As a link builder, I’m disappointed

by Jon Cooper
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For those of you who don’t know, I pride myself in link building. In my opinion, its what the masses want to know about. I like reading about link building & new ways to get the job done, but lately, It’s embarrassing to see the kind of content on link building on the Web. More than half the crap (actually around ¾ of it) is all saying the same thing. Rarely will you read a link building post that is something you haven’t heard or read about before. Few times do I come across a new, helpful link building article that’s worth while.


At the same time, I’m trying something new. Brand new (at least for me). After becoming one of Rand’s disciples by watching his video attacking article spinning & mass article marketing, I came across an internet marketing series on building niche websites. For those of you who didn’t see my new, exciting post on me starting a new niche site (frankly, I shouldn’t of posted it for many reasons, but there’s no sense of taking it down now), Pat Flynn did an exciting experiment through creating a niche site. He goes through all his steps at the above link, and in my opinion, this was one of the best reads I’ve ever come across on the web.


What does that have to do with my rant on crappy link building content? Well, as a link builder, I took notice to Pat’s Linking strategy. His post got over 1000 comments (wow!!), so obviously it caught a lot of people’s attention. As a pure white hat link builder, I was exposed to the world of automation in what seems to be a safe route. So, now starting my new niche site, I’ve been trying to put some of those strategies to the test.


Now, here’s why I’m even more disappointed. I try and find some of these backlink strategies for niche sites, and they all say the same things… They all recommend the same products… No one thinks uniquely in the field, and that’s why it’s going to kill all their readers in the end. You keep exploiting the same weaknesses and you’re going to get caught eventually.


So here’s what I’m getting at. I’m going to do this whole niche site challenge, but in September of 2011. So many things have changed since then, and I can’t stress that enough. Google gets smarter by night & day, and there’s no debating that. The same crap that worked in all these niche site challenges might of worked a year ago, but maybe not today. Therefore, I will walk you through the challenge step by step, and give you what you want most – Great, unique link building content. No, this isn’t the stuff I would recommend for the big brands of the Web, so don’t start thinking in terms of “Oh my god this guys black hat”. Besides, I’m making sure this stuff is the least black hat out there. I’m trying to make the link building process as safe as possible, but also as effective & quick as possible.


For clarification reasons, I’m not black hat, but I’m venturing into some automation things that I wouldn’t normally do UNLESS I decided I wanted to try them out and tell you how it goes. But here’s the beauty of it all – if it does work, and I’m confidant my careful implementations will have some serious effect, you can put them into play yourself. Why? Because I’m writing this at a time when no new content on building niche sites is on the web, probably because it doesn’t work anymore. Even better – this blog doesn’t have the readership of blogs like Pat’s (yet at least :)), so it’s not like thousands of people are doing this alongside you. That’s the problem with those blog’s strategies – once the masses start doing it, Google will take notice.


Alright, that’s enough for now. PLEASE tell me what you think about all those various points I made in the comments below. This is a new growing blog, so don’t be afraid to share this or be the first to comment – become a pioneer and help out a blogger who makes 0$ of this blog. The only thing I get out of this is reader’s enjoyment.


Again, please share or subscribe to my RSS! Thanks a lot for stopping by!

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 127 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. Jon Turner says:

    Hi Jon,

    After reading this post, I can’t wait for you to start with the challenge. I for one will definately be following along as I’m fairly new to niche site building and getting traffic through SEO, that I need all the guidance I can get toward earning my first $.
    I’m currently working my way through Pat’s challenge to see if I can pick up some ideas, but with Googles Panda update etc, your challenge, for me, is highly anticipated!

    Jon. (great name by the way!!)

    • Jon Cooper says:


      This comment made my day. I’m so excited to here that you too are trying to build niche sites. Unfortunately we’re a little late to the party in the internet marketing world, but if we play our cards right, we can reap the benefits. On Pat’s challenge – that alone inspired me to try it out, just because I’m curious to know if these types of things still work today.

      Glad to see you as pumped for this as I am :)

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Jon,

    You may have picked up my comment on your other post http://pointblankseo.com/3-content-creation-organization where I commented how I was looking forward to reading your niche blog series. However, by working back through your posts I came across this post and have to ask you, will the methods you intend to use be the same as Pat outlines.

    Being of the link building type, Im sure it didn’t take you long before you ran a back link analysis on Pat’s niche site. And i’m sure it wouldn’t have taken you much longer to spot several links which aren’t laid out in his plan.

    So here’s the question, will you be following the plan Pat openly writes about or the plan which is kept hidden?

    • Jon Cooper says:


      First of all, thanks for stopping by, I truly appreciate it :).

      Now that’s a great question – I will be testing out a few products he uses (UAW & The Best Spinner) and possibly a third one (Digi Auto Links), but outside of that I will be doing 100% white hat organic link building – something that the niche site community is not used to hearing. I will be telling you EVERYTHING I do to build links, and if I forget something, it’s either because I forgot or I thought it was irrelevant.

      About Pat’s “Secret” plan – I honestly don’t know if there was anything he wasn’t telling us, but luckily I’ve been able to get into contact with him and get a few links from his niche duel hub page (which I’m pretty excited about!). I will be using what he wrote, but if you want I can take a closer look into his niche site and the links he built to it & maybe write a short post just to clear things up a bit.

      Thanks Mark, it’s people like you that keep me blogging :)

  3. Mark says:

    No problem, it’s exciting to find a blogger who knows his subject and is looking to lead and not blindly follow the hordes.

