99% of People Are Building Backlinks All Wrong

splishsplash

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I would definitely agree with you, but Google in 2020 is more like a box of pralines, you never know whats inside.

As long as my niche (and many others I saw) is flooded with high authority profile pages, Pinterest and other high DA pages on page 1, I don't have any expectation.

That's different. With some keywords google likes to rank certain types of web 2's. You need to match type of page you create with what's on page 1.

I was always the guy who believed in quality, wrote superb content by myself, got natural links (as you wrote above), but unfortunately it doesn't matter how good your content is. It only matters how old/how much authority your website/domain got.


Superb content won't rank you. Superb content makes it easier for you to buy guest posts from real sites. Nothing more.

When I say natural links I don't mean weak links, or links you pick up naturally. I mean links from real sites that have real content and have TOPICAL AUTHORITY(This is a key term).

If you get a link from.. Here I'll give you an example of a spammy guest post site.

https://www.selfgrowth.com/ - 18k traffic, DR 79, 2 mil backlinks from 30k RDs. This is trash and has no topical authority and no juice.
https://realtytimes.com/ - 12k traffic, 3 mil backlinks from 14k RDs. Same deal.

There's endless sites like this. These are actually the bigger meatier ones. Still absolute crap.

What does realitytimes rank for?

It's biggest page 1 keywords are

"what is a villa" position 10
"termite bond" position 8
"scooter tricks" - position 7


Trash. It has no topical authority. Google just sees it as a collection of rubbish. It has 28,600 indexed pages, but only 2k keywords on page 1.

No juice flows between the pages.

Why?

Because it isn't a real site that's setup properly. It doesn't have internal links.

It doesn't have any sort of structure.

You also pass juice internally through relevance, so if you have a site with a whole mix of unrelated crap, you don't send juice throughout your site.

This results in just a big useless mess.

If you had a homepage link on it, then it would in fact be fairly strong, because you are just directly tapping into the juice, and the most natural links are actually to the homepage. The inner links are mostly people that create their own seo posts then spam them. Like realtytimes.com/advicefromtheexpert/item/1022679-credit-card-generator-for-educational-purposes. Look at the links to that page in ahrefs.


The problem is, ahrefs and these other tools are WAY off the mark when it comes to understanding how links work.

There is no "domain authority". Google operates on pages. It classifies pages into topics and keywords which it has a big database of how they all relate. Juice flows based on relevance.

If you have a site about payday loans and you want juice to flow from a site about gaming, then you need an article on there that connects loans and games. If you have an article that's just loan based, it won't get any juice from the other pages on that site. So if you have somegamessite.com that's a DR90, and you stick "Top 5 Payday Loans" on there, it's not going to get juice from the other pages on the site, because they're topically related to gaming.

So you need to have some sort of news piece like "22 Year Old California Student Spends $4873 on HayDay"

Then you have an article that has *keywords* that are topically connected to gaming, debt, finance, spending, money. Juice will flow from other pages on the site, and juice will flow from that page, to your payday loan page.

This is what I mean when I talk about "natural".

This is why ahrefs, moz and majestic are so inaccurate. They have no understanding of this. The way these tools calculate power is by number of incoming and outgoing links. Google doesn't calculate power like this. None of them are taking relevance into consideration. And it's not "relevance" the way most people think. Most people think a relevant link is getting a link from a site that's in the same niche. That would NOT be a practical way for google to rank sites. It's too constricted and it "segments" off the web. It's also not realistic. It's PERFECTLY natural for a gaming site to talk about finance/loans/debt as it relates to gaming. EVERYTHING is connected. The problem is when you just plant some finance topic on a gaming site. Or an article about plumbing on a self-help site, where there's no topical bridge.
 

Kaine

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I completely agree, the quality of the link comes first. I'm in a good position to see what people can do and see how the search engines react ...
People don't realize that they are using the exact same spam method as 90% of others. Links that I would reserve for my worst enemy. And we're only talking about links, but if we have to start talking about content ....

