therefore is duplicate content. ”

    Can you expand a bit? This is completely new to me and I do have one author blogs. I’d like to explore and play around with it a bit more.


  • http://orgspring.com Craig Grella


    I think the writing is on the wall in regard to blog link networks. If these posts can be created by robots they can certainly be picked up by big G’s algorithms – especially the ones that are out short and out of context.

    But I think this is great news for the bloggers out there like yourself, who consistently put out thoughtful, informational content that engages and teaches people. That content will always be in demand, and maybe now with less competition from link bait and scrapers.

  • http://www.successfulblogging.com Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging

    Hi Pat,

    Couldn’t resist the chance to be the 100th commenter:)

    Always reading what you write here and in your fab newletters even if I don’t comment every time.

    Guest posting is such a time-consuming strategy but it’s still the best one. I’m glad the spammy link building pratices are being phased out. The only way to build incoming links is through a long slow process of guest posting, commenting and writing the best stuff you can in the hope that people link to it naturally.

    Better go do some of that right now!

  • http://www.eclickbankreviews.com Brandon Johnson

    Another great post Pat. Thanks for staying on top of this. I was wondering about the weight of the various tiers you laid out in your backlinking strategy. I am currently working on a couple of backlinking projects, and just recently cancelled my paid backlinking service because I thought that blog linking was thin and spammy. Does anyone have any references to any official announcements from G on what they did?

  • http://shuckabuck.com Shuck

    Pat, great post again!

    I believe this will open the doors for the people who are serious and ready to work to get their rankings. I just hope some IMers get out of the business and go back to the grind…I’ll be happy to take their spots in the SERPs :)

    Ps. About your backlinking strategy, have you ever thought about creating a service for it?

  • http://www.hairlossinwomen101.com Christina

    Pat, thanks for not only explaining the issue and your take on it, but for going one step further and discussing how this affects your backlinking strategy (which a lot of people use) and what other backlinking techniques people can explore if they were affected by this issue. Looking forward to more great posts!

  • http://uscitytraveler.com/ Taylor Goldblatt @ USCityTraveler

    Hi Pat,

    Great post, as always! I have always heard that content is king but I strongly believe that you must take part in traffic building strategies to get any type of significant traffic. No matter how incredible ones site is, no one will come without link building, etc…

    Best regards,

  • http://ausdiysolar.blogspot.com.au/ Philbyt

    Hi Pat
    Great post.
    I started a blog using Blogger as an experiment to observe how it would rank. I have made several posts over the last month and added 3 simple web 2.0 backlinks, plus a referral from facebook every time I blog. It now comes up on google.com page 2 for a 3 word keyword, and if I long tail it by adding “blog” it comes up as no 1. It also comes up no.1 in Bing for the same 3 words. Now, this contains “Solar” as one of the keywords which is quite competitive.
    I do believe (what I see as a reasonable ranking success) is contributed by good content, social links and that I am using a Google platform to blog.

    • http://www.solar-ovens.net/ James

      What would you suggest to “link in” to for best SEO?

  • http://workoutsforhome.com Susan Campbell

    Thanks Pat, I was wondering what some of the bigger bloggers would be doing as a result of the latest Google change. Although Google keeps making us change our backlinking strategy, in the end I’m with you and think that it will give us bloggers who actually create good content but don’t cheat the system the best chance to ultimately come out on top. I’m ok with that.

    I think this is my first time commenting on your site so wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for all your awesome content. Love coming to the SPI blog!

  • Mike Kofman

    This notion of ethical vs. non-ethical link building is a moot point. According to Google, ALL link building is black hat. As long as there are financial incentives without repercussions to continue using scrapebox and xrumer, marketers will use them. They are equally available to webmasters who put out great content, so you should be able to outrank spam sites with your high quality content.

    It’s kind of a lost cause to argue ethical vs. unethical.

  • Mike Kofman

    Just to clarify, I meant “unethical” rather than non-ethical :-D.

  • http://www.ezhangdoor.com Randy

    I think the comments took longer for me to read than the article!

  • http://www.strongerseniors.com Anne Pringle Burnell


    I can see why this took you all weekend. Very comprehensive. My to-do list just doubled in size!

    Stay strong,

  • http://www.hcgdietrecipesmadesimple.com Toni Scott

    Great post. I’ve been anxiously waiting to see what you would have to say about the blog networks issue. I used BMR briefly and I think that the articles I wrote were unique, pertaining to my keyword and my site, and provided good information to my audience. I felt much better about that technique versus some of the others I’ve heard about. I hate it when I’m looking for information online and I click on a site where the words don’t even make sense. And don’t get me started on duplicate content! When I search, sometimes 3 to 5 of the sites on Google’s first page have the exact same article (no spinning). Interesting stuff.

  • http://theyellowlabradorian.com Sally


    Thank you again for another useful article. I really appreciate your leaning toward encouraging us all to seek “ethical links” and to put our efforts toward creating great content. When I conduct a Google search to catch up on blogs in my niche area, Labrador Retrievers, I find that the top ranking sites’ contents are as recent as TWO YEARS AGO. I wonder WHY they stay at the top if content isn’t being created. So, it’s probably good that Google evened the playing field, as you put it, because blogging should be about good content and good relationships, and not whether or not you have the cash to pay to stay at the top. That’s not blogging, is it?

    • David

      Hi Sally, there’s an SEO theory known as QDF – Query Deserves Freshness – some niches benefit the user with fresher content ranking highly (superbowl, movies, justin bieber etc.) and others don’t (welding techniques, labrador retrievers etc.)

      Google’s point is that, once a website has established itself as a true authority on a non-QDF topic like labador retrievers, it will take more than just fresh content to threaten its high rankings.

      Hope this makes sense!

      • http://theyellowlabradorian.com Sally

        Thanks for the insight, David. No, I didn’t know that. The QDF theory is very interesting…and a little disheartening, if I’m understanding it correctly. Readers don’t get to decide what qualifies as good content? Google is the judge? Am I following you?

        Well, in our home, we blog to blog because we enjoy the topic and know that others do to. Even if we land on the 100th page in the 100th spot on a G search, we’ll keep doing we what enjoy doing. Google and others can’t steal our joy.

        I appreciate this blog, Pat, and all the knowledge that is poured into it.

        • David

          It’s not quite so bleak :) Readers certainly do get to decide what qualifies as good content: click-through rates, bounce rates, social shares, time on site etc. are all fantastic metrics of visitor engagement that tell Google how useful the user finds the content.

          I’m just saying that the addition of new content alone does not qualify a website for higher rankings. Unfortunately, the “build it and they will come” strategy can never work when there are just so many competitors in the same niches.

          These days, websites need to be attracting inbound links and/or social activity by reaching out to the related communities and providing compelling value. I’m sure you could propel your dog website onto the first page of Google very easily.

        • http://theyellowlabradorian.com Sally

          Thanks for the encouragement, David! A one hundred pound sporting dog can propel a lot! …maybe even a web site.

          Happy trails to ya’ll.

  • http://www.safefromshame.com Colleen

    Frankly, as another consumer, I’m glad to see it. When I put on my “user” hat, it just seems like a win all around. I’m pretty good at weeding out the bogus sites (because they never have descriptions that make sense), but it’s nice to know I shouldn’t have to as much anymore.

    And when I put on my “blogger” hat, well, *shrug*. My site simply isn’t something those sorts of methods would actually work very well for anyway.

  • Stephen

    Great post, Pat. I would add:

    1. The best way for anyone to increase their chances of success is to ensure you pick a “sweet spot” niche in the first place…one where there really is good demand, and just not many other sites. Yes, this is increasingly more difficult, but if you start in this “sweet spot” to begin with, everything else related to ranking becomes much easier.

    2. I agree…it all comes down to diversification of ranking methods (which MUST include social media these days) and good content. Whatever Google does in the future, I’d like to think that those sites which are genuinely valuable, won’t have to worry about it as much. Which is precisely how things should be. Perhaps that’s a bit naive of me, but Google is in fact slowly getting “smarter”, and I can foresee a time when people who aren’t truly adding real value, will simply find it harder to rank. For anything. Sure, there will always be ways to crack the system and “cheat”, so to speak. But doing so will get harder, not easier. Google understands that to remain #1 in search, it needs the right sites in the top rankings. That means sites that add real and lasting value to any particular niche.

    3. It may sound hokey, but I still believe that “doing the right thing” will go a long way towards achieving rankings. You do well Pat because you provide massive value, and people trust you. They know that if Pat Flynn says something, it’s probably useful, and most certainly genuine. In other words, you have brand equity that money literally can’t buy. And that is HUGE! I think future Google algorithms will find ever-increasing and ever-smarter ways to measure and reward brand equity, beyond those traditional means that can be easily manipulated. And brand equity must always start with doing the right thing (*cough*Travis*cough*).

    • http://www.degree31.com Mark Evans

      Well said Stephen! As for #3, I think Pat’s large share and comment counts are also tremendously helpful in Google’s eyes.

  • http://www.yourbossblows.com Bryan Knowlton

    Wow, now that is a great, in depth article about backlinking! I have to say, I just love your content and wish I could produce such amazing posts like you do. I spend plenty of time writing articles and making videos but have not spent a lot of time on my backlinking strategy yet.

    It is a very difficult process and very time consuming. I have tried to outsource this over and over with no good results. At this time I have to set aside a few hours a week or more and do it myself.

    Thanks again for the wonderful post.


    • http://www.degree31.com Mark Evans


      look 7 posts below this one. Look familiar? I have heard of content scraping, but have never seen blatant comment scraping before. What is up with that? That is unbelievable!

      • Pat

        Thanks for bringing this to my attention Mark. Deleting and blacklisting now.

  • http://www.enoughcashflow.com Samuel


    Great post as usual. My perspective is aligned with your belief that Google is moving towards rewarding sites with useful content.

    It sucks to see that someone else is copying your work… I predict they will eventually fall off the top ranking because it’s obvious they are not very passionate about the niche.

    Continued success to you!


  • http://www.dare-up-your-party.com Francis

    I enjoyed reading your advice – once again. My blog mainly ranks from the sheer amount of new original content. I would place content creation at the number one spot for successful link building.

  • Steve

    What I want to see from Pat – or else – is an article (ebook?) on how to do marketing without SEO. Let’s pretend that Google is dead for a moment..


  • http://redinternetmarketing.com Alex

    I welcome the changes! The changes are exactly what I like about internet marketing, you have to stay on top of the changes and adapt. There is plenty of room for creativity. Sadly the spammy techniques will not disappear, only change. Good luck to us all!

  • http://conversionbay.com Nikola Cvrtnjak

    Wow, that was one hell of a nice post :). Algorithm will never be perfect, but some things will always work. Social media links, guest blogging, quality content. These three things are in my opinion the future of seo :).

    Yes, there will be always spammers, but if you want to start a long term business then the best way is to do it naturally… Share links via social media and many people will link to you that way when they find your link, especially if the content is quality. Guest posting is a good way to get a quality backlink from a good article you wrote by yourself and from a good website. So these are 3 stuff that i will personally invest in more in the future :)

  • http://www.brightbodyfitness.com Dorothy

    Thanks for a very useful and thorough article on this issue. I have just gotten started in the last 6 months with my site and thankfully haven’t undertaken any back linking strategies other than the ‘hard work’ kind. I think I’ll keep at it!

  • http://opticmemory.ca Wil

    Very informative post Pat. I’m in the process of building my backlinks and I thought that being active in a forum would help bring in some traffic. Not doing that anymore. At least not as active. I will now direct my time more on the anchor layer instead.

    Thanks again for the wonderful tips

  • http://www.kennyfabre.kfm24.com/ Kenny Fabre


    building links is very important, it best built when we set a solid link building system where the search engines see our link building as natural and quality

  • Pam

    I always look forward to your emails. I am toying with the idea of building niche sites but all this information is so overwelming, what to do, what not to do and then you find it was all wrong and it’s time to start from scratch again.

    It is obvious that you took time to write this article and it is extremely informative.

  • http://www.make-money-on-online.com Charles

    I think Google is moving towards “natural social signals” such as Google Plus.They will also continue to devalue spammy links.
    Thanks Pat for always giving great value.

  • http://thegirlsguidetolawschool.com Alison Monahan

    Thanks for a very interesting article. I run a fairly niche site, and haven’t done any paid link building (or really any non-organic link building – just from guest posts, etc.) and I seem to be getting a lot more Google traffic in the last week or so. I’m quite curious why, and will have to investigate further!

  • http://www.asbestos-watch.com Cory Buckles

    First of all, I think BMR should be applauded for how they’re handling the situation (or at least how they say they’re going to handle it). Prorated refunds and full affiliate payouts are a good sign that they aren’t trying to leave all of their customers/affiliates holding an unfair portion of the proverbial bag.

    Secondly, after a very brief stint with automated link-building, I dropped it completely and switched to manual link-building practices. My best niche site saw an immediate and noticeable jump in the SERPs following the recent de-indexing of the blog networks, so it does appear that the campaign is having the desired effect as far as Google is concerned–sites with artificial links got nerfed, and sites with more natural links have shifted up, at least temporarily.

  • http://shawnozbun.com Shawn Ozbun

    I think the changes are good. There are so many sites that don’t deserve to be ranked at the top that are simply because of using these back linking programs. Another thing I have noticed is that Google is ranking post and sites higher based on Google + results. For example if you have added me to your Google plus circles and you search for a topic I wrote about, mine will show up in the top results for you. Social signals are becoming the most important thing to focus on I believe. Even over backlinks. I wrote a post about that, you can check it our here if your interested. http://shawnozbun.com/internet-marketing/why-you-had-better-be-on-google-plus-a-couple-tips-you-cant-afford-to-miss/

  • http://abfabdesigns.com Teena Hughes

    Hi Pat, as always you provide an excellent overview of what’s been going on with Google, and voiced the fears that a lot of folks have about. I know plenty of people who are very nervous about their site being de-indexed, so I keep telling them to write quality content (like you’ve mentioned) and whenever possible be part of the conversation in their niche. You’ve also given me food for thought on the G+ and other social factors which might become part of the algorithm in future.

