I’ve noticed a lot of talk about link building recently that left me scratching my head. A lot of people think they need top secret links and links from unobtainable websites in order to rank. As I’ve been switching over to more offline clients I have been hearing some crazy stories about the SEO companies they were previously working with.

To be honest, link building has gotten completely out of hand. There is so much wrong information being preached by SEO gurus and I don’t know if it’s just to scare people into thinking they need to hire them, but the truth is that anyone can build links that actually work. There are a lot of good SEO people that will say the same. Why? Because they aren’t scared of losing a client. Do you think a business owner that has a successful business has time or even wants to build a single like? HELL NO! That is why they are hiring a company to handle the SEO.


Building links takes time. You aren’t going to use software and bots to build any links that provide long term value. SEO isn’t for the lazy man these days and to do it right you have to have patience. The type of client I want is someone that has zero interest in building links or even trying to learn how SEO is done. I want to work with people that are worried about making their business better.. that are worried about seeing a positive ROI.. not getting a DA60 link. SEO companies that are putting on a smoke show and aren’t transparent have bigger issues to worry about than some person firing them to do the SEO themselves.


To demonstrate how there are PLENTY of very good link opportunities that you can take advantage of and have live within 24 hours I decided to write a new post. If you want top secret links or underground garbage then just click the back button now. This is all common knowledge and stuff that every single person should be doing, but they aren’t. Trust me, over the past few weeks I have spoke to several people that prove how shady some SEO companies are and how clueless most of them are.



1. Local Business Pages (Google, Yahoo, Bing)

This is something so simple, but there are so many websites that I encounter that don’t have these links. Why? They are either skipped over or the pervious SEO company was clueless. One of my newest clients is a real business. They have a large storefront and they would love to attract new local shoppers. So why weren’t they listed on the local pages? Because their previous SEO company told them that “it would just draw attention to your websites so it’s best to avoid them and not give them a reason to dig.”


That’s the most ridiculous thing. So, for the 18 months they were with this SEO company when local people searched for what they sold their website did NOT show up once in the local map results. They are not in a competitive niche. Not at all. We created local pages on Google, Bing and Yahoo and guess what? They are now the top map result because of the optimization. No magic tricks needed. Just good website + good local listings optimized the right away.


TBH, if I was a snake I could have just created these listings and sat back and not done a single additional thing because they are now receiving more traffic than they ever did before. These links matter. Don’t you think the search engines are going to give priority to businesses that are listed on their own directory? If your site is NOT listed it screams “we are not real” so never ignore these links. Even if you don’t have an actual store. Get creative and secure these links.



2. Directory Links (BBB, YP, etc.)

There are always a handful of directory links that you can get right away with no wait time. Websites like YP.com, Yelp and Foursquare are all solid business directories that you need to be on. There is no reason to avoid them. A lot of people are scared to set up a Yelp page because they fear it will open the door to negative reviews.


There isn’t a way to stop them. It’s the internet.. anyone can make up anything about you and post it online with zero proof. Actually, many companies spin negative reviews and end up getting more exposure because of it. I’ve personally learned lately to ignore them for the sad tactics that they are.. no more no less.


However that really shouldn’t put people off as 99% of the time they’re awesome links used the right way. Securing these directory links is easy. Do it. Don’t be lazy. If you are on a crazy tight budget just do the ones you can get for free. If you are working with a decent budget then take it a step further and sign up with the BBB and get your website listed in the top paid niche directories.



3. Social Media Profiles

People think that social media profile links don’t matter. Posting links in status updates isn’t going to do anything for you, but I can promise that having your website link in the bio/profile section of all these social media sites does make a difference. You are going to be starting in a deep hole far behind everyone else if you aren’t linked on these sites.


We live in a social world. Every person is on social media, meaning any real business that wants to attract customers (which is every single real business) should be on social media.. right? It’s links you can get in 3 seconds. It makes your website instantly more trustworthy because it increases the odds that you are legit and not a spammer. It’s so easy but people don’t do it. They don’t want to phone verify accounts. They don’t want to do any work. Lazy.


Even if your business will never promote on the social media site still sign up for it. I have some sites that I would never use Instagram or Pinterest to market but guess what? I have profiles set up on both (and links to my site in the profile bio’s). I think a lot of people miss out on great (easy) links because they don’t think they will ever use the social media site. You should want links on every single one!