Quality guys, quality is the one thing you should spend time looking for even if you are 1000 times less productive. You will also be sheltered for a very long time.
 

splishsplash

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[

My main competitor was getting 75k+ traffic before May update.
After may update, It fell flat to 10k per month.
Idk it was PBNs or something else. But as a newbie, my best guess is that they were using too many trashy PBN links.

That's the reason I'm scared of PBNs and prefer Naturally Acquired links, Niche Edits and Guest Posting.
Yes, It is good for churn and burn.
But for a long term authority project, I will still consider all the risk factors.

This is not a manual penalty. It has nothing to do with pbns.

There are countless completely whitehat sites that dropped with the may update.

If what you are saying is true, then for them to be algorithmically penalized during the may 5 update for pbns means google with that update was now able to detect pbns algorithmically.

If that was the case, then why do 100's of thousands of other sites still rank with pbns?

It's more likely his site dropped, just because.

The may 5 update was pretty widespread. Tons of great sites dropped. Shitty sites went up. Good sites went up. Shitty sites went down.

There's not that much of a pattern with it, and they partially reversed it in june/july, and yet more updates have been rolling out in aug/sep.

These are not penalties. It's just google changing the way it calculates things. If a site has a ton of top 3's, and suddenly it's mostly 9-15's, it will lose 90% of its traffic. Does that mean it's penalized? Does it mean it did something wrong? Or did google just change something that suddenly favored other sites.
 

SEOREAPER

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Good links cost a lot, bad links cost almost zero. Humans have a tendency to avoid pain at all costs. The story is simple and plain.
 

Toz

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Ok. Good luck with your web 2's.




You don't need to diversify. That's a myth. I've never done it and all my projects kill it.

You rank with good contextuals. Period. End of story.

Once you rank, your site will NATURALLY diversify its self with the links it picks up. You don't need to build 1000's of junk links to look legit. It in fact does the opposite.
I agree with this. My "diversity" consists of an acute array of specific types of quality, contextual links. I attack the primary keyword (with quality), naked / brand (with quality), and LSIs (with quality). Naturally, as the page ages, I organically acquire other links along the way. Those will often be far more diverse with their anchors, but if I'm outreaching or outsourcing high quality (and usually quite costly) links, then I want to rank for what I want to rank for, "diversity" be damned.
 

frostMatt

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Please don't take this as an attack or as me trying to defend one way over the over, as I'm not, I'm just genuinely curious and playing devil's advocate as its a good way of discussing a complex subject.

There is no "domain authority". Google operates on pages. It classifies pages into topics and keywords which it has a big database of how they all relate. Juice flows based on relevance.
Then you have an article that has *keywords* that are topically connected to gaming, debt, finance, spending, money. Juice will flow from other pages on the site, and juice will flow from that page, to your payday loan page.

Where are you getting this information from? Is it an educated guess, a hunch, or is it from an in-depth SEO study done by yourself or another source? If it's from a study, please could you link it? If it's not based on an actual credible study, then no matter how logical it may sound, it's a hypothesis at best.

Superb content won't rank you. Superb content makes it easier for you to buy guest posts from real sites. Nothing more.
So are you of the view that you have to spend a fair amount of money in order to rank? If so, how much do you think a new affiliate marketer should be spending per month to rank a low-medium KW? I know that's an extremely hard question to answer without actually analysing the KW and the competition, but are you talking in the $100-500, $500-1k, $1-3k or +$3k range?

And how do you go about sourcing quality links? Do you do manual outreach yourself, do you outsource it, or do you rely on BHW nichedits etc?

My personal opinion is that people are not disillusioned regarding the fact that more relevant backlinks from real sites from within their niche are better, but it's the fact that they're so much more difficult to secure. I don't think anyone would take a generic high DR backlink over a lower DR but much more relevant backlink, it's just that the latter are much more difficult to secure, because if they're owned by a real person, then they require real outreach. Some of the more 'trashier' links don't have this same barrier and can be created in a matter of minutes, which is why people will always use them. I've done manual outreach myself (personalised emails, not the automatted kind) for a long stretch of time and had such irregular and unpredictable success rates, with some days amounting to very little. On the flip-side, I've spent small amounts of time manually building some of the backlinks shared on this site and seen modest SERP improvements, so it's very hard to ignore them, especially when outreach often feels like russian roulette in regards to response rate (I think we can agree that the large majority of webmasters have been spammed to death already), or a massive money drain.