    Thanks for this article, your transparency on what you use (and have used) for your own site is always appreciated.

  • adrien

    Hi Pat and everyone,

    Thanks for your wonderful post Pat. To be honest, I have been waiting for this post after BMR deindex! I know you will come up with this post soon.

    Another way to build links can be youtube or video traffic. I read this from Trent’s Online Income Lab.

    One more thing Pat. I have noticed that many big names on the internet have their Adsense account banned because of potential invalid clicks. I am sure you have heard it too. That makes me worried about your security guard training site. You know you have been sharing everything. It is easy for Google to ban your account with that “potential invalid click email”!

    I hope your Adsense account is fine though. Luckily you have started private advertisement on it!

  • http://www.bestforexranking.com Sng

    Hi Patt, I just read your eBook and many other of your posting including this post. Comparing recent Panda update and previous updates by Google, they are steering towards real human traffic and getting ride of possible linking performed by computer algorithm. But this is very difficult for Google to create search algorithm that actually can identify both of them. Looking at the Google trend and your linking strategy, mass article submission and social media book marking will definite be here to stay for long term to get good ranking on Google search. My views on SEO future.

  • http://www.sheeplg.com Jerry

    Hey Pat,

    Great article. Much appreciated information. I’ve been looking at a link building strategy for my site and feel validated that I have chosen the steady, natural way rather than just a bunch of links with little relevance to my site.

  • http://wanderingtrader.com WanderingTrader

    I probably had a subscription to every link network either other than BMR and was actually looking forward to joining them when they reopened their slots. I didn’t get killed like most people but did have one link out there with BMR when I tried them as a free trail a long time ago.. I still use different link networks that do have results and have recently found a private network that doesn’t advertise their work for that very reason to give them a try. I am constantly trying new things but I think the way to go now is CREATE YOUR OWN private link network and possibly exchange with others that have the same.. we have already started this process and it is going well. Thanks Pat for the post

  • http://Www.howtoforipad.com Dan R

    Definitely hope that big G does over time learn to value quality content more and more. Its disheartening to see horrible, junky sites ranking above you. Great post Pat.

  • http://floridainboundmarketing.com Scott Dennison

    This may be opening a can of worms but I suspect that where this is headed (based in part on the announcement that using semantic language patterns) that Google will soon be seeking to answer many/most of search inquiries from their own index and their own sites – rather than directing them to your site(s) to find the answers.

    Not the end of SEO but certainly the end of organic seo – especially link building.
    You see Google can’t ever stop the manipulation of their search index, as they shift emphasis to social signals, sites open with networks of people to click on your G+ and Like buttons, thereby manipulating results in a new/different way.

    What will happen then is that ‘real’ business owners will be forced to advertise their sites to get traffic and the rest will fall away. Google IS the worlds largest advertising firm and gets north of 60% of all searches. Naturally they want to sell more advertising…

    Here’s the question then. When it comes to organic search results does Google really need us for anyway? Anyone here think they won’t eventually decide to provide most of the answers to the searches being done from advertisers not those who have figured out how to game their system to get top search results?

    • http://www.smartincomeinvestments.com/ Brett

      Yeah, search for “water coolers” on Google and 80% of the screen is Google advertising. This is a $7 click niche so waddadya know, Google wants to keep pretty much all the advertising budget for this niche.

  • http://www.lostcyclist.me Quinton Hamp

    One of my first thoughts this morning was “I wonder what Pat Flynn thinks about all this.”

    Spot on, man.

  • http://www.rungtong.com Mike Wanner

    Pat – recently I’ve automated my link building using the Link Liberation 2.0 software. You and your readers probably know this coaching program. I’ve noticed through several analytic packages ( webmaster tools for Google/Bing, Google Analytics, Raven Tools, Mixpanel, and a few others — I’ve found Google, in particular, is AWARDING sites that do MANUAL link building, rather than automated tasks of sending content, video, etc. out to the world. The proof is split testing using tools versus manually typing each URL and submitting content. The results: six to one in favor of manual link building. The time it takes, yes, is obviously a lot. But the traffic spikes, consistent sharing of links by other bloggers, and the best of all, HIGHER QUALITY LINKS ARE MANUAL – they get INDEXED way sooner than the automated.

    My results are early, and iI probably couldn’t convince a seasoned SEO/link builder that my way is the way or the highway, but the getting a lead on the competitors and keeping rankings through manual link building seems to be working.

    Thought I’d share since I’ve been really enjoying your content. However, I still cringe when you share your revenue as I probably think long term not the greatest idea.

    Do you think if you didn’t share the numbers your followers would see you as less credible? I guess just trying to convince myself to try it.

  • http://www.BuildingNicheIncome.com Aleshia Green

    Thanks Pat for taking the time to send us your own personal evaluation on how to evolve with the Google changes. I think it gives us some insight to believing it can still be done, just with a little focus in other areas. It is hard to start out and understand where to go from here if you do not know where you were going to begin with. I would say I am at that point myself because I was just starting my own niche sites in the past 2 two months. I really am trying to find some sort of guidance here. It is frustrating to take all the wrong turns that other marketers are facing the consequences of now. I would rather go the right route now and see progress.

    Thanks for your time in helping us Pat.

  • http://www.artfulwhiz.com Arts Entrepreneur

    I agree with Scott. It’s a big game that is played and big G wants to be even bigger.
    They want to dominate the net, and will do everything what they want to achieve it.
    At what point Big is to Big?

  • Sharyn Sheldon

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the great commen sense tips. It’s encouraging to me to see Google get better and better at figuring out the best sites to rank. I wish that they’d figure out an algorithm for delivering more up to date results on some topics though – from a user’s perspective. Nothing worse than searching for a tech answer and coming up with a result from 2004, even if it is on a quality site!

    Personally, my whole focus now is on being in the places where my target market is. That includes social media, guest blogging, forums, commenting etc. And sure, that builds links. And yes, I make sure I’m using good keywords and optimizing my content. But the main goal is to connect with the right prospects who will then visit my site, sign up for my list or whatever action I’ve suggested. Now, I’m not building niche sites, so ranking isn’t my main goal. But I never want to be dependent on Google for traffic, and I firmly suggest no one else should be either.

    – Sharyn

  • http://NetworkCorridor.com Mike

    What happened to the good old days, when you simply went to the newspaper and ran an add. They did not care how many back links I had, they did not care how many social evnets I was involved in.

    I also remember a day when there were not 1 million competiors per market.

  • http://wpsmartapps.com Skarki

    Thankx Pat for the excellent alternatives to backlinks.
    Backlinks are important however, if Google de-links them you surely need to find other ways to sustain.
    Can you also write articles on ‘How to get people to promote your products online’ or something like that.

  • http://www.blogwisereview.com Ed Wait

    Well done! Nicely said on all fronts.

    I’m new to all this “online marketing” stuff – a few months into it now, and have purchased a few “guru” courses that just left me feeling a bit dirty for even trying their suggestions. I quickly abandoned them for a completely different business model.

    Although I’m still working on my sites and have yet to earn my first $5, I fell much better about my prospects. Reading this post just reinforces my feelings and thoughts.

    So, thanks again Pat!

  • http://Www.collegesuccesscentral.com Sarah Clark

    I wondered why my google searches were up recently! I looked after reading your post this morning and my site jumped 5 PAGES in google since last week. I love your recommendations, particularly 4-6. I haven’t made it to back linking quite yet, as I’ve been working on the list magnet and a script glitch with my optin skin setup (Glen’s tech support has been AWESOME btw, and I hope to be up and cooking tomorrow. Will post glowing review on that thread as soon as things are resolved). I plan to start linkbuilding in earnest next month, with the goal of being on page 1 for my primary by the time fall semester starts.

  • http://www.newbloggerexperiment.com Rich Ryan

    I’m just getting started building a website for my blog and learning how to design the layout and create some useful content but am really overwhelmed with the linking and SEO stuff at this point. I really appreciate what a great resource your site has been for me! Thanks.

  • http://www.muscle-building-reviews.com Gerry

    Great post that brings us back where we should have been all along – to the basics that work! I don’t think SEO will ever really die completely, but gaming the SEO system is definitely DOA.

  • http://www.mingjongtey.com Ming

    Hi Pat,

    I think diversification of link building is the key. The other point I look forward to see the effect is the recent announcement of penalty of over-optimization of the sites, which I recently posted (http://www.mingjongtey.com/seo/over-optimization-penalty-google/). Since I suspect the drop of the ranking might be more related to the deindex of blog network and not the penalty of over-optimization since they are launching in weeks or months time. I think the real effect will be shown after the penalty. So far, we all speculate, tweak and optimize the site for better ranking and Google do not provide a definition of over optimized sites.

    So far, only one of my sites were hit and some others improved a bit probably because the drop of ranking of the competitors… Blog network is 1 thing confirmed under Google radar and the penalty launching soon is another thing (different as devalue of specific types of link building strategies as I see).

    The other thing we can do apart from changing the link building strategy is to tap on other traffic sources just in case of single point of failure.

  • http://www.bestbuys4business.com/business-blog Michelle

    Another great post with brilliant content and replies from followers. Thanks Pat, you are appreciated. Cheers Michelle

  • http://www.affiliatenichemarketinghelp.com/ Charlie

    What a wonderful post on ethical link building. I also used BMR as part of my SEO strategy. But now that Google de-indexed its network of blogs, I have to change my strategy. Thanks Pat for sharing this post.

    My two cents:

    I think, at the end of the day, it is still up to Google what it wants to use to rank websites. What a trending (and often effective) SEO technique today will not be working tomorrow. We can’t really predict what Google wants to do in the future in regard to ranking websites.

    I also agree that creating unique content and sharing informative posts on your niche blog is the key to ranking well.


  • http://josepharchibald.com Joseph Archibald

    You’ve touched on a number of very solid points here Pat – great article!

    One thing that I would like to add to the equation is this.

    Taking just one of my websites as an example. Its about 18 to 20 months old now – bought the domain 18 months or so ago.

    In the fitness niche, which tends to be very competitive by nature.

    On and off I’ve linked to the site, but by and large I’ve just left it to do whatever it would do in the Goog rankings.

    There are only 12 pages of content on the site – 5 months ago another 3 posts were added to make it 12. Good content mind you.

    And the last time I backlinked to the site was also about five months ago.

    Nevertheless, where you would expect the rankings to be dropping (the site had various rankings for fairly high end search volume keywords – generally between 10th and 50th in Google), those rankings have been slowly but surely improving.

    There are a smattering of top ten rankings now, for keywords that get around 5,000 to 50,000 searches in Google a month on a global basis.

    So what’s going on here?

    I suspect that along with the actual maturing of the website, the backlinks that were placed a good while ago are also maturing. Some of those backlinks will possibly be rising in PR too, since I used quite a lot of the methods used by that really strange guy Joseph Archibald – his 40 days strategy, which has now become famous due to your own post – The Backlink Strategy That Works.

    Thus the key here is that a mature site that does not necessarily have a whole mass of backlinks, can do very well in the rankings, even for highly competitive keyword phrases.

    The main issue however for most folks is that this is not a quick fix. There’s no fast return on investment.

    Therefore, what I would suggest is to keep early investment low. Don’t go dumping hundreds of dollars on building your site, then hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a backlinking campaing in the early months.

    Build slowly but surely. Don’t worry if you do not backlink to the site for a couple of months or even a few months – Google will be quite happy about that.

    And don’t worry about erratic backlinking behaviour – apparently Google don’t really mind that either – its natural looking for a lot of niches to have erratic backlinking patterns.

    What’s more, these methods tend to keep your website safe from a Google dumping. Nothing too fast, just slow and somewhat erratic, with regards to backlinking patterns. Plus, the Warriors 40 Days stuff is still a very safe way to rank a money site in Google, so that’s a good foundation to have.

    I best end there or this comment will become a post in itself :-)

    All the best to you and to your readers Pat!


    • Pat

      Well said Joseph, and I completely agree and thankful you touched on this.

      When I really think about the backlinking that went on with my security site, most of it was done, relatively slowly, in the first 73 days, until it got to number one. Then, I stopped, and the only link I’ve added since was a link from SPI, only after I saw copycats and believes my site needed a boost.

      Since then, the anchor layers have matured, as the links pointing them them as well.

      Building a niche site, or any site, for that matter, takes patience, and with all of the bright lights out there promising quick rankings, it’s really tough to just sit there and do what you’re supposed to do. Glad you came in here and reconfirmed that slow and steady still wins the race.


      • steve wyman

        HI Jo and Pat

        Patients is a virtue that’s hard to maintain. But it looks like its one we will have to enhance more and more.

        I too have aged domains that are growing slowly one there own as Jo has said. Indeed one is a single page site 10 years old now in top 10 for a Medical terms thats very competitive.


        • http://josepharchibald.com Joseph Archibald

          Yeah Stevie Wyman, patience is very much a virtue these days where SEO in Goog is concerned. Patience and a solid game plan.

  • http://www.onlinebusinessmania.com/ Sajan Elanthoor

    Thank you Pat, Once again a very informative post. I’ve also heard about Google’s recent updates but not in detail. Also I’m very thankful because I was actually planning to adopt the same backlink strategies that you’ve mentioned in Niche Site posts. Now I can take the strategies that can work even today.

  • http://www.medicalsalesmastery.com W.A. Smith


    This is an extremely helpful post!

