Best Backlink Builders to Follow into 2018

BEST BACKLINK BUILDERSBacklink generation is the most misunderstood element of SEO as a whole.

Links are essential for rankings and they always will be.

But they are never a numbers game.

Give me 1 amazing link over 10 average ones anyday. 

I have a very big concept around how links will be valued in the future.

This involves Google getting smarter about exactly how many people click a link itself AKA how much traffic that link generates. I even did a video on it.

I wanted to talk about a couple of link builders I follow on a weekly basis and who I really respect in the industry.

They all take a different approach to one another but are very effective and efficient at what they do.

DanRay1.) Dan Ray

Dan Ray is a white hat link builder who has systematised a very effective way to build high quality backlinks.

The process itself is based around creating a great piece of content…. But then not just sitting there hoping to get links.

Because, as you probably already know, if you just sit there and wait for people to link to you, you’ll be waiting a hell of a long time to rank!

Instead Dan’s systems are based around reaching out in a systematised and efficient way. Creating what he terms search operators to search for link prospects inside of Google, whilst at the same time filtering the junk results out.

He then has a team to find the contact information of these sources and reach out in a personalised way, with the key on value propositions.

This is a great term to remember whatever type of link building you are trying to do.

A value proposition is simply a way of exchanging perceived value.

For example if we are asking for a link, what are we offering to the person we want a link from?

Is it just a great piece of content they can use on their site? (guest posts)

Is it a resource their audience will find interesting or useful? (resource pages)

Is it money?

Whatever the value proposition is, it has to benefit both parties.

Dan is 100% white hat.

logo-diggitymarketing-final-black-bg2.) Matt Diggity

Matt Diggity is a grey hat link building expert.

He’s been around in the SEO community for years and is seen as one of the authorities for link building using PBNs.

He does a ton of testing and as a result has some incredible data on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to link building using private blog networks.

To anyone who thinks PBNs are dead or dying I’d strongly advice a read……


Matt’s blog is geared around insanely useful pieces of material not just related to link building but to generally making more money through ranking websites.

Recently he created an CRO for SEOs guide (think that would be the best way to describe it.)

This is a post that I personally loved and started integrating for both client and personal projects alike as soon as I completed it!


Both Matt and Dan are 2 guys I would highly recommend following into 2018 when it comes to real actionable link building advice.

There are a number of other sources that are both free and paid but if you are looking for the best link builders that offer both free AND paid info, then those 2 are your guys.

Ghost_MarketingPersonal mention: 

As a result of the new direction I believe Google will be taking in the current months I’ve re-build my entire business to focus on building these links that are not only extremely valuable but also generate a huge amount of traffic. This is what Ghost Marketing has relaunched to become.

I’m also doing a daily link building tips series at the moment. This is a simple 5 minute video every single day that talks about a specific aspect of link building. AKA daily tips! If you are interested in those videos then you can subscribe to the YT channel here.


Should You Buy Backlinks for SEO Gainzzzz?

Thought I’d do a quick post on the age old question of “should you buy backlinks?” Seems though most people have it either wrong for the right reasons or right for the wrong reasons in most cases.

“Buying Links” can be a number of different things and although Google states buying a backlink of any type is against their terms, we can get creative and get around very very easily.



It all starts with what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking to build a long term web property which for the sake of this article I will assume you are trying to do, then buying links is fine but the conditions need to be super strict. For example buying links from link networks, sape, fiverr etc is all a no go. Most of the time these are cr*ppy links anyway so by avoiding them you will be doing yourself a favour.

The amount of time I’ve seen clients and more commonly prospects state – “Why is link building so expensive when I can just get 100 “HIGH QUALITY LINKS” from Fiverr is beyond belief. Go ahead and try this and see what happens to rankings.

