Ok, I want to take a minute to talk about link building. The marketplace is full of services that claim to be "100% safe!" and "Panda and Penguin proof!" blah blah blah. Complete and utter bullshit, yet people believe it and then wonder why their site tanks or disappears from the search results. It isn't rocket science here. ANY form of link building is "blackhat" - now there are link building services that are great for churn and burn and short term gains. But to call these massive link services "whitehat" is like calling a cat a dog. Or putting up a picture of a red ball you are selling and in the description saying it is blue in color. If you give a rats ass about your site then it is time to figure out how to build "safer" links the right way. Now, if you are doing churn and burn then keep doing what you are doing. This is for people that are building a brand/company/long term project. Throw the word "quantity" out the window. This is a mission to get QUALITY links from related websites. All those generic "private blog networks" that are fake blogs are risky, especially now and I will explain. Not only do you not want your site/company next to links selling dick pills and other bullshit, but also I believe Google is going to make a serious push to expose as many as they can. Why? Simple: Bing and Yahoo. Bing and Yahoo are going to make a SERIOUS run - they have both publicly stated that they are taking steps to clean up their results. Some good reads regarding Yahoo: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2097020/marissa-mayer-very-excited-about-contextual-search.html http://www.fool.com/investing/gener...-want-to-get-back-into-search-technology.aspx And Bing just updated their webmaster guidelines "Things To Avoid" to include keyword stuffing: Google is not going to lay over and let Bing and Yahoo take any of their market share...so what will they do? Well if Yahoo and Bing are going to address search quality and spam then Google will step their game up. Think about it...Google could find out HUNDREDS of "private network sites" in an afternoon. They could literally do it in a few hours in their office while eating lunch. How? Simply create an account here or any other forum and request samples. Amazingly the majority of sellers give them out freely. The only seller here I have seen mention not giving them out in his thread is T0mmy. How "PRIVATE" is a private blog network that gives any Tom, Dick, or Harry samples. Here I will answer that for you: IT ISN'T! Not even close. That would be like creating a secret underground society and adding the address and location to your Facebook "fan" page. So, after the Google team gets a list of all the sites they may finish their lunch, take a couple dumps in their plush corporate bathrooms and then proceed to destroy every site "sample" they were given along with any link found on the site. If you don't think it is that easy then think again. Also, people are still sending SEO reports through gmail and using Google Docs. Amazing. They may as well just cc Matt Cutts on the email. My point is this: NOBODY, and I repeat NOBODY cares or will care about your site/company as much as you. Regardless of what a link seller will tell you. Once they have your money the goal is "on to the next one" - and there is nothing wrong with that - it is business. That is how the world turns. But if you are serious about improving your rankings and building up the authority and trust of your site then you need to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. You will need to work, probably much harder than you are now. I am only going to discuss two things right now that you can do to improve your SEO in a way that allows you to sleep at night and not frantically check rankings and shit your pants any time an update is rumored. But first... GET YOUR SITE IN ORDER For simplicity I am just going to use a site built on WordPress for this example. First, make sure you aren't putting yourself at a disadvantage before you even start because your site structure sucks. Change the permalink structure so it is the post/page title. Ex: yoursite.com/the-post-you-just-made It amazes me that some people have URL's that are a complete cluster fuck. It takes 3.532 seconds to make that change. Next, install the Yoast SEO plugin. You don't need it, but it makes life easier. This allows you to alter each title and meta description. Now, the title is important but the meta description isn't important SEO wise - but for click-through this is your chance to grab traffic from sites listed above you. Be smart about it and use it to your advantage. Make sure you have an xml sitemap for your site also. Check your speed. Many times sites load like a slow dog because they are jam packed with a shit load of worthless plugins. Also, get good hosting. $1/month hosting gets you $1/month results. If the site is for your business there is no reason you shouldn't have a dedicated server. The speed difference can be amazing. Ok, now to point #1: CONTENT First, make sure the content on your main page is well written - hire a professional if you feel your content creation skills are not up to par. And don't hire someone on Fiverr or someone selling 500 words of "content" for $5. You get what you pay for. Start a blog on your site. There are ZERO valid excuses for not having a blog on your site if it is something that represents a company or brand, or is a long term site. Don't just pack the blog full of content. Start steady, adding a new post daily and then increase that