    Especially since I’m right in the middle of building back links to my new website. I will definitely refer back to this post to help out with my link building efforts.

    As always, thanks for the awesome & helpful post(s)!

    W.A. Smith

  • http://www.webbusinesstoolbox.com/blog/2012/03/25/i-woke-up-last-night-internet-marketing-doubts/ Monja

    Actually it Seems to be obvious that google one Day – hopefully – finds Most of the Sites cheating and Not offering High quality Content falling Out of the Index. The main question is if wie start to concentrate Again on our Sites and the people there and Not only on Building links. Sometimes it feels as if we have no Time to be ethical to built our Sites as then Weird competitors outrank us

  • http://www.zentodone.eu mac

    Thank you for the many, many tips how I build up a better link strategy for my private blog!

    One point on your list I didn´t do in the past was writing Guestposts, but that will start now.

    Thank you again, very much for your help?

    kind regards

  • http://www.ipnostudio.com Andrea Hypno

    So Google first slapped article directories and then blog networks, who will come next? Now everyone knows that the hidden goal of G is to tell people what to read and not really where to find the informations someone is searching but this last move made me think two things: article directories and blog networks slapped were using Adsense and Adword or something else? And isn’t this a move to push people toward G+ which is already a dead horse with many profiles but not too much movement? Because at the end if you like Facebook there is already Facebook and if you like Twitter there is already Twitter, who in reality needs G+? Or search+?

    G search results are already not really top quality and adding a social part will just make things worse. Really someone thinks that they are going to put a little website above another big ones which probably uses a lot Adword?

    Bing is already much more relevant than Google and if ever Facebook will share ads revenues with its users they’ll throw G out of business in a month, using just Bing within Facebook they’ll throw Google out of business in a year or a bit more. Unless I’m wrong and G doesn’t think only about money. Imho. :)

  • http://www.seoarticlewriteservice.com/ Bill

    Thanks Pat i have enjoyed this guide am happy the way Google has done because it will make the competition to be healthy and worth satisfied.

  • Ruben

    Personally my goal in the future is to have niche websites where I can make money with google adsense and seo… I think its dangerous to put your income in the hands of Google..

    • http://www.makingmoneyonlineguide.net/ Eli – IM Newbie Since 2007

      its funny how you say ‘its dangerous to put your income inthe hands of Google’ , then you want to make money with SEO (google) and Adsense (Google) :)

  • http://www.makingmoneyonlineguide.net/ Eli – IM Newbie Since 2007

    Nice post Pat.. but of course Everyone reading this Knows about those already :)

    (just getting your attention, Im a good guy 😀 )

    Anyway, just want to say that Blog network will stay.. google did caught some of them now, but there will always be someone out there who will create powerful private blog network..

    The take away of course is diversify.. make these blog links a part of the overall strategy…

  • http://www.yomadic.com Nate

    So, let me get this straight…

    … I now need to build a *quality* website around my chosen niche?

    Woah. Interesting concept. It just might work! 😉

  • http://www.squidoo.com/canoneos60d mansukh

    Hi, I just noticed a jump in my adsense earnings and views. I have just one Infobarrel article linked to my adsense. I get about 4-8 clicks a month but today I have 30 clicks in just a day!!!

  • http://hangout-lifestyle.de Lifestyle-Flo

    Good article, Pat. And some good annotations from Joseph Archibald as well. I think Google just tries to be more “human”. In fact Joseph is right when he says that it doesn’t really matter if we don’t create loads of backlinks for a few months.

    Greetings from Germany

    • http://josepharchibald.com Joseph Archibald

      Yeah LifeStyle-Flo – it matters not a lot if you decide to stop linking to your site for a while. Goog still value what you’ve already created both in terms of site content (although not necessarily the quantity of it, even though Pat made a good point in his post about that) and with regards to backlinks (high PR site networks may be down and out right now, but they’ll be back again, and this time embracing more what Google really want).


  • http://goldcoastspringwater.com Damon Taylor

    I have a number of 3 page mini sites that I use to review affiliate products. They are legitimate sites and are NOT push button sites. I wonder how google would identify a legitimate site and a spammy push button site??

  • http://www.thinkmaze.com/ Igor

    It´s a good thing that Google changed their algorythm. It takes A LOT of hard work and true effort to prepare a quality site, and is a terrible thing to then get outranked by some trickster. Thanks for the informative article Pat!

  • http://moneyonlinetalk.com Cashjay@ make money online free

    Too bad this has affected more than 5 of my money blog, am losing hope… Am giving up…

  • http://www.freebrowsinglink.com Legendkid

    This move is going to cause lots of tears and laughter in people’s life.

  • http://mno3ati.wordpress.com ahmed

    great article pat , in my opinion about the future of seo is “the site can give the best user experience is the site that should rank in first spot on google”

    even the seomoz research in this article expect taht

    do you agree with me pat ???

  • http://www.iinclude.com/search-engine-optimization/magic-bullet-to-smash-seo-secret-formula-revealed-inside-used-on-competitive-keywords/ Azzam

    “SEO is dead, long live SEO”

    Just read the post from Katrina Wong, vice president of marketing at Socialbakers on content curation and how brands are working on creating original and fresh unique content and will start to spearhead in this direction.

    This is not to say that there is no scope for a niche to flourish but to have an understanding of what direction the maturity of on-line marketing is going and that brands will be on the band wagon very soon enough and the threats/opportunities need to be weighed up.

    I am not convinced yet about social signals and the impact they have on SEO, I would like to see some research into ‘likes’ part of the social signal. I know sites that have 10,000+ likes put do not get weight as a social signal. Even moreso with the lock down of people who like the page for public viewing it would not make sense at all to include that as a contribution. Nonetheless research ha shown that likes are not a social signal.

    I have written a simple but effective strategy within a report of a method that combined guest posting with article writing to build effective backlinks to rank for highly competitive keywords which you can find here:


  • Garrick Dee

    Was waiting for this post to come out…

    Over the last few months, I’ve checking the SERPs of your security guard training site… until a week ago I saw it drop to #2 for the main KW which shocked me… the #1 site had far less content.

    Again, I applaud you Pat for sharing your niche site for the public to see despite the risks – copycats and getting clicked bombed by a competitor or by someone who’s jealous of your success (in the process getting your adsense account banned).

    I would think that google would have “manual” reviewers who review the top 10 results when you reach page 1 because I read about manual reviewers before. I guess that is not the case with millions of keywords that would be impossible to do.

    The question is now for BMR subscribers is what to do? I’ve gotten a couple of messages inside the google webmaster tools about site getting “unnatural links”… which I think came from bmr, because I didn’t get any message on my other sites that didn’t use bmr.

    I’ve requested all the posts to be deleted in my bmr account (which could take up to a week according to bmr). Hopefully that’ll bump the rankings back up again.

  • http://TimsMinions.com Andi

    Thank you for this article Pat,

    So is it fair to say that the only two things I can really take from this is add great unique content regularly and plan for the long term?

    Have a 12 month plan laid out in front of me, follow it with proper content, guest blogging, social media interaction and niche networking. in a nut shell, do it properly like you would an offline business?

    Is that the only real way for blogging success with Google?

    I am new to all of this, I am trying to do it all right yet everyday I get snowed under with people saying ‘you should do this’ and ‘you should do that’ only to be told that Google will penalise you.

    I am told ‘You cannot survive doing white hat stuff you should do black hat’ and then it’s ‘black hat stuff is a no no so you should keep white hat’.

    Maybe it’s time to get out out my grey hat with white and black polka dots.

    I look forward to your next article and thanks

  • Mccoy

    Pat, are there any automated solutions to backlink building, you think one should consider?

  • http://www.magicelites.com Jeremy

    Thank you very much for this information. I’m french and do not have any french blogs speaking about passive income as good as your blog. It is a big shame ^^

  • http://inglesymagia.wordpress.com Elaine Van Staalduinen

    Hi Pat,
    First off, thank you for your thought full, sincere posts. I read all that you send vía your newsletter which is saying something because you are the only one that I still continue to read. I’ve been in a ‘backing-out phase’ for several months now and it’s all around being true to everyone else and myself – in a word.. being ethical.
    I was on Facebook because everyone (yes, every one) said it was a must to build business on-line but I just don’t like it. So, two days ago, I closed the account and said goodbye to Facebook.
    I am on LinkedIn but have done some thinning of ‘friends’. Now, except for 2 people on my very short list, all are people that I know personally. I mean, when I saw people listed as friends and I had no idea who they were, nor had I ever had contact with them other than an acceptance of their invitation for me to be a friend, thought… what am I doing??
    My blog comes out every week with 1 post. There´s not much else on the page. There were a few outgoing links because some posts were created to write about that link but later I decided that that could be dangerous since the links can cease to function and then the post is basically a dead post. The page looks boring I suppose. There are pictures sometimes but not always… but, I thought.. with everyone putting so much on their pages.. so much visual information… maybe a page that wasn’t so distracting, that didn’t have so many links and offers, that simply gave something and that was, it would be appealing to people who wanted to simply ‘get in and out’. The blog is not quite 6 months old (still a baby) and building very slowly but the the readership is growing.
    Am I making money from it? No. Am I happy with the blog? Yes. Why am I doing the blog? Because it gives me an excuse to write and because it’s weekly I’m developing discipline.
    I do want it to serve as a linking over to a webpage (when I get it up) but mostly it’s there to encourage people to ‘learn English’ in a fun, non-stressful way. For the moment, success is measured in the stats that show readership going up – more hits on more days. People talk.. word gets around.
    Different strokes for different folks. You are a role-model to me. How? Being a real person out there giving and running your own business. Thank you!

  • http://www.onlinebusinessideascourse.com Drew

    Great post, Pat. I was wondering if you would speak to this issue. One of my sites was sitting at #1 for a few months for a keyword that gets 40K+ searches per month. I put it on cruise control, thinking that I did the work and now I’m done. Then, my site started dropping fast. All the way to the bottom of the second page. I didn’t use BMR for backlinking, but I also stopped adding good, unique content.

    It seems that content really is “king”. I’ve since started adding more quality content, and my site is rising again.

    Additionally, I created profiles with the top ranking forums for my keyword, added my website to my “signature”, and started providing answers to questions that were posted.

  • http://www.fewstones.com Jean

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks a lot for the very fast update on what’s happening. All the more as this is not typically what is related in the news. Following your advice, I have been using UAW and agree that it is much more white hat. In a way a more level playing field is better for everybody.

  • http://www.dofollowforums.org DoFollow

    Great tips! Ethical link-building should be the real deal…

    If everyone can follow this strategy, it may take longer than usual but it will confirm that you stay on the first result of Google for a very very long time!

    And there will be no chance of your website getting de-indexed or facing penalties.

  • http://www.anti-aging-skin-care-guide.com Lucia

    Thanks for this informative post about backlinking.

    In my experience with my site what really works now is high PR links and if the links are related to your topic the better will be. My site was No1 a few months ago and suddenly dropped to No3 because the new site sitting at the top had high PR links that are difficult to obtain for me.

  • http://www.mynetmarketingland.com/ Franck Silvestre

    I think you forgot to add press releases in your post. A good seo press release with prweb or any other the trusted sites will do wonder for your backlinks and overall rankings.

    Test it Pat, you’ll be amazed to see the power of press releases. Plus you also get real visitors here.

    Now, I think that your backlinking is somewhat similar to email marketing. A while ago, all you needed was an email list to make a killing. Just send an email, and the day after you were a few hundreds or a few thousands richer (cool, no advertising cost, just write, save and click send)…Today, it doesn’t really work like this because your subscribers are in dozens of other lists in your market. So you really need to gain their trust. You’d better deliver great content to your subscribers.

    With backlinks, it’s almost the same…in 2006-7, all you needed to do was writing (or outsource) hundreds of articles to be at the top of Google and make a lot of money. Today, this is also different, and as you said, you need both great content plus great backlinks.

    Saying that, my next algorithm for Internet marketing is T.R.U.S.T.

    In everything you do, you need to be trusted. Your email marketing, your product, your backlinks, your website and sales page.

    In other words, these continual updates are rather a great thing for those who put out great content and really want to help people in their niche. These webmasters are the first winner.

    I think that the second winner are all the…seo firms…since now, thousands of webmasters (who can’t do all the work themselves) who were solely relying on bmr and others need to delegate their sites’ seo.


  • Charles Chris

    Hi Pat, Google is still over dependent on links. I noticed your SGTHQ.com site was down one spot but just as I was about to email you about it, I checked again and it was #1. Few days later it went down again hasn’t reverted since then. If that guy really wanted to test, why is his site still up and running after his test has been completed. Please don’t do another niche site case study again, I mean, the information on the first case study is still relevant and enough for anyone. I can never copy someone’s niche – I’ve never done that!

    I’m also seeing some copy cats in the “3 day detox” niche but the original site is still #1. Thanks for all the valuable info and for replying to all my emails. I’m forever grateful. I hope you succeed in getting back to being at the #1 position again.

  • http://www.desiedition.com/ Jai

    I reckon on the guest posting te strategy and it is the one which works for me.. although slow it is best, trusty and could never be sacked if we are cautious while choosing the blogs..

  • steve wyman

    HI Pat

    Great article not much to add. Very solid summary and direction. Looks like Jo’s strategy continues to be solid. 200 comments already its heading for the big time.

    I have to comment on the guy that copied you as being sad (cant see his comment any longer). Why do people do that so we cant share information freely..

    Keep up the great work



  • http://www.antasta.com Viki Pattanaik

    Hi Pat,

    For a long time now I was totally lost on how to optimize my website as I was engaged in (you’r going to laugh at it so no use begging you not to) BMR post writing for my clients. The going was great and i was making a killing writing numerous posts each day until March 20th. Oh! the horror of getting mail after mail from clients saying that BMR is dead.

