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7 Backlink Building Methods Ranked

Building backlinks is one of the most powerful strategies you can use if you want to rank higher in the search results for the keywords you’ve identified as being able to make you money.

However, it’s also one of the most confused topics because of so many different opinions about which backlinks are right for your site, how to build them, where to buy backlinks that are white hat and won’t negatively affect you, how many you need to build, and how fast you should be building them.

I’m going to break down 7 of the most popular link building strategies, go over them in brief detail, and then break down the pros and cons of each so you get a better idea of where you need to be spending your time if you want to turn your website into a search traffic vacuum.

“Earning” Links

Bloggers and content marketers love to toss around the idea that all you have to do to rank higher in the search results is simply “earn links”.  How do you “earn links”?  By creating great content.

You’ve probably heard the phrase before: build it and they will come.

Except simply building it (great content) isn’t enough.  You have to spend more time promoting the content you’ve created than you did actually creating it.  When you’re promoting it, you’re not actually earning links in the way most bloggers are talking about, though.

When I hear people say that you need to earn links, it’s usually followed by them saying that all you have to do is keep creating great content, and the links will flow in.  Then, the more links you get, the more exposure you get, which leads to even more links.

That’s a loaded strategy, though.  Without having an initial set of links, you’re not going to get the exposure to get more.  It’s why people will spend years on their blog or website with very little results to show for all of their effort.

I’m putting this strategy at the top of my list to get it out of the way.  Sure, it may upset a few people, but I’d rather them go into their SEO career by understanding how you actually rank higher and make money than to think that some magical unicorn is going to come and deliver the unicorn ranking powder on their website, and then *poof* they suddenly start making money.


  • Most natural form of “link building” you can use to rank a site higher in the search results.
  • Able to obtain high authority, niche relevant links that stick around forever.
  • Some of these links can crash your server from the amount of traffic they deliver.


  • You’re waiting around for something that may never actually show up. (links)
  • You’re praying that someone will find your site and want to link to you.
  • It takes substantially longer for this strategy to actually pay off.
  • If you want to increase your “links earned” rate, you have to promote.

Link Trading

Trading links with other websites in your industry is a great way to get links.  It’s definitely more productive than just sitting around and waiting for them to magically appear.  Most people tend to shy away from this strategy, though, because it actually takes work to see results.

Instead of waiting around to “earn” links, you’re required to reach out to people and build a relationship with the webmaster or blogger in an effort to one day trade a link on their site for a link on yours.  The end result?  You both get a new link.

Except that Google has frowned on this in the past, and if you overdo it you’re actually going to be shooting yourself in the foot.  So, for the most part, a few traded links here and there isn’t really a bad thing.  I don’t believe it’s the most productive use of your time, though.

There are more reliable ways to get the same types of links without having to actually give a link in return.  This is especially true if you’re already going to be emailing people, begging them to link to your website.


  • More efficient than waiting for magical link unicorns to grace you with their presence.
  • You’re able to locate the niche relevant, high authority websites you want links from.
  • You’re creating opportunities to build relationships with other bloggers.
  • It’s free to generating links to your site, and works if you’re on a budget.


  • It’s a very time intensive process, with little results compared to other methods.
  • You’re “promoting” your site, so you’ve entered into the SEO realm.
  • Too many of these reciprocal links can land your site in hot water with Google.
  • Not many webmasters are actually willing to link out, or keep your links up.
  • These links usually do not deliver any extra traffic to your site.

Blog Commenting

This is a strategy that I almost debated about actually putting in here, but it’s one that does serve some use to your website or blog.  Most blog comments are nofollow, so you don’t necessarily have to worry about them helping your website rank higher, but there are other hidden benefits that usually don’t get talked about.

If you’re commenting on other blogs in an attempt to help your rankings, you can quit now.  However, if you’re trying to open the door with the blog owner or want to drive traffic from giant blogs in your niche, keep going.  If the content you’re commenting on is related to yours, you can safely bet that the visitors to that content are going to be interested in your content, too.

You can’t just hit and run, though.  You need to put in the time to make well thought out replies that are actually relevant to the content on the page you’re commenting on.  If you do this a few times, you’ll have a lot easier time getting in-content links from the blog owner down the road.

With all that said, this is still a fairly bad use of your time.  The amount of work involved for the relatively low payoff isn’t worth it compared to some other link building strategies.


  • Relatively easy to do.  Search for blogs, leave comments.  Rinse.  Repeat.
  • Can deliver trickle traffic for a long time if you leave a valuable comment.
  • Opens the door to the blogger without having to actually email them.
  • Helps diversify your link portfolio with natural nofollow links.


  • Doesn’t directly influence your search engine rankings.
  • There are better uses of your time if you’re going to build links.
  • Only delivers traffic from highly visible blogs, and if you’re the top comment.
  • Overloaded with spammers, so you have a high chance of being ignored.