frequency when your time/budget/site traffic increases. In the beginning you want to add daily (make sure you have an xml sitemap) so the search engines see that your site is being updated with new fresh content daily. But when your traffic starts to increase and you notice social shares and interaction with your content then increase it. This is going to keep visitors on your site longer and give you more social sharing. You will also start to get natural links...exactly what Google likes to see. Add quality content that your visitors like = get natural links. Amazing. Like I stated earlier we aren't reinventing the wheel. Work = results. Results that don't have you looking over your back daily for black and white zoo animals. Now, for JUICY links... GUEST POSTING Before you say, "No man, Matt Cutts said it was dead!" he was referring to the fake bullshit posts on "private blog networks" - you know - the posts that aren't really guest posts. If you missed it, here is the post on his blog: http://bit.ly/Kzh8sp Guest posting allows you to get really nice links on websites that are REAL, have traffic, and strong PR, DA, and PA. There is a SEO benefit as well as a traffic benefit of targeting the right sites to approach. So, how are you going to locate potential sites? You will need 3 browser windows up to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible. 1. Google 2. Moz's opensiteexplorer 3. PR checker Of course you can really get in-depth with other tools, but this allows you to quickly see if a site is worth approaching (because this takes time, and TIME EQUALS MONEY) 1. The Initial Search For this example let's assume we are a local restaurant in Philadelphia, PA that sells the most badass cheese steaks and have a new website we are trying to rank for. The cheese steak competition is fierce, so we need some kickass links. (remember this is all just for the point of an example - I just feel like a freaking Philly cheese steak as I type this - and I am seriously considering having my buddy overnight me a couple from Gino's haha) Ok, so a quick Google search of "Philadelphia food blogs" brings up the following: I checked out the top two and didn't like them (I look at post type, frequency, whether or not they have multiple authors or all posts are done by the site. So, I clicked on the bottom one and REALLY liked it. Multiple authors. Updated frequently. So, now to see what this sucker has under the hood... Page Rank: This is a PR6. not bad at all. Moz Metrics: The Domian Authority is 67 and the Page Authority is 72. Solid. Verdict: This is a link that would be kickass. Time to get it. Contact Options This is the contact method available on the site: It is very generic and not ideal, so a quick whois search pulls this up: Found a contact. Time to email them. Reach Out Since we now have an email for "Melissa" it is time to shoot her an email. This is where many people royally fuck up. They say crap like "I would like to provide you with one article for your site in exchange for one or two links back to my site with anchor text of my choice" Guess what that will get you? A fast "delete" and your email will be forgotten forever and you will never get a link on the site. Tips for writing an outreach email: Sound like a REAL person - not a marketing person, not a SEO, etc Don't mention the word "LINK" in your email - NEVER mention the word "link" Don't call it a "guest post" or any of that shit. That sounds spammy. The goal of the original outreach email is to make a connection Here is an example of what I would send to this place: No mentioning of a guest post or link, etc. Just wanted to make a connection and do so in a way that will get a response. Any response. Even a "No sorry we wouldn't be interested" is better than nothing - because you will then learn what approach works for you. We all have different personalities so you will need to figure out the approach that works best for your personality. The email mentions something of interest - contest - something their readers would probably like. It takes you 2 minutes to put a submit form and contest page up on the site, and a couple sandwiches a day might run $50 in total cost - but the exposure from the site will return far more than that. So, you may receive a kick ass PR6 link AND traffic AND business just by being creative and WORKING. After the email is send one of 3 things will happen. 1. Nothing This means that your outreach email sucked. Simple as that. 2. Not Interested But Thanks For Thinking Of Us If your outreach email was good you will get a response back. Some sites simply won't put any content up that doesn't originate from their internal team. That is the way it is. But this response is better than dead air. it means your outreach email struck a nerve and was good enough for them to justify wasting 10 seconds of their life to give you a reply. 3. Let's Do This If they are interested (and they will be if you get creative enough!) they will get back to you and you are good to go. In this example, the way it is set up they HAVE to mention and link your site in the post. A smart move would be to pitch as "Interested people should visit our site and click on the "contest" link on our home page. This way you are getting a link to your main URL and not an inner page. Now, if you aren't afraid of working you can secure these all day long. Is it easy? Fuck no! Is it worth it? Fuck yeah. If you are serious about creating a powerful site that will withstand any updates then you need to be thinking this way. Good luck.