    I started searching and stumbled upon your website that taught me a SEO strategy using articles and backlinking. This is something that I am going to be using for my own website and would like to share results with you if you would allow it. You can use it as another one of your case study or in whatever manner you see fit.

    Just thought I would let you know!

    PS: I read up your blog every single day and discover something new. Thanks a lot!

  • http://zulumuscle.blogspot.com/2012/03/5-reasons-why-cycling-is-good-for-you.html Eugene

    great article once again Pat, my new blog was starting to do well and started making some money when the update hit. My traffic little as it was, was halved but has now started going up again. Since the update I have started creating more content for articles on ezine and for web 2.0 stuff to create more links and make some affiliate sales off-site and drive more traffic to my blog. This has been working and I found hub pages to be effective at this early stage.

  • Andrew

    Hi, i purposely didnt leave my website as a link, because i have 5 niche websites and i have been doing the wrong things on most for 2 years.

    Im in the car industry in montreal, and my biggest competitor who i use to work for buys domain names, creates thin content, and during the so called google-dance, links to his top few domains, that link to his main site. Kinda like your strategy, but he creates his own network, he started 10 years ago, my content is thicker and richer, my services are transparent and cheaper, he buys a tons of backlinks to his thinest content… I cannot compete. I love the niche, i hate the game.


    • Vincent

      Bonjour Andrew

      Montreal here also. Looks like winter has not left yet 😉

      In regards to your comment, it seems a lot of people are creating there own private networks and then charging others to have their site as “part of the network”

      I like Pat’s strategy a bit more because your links are more diversified then having all your eggs in one basket (network)

      On a side not, I wonder how many people from Montreal read Pat’s blog.

      All the best.


      • Andrew

        Hey Vincent! Salut!

        L’hiver…ugh +24 and then -6 :)
        You know what, I dont know any bloggers in montreal. I dont know anyone reading Pat’s blog. If you are a blogger and or own a website, I would love to have someone keeping me accountable. Can we get in touch? write to me at AKSS (the underscore) USFX (shift+2)(lol) Hotmail (dot) com. I have a 9 to 5, and a few dot coms.

        Hope to hear from you, oh yeah: Hi Pat, you may have become a blog-matchmaker lol


  • http://www.smartincomeinvestments.com/ Brett

    I did some searching the other day and it was clear that unreadable spun crap is still ranking well in Google. So quality still isn’t what you need to rank well.

  • http://www.healthylifestyles4u.comHi Raghavendra Purohit

    Hi Pat,

    A timely & useful post. If you look at any of several ways that are, have been & will be available to use for building back links, there are unscrupulous & overambitious people (both publishers & service providers) who malign the process so much that even Google with all their intelligence & resources find difficult to combat. Seen in this light, I support whatever Google has been trying to do. Let no one shed tears for people who seek riches without the hard work.

    Of the seven tips & tools you have dealt with, my vote goes to blog commenting (with its possible downside of spam comments notwithstanding) and guest blogging as THE MOST ethical ways. The latter even more credible than the former.

    Though I have been blogging for over five years now, I have never ever considered buying links or in indiscriminate link exchanges, because I was convinced they were not only ethical but also short lived, somehow.

    Now I’m even more strongly convinced that writing incredible stuff (as you say in the list) is something that will last longer than anything else and see me through.

    Thanks for the useful article.

  • http://www.der-kiwiblog.de Henry

    Hey Pat,
    great article about SEO, you should actually be a philosopher 😉
    I’m just about pushing my new niche site in Google and therefore your tips help me a lot, because otherwise I wouldn’t have spent a second thinking about the future of SEo

  • mohinish

    wow, jst 1 day old article & 210 comments!!! Awesome following :).. I saw this recent video by google lady, jst 1 sentence struck me ‘chase users’. Recently I started AD campaign – got 100 visitors – no sales, no email opt-in … what’s missing???

    My site isn’t chasing users – it’s chasing everything else… this is d reason Im not posting link here :D. Will post once it’s user ready :-).

    Lots to learn – recently I started making goals – Im professionally building templates – me concentrating on sales :D. Doing better.

    Regards keep it coming PAT :).

  • http://keywordscout-review.blogspot.ca/ Andrew

    just to add: google should ad 90% of the weight on checking if the content is unique, 5% on backlinks, and 5% on whatever they want. (none scientifical %)

    What I mean is, google shouldnt really care if someone links back to you and if they do, REWARD you on top of that. If i have 100 readers a day, and i link to you, and 3 a month go read you, thats all you deserve naturally. The better my niche relates to yours, the more the FOLLOW-RATIO (i should trademark this).

    Checking your consistency on a topic, and its unique-ness should be boss.

    I think Google is will never be perfect because they have to generate profit. When search engines were filled with ads, google not only had an algorithm better then yahoo, they were simpler.

    It takes a search engine that wants no profit at first. (like what most niche blogs should start off as) and help keep the web content and honesty clean and clear and rich.

    The blog networks, specially those TRHIVING and checking and encourage unique content like the one Pat used, WERE one of the best solutions, that now google shut down…

    They were the DAVIDS, GOOGLE is Goliath, when is the happy ending?


  • http://www.andregarde.com Andre Garde

    From personal experience, it’s possible to rank a website with content alone and 0 backlinks. I have a site that has ~3000 searches a month that doesn’t have any backlinks except for 1 social bookmark that was used to index it. It took about 3-4 months to get to #1. Not a huge earner by any stretch of the imagination, but at $20/month, hey… smart passive income, right?

    However, don’t expect this to happen in any semi-competitive niche. The top 10 aside from myself doesn’t even try to put out content or anything like that. Further, what they do put out isn’t even relevant to the keyword.

    Realistically, if you have a niche that’s in any way has good profit potential, you’re going to need to build links in whatever manner you choose.

  • http://www.brockstarlife.com Brock @ BrockStarLife

    I was hoping for a post addressing this very topic, and here it is! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It is very frustrating to have wasted time and money – and especially to feel that Google is jerking everyone around so much (like some sort of web gods who determine our fate) that internet marketing is futile. But I agree that it is probably better in the long run if you can’t buy rankings so easily.

    We will see what works over the next few months…


  • http://Www.HuntWildPig.com Greg C

    I know you get this a lot, but each time I open my inbox and find another useful article, I get super excited because I know without a doubt, that I will be that much better or absorb that much more! Thank you! I’m only working on content right now on my site, (which is really bad still) but I keep the emails so I can refer back to them when I need them. How do you come up with quality tips like this consistently? Well, However you do it… Your amazing to me! Again, thanks Pat.

  • http://adsenseflippers.com Justin

    Hey Pat,

    Interesting and useful article as usual! I particularly like your link to Glen’s post and your resources in point #4. (Like you, that guy tends to produce INCREDIBLE content, eh?)

    That being said, I do disagree with you a bit when you attach ethics to linkbuilding. Why does Google get to be the arbiter of what’s “ethical” or not? While it’s their search engine and they can determine what linkbuilding will WORK and which won’t, allowing Google to determine what’s ethical or not seems to be a bad idea.

  • http://www.takeactionhelpothers.com Jeff

    It’s articles like these that get me thinking, your gonna have to change that “No, I’m not a millionaire” thing soon!

  • http://jeremy-ruggles.com Jeremy Ruggles @ Internet Marketing Tips

    Hi Pat,

    This was a very informative and very useful blog post. Thank you for the info and a refresher on backlinking activities that will pay off and hopefully stay effective for years to come.

    Article marketing can really boost rankings as long as your content is fresh and unique. I would never risk spinning articles at this point in online history.

    Take care,


  • http://www.distressedpro.com/ Brecht Palombo

    I’ve got to say that in certain ‘niches’ white hat is a massive struggle. For 2 years we’ve consistently put out content and have not really done any non-organic off-page seo (link building). The business is profitable and search volume is OK, but there are definitely a ton of worthless spammy sites that rank higher in the search engines for very key terms we’d like to rank for and the only thing that could account for it is heavy (fake) backlinking, how else could one explain a single garbled post about a topic ranking higher than a site that has focused on the niche for 2 years, alas, if you can’t beat ’em join em I guess.

  • http://www.Optimize3point0.com Doug K

    Very insightful stuff here. Very much appreciated the tip on DropMyLink.com. That’s an extremely useful tool. Guest posting is a powerful means of legit back linking. It’s not easy but mightily effective. If anyone is interested, here’s a link to a post I wrote that details 8 specific steps for identifying guest blogging opportunities for a targeted keyword. A fairly fool-proof method in fact.

  • http://www.projectlifemastery.com Stefan Pylarinos from Project Life Mastery

    Great points here Pat. I think another thing is to make sure you’re as diversified as possible, so that when Google makes changes it won’t affect you as much. I definitely need to focus on getting more high quality links for my sites.

    • http://www.manvsmoney.com Adam

      Diversification by far here is a key player in the success of earning money online.

      Placing your income based on one source just does not make good business sense. That’s why several investors don’t rely on a single source because they know at any time that source could go belly up.

      Affiliates, Advertisers, Niche Websites, all offering different yet useful ways to earn and make money.

  • http://sacreddestinations.org Clare Russell

    Pat did mention that…’Smart and diverse backlinking still needs to be performed’

    • http://www.thepointsguide.com Derek – ThePointsGuide

      Being new at this myself, what is ‘Smart’ backlinking? Going the old school route seems smart to me, since its what google wants.

  • http://www.debtfreecollegehq.com Kris

    As someone who is just starting out my niche site and ebook its been so helpful reading your posts and learning! Thank you! There are definitely moments when I feel overwhelmed but you explain things easily step-by-step which I appreciate so much! Now I need to get to work….

  • http://www.dormroomcash.com Adam


    You said that the competing securityguardtraining website has an unusual amount of facebook likes. Have you thought about doing a case study to see what would happen if you added 2,000 or so likes to your facebook account? I am sure that you could ask your SPI fans to like the other page and see what that does to your rankings. You could also give a $25 Amazon gift card to a lucky winner.

    Anyway, just a thought.


  • http://www.groceryalerts.ca/ Steve @ Grocery Alerts

    Pat, I completely understand the value of ethical link building and understanding why certain activities are frowned upon.

    I wish more SEO experts looked at high quality links versus quantity.

  • http://www.datacenterinfoblog.com/ Jeff

    Thank you for the info. I’m new to this and appreciate the help. Keep up the good work.

  • http://youtube.com/user/tommyisastrategist Tommy Walker

    I think we’re near that tipping point where we’re going to start to see more and more natural content in the serps.

    I say that because Google is trying to do everything it can to bully content creators into making it’s social properties relevant.

    +1’s are absolutely becoming a ranking factor, and while I haven’t looked, I can almost assure you that there are companies selling +1’s, just like there are companies selling youtube views and facebook likes. The difference is, Google actually penalizes the sites that are using bought media to get their social attention.

    If they can shut down adsense accounts due to “invalid click activity” you can bet they can detect invalid +1’s

    And with their new “over optimization” penalty that’s being rolled out next month, there’s a pretty good chance they’re on the lookout for the invalid “social proof” signals.

    The truth is, the best way to build your links is the good ole fashioned email, social media, guest posting methods.

    Seriously, if a human being can tell that an article is on an article directory, the googlebot isn’t that far off. At the end of the day the whole “if it feels wrong, it probably is” remains true, and if you’re not earning your spots through gruesome keyword research, networking, and relationship building, you’re probably going to get knocked out. If not now, then soon.

    Every time we try to game the system, the system gets smarter.

    • http://dbpmarketing.com Dror Bekerman

      Here is a question for you Tommy. If what you say it true and Google can spot invalid +1’s and than act against the site what prevents someone from creating such invalid +1’s to their competition site and getting them hit by Google?

      Also, in the latest income report Pat shared the fact that his niche site got outranked by a new site. That new site has 2500+ likes and plenty of +1’s which I bet are 99% fake but it still got to #1 on Google ahead of pat’s site which is much more valuable to the end user and should remain at number one.

  • http://4braintraining.wordpress.com Joe

    Ever hear the expression “Life isn’t fair?” Well that’s the description of when some gorgeous person is with a complete jerk, instead of someone more quality and suitable.
    Anyone who expects Google to be fair, or any other human quality, must realize that it’s not like that. They want to force people with the +1 and social, ever stop to think not everyone cares how many of their friends read it???
    How could there not be people selling +1s and etc., BMR is basically the same as that. Blog networks are a truly egregious violation of the system, and for all of the site builders that carefully avoided using blog networks, this is happiness that the recent housecleaning by big G is a demotion of paid for links.

  • http://marketingwithsergio.com Sergio Felix

    Hey Pat,

    Well I have just used blog hopping, forum signatures, social media profiles and some web 2.0 sites to build backlinks to my site and I have seen its alexa rank decrease from 88K to 100K+ in just a matter of days.

    Funny how Google works I just wish this finds a balance point somewhat soon.


    • http://dbpmarketing.com Dror Bekerman

      Hi Sergio, Alexa ranking has nothing to do with Google so I wouldn’t assume it the links you built had much to do with it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/benlong Ben Long

    Pat, thanks for the insightful link – It appears that all these changes are for the better. May the best content rise to the top!

  • http://acrepairsnellville.com Max

    I have no idea what to do.

    • http://dbpmarketing.com Dror Bekerman

      About what Max? Can you be a little more specific?

  • http://www.internetgeeks.org/ebooks/smart-traffic-tactics/ Azad @ Internet Geeks

    A very nice and detail article.
    I have one question.
    Did you ever used linkbuilding tools like SEnuke or Rankbuilder?

    Looking forward to your response.

  • http://willilearn.com William

    Wow Pat!