These are just my thoughts anyway
 

exodian1

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Great info man! I'm hoping some of the links I purchased in your Wolf Network really help me in the SERPs!
 

splishsplash

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Please don't take this as an attack or as me trying to defend one way over the over, as I'm not, I'm just genuinely curious and playing devil's advocate as its a good way of discussing a complex subject.




Where are you getting this information from? Is it an educated guess, a hunch, or is it from an in-depth SEO study done by yourself or another source? If it's from a study, please could you link it? If it's not based on an actual credible study, then no matter how logical it may sound, it's a hypothesis at best.


So are you of the view that you have to spend a fair amount of money in order to rank? If so, how much do you think a new affiliate marketer should be spending per month to rank a low-medium KW? I know that's an extremely hard question to answer without actually analysing the KW and the competition, but are you talking in the $100-500, $500-1k, $1-3k or +$3k range?

And how do you go about sourcing quality links? Do you do manual outreach yourself, do you outsource it, or do you rely on BHW nichedits etc?

My personal opinion is that people are not disillusioned regarding the fact that more relevant backlinks from real sites from within their niche are better, but it's the fact that they're so much more difficult to secure. I don't think anyone would take a generic high DR backlink over a lower DR but much more relevant backlink, it's just that the latter are much more difficult to secure, because if they're owned by a real person, then they require real outreach. Some of the more 'trashier' links don't have this same barrier and can be created in a matter of minutes, which is why people will always use them. I've done manual outreach myself (personalised emails, not the automatted kind) for a long stretch of time and had such irregular and unpredictable success rates, with some days amounting to very little. On the flip-side, I've spent small amounts of time manually building some of the backlinks shared on this site and seen modest SERP improvements, so it's very hard to ignore them, especially when outreach often feels like russian roulette in regards to response rate (I think we can agree that the large majority of webmasters have been spammed to death already), or a massive money drain.

These are just my thoughts anyway

Multiple studies, years of experience and testing, endless discussions with very experienced SEOs, 1000's of sites worked on.

But I don't think this is some unusual concept. Very few high end seo's will say google has some global "site authority". You can just see this when working on sites. It wouldn't make sense. Progamatically. It's just not practical. They operate through pages, entities, the rank graph, the connection between entities. Having some single site metric is clumsy.

But here's a few pages.


https://ahrefs.com/blog/why-is-my-website-not-showing-up-on-google/ - "
Google continues to give mixed signals about whether site authority is a ranking factor.

In this tweet, Google’s Gary Ilyes says there’s no such thing:

"

Ahrefs will of course try to play up that there is a bit of a "site authority" because they have a site authority metric.



I don't really read these sites though, and they are mostly full of contradictory crap.

I also don't believe google has any sort of "trust factor". I think they dabbled with the idea, but it's not practical. You can buy links on most high authority sites. Anyone can get a link on wikipedia. There's no trust from anything except a few sites like government sites, and even then, who's to say a site is trustworthy because a .gov links to it? Just because some employee added a link doesn't mean it's to be trusted.

Real 'trust' would come from topical authority. The more content a site has within a topic, the more it becomes topically authoritative. When you combine that with links from topically connected pages, it backs up that this is in fact a good source for that topic. This then becomes a source of trust for the topic. This is why you can get auction domains and start ranking quickly if you stay within the previous topic that the domain was in, but you won't magically be able to rank for things outside of the topic any faster than a fresh domain. You need topical depth *and* topically connected backlinks.

Note, this is NOT "relevant links". Cat sites do not rank because they get links from other cat sites. This is pure garbage.

When you say "more relevant backlinks" you are also thinking about backlinks from "relevant sites". Forget this idea.

You want links from topically CONNETED pages.

Your page about cat toys. You have a link on a games site, from a page titled "Best 8 Mobile Games of 2020". This is not topically connected. Not because it's a games site, but because the pages have no connection. No bridge. So google sees it as less relevant. It will still pass some juice and have some value, but much less because the page is an entity about mobile games. It shouldn't really pass authority to a cat toys page.