Guest Posting

Guest posting has always been around in one form or another.  In years past, guest posting has actually taken a hit because of the sheer number of spammers and services that popped up, allowing users to join their network and submit whatever guest posts their underpaid writers could dream up.

Thankfully, those big networks have all bitten the dust, and people have realized that there is still power in performing manual outreach, building relationships, and actually landing a legitimate guest post on high traffic / high authority websites.

This is one of the safest ways to build links to your website, but it’s also one of the most time intensive methods you can use out of this list.  In general, most people aren’t going to respond to your emails, and even less are going to publish the content you present to them.

To land these types of links, you’re going to have to build a relationship with the blogger, write a compelling piece of content that they actually want to share with their audience, and then pray that the blogger keeps the links you’ve included in the content itself.


  • Almost guaranteed a dofollow link that will help influence your rankings.
  • Helps build relationships with bloggers that will last for years if treated properly.
  • The time involved keeps a lot of the spammers at bay.
  • Fairly safe strategy for gaining high strength, relevant links.


  • Requires you to send out mass amounts of emails to people that don’t know you.
  • Requires you to write an article that’s better than the content they’re linking to.
  • Has a high rejection rate, forcing most people out before they see results.
  • Hard to get a response from bloggers and takes a high level of persuasive skills.


This is another strategy that made it’s way up the SEO ladder as older PBN networks started getting deindexed en mass.  Instead of begging people for links using the guest posting strategy, people would create (or buy) a clever information filled graphic (hence.. infographic) and spam it out across the internet.

There are hundreds of sites that you can host your infographics on, all willing to give you a link back to your site.  Once you have hit up all of those sites and posted your infographic, you can start contacting webmasters the same way you would if you were asking for a guest post spot.

When a webmaster returns your email and wants to post your infographic to their website, you’ll have to write up a small article to accompany the picture and then a biography about yourself.  The webmaster will then post it all, hopefully with an in-content link to your site.


  • Easier to get an initial seed of links going, from infographic hosting websites.
  • Easier to get published on blogs because visitors tend to skim instead of read.


  • Costs time and money up front, with no guarantee of results.
  • Requires you to put in a lot of time or money up front.
  • Requires you to send out mass amounts of emails to get it published.
  • Becoming an oversaturated method of getting links, making it less effective overall.

Private Blog Networks

PBNs means either public blog networks, or private blog networks.  Public blog networks advertise what they do and give you a handy signup form where anyone and their brother with a PayPal account can sign up.

It’s not hard to see how public blog networks have taken a hit in the past.  Since it was so easy to sign up to them, Google employees would sign up, make lists of all the websites and all of the websites that they linked to, and then start wiping them out.

Mass deindexings happened quite a bit a few years ago, but you don’t really hear much about it anymore.  Want to know why?  Because people got smarter about how they’re building their blog networks, and not letting any Joe Schmoe in.  They’ve started building networks entirely for themselves.

This strategy works like gangbusters but, unfortunately, it’s incredibly expensive to do.  It’s also very time consuming to find domains that are worth the money, checking them for spam, creating content on them, putting on a design that doesn’t scream “private blog network” and then managing the network.


  • You own all of the links you create, so nobody can take them away from you.
  • You’re able to build niche relevant links whenever you want.
  • Makes it easy to launch new sites when you already have a network.


  • Incredibly time consuming to find domains, check them for spam, and create content.
  • Costs a lot of money to get started, with expenses racking up the larger the network gets.
  • If you create footprints your network can be spotted and reported by a competitor.

Buying Links

Most SEOs that are making big money these days aren’t bothering themselves with sending out guest post emails, begging people to publish their infographics, leaving “useful” comments on blogs, trading links, or building a network for themselves.

Instead, those SEOs look at link building as an investment.  An investment that helps them make more money than they’re spending on the links that they’re buying.  They know that by increasing their rankings with strong links, they’re going to increase their income so they can buy even more links.

When you look at your links as an investment that you can spend money on, instead of investing large amounts of your time (far more valuable than money) the SEO game changes completely.  That’s why you see the big players in some of the most competitive niches buying links instead of trying to build private blog networks.


  • One of the easiest ways to gain strong links to your website.
  • Requires a minimal time investment to obtain high value links.
  • Hard to detect if you’re careful about where you buy links from and who you buy from.
  • Gives you access to other people’s link networks so you don’t have to build them yourself.
  • Cheaper than most people think, especially when you’re already earning.
  • Easy to plan how many new links you’re going to get each month.


  • Can be hard to justify if your site isn’t already earning.
  • Requires you to vet the people you’re buying links from.

There are quite a few different link building strategies you can use, with some requiring more of your time, and others requiring more of your money.  Whichever route you take, there’s no mistaking that links are the biggest determining factor in how well you rank in the search results.

If you want to focus on building out your money sites and improving your conversion rates – SERPShip can take care of your backlink solutions permanently. See what we can do for your money sites today.

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