    This article is getting a lot of attraction. I noticed your tweet about the article and followed on to only discover a raft of comments(all great). You are right, I don’t really know what to think of BMR websites. I think they don’t really promote good content and the internet should be a resource for knowledge. People should be able to find out anything on the internet and not be subject to spam websites that are only in it for the profit.

    However, I think this website proves it and along with other websites like problogger, lifehacker, stevepavlina.com that have great content generates far more value for people than spam websites. Value is going to make people return to the website and the value you have given those visitors is going to result in value gained for you(such as products being bought, donations etc. . . ). It’s a simple equation but I suppose we are always attempted to try a quick fix.

  • http://af2011a1.wordpress.com/ Richard


    Great post as usual. It is obvious that Google is slowly chipping away the fundamental underpinnings of their own algorithm: backlinks. Banklinks were originally thought of as “votes” from other internet users. More votes=higher rankings.

    But, backlinks have become as valuable as votes in a third world junta. The guy with the most cash and guns will stuff the ballot box and “win” the election. I think Google sees this (as we all do) and wants to move away from backlinks as what defines quality.

    With G+, they are trying to add in a social media element, but I think that will discover that will also be gamed.

    I’m curious to see where Google moves next. If content is king, it will take more than a computer algorithm to properly rank things.

    Until then, keep building backlinks.


  • Ben Armstrong

    I’d been using BMR for a couple of months before this happened. 1 Site had quite a few BMR links pointing to it, but also quite a lot of other more natural links, built up over a year or so. After the de-indexing of BMR, this site dropped back to where it was before I started with BMR and the traffic dropped by about 20% as a result.

    My 2nd site I hadn’t done much BMR linking at all and this one actually shot up the rankings and traffic increased 100% due to the sites above me relying heavily on blog networks.

    So all up I’m quite happy, and despite being a BMR customer I’m all for these changes and what they mean for my business. I can now return to good solid methods like guest posting and not have to worry that my competitors are going to blow me away by using blog networks.

  • http://fitdeskjockey.com Matt

    Thanks for all the wonderful information Pat.

    I’ve followed your backlinking strategy, and I have to say that when these updates happen I typically drop in rank dramatically short-term, and then recover rather rapidly.

    For the life of me I can’t say whether this means Google thinks my quality pillar content should stand the test of time, or if it sees me as a little crappy spam site that wiggled it’s way through yet another update. Don’t worry, they’ll get me next time… :)

    Best wishes,


  • http://www.manifestseo.com Matt

    So the Indirect and Anchor Layer are still holding strong on average? I’m going to adjust towards a “shield” to mix things up while spending more time focusing on niche relationship link building (which I love as a strategy). Approaching a niche blogger with an email or via a good comment on their post, then establishing a good conversation in the form of exchanging a post and a link that adds value to that person’s blog seems ethical, natural and a good way to gain traffic as well from a focused enthusiastic audience…

    To wrap full circle, the shield for heavy lifting primarily with UAW (which seems to be surviving the nuclear winter so far) is still a solid strategy to undertake?

  • http://www.paulcaparas.com Paul Caparas

    Nice post. Quality link building takes a lot of time but it’s worth it.

  • http://www.startingtrends.com Darryl @ Starting Trends

    There’s many useful points in this article but the sentence that stood out the most (at least for me personally) was:

    “Too many websites are sitting at the top of Google that don’t deserve to be there”

    I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve witnessed this each and every day for years on end. I’m frequently baffled at some of the top 10 (or 1st page) results that I come across sometimes. Often times I can’t help but scratch my head wondering how on earth certain sites rank in the top 10 when they are not in any way, shape or form relevant to what I was searching for.

    At least Google is trying to take better measures and make wiser approaches when it comes to provide more accurate results. I suppose with the billions of websites (or however many there are now) that are out there it’s hard to be spot on each time, but like any company it takes years and often decades to evolve and get it just right and even then it’s not always enough to stay a few steps ahead.

    Thanks again for another great article Pat!

  • Nilmar Fejer

    About a month ago I was reading an article by a fellow in the same niche I am in(internet networking). He discussed how back-linking can be greatly achieved by, as you pointed out here, relying on paid-for tools. With all honesty, I felt disappointed instead of being impressed with how he went into details in his post. I told myself there is no way succeeding online through bringing pure value to your community can be overpowered by focusing on too much technicality and slimy tactics such as this. I guess, I wasn’t dreaming then. With these changes big G is implementing, I know better days are ahead!

    My Best,

  • http://www.squidoo.com/durable-power-of-attorney-form Sunny

    Thanks for these helpful tips because this is the exact information I have been looking for. I currently use web 2.0 sites to write articles on and I am learning about driving traffic to them. It is an interesting process, your blog is breaking it down to make the whole backlinking strategy more understandable. Keep up the good work!

  • Harry

    248 comments?? unbelieveable! Great audience participation & engagement here.

  • http://blogcontentsecrets.com/ Tom Southern

    Pat, your article is timely. I’m glad Google has, and is, taking this action. As a newbie entering blogging with serious intention to make it my primary business & income source, the hyped-up junk peddled about SEO and keywords has disappointed me.

    As a copywriter, intent on giving people access to the power of words to make dreams come true, I promote the old-fashioned mantra that People buy not keywords.

    I began my blog as a beginner to blogging but as a copywriter who knew that what was being peddled so much by some people about SEO and keywords being the way to get on the first page of Google, rather than (as you do Pat) getting there by offering quality and a genuine intent to support, mentor and help people achieve their dreams, could not be proper and, hopefully, be stopped. Stopped either by the search engines themselves eventually, or by people realising what was happening & changing it.

    SE were always intended to work as indices; keywords being words indexed. Google is a librarian of sorts. Have you ever tried to get one over a librarian?

    I’ve also not liked the idea of using plr, public domain or article spinning. Public domain essentially because, as a writer, I don’t like the idea of profiting from other writers hard work and creativity, unless of course, money is raised for some cause an author believed in.

    All 3 smack of the kind of junk once peddled round the pre-internet “business opportunity market” in “photocopy this [tripe] & make millions” schemes.

    It’s good to see Google cleaning house. And encouraging people to change the old ways slowly but surely. Have you noticed how?

    I do feel for genuine people who fell for some of these schemes. My only saviours from this fate was my belief in People being number one in business and a Presbyterian ethic, instilled in me in childhood, of only exchanging money in equal measure to the value that departing left me with. Good advice – and you don’t need to be Presbyterian to share them.

  • http://www.kickerhosting.com Pearson

    Your post is a polite explanation of what has happened. You should just admit you were gaming the system and you have been caught!

    Don’t complain about that site that has taken your No1 because they learnt from you how to rank fast.

    Now that Google has deindexed BMR, am waiting to see what will happen to traffic for sites like security guard training whose rank was greatly boosted by this blog networks.

    Pat, have you received that web master message -unnatural links detected-? And what do you suppose will happen to your traffic once your 400+ backlinks disappear?

    • Pat

      No I have not received that message, Pearson, and I did not have a lot of links coming from Blog Networks. In fact, my traffic has been the same throughout all of this. And when did I ever complain that I was overtaken? I just simply presented that as fact.

      And dude, it’s obviously that I was gaming the system – that’s what backlinking is, even guest posting. LOL.

  • http://www.solosmallbusiness.com Tomas Merrill

    Patt, I loved the none hyped way you discussed link building. I plan on coming back to this post in the future as I diversify my link building strategy. Thanks for the usual great post.

  • Geoffrey


    Many sites who were using Build My Rank received messages in Google Webmaster Tools indicating that they were guilty of “unnatural link building,” and saying that they should file a reconsideration request.

    Did you receive this notice in your Google Webmaster Tools account as well? How would you recommend responding to this?

    Please advise. Thanks.

    • Pat

      No, I didn’t receive this message, but if anyone did then they’d better clean up those links right away. BMR has the option to get rid of those links for you, if you log-in and you have a number of those links there.

  • http://www.davidbarry-online.com/thebrainworks/ David Newell @brainworkstweet

    Hi Pat and Friends,

    Great conversation going on here. Can’t resist joining in! There are some really pertinent comments and some are not so pertinent but are part of the knowledge mosaic that has become internet marketing.

    The future is now! It was always possible to rank #1 w/o backlinks. It was just very,very difficult. Why? Because the content had to be authoritative to the extreme. Not many people can write at that level. But now you can rank page#1 in a few days. More on that in a minute.

    Mini sites for backlinking were abusive to worthy marketers and customers alike. But it was the Gurus who took it to the rediculous level. They were also the ones who made the bulk of the profit from the use of these systems. Why? Because they were the first to have the research dollars to figure it out.

    How many emails have you had from these Gurus in the last 6-8 months? I’ve had none! Their spammy existence has been intercepted and somewhat thwarted. These spammy systems are not useful in a socially engaging web marketplace.

    Content does rule. It must be engaging and relevant. 200 words are not a website!

    I think Big ‘G’ is going on a long run with +1. It will revolutionize many parts of the web. It will take considerable time for everyone to fully appreciate the effect. Your web business will never be the same.

    I said earlier you can achieve page#1 in a few days. You can do it, in my case I recently did it, and I didn’t intend to do it. You see my newest website is still a work in progress as I am still creating the products. So there is currently nothing to market.

    But I like to play with stats. Since some of the keywords are months old I went to check them out. The main keyword is a big niche. My friends told me I was insane to venture there. I am also using my own new ‘Branding’ technique on this site. Well, the main keyword alone wasn’t very hot(I expected that) but when combined with a ‘Branding’ keyword the results were amazing….

    Also, I had just turned on G+ and gone Public on 19 Mar 2012. So on a whim I did a ‘+ keyword’ search and the result blew me away. The #1 for this keyword is entrepreneur.com. My site showed up as #4 and in the personal results at the top, my tiny picture is #1. This is for 117,000,000 competing pages!

    Go ahead and try it: google search for + small business ideas

    Maybe I was just dreaming!!!!

    I still hope to finish the products by the end of May.

    Maybe I should start a waiting list! LoL!!!!

    • Frank Johnson

      Hi David. Which site in the listing is yours? Is it supposed to be the one linked to from your name on your comment? If so, I’m not seeing it in the results. Maybe you’re seeing the effects of personal results even though it’s in the basic section of results?

      • http://www.davidbarry-online.com/thebrainworks/ David Newell

        Thanks Frank, You have gotten me to do some research. You are right there is a rebound effect in Google+, so you have to be careful when checking keywords. The results are kind of localized and feed back what you shouldn’t really be getting.
        Frank, would you do me a favour and Google this double keyword; brain works small business ideas. I’m in Europe and would like to know if the results are very different where you are located.

        As to back-links, they are certainly abused by the majority. I believe if every poster on this blog were to ramdomly separate into groups of ten and back-link to every other of the ten, the google page results would be high and long-standing, not fleeting. It would be a very interesting test.

        The thing to keep in mind is that Google is in pursuit of Facebook, and Google has the search engine, so look for some fireworks. Since weget the inside data from either, I have decided to take a slow, cautious middle road with back-links, seo and social media marketing. The big key for me is ‘Diversify’!

        • Frank Johnson

          Hi David. Okay – I’ve performed the search on Google from here in the States. Was there something specific you were interested in knowing?

    • michael


      Not only must you use depersonalized search but you need to also set your local location away from the us and back. Chrome Incognito, Yoast plugin and others don’t work properly.

      Paste this code in your browser and put your search terms in where appropriate and you’ll see if you need to start a waiting list or not.


      Good luck,


      • michael


        I just realized that the above code might not be easy for some: In the code above just place your keyword phrase (small business ideas) for example:


        That will do the trick. Good luck.


        • http://www.davidbarry-online.com/thebrainworks/ David Newell

          Thanks Michael,

          It worked and I saw the actual results without the bounce-back from G+.

          I also added my keyword ‘brain works’ to small business ideas and got the same results as a normal google search. This suggests that Google is indeed changing their algorithm.

          I am branding ‘brain works’. I get page 1 placement when I combine my branded keyword with 12 of my other main keywords. Eventually the main keywords and the branded keyword will show strong individual results. I believe branding is huge.

          I only have 7 back-links. I believe the way of the next 2-3 years is diversify, do back-links(real world), seo, great engaging content and social media marketing. Lots of traffic will follow.

      • Cris

        The way I do it, I use Internet Explorer to check SERP results, and Google Chrome for all other purposes. Using google.com/ncr as my homepage in IE eliminates local and personal SERP skewings, but more importantly I never click any website, including my sites and my competitors’, using IE. I do that in Chrome. When checking SERPs, I don’t log in to google in IE, whereas in Chrome I’m always logged in.

        So in short I never use IE except to check rankings. (Chrome has so far been great for all-around purposes.)

        The advantage of this is you see exactly the top 10 results and your site’s place in it, as naturally, visibly, quickly, conveniently and accurately as you’d like it to be – using Google.com.

        This is probably only possible, however, if you have a newly installed Windows.

  • http://zinedine90.blogspot.com Zinedine

    Very informative post! As always, content is king. Make an outstanding content and people will link to your site happily and naturally.

  • http://www.inmarketingtips.com Kent @ Make Extra Money Online

    Well, my take is Google ongoing trying to optimize and build the best search engine for their end users.

    Instead of gaming for all the backlinks on niche sites, I’d spend more time on quality content (they will still last for a few years), and build various links randomly and naturally.

    Quality Content converts better Adsense CTR and my Amazon Affiliate Sales. This is way to go.

    As a niche site business, I think it’s about how to invest the time, resources, and energy on Content or Backlinking? Or both in balance?

  • http://www.manifestseo.com Matt

    As far as spinning, what’s the consensus on spinning words as opposed to entire sentences? Anyone feel one or the other is better? Or just be careful and make sure it reads very well regardless of the approach?