4. Press Release

Press releases are making a big comeback in 2016. Just watch. Actually, I’m so confident in this prediction that I’m in the process of launching a full press release service as a stand alone product now for our agency clients. There isn’t an easier way to get editorial links on very powerful domains.


The trick is to write a press release that is news worthy and to use brand name links. The news outlets are very smart. They won’t publish press releases with obvious keyword anchor text any more. They skip right over them. We have been testing a lot over the past couple of months as we get ready to launch the press release service and it’s brand name anchor text and naked URL’s only if you want to land on really good sites.


85% of links will be no-follow but they’re still good for diversity.



5. Forums (Niche Relevant)

There are forums for just about every niche out there and the key is to find the oldest, most established ones you can find. I know this post is about links you can get within 24 hours and when it comes to forums you don’t want to start dropping links in posts right away or you will be identified as a spammer and probably banned. But you can usually get a signature link right after signing up, especially for small niche forums that aren’t getting spammed to death.


Build up an account on every decent forum within your niche. Make a few posts a week. Then once the accounts are aged figure out what you want to link to and use the search function to find related posts that your link will look natural in.



6. Blog Comments (Niche Relevant)

“But Tommy, blog comments are no-follow.” – this is what you just said to yourself, admit it!


Blog comments still hold value, but only if they are real. Not automated, spun, random, etc. You should be reading blogs in your niche daily. It will give you topic ideas to write about for your own blog and it will help keep you sharp. When reading, why not take 10 seconds to drop a real comment and get an easy link? It’s so simple but most don’t do this.


Anyone with half of a brain can write a meaningful comment that will pass moderation. Make sure to use your name and not try to sneak a keyword anchor in there. It will get deleted and you will have just wasted a lot of time.


Comment links help to diversify your back link profile by giving you some no-follow links and they can also give you referral traffic. Leave 5 comments a day and soon you will see the impact. I’ve got a personal money site that I do this with and over the course of 2 years the amount of referral traffic each month just form those comments is XX,XXX visitors a month. It adds up.



7. Sponsorship & Donation Acknowledgements

These links can go live within minutes if you are ready to pay. Even though they are “paid” links they are still natural. You technically aren’t paying directly for the link. You are making a donation and you are being linked as a way to show appreciation and identify you as a supporter. Some of the gurus will say it’s a paid link because money was exchanged but I’ll argue all day long against that logic.


When I get a new client I have on of my team members Google their location to locate any charities or fundraisers that are seeking donations. Even if they don’t advertise that you get a link there are ways you can approach them. What has worked good for me in the past is saying that the business is looking to get some local exposure and if there was a way to get a link placed to attract some web traffic. You need to be able to react on the fly and appeal to whoever you are speaking with. These are links you can get as soon as you donate.



8. Guest Posts

Take everything you think you know about guest posting and throw it out the window. You don’t buy guest posts on forums. You don’t have to have special connections. This is what you do:


  • Find all of the niche blogs you can that you would like to get a link from. Don’t let DA be your deciding metric. Look at the social shares and comments in the blog to see how active it is. If the site has a ton of interaction and it’s a DA 25 it’s a much better link than a blog that has a DA 60 from spam links.


  • Find the blog’s social media accounts and reach out on social with an offer to give them a great article. Tell them you are also submitting your contact info on their website. This preps them and now they will actually go look for it. Think of social media as a way to get their attention.


  • Submit your pitch through their contact form. Tell them why you are the right person to write for their website. Talk like a real human and not an SEO. They get requests all day. The only way you will get a reply is if you stand out.


You have to be willing to reply RIGHT AWAY if they respond to you. If they say “yes we are interested” then you need to be able to write an article within hours or have someone you can order one from. The longer you wait the less interested they will be. Submit it while you are on their mind and let the link happen naturally.


There you go. Some of you might think this was SEO 101, but I guarantee there were some people that just realized they are missing out on such important (and easy to get) links. There aren’t any hidden secrets that only the best SEO companies know, there is no such thing as secret sauce (no matter what the peanut gallery might tell you).. SEO is mostly common sense, with a some outside the box thinking thrown in. Being a good SEO these days involves thinking about strategy, analyzing data and finding creative ways to keep the links coming from reputable websites.


My prediction for SEO in 2016: I believe more companies are going to become totally transparent and the shady SEO practices are going to continue to get flushed out.


As always I hope you enjoyed the read. Any questions or feedback fire away below. Until next time.. Ciao for now!

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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