Black hat SEO is still crazy effective. Sape links mixed with OTHER GOOD SEO ELEMENTS works as well today, if not better than it did 5-10 years ago. Because less people know how to do it right. Same for PBNs and grey hat SEO, this works a million times better today than it did 2 years ago simply because so many other people (your competition) are doing it wrong. But assuming you don’t want to risk sape and don’t have the budget to build out high quality PBNs, what am I talking about when I say buy backlinks?

The phrase “buying links” is thrown around so much I think people actually forget that it can be broken down into white hat (ish) and black hat.

Buy Backlinks – But Which Ones?

To me there are 2 types of backlinks you can buy – White hat backlinks (more on how buying links is still white hat in a second) and grey/black hat.

Buying Grey/Black Hat Links

This is what most people think of when you hear the term – buying backlinks thrown around the interwebs. This refers to buying links created BY SEOs FOR SEOs. For example this includes but is not limited to; link networks, sape, PBN links, hacked sites and more. These are the types of links that if Google did pick up on (not saying they would) but if they did then you would receive a penalty as a result. Depending on how many you had would depend on the severity of the penalty. If you only have 2-10 links and you have 500 other high quality links then they won’t care. If 50% of your link profile are these types of links then you’d be looking at a hefty penalty.

Buying White Hat Links ?????

WTF you can’t buy links and call that white hat link building!!!!

No. Not possible I read an article on Moz that said so!

Google and Matt Cutts told me that I need to make good content and I will have 1,000,000 visitors a month coming to my site! I’m going to do that! Go away you black hat SEO snake.

Calm down white hat nazis.

You can still buy links and they be white hat (or appear that way anyway.)

Let’s go through a few examples:

Sponsored posts

Ever been on a personal blog that offers sponsored post options? £100-1000 for a guest post on their site. You get in front of their audience and of course can link back to your website. Are some of these nofollow links? Indeed. Are most of them? Nope. Because this person or the business offering sponsored posts knows that by adding the option to include a dofollow link increases the quality of the content. As a result they get more sponsored posts = More dollar.


Advertising on a website, say a banner ad or a text link in a sidebar, this is a link don’t forget and some of the most powerful links (especially locally) can be generated through sponsoring or advertising on local authority websites. For example all sponsors of sports teams have homepage links from DA60+ sites with local relevance. This isn’t exactly a cost effective link, but a powerful one none the less.

Below is a screenshot of a very high ranking website in Cardiff that (I think without knowing it) gets great links in term for sponsoring specific sporting events. We can see 2 huge rugby clubs as well as a radio station and a famous band all relevant to their local area target market… 4 of their top 6 links…. Not bad.

Ahrefs Sponsored Backlinks Screenshot


Ever see links back to corporate sponsors on the HOMEPAGE of a charity website? Wonder why they do that.

Free Product Reviews

Sending a product to someone with influence and asking what they think. Remember if no money is exchanged in this case then legally they do not have to state this is a sponsored post and hence this is infact a white hat link without buying links, but you have “spent money”….

This is a strategy I personally really like for our influencer marketing/backlink generation for eCommerce clients where generating links can be more difficult. It goes something like this – Stage 1: Find influencers in a horizontal vertical (They cannot be direct competition for a number of reasons.) The most important is they will be expecting money if they are. In this example lets say you sell little funky plants or Beer. Instead of looking for gardening influencers or food and drink influencers (that’s what everyone does and why the market is saturated.) Instead we would look for influencers in verticals other than this but who may be interested in our products. For example we could look for fitness influencers if our beer is low calorie or business owners who work from home if our plants look great in the office. Think one vertical across!

Stage 2 would involve reaching out to these people. I prefer the personal approach here which involves emailing or calling them up saying something like – Love the channel/blog/site. I know you don’t really promote this much but would love to get your opinion on our product from someone not directly in the industry. Do this for 100 people stating that you are not looking for anything in particular just their opinion. You’ll get about a 30% response rate. About 10 will take you up on your offer. And around 50% of those usually post a review to the site without even being asked. We can of course ask them once they have it (if they liked it.) That’s 5 great links that “cost” us nothing but the product price. You also get a ton of social exposure too which is always nice.