However, if the page is "The Best 8 Mobile Games for Cat Lovers", then you have a topically relevant, topically connected link. That page will also get juice through internal links from the other gaming pages on the gaming site, thus juicing that up.

I've done a lot of tests on juice passing. This is how you pass juice.

In response to your other question, yes, SEO is not a budget endeavor. If you want to rank a medium comp site you should be bringing 5 figures to the table. Higher comp stuff require 6 figures. This includes all your costs, content, links etc.

If you weren't getting a good response from manual outreach then you were making mistakes somewhere along the line.
 

AAW

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A lot of people here sell backlinks, a good number of them are crappy, they won’t be happy about this post.

Google is not stupid to not see your backlinks are trashy!
Take your time to build backlinks unless you are after churn and burn website or whatever.
If you are after branding then Tom advice is good for you.
 

YujinTan

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Side , if people contact u ask about guest post , is they just want to build many backlinks for the seek or it? just try their luck see can get " free " guest post? maybe email a lot site owners ?

Or

your site does have a value? so they find out and ask you accept guest post or even pay.
 

jagsweb

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Great entertainment on this thread started by a guy selling pbn links telling others their methods are trash. If you try hard enough, you can make any strategy work. Needless to say, there are some good points made here. Quality trumps all.

Focus on the experience, your end-user, providing them with an experience that far exceeds anything they will get elsewhere or at least anything they might have access to. Pbn's, web 2.0, all that shit is a waste of time in my opinion, but that doesn't make them bad. Why spend your time working on something that may go poof in an update tomorrow? Too much of any one method can be toxic. That is the message from Google over the years. Natural SEO is about diversity and quality.

How many times do you have to go through that before you wake up and realize there are much better ways? If you want good strong backlinks, learn how to network with people.

Make a list of 100 site/influencers that you want to associate with/ get links from. Target the influencers that your target audience worships. Start contacting them 1 at a time and pitch a collab to them. Something that would benefit their audience.

Plan on getting a clear no from almost all of them. It only takes 1. Once one agrees, go contact everyone that said no and say thanks for your time. By the way, _____ said yes and we are scheduled to ____ on ____. They will be wondering what they might have missed when they turned you down since one of their peers has said yes.

After you've finished working together run a google ad targeting the influencer's name and site targeting whatever you did together. Now you are targeting your target audience with their favorite influencers endorsement. It doesn't get much clearer than that. If you doubt this method, ask Russell Brunson.

The collab I got for a client(guest post) last year with Men's Health went on to be the most-read piece on the site and led to them offering her two front covers on the magazine. Now a different magazine is pursuing her and she has been on multiple podcasts since as well.

Just a few key high-quality backlinks that are evergreen and drive traffic. The 1 link in the bio of the guest post has sent a lot of traffic to her site which also added many quality backlinks from other sites. No google update will wash any of that away. No bs fiverr trick will go poof in the night.

While I agree with multiple points in this thread, in my opinion, pbn's, buying links, and all of the other hocus pocus crap and manipulations, right or wrong, are far more work than is needed if you put your head down and just keep hammering away at it. You have to find what works for you and scale. There are many different strategies, just because you dont use one doesn't make your perfect and theirs shit.

If you build a site and your SEO is marginal and the links leave a ton to be desired but you have consistent high quality traffic coming from multiple sources that engage with multiple pages while on site and some convert consistently, Google will still rank your site and rank it well, with or without many backlinks.

All you need to do is go to google and profile the top-ranking pages for any results and they definitely are not in backlink or DA order and never have been. That's my 2 cents. Ive only been doing this for 20 years and have built up 2 extremely large, very successful agencies. What works for you is 100% dependant on your effort!
 

sashilover

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Really insightful! OP, one question for you:
Accodingly to your theory, the juice from a backlink only follow when the source and target pages has topical connection, if that' true.
Repurposing the content on expired domains will cause the lost of the link juce from its backlinks profile, and that's the totally bad idea?
 