  • http://www.enairablog.com Enairablog

    Thanks for the great tips, am implementing what i learnt,
    Pat You are the man

  • http://arizonahypnotherapyclinic.com/ Todd Schaefer

    Very informative post. I like the objective tone of it also. Great info and all the more reason to use white hat tactics, moving forward. I’d say any SEO who is smart and aims for long term residual income of any kind from clientele should be taking heed right about now.

  • Saranwrap

    I use a private link building system that is not known to Google or the general public as a backlink building scheme. It has cost me a lot of man hours to set up and maintain, but in the long run I have saved/earned more money than site owners who use things like BMR, social monkee, and whatnot.

    It’s only my opinion, but I actually think that most successful website owners do what I do rather than pay for automated links, and while I feel bad for people who’ve sunk hundreds or thousands of dollars into these schemes, I don’t feel too bad. Easy come easy go.

    The problem with BMR was that it was too blatant and out in the open. Not too hard for a Google employee too see how a bunch of people were trying to game the system. Google hasn’t penalized me for my methods yet because I don’t sell my service publicly.

    • Steve

      @Saranwrap Do you buy high PR domains or start off with new domains that you build up to a higher PR? Do you use SEO hosting or normal hosting packages across different providers? How many blogs do you own for backlinking? I have a couple of questions because I was looking to do this myself. Can I shoot you an email?

  • Mike

    Great content as usual Pat. I have been reading your articles for about a year now and like the way you explain things. I read somewhere recently there will be a huge shakeup in the internet marketing world in the next two years.

    If we only had a crystal ball. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.vuthasurf.com vutha

    Thanks Pat for your information. some of my blogs was dropping their position because i did not use diversify links…. I will take time to follow your strategy.

  • http://free3dsgames.com 3DS

    I am not all that glad that google is becoming more and more strict every month it seems.. or is it just me?

    The problem is the unsuitability it’s leading to. I would guess that i have to agree with so of the other guess posters that it might be time to look at old fashion backlinking.

    Then at least the “looking over the shoulder” will come to an end.. (but ofcourse i am 100% white hat)


  • Jeff

    Thanks again for an informative post. It does seem that Google is shifting the goalposts more rapidly these days. From closer scrutiny when indexing sites to being increasingly fickle about Adwords campaigns offering substantial quality in the target landing page. However if it forces some of the lesser quality offerings to either up their game or quit and so level the playing field then I welcome it.

  • http://www.onlinebusinessideascourse.com Drew

    The only problem I see with Google’s concept of quality content is that they seem to prefer fluffy BS over to the point content. What actually counts is the number of words on the page instead of the meaning of the words.

  • Rocktivity

    The SEO Linkvine PUBLIC blogging network consists of real people with real blogs at their own domains, and haven’t been touched by this in the least.

  • http://thepolicetrainingacademy.com Ryan Sprout

    Such great useful information!

  • http://Besthomefitnessequipment.net Danii

    Hi Pat!

    I just watched “The hunger games” today 😉 reminded me when you ended this awesome post with “may the odds be ever in your favor”.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these recent major changes in the IM world. Whilst many people are feeling doom and gloom, your post gives hope for everyone who aims to rank their websites with dedication, hard work and unfailing perseverance.

    Keep it up!


  • http://webhow.org/ hando

    Yes, article marketing is still going strong for me, although I am more selective which articles directories I submit to. Also press release submissions and social bookmaking is on my list that I use.

  • http://CashFlowsToo.com Monty Campbell

    I’ve been writing online for years now, but not until Pat Flynn’s podcast did I get the courage to start my ebook the $mart way. I’m thankful for this link building update as I grow my site. I look forward to your post and appreciate your consistent epic free content. In short, thank you.

  • Brad G

    It goes to show that your SEO strategy my include multiple tactics.

    I had been planning on turning the domains that I have hoarded over the years into my own private network. Google just gave me reason not to put it off any longer.

    The difference is that my network sites are actually developed with unique templates, quality content on a single topic/niche and offer value as a stand alone site.

    Luckily, I never counted on just on tactic and didn’t see much of a hit, if any, with the last update.

  • http://www.trafficpowerhouse.com/readallaboutit/ Spatch Merlin

    Posting good quality contents is not enough to get higher rankings. Link-building techniques should be implemented to get more from your online blogging business.

    Spatch MErlin
    More Web Site Traffic Guide

  • http://newuganda.com mac

    Hi Pat, Thank you for the nice post, I have been going through comments and everyone is encouraging

  • http://www.affiliatefyi.com Adam

    I’m sure Google will be highly dependant on links in their algorithm for at least the next 5 years.

    I wrote my own post about future of SEO: http://www.affiliatefyi.com/trying-to-put-my-finger-on-the-future-of-google-and-seo

    To summarise:
    – Links identify authority content, rank inner pages, and the anchor text helps Google understand the page. Nothing can replace these signals.
    – Brand signals are important, but they can’t be used for ranking inner pages.
    – Social can be gamed far too easily, and it will get even easier as new social services are provided.
    – Quality content and on-page factors will become more important over time (panda+), but on-page factors are not enough for Google to rank pages across the internet. Google NEEDs off-page factors such as links and social signals.

    With regards to blog networks, now that the dust has settled a bit, I think this was long overdue. Blog networks are so easy to spot for a robot and would’ve been devalued sooner or later regardless. People just need to focus on more natural link building methods from high quality sites.

    The fact is – ANYTHING that Google comes up with will try to be gamed. Moving away from links isn’t necessarily the solution, afterall they are still a VERY good quality and relevance indicator.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com Lewis LaLanne

    That passage you quoted from that info-product you went through reminded me of the argument for taking steroids in athletics – “You better get on ’em or get your head kicked in by those who are.”

    That’s kinda scary if you think about it in the context of a sport like boxing or football where inflicting pain on other people is what allows you to “Win” … AND survive.

    It seems like someone could easily be pushed into a similar emotion when presented with the “do or die” alternative in reference to their sites and using ‘all the tricks in the bag” just to keep from being driven into extinction.

    But I’m grateful for guys like you who step on the scene and show you how to get the edge without going to the dark side. Keeping kicking that ass Pat and I’m rooting for you to win out the battle with your security guard site who doing the ‘weird’ stuff. :)

  • Er

    I don’t know about any of you guys but I don’t give a rip about Google. I don’t optimize for them, I don’t try to please them. I don’t even acknowledge them. My website is ranked in the number 1 or 2 spot in Bing, Yahoo and Duckduckgo and It is optimized for only two key words. I can still reach millions of people without the Google heads. The more people ignore Google, the sooner they will get the picture.

  • http://www.cutecribbeddingsets.com Kim

    A few months back I was considering doing the BMR thing for one of my main websites after reading about you using it in your link building strategy that works. But I never ended up signing up, and now I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad to hear that your 11 niches are still going strong!

  • http://webincomejournal.com Chadrack

    Another great post Pat. I heard of this issue a few days ago and I’m really thinking that Google is working to correct a whole lot things that are going wrong in the seo world. Since the Panda update, I’ve come to respect Google the more.

    Thanks for the tips you’ve given here. They will definitely be of great help.

  • http://www.hardgainerwisdom.com PJ

    This is a great post Pat.. To me, the changes made by Google bring more joy than they bring fear. Now quality content has a better chance of being read, as long as it is coupled with smart ethical backlinking. Thanks for the update mate..

  • Roch

    Great post. Had site deindexed that was using NMR.

  • http://www.thebrickblogger.com thita

    Pat, great post as always. At the same time I think you are being very kind to Google. According to some webmasters this has nothing to do with being fair to websites with better content, or providing better search results. It is simply Google positioning itself for the next step of making more money. Here is a great post that I thought you might like: http://100freebacklinks.com/build-my-rank-deindexed-says-goodbye-to-customers

    I’m inclined to agree with the author because of what I have seen happen with my backlinks. I run a small niche website. I don’t focus on backlinks, and I never had a backlinking strategy. I never bought or solicitated any and have never been a member of a blog-network they are all natural backlinks from people linking to our content. I do check my backlink-data on Google Webmaster Tools once a month to add it to my stats. The numbers gradually grew since I started the site last January and by mid February of this year I had 12,791 backlinks.

    The next time I checked was towards the end of March and now I had only 10,708 backlinks. I have lost 2,083 backlinks in less than 2 weeks, right when Google made the changes. So Google just took away 17% of my backlinks for no reason! Do you have any comments on that? Would love to hear your opinion! 😕

    • http://smartpassiveincomeideas.com Rocktivity

      @Thita: “According to some webmasters this has nothing to do with being fair to websites with better content, or providing better search results. It is simply Google positioning itself for the next step of making more money.”

      Present company included. It’s never made sense to me that longer articles, fewer sales links, and a less promotional tone would increase our sales. Now we’re supposed to run around “following” and “liking” each other — these days, we’re being so “social” that no one has TIME to buy anything! Google comes up the big winner, because their idea of quality is providing less competition for their corporate advertisers.

  • http://www.kaipnumestisvoriolt.lt kaipnumestisvorio

    Well, I wander how did last update affect those sites that were not using paid services? Are they going to be kicked out for good?
    I never paid for backlinks, only used articles directories, forums and blogs together with comment posting. But my website suffered hard. It is the 3rd time it gets out of google 100 and does not seem to come back. The highest the site got was G 8 place right before the third kick out.
    Do you think that bounces like this are ok? 100>10>100>8>out of 100

  • http://www.dogprobioticshq.com Ann Quirk

    Right now, I’m at the point where I need to start generating some serious Backlinks…….I’m guessing (assuming I’m reading things correctly) using UAW is still a good place to start, but I’ll still need to utilize the additional ideas listed at the end of your Post.

    Pat – Thanks again for the great information…..absolutely appreciated! You rock :-)

  • http://efanpagedesigns.com/ Thomas Sharky

    I like your posts, Pat. They are highly informative, easy to understand and helpful. But there is also another reason why I like reading your posts – comments. Many of them provide even more valuabe insights and help us understand the context better. Thanks!!

  • http://www.discoverwithandy.com Andy

    I agree that this is for the best. For a while, I stopped using Google entirely as my search engine and went to Bing, because Google’s results were worthless. Hopefully this will be another step towards a quality internet experience.


  • http://www.motherhealth.info Cipto

    Pat, you have made some important points to be followed. I will diversify my backlinks and less using automation process and update quality content is always Google’s looking for.

  • http://www.paulpriestleyblog.co.uk Paul Priestley

    Great ideas, I’ll try and incorporate some of them into my site to give it a boost in Google.

  • http://nganhangonline.com/vang.html Vang

    I thinkl the best way to build your links is the good marketing email, social media, guest posting methods

  • http://www.historiasdemaria.com maria

    Nice post, thank you! I consider that things are changing and we are all seeking some light. I am one of those writers that would take more time to do more backlink building but prefers to write.
    I agree with you blog chains and other stuff will not work, sometimes I see sites with almost empty content in higher positions than mine (spanish site), this is not fair.
    But I’m trying to promote my website the most honestly and naturally that I can, I expect fair results. For now all I do is blog commenting and I’m searching new “fair” ways

  • Bill

    Evening Pat,

    Good post, as always.

    You stated – “I feel that anything that makes ranking in the search engines more about the quality of the content on the site and less about paying for backlinks, the better – and that is what Google is working towards.”

    As long as Google bases so much of their rankings criteria on backlinks, that won’t happen. No matter how they factor it, backlinks are subject to be manipulated. Just look at all the postings around the SEO circles about ‘how do we create backlinks now’. The etrue backlinks that Google is looking for are the ones that others create to our sites, not ones that “we” create. Just the fact that we create them makes them artificial.

    If they want it to be about the content, then they need to eliminate backlinks altogether and actually evaluate the site and it’s content and relevancy.

    Just my thoughts. As always, I appreciate yours.



  • http://www.apastoronascooterinjapan.com Ralph

    Very helpful reading this Pat! Thanks. I’ve recently started a blog myself and after a few days I began to get lots of positive comments. It took me a while before I realized those were automatic trackback spam. So annoying.
    I can only welcome a future of more ethical linkbuilding.

    At your comments section I see that I have to click to confirm it’s not spam. Is that alone effective enough or do you have some other (invisible) plugins?
    As for myself, today I activated a captcha plugin, hopefully the robots can’t easily get around it.

    Anyway, thanks for your blog. It has lots of good information!

    • http://bestresidualincomestrategies.com/how-to-build-wealth-from-scratch Dale | How to build wealth

      Ralph, using a captcha plugin is probably one of the best things you can do. at one point I was getting over 100 spam comments per day!
      I installed a captcha plugin and that dropped to 0.

      Best decision I ever made.


  • http://bestresidualincomestrategies.com/how-to-build-wealth-from-scratch Dale | How to build wealth


    Thanks for this info. It seems that Google will always be on the prowl ready to “slap” people for taking the easy route.

    I have seen a lot increased traffic to my site since this recent update. I designed my site based on a content first, traffic and earnings second philosophy. I am now ranking high for competitive keywords that I never even thought about.

    Diversification is always a great idea too. I have a full time job, invest in the stock market, and do various things online.

    I think this definitely carries over to backlinking strategies as you mentioned. The more diverse the better.


  • http://www.ivblogger.com Sheyi

    Its also time we start spending money to promote facebook fan pages. I read somewhere online earlier today that if you spend $100 on facebook fan page, 100k views can bring you ‘JUST’ 80 subscribers which if just 40 of them buys from your affiliate site, you’d earn more money than the amount you spent on the ads. So at $25 commission on the product, 40 sales brings in $1000 IMO which is at least the least one should expect.


  • http://smartpassiveincomeideas.com Rocktivity

    Well, Pat, you always DID say blog networking was the most optional ingredient in the mix, so I hope you don’t consider this as a blight on your reputation.