Stage 3: Follow up (because you will need to) and “close the sale”. The sale of course is the link in this case.


So there you have it. 4 methods that involve “buying” or using money at least to get high quality links that are not only relatively white hat (ish) but powerful. I’ve personally never seen any of these strategies lead to a penalty.

“Bing” SEO Case Study – [UPDATE]

A few months ago I launched a brand new website with the aim to rank his site in Bing using black hat SEO to see if this was a profitable process. Bing is a lot easier (and quicker) to rank in than Google, so instead of going for a low competition niche and ranking long tails in Google I decided to try to rank a highly competitive niche in Bing and see what the results were. If you haven’t read the details and strategy, you can do so here.

I started the campaign in January so we are almost 4 months in now.

The results are completely unexpected.

At the start of April I noticed a very interesting concept that I have been continuing, this is using social (and a lot of it) to cover the black hat links. As this continued the site was able to climb up in Google as well as Bing for some rather large keywords. Screenshots below.

Current Rankings for lol

The 2 keywords I initially targeted have about 4,500 and 10,000 monthly searches and rank 24th and 39th at the moment. The organic traffic is also starting to come in, 4/5 UV a day currently.

So as a result of the site ranking in Google a lot better than I thought it would, I’ve decided to lower the velocity and aim to rank in Google instead of Bing (because why not.) The methods are still the same, but the link velocity is going to be reduced, so now I guess this becomes a Black Hat Google Case Study… But I’m cool with that.

The next 30 days

Over the next 30 days I will be continuing my social + black hat linking experiments. If the site begins to get into the top of page 2 realm I will also be purchasing a press release and may consider starting to clean up the link profile. A quick note on this – One of my favourite ranking strategy involves ranking a site using black hat techniques and then slowly working to clean up the link profile. You can slowly remove the sape links and instead replace them with high quality PBN links or even guest posts / contextual links if you have the budget.

The site could drop back or get penalised completely so I don’t want to reveal too much of the ranking strategy itself yet.

Oh and as a sidenote to the people who use Majestic stats to see how high quality a domain is. Check this out, these are the stats for this heavily saped, black hat site. Majestic can be so easily manipulated so a TF30+ domain can really just be a piece of crap domain.

Majestic SS

Next update on 1st May….

Personal Update and Google update

Hi guys, sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I have moved house as I am studying somewhere else and took a while to get everything sorted (including internet, which was a pain!) But now everything is sorted and after about a 3 week break I am back in the SEO loop.

Quite a lot of things happened whilst I was away with the 2 most notable things being the Google update Hummingbird and the discontinuation of the Google keyword tool. Both of these effect the SEO industry greatly, which is why i’m going to write a quick post about these 2 events.

I will start with the hummingbird update as the chances are you have already heard of this as it has been slowly rolling out over the last month with official names and titles released well over a month ago. The easiest way to describe whether this update concerns you or not is to think about if you knew something had happened to your websites?

If you didn’t even notice any differences in your rankings or traffic stats, or they followed the same progression as usual, for example slowly increasing traffic figures, then great! This is fine as it means your sites were not penalized, so you have nothing to worry about and you can continue whatever SEO strategies you were using as it shows they are effective.

The reserve is also true, if you have lost a lot of traffic and rankings in the last few weeks then chances are you are being penalized by Google for some sort of SEO strategy you have implemented. It is impossible to tell in most cases which strategy you may have been penalized for but it is something you should research and change if possible.

Another quick point as I have seen it in almost every update article I have read, and this is the quote that sums it up best (from SELand’s article on the Google update.)

Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

 The other point I wanted to talk about was the discontinuation of the Google keyword tool! Which is something that I am not happy about as it makes our lives as SEOs a little bit more difficult. There is a tool you can still use which is the Google Planner, which has features exactly the same as the keyword tool, but its just more difficult and awkward to use for specific data of keywords, but you can still get your information so its not the end of the world!


Hope you enjoyed reading guys and as always, stay optimized!