MisterF

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A lot of people here sell backlinks, a good number of them are crappy, they won’t be happy about this post.

Google is not stupid to not see your backlinks are trashy!
Take your time to build backlinks unless you are after churn and burn website or whatever.
If you are after branding then Tom advice is good for you.

Those selling crap do so mainly due to 2 things.

Cheap price and / or fake reviews.

This is some of the crap being offered as guest posts;

Dogshit 1.png
Dogshit 2.png
Dogshit 3.png


These were nothing more than crappy PBNs advertised as up to DA70 sites.....
 

frostMatt

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Thanks a lot for answering my questions and not skirting around them, it was quite a surprise to see! And thanks for the links, admittedly it has changed my view and I'm more inclined to agree with your theory now as I can see sense in it, plus it aligns with what Google themselves have said.

Real 'trust' would come from topical authority. The more content a site has within a topic, the more it becomes topically authoritative. When you combine that with links from topically connected pages, it backs up that this is in fact a good source for that topic. This then becomes a source of trust for the topic. This is why you can get auction domains and start ranking quickly if you stay within the previous topic that the domain was in, but you won't magically be able to rank for things outside of the topic any faster than a fresh domain.
Very good point regarding expired domains not carrying over ranking power when your immediately change their topics; I hadn't looked at topical authority this way before but that's a solid point.

You want links from topically CONNETED pages.
Just to carry on playing devil's advocate, how do PBNs not suffer from the same issue as the other high authority but poorly interconnected sites? I could be wrong, but for purposes of keeping costs manageable, don't the majority of PBNs accept all topics? (I'm guessing it would be expensive to have multiple sites per PBN network, with a PBN in each niche, though I'm not a PBN owner so can't say for sure). I've seen some PBN networks before and in almost all cases they were 'generic/news' type sites which had a random collection of customer articles, from best hairstyles to pet food and car repairs etc. I guess the other problem is that for understandable reasons, PBN owners don't let you see their network, so it's difficult to know if you're actually getting something non-spammy and with other topical relevant pages, or something which has all sorts on it.

With this in mind, what makes PBNs so good? Is it just when they're homepage links? If so, in your experience, are PBNs worthless if you're buying anything other than homepage spot ones?

Just to carry on from this, how does this apply to news sites? If I go onto a popular newsite like SkyNews, CNN, NBC, etc. they have all sorts of random and non-interconnected pages as that's just the nature of news.

For example, a section on SkyNews that I'm looking at right now has the following headlines:
  • "Moment of joy: Cricket game breaks out in south London street after 10pm curfew"
  • "Unexpected arrival for plane passangers as baby born in middle of flight"
  • "Rare orange lobseter is re-homed after chance discovery"
  • "Embrace differences: Teen secures record for world's longest female legs"
  • "Potty-mouth parrots split up by zoo bosses after egging each other to swear"

So let's say that the 2nd from bottom article included a link to the girl's personal website (assuming a DoF0llow), would the low topical and connected pages class it as a poor backlink?

I appreciate that topical connection is probably just 1 of many ranking factors and so there would be others at play which might dictate that actually it's a good link, but hopefully you see where I'm coming from.

In response to your other question, yes, SEO is not a budget endeavor. If you want to rank a medium comp site you should be bringing 5 figures to the table. Higher comp stuff require 6 figures. This includes all your costs, content, links etc.
Agreed. I tried bootstrapping things at the beginning but quickly learnt that unless you find an incredibly low-competition niche (which lets face it, most niches will already be tapped in by someone unless) the rate of growth is incredibly slow if you're not willing to spend a sizeable amount of money.

If you weren't getting a good response from manual outreach then you were making mistakes somewhere along the line.

Guilty - probably not doing enough of it to be honest.

Just to clarify, in your experience, are the only worthwhile backlinks these days genuine guestpost outreach, topic relevant niche edits, and homepage PBNs?
 

HustleTong

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Absolutely. I've noticed sellers inflating metrics to get to a point to be able to sell Guest posts to leverage fresh webmasters and make a killing with it. It's a churn n burn thing lately.
 
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