    I quit Blog Blueprint when it became clear to me that they were in over their heads. And despite your recommendation, I didn’t like the idea of paying BMR by the domain — indeed, their business model have have done them as much harm as their content. It looks like the safest blog networking bet is something like SEO Linkvine because it’s not private, consisting of real people, real blogs, and real domains.

    Out of my top ten sites, three are still holding one of Google’s top three spots. Two seem to have been slapped, but I’m okay with that, because I’ve gotten them both back on page one after being slapped before. Most important, FOUR of my sites have made it into the top three spots RECENTLY! One is represented by articles and one by a 2.0 page, but it still counts! So I say that the “make my link juice a double” strategy definitely holds up!

  • http://www.dollarstopounds.biz James

    Pat, good article, time to diversify not just income streams, but also away from Google. I think SPI has got it right, build a community, not a website

  • http://www.fromdreamstolifestyle.com/link-building-tips/ Patrick

    Thank Pat, that really helps to explain why one of my sites saw a jump from the second page of google to the first despite the fact that I haven’t done much link building. I noticed several sites get bumped off the radar and it must have been because of google de indexing sites that they were using for links. Always great to see you sharing such useful information. Keep it up!

  • http://clintmoar.com Clint Moar

    Wow, I thought SEO was confusing before…I’m a newbie with so much to learn. How fast things seem to be changing. Thanks Pat, its these conversations that keep me plowing away.

  • http://www.multifacetedrajasthan.com Anuj@Rajasthan

    Great information Pat. Google I think is always against as far as paid links of any kind is concerned with respect to SEO. Right now Big-G is hammering hard on all private blog networks which provide back links after charging a certain amount every month from their subscribers. At the same time Google is concentrating only on those kind of strategies which are completely white hat and requires no flagship of any kind. Some of the top notch bloggers on the contrary strongly advocates no back linking strategy during the initial 6-7 months of nascent blogs, which in future helps to get the strong SERP without much difficulty.

  • Dennis

    Wow, this site is one big circle-jerk, isn’t it? Don’t you losers know that if spent half the time working that you did on these goofy blogs, you’d be earning actual money now!!???

    • http://kinhdoanhforex.net/ forex

      yes,this is one of biggest blog that makes the most money on the world.

  • http://www.blogwisereview.com Ed Wait

    Don’t you know, Dennis, if you spent some time learning how to write and properly format a sentence you wouldn’t sound like such a big dummie?

    I see YOU spent the time to add your own comment.

    Ok, back to our regularly scheduled discussion!

  • http://AskWendyWebb.com Wendy Webb

    I was not familiar with BMR until they got shut down. I know lots of people who are hysterical because their sites have practically disappeared overnight. It looks like, in the end, only the best, most relevant sites will still stand anyway.

  • http://singlemomweekly.com/subscribe April Storm

    Thanks for some really great advice. This will prevent me from making some grave mistakes.

  • http://howtobuystockshq.com Jack L. White

    I just started back linking and was close to using BMR a few months ago but luckily they were shut down to new subscribers. I’m glad I didnt waste any money on them but I still am having a hard time getting my UAW articles to provide any backlinks.

  • http://www.fulltimervfamily.com Ralph

    The 40 Day Strategy (pioneered by Jo Archibald btw, although I think everyone on the Internet has completely forgotten that – no offense Pat, you’ve never taken credit for it – kudos to you) still absolutely works…with caveats however:

    Create excellent quality anchors, add value to each anchor with good legit inormation, totally diversify your anchor text (no 100 links of the same exact anchor text going back to only your homepage), blast em with backlinks from AMR or UAW and dependinf on the competitive nature of your niche, rankings will appear.

    Of course, if your onpage SEO stinks, then forget it. SEOMoz can help you there. Best resource on the Internet on that. Have we forgetten npage SEO? Its more important now than ever especially after the demise of BMR. Relevant title tags, keywords in your well written posts, captivating meta descriptions, H1 and H2 tags that arent spammy but are cool to your readers….totally stilll matter.

    Did anyone mention the growing importance of social signals? Tough to quantify, but Google’s too smart not to factor it in. Matt Cutts has said it. And its true. If you use them, you see it in your rankings.

  • http://www.freesitetraffic.org/private-blog-network-footprint/ Jon Haver

    I believe the biggest take away from the whole BMR de-indexing event is that backlinks are still incredibly important.

    If backlinks weren’t still incredibly important in SERP positioning than Google would not spend the effort in manually going after “public” blog networks.

    Pat I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to link building and that is you should always diversify how you go about building links.

  • http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com EcuadorGeorge (Forgues)

    I started my blog in Mid January of 2012 with no experience or knowledge other than a book from Nomadic Matt and my new best friend, Pat Flynn. This was the same day I paid for my domain name and joined WordPress. I even made simple mistakes on my blog by writing pages instead of writing posts in my first 30 days.

    Since then, with what I have learned from Pat, I have written articles for two or three of the biggest sites in my niche, I even had the biggest site in my niche steal one of my posts and use it as an article on his site. I have been commenting on other blogs, I have a travel video about Ecuador that is on the first page of Youtube if you search “Ecuador” or “Cuenca Ecuador” which is my niche, and I now have put a link on that video to my blog… I have only been doing this seriously for 2 months and if you search popular Google Key Words, I am showing up on page 3, 4, 6, and 10 when someone googles “Moving to Ecuador” and “Living in Ecuador”. As of today StarCounter says I am averaging 51 page loads, 26 unique visits, 18 first time visits, and 8 returning visits a day. I have not worked Bing or Yahoo and I am not showing up at all unless you type in EcuadorGeorge… As I build my blog, I am talking to wonderful people and getting and giving useful information. I suspect that as my blog grows I will be able to start making money with it. I also believe that EcuadorGeorge is a great brand name and I can picture a monkey holding a book on Ecuador swinging from a tree as my logo…. (maybe the monkey would look like CuriousGeorge’s brother!) Thank you Pat for all your help. My brain is ready to explode from all this info but I take a day breather every once in a while…. Keep up the good work. See me at http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com

    • http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com George

      It is now 60 days after the above comment and I just checked the stats on my blog. Today I had 595 page loads (up from 51), 300 unique visits (up from 26), and 98 return visits (up from 18). Trying to figure out the percentage of increase over the last 2 months… Is that more than a 1000% increase??? Not sure but it is a lot more… My goal is a 1000 page loads and 500 unique visits before I start placing ads on my site…. Any suggestions would be welcome… Thanks Pat.

  • http://www.thepickupdiary.com Steve @ How to Pick Up Girls

    Well, for now what still counts in first place is the number and quality of backlinks (not to mention the right anchor text). the problem is that it’s really time-consuming if you want to build all the links on your own. that’s where the ______ (secret) comes in, but here you need to find ______ and to do so you again need time. but however, this still works.

  • http://www.carejobsonline.co.uk Luke Norbury

    Just started listening to Pat’s podcasts and am finding them addictive! I have done a fair bit of reading around, podcast listening and have started to build my own blogs/sites – none of which are really being monetised yet. I have to say, it stands to reason that quality of the backlinks to your site have got to be what it’s all about. Yes, there are bound to be shortcuts – new ones will open as old ones close – but I agree with a number of the posters above (including Pat) that if your site provides what people are looking for or steers them in the right direction at least, your rankings will reflect this in the long term. Isn’t that the whole point of a search engine?!

  • http://www.thegmattutor.com Matt

    Hey Pat,

    The Glen Allsop post about forum profile links is from Sep of 2010, which was before the Panda update in Feb 2011. I’m reasonably sure that these links were devalued around that time. You are correct, they provide virtually no benefit now.

  • http://adrianwhittle.com Ade

    I think that is why authority sites are really the way to go now as building genuine relationships with other website owners and people really interested in your topic is something that Google can’t really tinker with…or rather, it’s the way the internet was supposed to be so they would be crazy to tinker with it.

  • http://www.networkCorridor.com Mike

    Site Speed – A bit off subject however on point as equally important and often over looked… You think your site loads ok but does it. This is also a subject you should analyze and today there are all types of tools to analyze and make adequate changes for enhanced value and a better Google rating.

    1. Compress JavaScript
    2. Compress Css
    3. White Spaces
    4. Css Sprites
    5. W3c
    6. Find another way to code comment to reduce css
    7. Optimize Css
    8. Css Validation

    Do some Google searches and you should check the Google developers pages

  • http://acethepe.com/ Andy

    I love tip #5 where it says to dominate your niche. I think the mindset of building a site far better than everyone else & has awesome content is the way to go. Once you have that in place, the other things tend to fall into place, of course with a lot of work!

  • http://AllAroundJoe.com Joe Bauer

    Thanks for always posting awesome content, and in this case reminding me that I need to actually have a back linking strategy. Do you guys have a VA implementing your back linking strategies? It seems like all the article writing will take so much time away from writing on my authority sites…

  • http://working-freedom.co.uk/ Lianne-carla Savage

    +1’s and previously visited sites already affect the search results for those signed in with their google accounts. Also if you or people in your circles have their website linked to their website then they will rank higher.
    I have a competitive keyword on my site which is a new site and not really optimised at all so not even on first 10 pages. If I sign in to google I get two results on page 1!
    Repeat customers are great things but when I have got my SEO sorted I want to appear on the search for new customers without having my site pushed down by their personalised results

  • http://www.tsmethod.com/blog/ Mark

    Hey Pat,

    do you know of any good resources re panda proofing your blog?



  • http://www.theweldingworld.com Magnus

    Hey Pat, thanks for a awesome post once again. I have a small question about web 2.0 “blogging”

    Lets say that there is about 20 web2.0 and blogs that i use to build back links to my site.

    I have a couple “big” sites where i have a large amount of kw that im trying to target. Do you create a new set of accounts every time you target a new area on your website. IE first you target “Mercedes” with your 20 web 2.0 and then you create new accounts when you target “Fort” ? or how do you put that up?

    Any input appreciated.

  • http://www.mac-seo-tools.com/search-marketing/files/article-spinning-software-for-mac.html Glenn Bearsky

    Well, I don’t think it’s fair to completely ‘X’ out private blog networks. Not ALL networks were hit, not ALL blogs were deindexed, not ALL links became worthless, not ALL search engines deindexed the content. So I’m not buying into ‘The Sky Is Falling’ – simply Some stuff fell from the sky, but look up and you’ll see it’s still there.

    Links are inherently dynamic and variable. Some good, some worthless, some valuable _but only TEMPORARILY_, some with staying power with little or a lot of value. The value of a backlink can grow, weaken, or vanish over time. That’s the real nature of this beast.

    What I think HAS changed is that the REAL value of Blog Networks has come under scrutiny, so the expensive $67, $99, $147 a month plans can’t be justified any longer. Expect prices to drop to bring the long-term value equation more in line with today’s at-risk reality.

    • http://www.easyoptionstradingstrategies.com Dale @ options trading strategies


      I could not agree with you more. At minimum I am sure it is causing a lot of people (myself included) to really think about these services before purchasing them.

      At least BMR was open enough to shut down and commit to refunding monies. But, I guess we will see.


  • http://www.easyoptionstradingstrategies.com Dale @ options trading strategies


    I could not agree with you more. At minimum I am sure it is causing a lot of people (myself included) to really think about these services before purchasing them.

    At least BMR was honest enough to shut down and commit to refunding monies. But, I guess we will see.


  • http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com EcuadorGeorge (Forgues)

    Hello everyone,
    Has anyone heard of Google’s “Sandbox”. Heard about it today but not sure if there is such a thing>>> Comments???

  • http://www.zwtm.com/ suicidalsam

    hi pat,

    I think your point number ‘7. Write More Incredibly Useful Stuff’ is the best SEO solution in the long run! But if anyone wants an instant solution, i don’t see any other option other than buying one way links! BTW great article!

  • http://pazer.blog.com/ Andreas Pazer

    Thanks for always posting awesome content, and in this case reminding me that I need to actually have a back linking strategy. Do you guys have a VA implementing your back linking strategies? It seems like all the article writing will take so much time away from writing on my authority sites…



  • http://www.scotthugo.com Scott Hugo

    SEO is one of those things that are always going to evolve. Those of us who keep up on the latest trends, will have the best chance. This is my first time on this site though, and I think it’s great. I listened to your show on a Clickbank Radio podcast.

  • Steve

    Great post Pat, I plan on printing it and reading again.

  • http://www.moneywisepastor.com Rich@MoneyWisePastor

    Pat, I love your blog and podcast!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts re: a good backlinking strategy. Getting backlinks is, to me, one of the most frustrating things about growing an online business, because the legitimate strategies we invest in today might be worthless tomorrow.

  • http://www.kevingarver.com Kevin Garver

    Pat, thanks so much for your clear explanation. You have a way of concisely saying the truth and keeping us on top of the trends.

  • http://szkoleniasprzedazowe.org/ tetsuo

    Maybe it was just a matter of time with BMR, but to be honest I think they still will be various ways marketers will be tricking Google (even with this impossible amount of FB likes) and we will still have to pay (for something, csome services) to rank…

  • http://www.geekygangster.com/hydropackulicity Koudies@Hydropackulicity

    Very well thought of and written Pat.

    I actually came across your site while learning about SEO at the beginning of this semester so I’ve been reading your articles here and there. Anyways, I’m glad I saw this post because most of the other sites that I’ve been getting my SEO info from are filled with lots of upset people.

    I totally agree with what you said about this update actually helping sites with good quality content… sites like yours. Too often I click on sites where people are just trying to make money and nothing more.

  • http://funnyphotoclub.blogspot.com/ vannak

    yes i like this

  • http://liquidrubbersealantreviews.com kuldeep sahonta

    Hi Pat

    Getting page one rankings have become so hard since last year’s Panda’s update.

    I agree with your link building process but it is a very time consuming process and can be costly if you outsource.

    Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.wheyreviews.com Becky

    Great article Pat, thanks for the info!

  • http://www.runningfromdebt.com Ron

    Just like Katniss, you hit the target dead-center with this post!

    Great information Pat! I think that quality content will trump any other strategy in the long-run. Like you said, it is only a matter of time before Google changes their algorithm and takes less into account link juice from comments you leave. So I think Quality over Quantity when it comes to content.

    The odd are ever in your favor buddy!

  • http://antexterminatorhq.com ryan

    any help would greatly be appreciated, i started a site a couple of months ago i have been creating a the two layers and using UAW for the massive article submissions.
    The only problem is i have been doing this for two months and i am not showing any links back to my site when i use tools to look it up like long tail pro. Is uaw still working or am i wasting money? also why would the sites on the first layer not be showing up either?

  • http://foodforagingcourses.co.uk/ Tim

    Thanks Pat, great article as ever.

    Question for everyone – Does User Geography impact on Link Building?

    I have a UK based directory site, http://www.foodforagingcourses.co.uk, at the moment I’m building links to the site but predominantly on UK based sites.

    Mass article submission is the next step for me but most of the sites I’ve looked at are biased towards the USA.

    If I create lots of backlinks from these sites will they work effectively as they are aimed at a US audience versus my UK based audience?

    Or, does it not matter, a link is a link?

    Thoughts greatly appreciated!


  • http://greleads.com Darren Tunstall

    I don’t think mini sites are dying. With Google’s recent changes, they are just trying to make the Internet a better place that focuses on quality versus junk. This is good for preferred bloggers (like us) because it removes the clutter, and competition. The only thing that is dying is poor quality. That’s good.

    The back-linking strategies above are still working. I was able to successful complete the anchor layer and already am seeing results. I am very anxious about incorporating the indirect layer.

    Thanks, Pat!

  • http://www.whatbizopp.com ray

    Pat- great post about a real problem being faced by genuine SEO’s…hats off for the well written post….and the great references…

  • http://www.powerseorankerbonus.com Will@powerseoranker

    As always your posts are amazingly informative, love reading them. I’m glad the 2 tier linking strategy works as I think its a great strategy. Do you think it is still worth getting a few poor quality links to your site as that is what would happen naturally?

  • http://www.pramreviewsite.com/ Lisa Wyatt

    Hi Pat,

    I am pretty new to this whole game and backlinking presents a terrifying prospect, but this was really helpful. I’ll be a regular reader from here on in!


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    bookmarked!!, I like your website!

  • Brendan Hall

    Hey Pat, gr8 post. I made the mistake of paying for backlinks from a site recommended by a trusted Seo company. My page rank went from 4 to 3 about one week after!

    I am now using anchor sites and the article submitter you recommended. Our jazz guitar membership site is now at number 12 on google. I suspect that the next 12 moves up google wil be a lot harder to earn. Thanks for all the gr8 info!

  • Earl

    There’s nothing unethical about buying links, or participating in blog networks, nor was the playing field “unlevel”. On the contrary, it was quite level. Everyone was free to be as aggressive or as passive as they wanted to be in regards to increasing their rankings.

  • http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com George

    I like what google has done… I don’t like reading poorly written articles and being taken to websites that have crappy content just because some GOP loving robot who has money is flooding the market place with his crap… I’ll look a little harder for good content before reading some boiler plate turd… oops, I think I forgot my OCD meds this morning…

  • http://www.bizinmypants.com Cason

    Actually, I don’t think IMers should dabble with SEO too much, especially newbie IMers.

    From my experience, SEO is one of the worst strategies for getting traffic to your website.

    Here’s why.
    1) It’s slow
    2) Google controls you, any update can screw you over.
    3) Search engine traffic is only 10% of all web traffic
    4) Results are incredibly slow.
    5) You don’t even know if the traffic will make you money until AFTER your site is ranking.

    But yes, Google’s doing good to the regular searchers – less spammy articles, more quality stuff being on the top of searches :)

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  • http://powerseorankerinfo.com Brian

    Brian here.
    It’s a Great article! Though I have a little note here on SEO’ing.
    So because of the Google Panda & Penguin update, its become a lot easier to become penalized when building backlinks, I mean there is really no mercy here – Google is FIERCE on this matter if you don’t conform to the new guidelines! So this is both for the readers of the site but certainly also for the website owner.

    So because of the new guidelines you guys have to be extra careful when building your backlinks!.

    I don’t know if you guys have heard of this so I’m providing you with some Power SEO Ranker Info – which is a new and very POWERFUL seo tool which is a whitehat seo tool. Meaning in stays on the right side with Google because it uses the ethical way. It’s a tool which has been developed to save you time and money while building high relevance quality backlinks. However it’s not a FREE tool, but certainly cheaper and way more effective than the companies out there that charges hell of a lot for building backlinks for you, which you by the way have no control over. You have complete control with this tool. Which by the way can grab your competitors keywords, and use the same authority site to create backlinks on – if they can rank on the TOP of Google then so can you! And it can be put on autopilot!
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    To your success

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  • Mahindra Raj

    I really liked the information regarding forum posting.Forum posting is really a great way for getting back links to our site but it should be done very carefully.
    Blogging tips

  • bishnu

    PLATINUM TIP! In the article that you are trying to use to attract people to your business in order to get more sales, you must start with strong statement that grabs their attention and makes them interested in what you have to offer. You should also concentrate on the statement at the end of the article.When thinking of topics for articles, try to write about solutions to issues that people might have. If someone finds practical value in reading one of your pieces, it is likely they will search for more of your work.
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    Companies and individual businesses are looking for means of increasing their online visibility. Perhaps, this can be attributed to the increased usage of the Internet by different consumer segments. On the other hand, search engines want authoritative and unique websites that give searchers the best experience.
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    • Make sure that your articles are written with bullets and subheadings.

  • http://nutricionistaonline.com/ isaac guerrero

    grate info , I will write my comment in Spanish because my English writing is not very good lol.
    Creo que los cambios son buenos , simplemente tenemos que adaptarnos a ellos y no tenerle miedo. Aun que google aya cambiado algunos de sus métodos para identificar cual pagina es la que debe estar en los primeros lugares , no devemos asustarnos por ello , por que el SEO de los años 1999 no es el mismo de los año 2008 y tampoco el de ahora 2012 (que esta en proceso de cambio) y tampoco el de los años venideros . Así que le animo a que no le tenga miedo a los cambio si no mas bien los recivamos con gracia, y cuando logremos entender esto seguiremos asia delante en nuestros negocios y nuestra vida. : )
    Por cierto un gran saludo ala comunidad latina que lee este increible blog jejeej

  • http://www.shalusharma.com Shalu Sharma

    Its incredible, this is exactly what is happening to one of my websites. I am going back and forth on top position with a competitor that has over 300 G+’s which seems unusually strange to me while I have a handful. Sometimes my site is on top and the next day, its the competitor’s and the 3rd day would be a Youtube video that has went viral. Now that you have mentioned the likes and pluses, I am guessing that’s exactly what’s happening. So at the moment, social media is playing a huge role in SEO. Its power back to the people.
    The best SEO article I have read so far, thank you Pat.

  • http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com George

    You know, I get so many more hits on my site from other sites that are in my category…. I get some search engine traffic but not as much as I would have thought and in a lot of cases I am on the first page but I don’t have to be in first position to get traffic. My relationships with other people and their sites are so much more beneficial than just where I am on google…. although I am on page 1,2 and 3 a lot now…..

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  • http://domain-coupon-codes.com/godaddy-coupon-codes/ Jeff D.

    Great information Pat! Backlinking seems to be a lot of leg work to me, but reading your post makes it seem so much easier. I will have to invest in the UAW, it seems to be a great product. Thanks for all the information and I enjoy listening to your Podcast.

  • http://www.bestcheapweddings.com Heather

    Search engines still cannot be relied upon to provide the “best” content on the web. Google is heavily biased toward people with G+1 profiles. For example, search for “cheap wedding,” and the first page of the search engine report contains 3, yes 3, listings for people from G+1. I’m sure your readers can come up with many other instances of search engine shortcomings. This only reinforces the value of your comments about building Web2.0 links to get better ranking for a niche site.
    Thanks for the article and have a very happy day.

  • http://gettingincome.com/ femi

    Great stuff Pat

    I am currently use 2 of the suggested thing s : forums and guest posting and blog commenting .

    Thanks for taking time to share valuable information

    Need to get to work on the rest



  • http://HelloKittySunglasses.com Hello Kitty Sunglasses

    Hey Pat,

    I think your right. There are allot of spammy back linking that works but adds so little true value like forum profiles. I suspect Google will crack down on that stuff in the future. Also, Ive been noticing sites trying to compete with yours in your space. IF those sites are doing so because they saw your Niche Site dual, then what a @#@#$… serious. That would blow. If the heat is on it may be time to sale the site.

  • http://www.andhraworld.in/ sumo@ Food Corporation

    Hai Pat,

    Comments are the best way to interact the top bloggers like i love your posts thanks for the post on link building i have learned something today i will implement this tomorrow and thanks forever…..

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  • http://CashFlowsToo.com Monty Campbell

    Greeting Pat,

    I too have a question on the Thesis Themes.

    How significant is Thesis to your success?

  • http://www.surfersam.com Surfer Sam

    Many years ago, long before backlinks and SEO were even spoken about, I decided to create a website with every page on a different topic. To add to the mess, I wanted to give each page a different design, because I thought it would help me learn HTML. Well, I finally set up a web page template to cut down on the work. But now I have a site with a thousand pages and keywords like “famous photographers, ” “ETF investing”, “funny Redneck jokes”, “how to save money on your energy bill”, “how to find happiness”, and money, business, jobs, family, food, investing, technology… you get the idea. This little website has no dominant keywords, which makes link building a shot in the dark. And yet, comprehensive sites like ehow.com, about.com, and ask.com thrive. I’m still learning from my mistakes, and from blogs like this one.
    Have a very happy day.
    Surfer Sam

  • http://world-links.org/ Ann @ link building guide

    Thanks for sharing this information. So thorough and well put together, I liked how you focused on each aspect, I learned something today.

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  • http://www.activateyourincome.com randyh

    Thanks for all the great information Pat. You just keep on giving us incredible stuff! Right now that’s what I’m really trying to focus on, giving my audience what they really need. I believe this is the best way I can build a loyal audience. Thanks again

  • http://www.mygasfireplacerepair.com Jamison

    What about PPC (adwords) to get increased traffic in hopes that many of them will naturally link to you? Has anyone tried this?

  • http://lifecoverreport.com life cover with john patel

    I’m using Pat’s strategy for my site as well, the difference is I’m using a slightly different approach to improve the juice for my anchor layer. So far after two weeks my main kw jumped from 38 to 11… we’ll see if it can jump to page 1 in 1 to 2 weeks, my kw is fairly competitive.

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  • http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com EcuadorGeorge (Forgues)

    My site is one year old now… I knew nothing last January. And when I say nothing, I mean I had never even read a blog before and had no experience at all with SEO, web crawler, google analylitics, keywords, meta this or meta that… but I read Pats book and listened to his podcasts and took a few lessons on youtube and today things are pretty good. I write about Ecuador and retirement… My site readership almost doubles every month. First month was 12 and last month I had 12,000 hits. Yesterday I was over 1000 hits. I am showing up at number 1 and 2 on some the most basic keywords on google. Google “Cost of Living in Ecuador 2012” or “Moving to Ecuador” or “Moving pets to Ecuador” and I am right there… pretty cool. The top Ecuador retirement blog gets 70,000 hits a month… it has been around for more than 3 years. My guess is I will be knocking at his back door in about 6 months… Cool. Thanks Pat for all your help… http://www.ecuadorgeorge.com

  • http://www.vinnumberlookup.org Brett Nelson

    Diversifying is huge, I agree. I think you will see this year that Google will find the source for +1 paid likes and devalue the biggest perpetrators for this…pretty easy to find if you start with sites like fiverr.com

  • http://www.cologneformenhq.com Justin

    This is a very helpful guide to link building the right way. This is exactly the type of guide I have been searching for. Do tools like UAW and The Best Spinner still work?

    Thanks Pat

  • http://www.felinecat.org Gabor Mocsan

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks a lot for this great info again! I’m new to the subject and your articles are very useful and practical! Many thanks!!


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  • Vic

    Pat :-) I have followed you blog for a while now and I can’t help noticing that a lot of your comments sound artificial(standard), fabricated or downright out of place for the contents written. In other words it’s very obvious that someone/you/robot post standard comments on your blog. This is a technique I have used myself in the past, but I’m not sure it actually works? Does it? :-) To doubters try reading all the comments on several posts 😉

    • http://workonlineblog.com Dee

      I agree, It definitely looks spammy. I’m not sure if this backlinking strategy works now. If I were Google, I would simply ignore what’s in the comment section. Perhaps they already do.

  • Kelly Hansen822

    I have read and followed this blog..It’s very evident that your blog.I really liked the information regarding blog commenting.It’s useful for my seo agency site..Thanks a lot!!

  • Pat

    Hello Pat,

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  • Nguyễn Nguyên Vũ

    Great post! I’ll try. Thanks Pat

  • Justin

    Amazing @Pat love the way you described. Thanks for sharing this link building strategies with us.

  • Justin

    Well, I’ve been building links for many of projects naturally but that way is really complicated and takes much of my time. However, you have shared amazing tips that now I’m following.


  • charles Emmanuel

    thank you pat i have really learned alot from this post i followed you step by step and am getting good ranking on my blog. thank you sir i also love your design pls check my new blog what do you think sir? http://www.blogDucate.com

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