    Whilst I have done much back link analysis of Pat’s main niche site to see what has driven the results, I am reluctant to post here as I don’t entirely agree with this kind of link building – although I am not saying it does not work. Heck, I have even done my fair share of dark shaded link building in the past and have achieved some quite surprising results. (Feel free to send me an email if you are unsure as to what I am referring to.)

    What would be interesting to learn is; is it better to throw a zillion spun articles to less than average article directories, or create a dozen finely crafted articles and setup quality web2.0 property linking back to your site.

    With the advent of Panda, poor content does not rank. Period. I have seen well spun articles not even make the index never mind rank in the top ten pages. In my opinion, this is great. But this does NOT mean we have to work harder to achieve results.

    Google has made it clear they want quality content in their index, why wouldn’t they. I’m sure you have experienced the scenario when searching online with your IM hat off, the frustration experienced by finding countless MFA sites.

    From the dawn of time major search engines asked for quality content and natural link profiles. As marketers we truly believe there are better ways, so we spam the heck out of the web with poor content. The search engines then update their systems and we all have to review our tactics. Maybe, just maybe if we all did what the search engines wanted, tactics wouldn’t have to be reviewed.

    We would create quality content, list our businesses in relevant directories, share our videos on YouTube, engage on social networks and results would still happen naturally.

    Maybe, just maybe.

    • Jon Cooper says:


      I totally agree, I couldn’t of put it better myself. The only thing I’d say is that the reason I’m doing this is to show people if it actually works – I know from my experience reading Pat’s challenge, I was doubtful at some points because it just seemed to easy, so why not put it to the test? We’ll find out together if this stuff works.

      I’d also like to point out that I’m a white hat experimenting with some black hat tactics; I’m only doing these types of things because I know others want to know about them just like I do.

      Thanks again Mark!!

  4. Ruben says:

    Hi Jon,

    Today I came across your site for the first time because I followed the link in you YouMoz post (great post btw). And then I found your case study about building a niche site. When I saw it I first thought that it was going to be the same as the case studies that are all-over the web but don’t really learn you something new.

    But your insights on the topic have intrigued me. Especially because I’m doing a similar case-study myself for a Dutch niche site.
    I’m looking forward to how you are going to do your link building for this test-case. Because you seem to be a quite competent in whitehat seo. And personally I think you have to know both white and black to be a good seo. So I think this can be a great learning experience for you and your readers.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Ruben :). I’m glad to hear you like my stuff! I feel the same way in that all the content on the web on niche sites is all the same. That’s pretty much why I created this blog! As you can see from the above post, it’s been pretty frustrating as a SEO seeing that there are few link building blogs worth reading these days.

      Thanks again for the feedback! I look forward to keep seeing you comment :)

      • Ruben says:

        Everyone that has a great strategy is keeping that for himself, especially if it’s a darker seo strategy. If you make niche sites for a living it’s understandable that you don’t share your secrets.
        Do you already have enough tools for the backlinking process? I know the owner of Linkaloha and if you want I can ask him if you can get a subscription as a contribution to this project.

        • Jon Cooper says:


          Most of what I’ve been doing for my backlinking seems to be working – The site is around a month old and it’s ranking at the #2 spot.

          On the subject of LinkAloha, I’d love to review it right here on my blog if it’s ok. If you could ask the owner if I could get a subscription to do this, I’d be more than glad to! I could put it to you use to rank for a bunch of other related terms I haven’t started targetting yet. Thanks!!

        • Ruben says:

          That’s quite a nice result! My niche site is a few weeks old and currently ranking #9 for it’s target keyword. But I think my target keyword is a bit more competitive. I’d love to read your post about what kind of linkbuilding you’ve done for this site.

          I asked the owner of Linkaloha and he agrees to give you a subscription for a test. Currently they are putting some new features in the system, and as soon as they are ready you could get access. He expects it to be ready in about two weeks. Should I ask him to contact you when it’s done?

  5. Jon Cooper says:


    Thanks, my link building is pretty much 100% white hat at no cost (outside of an experiment with UAW which I will talk about), and I honestly can’t wait until I finish the post. It’ll be a long, very informative post that I will soon take pride in :)

    And that sounds awesome on LinkAloha!! Tell him to contact jcooper@pointblankseo.com when it’s ready. I’ll use it to target a few other niche related terms I wanted to go after, and I’ll do a full, 100% unbiased review. I can’t wait!

    Thanks Ruben :)

    • Ernie Cloete says:

      Hi Jon,

      I do not know where to start. Good piece. I do not have any experience in link building. I am trying to learn what is what. I have my own website and like to do some SEO on it and it seems I get taken for a ride every time I speak to a SEO guru. So I am keeping my eye on your blog to see if your comments towards link building will work.
      Please keep in mind when you write it about the little man like me who knows nothing about link building. I want to learn who to do this for my personal site only and not to make money by promoting some else site.
      I am reading more and more about SEO’s sites and it becomes more confusing by the day? I hope you are as genuine as you say you are. I would like to know what to do and where to start. I would also like my campaign to be geographical only and not on a international level if you have advise on this as well, but it seems unlikely nobody wants to help. I am thinking all this talk about SEO is a myth.
      So when are you going to place your results with comments on the blog maybe a round about time scale will help to go back too?
      I will await your reply!

      • Jon Cooper says:


        I’m feeling extra generous today. Email me on my contact form about ANY questions you have, and if more pop up in the future, I’ll happily answer them too. Because you might be confused on the outlines of what SEO really is, I hope this helps:

        Search engines try to index every page on the web, and by doing so, they get tons of awesome information about each & every page they index. Because search engines have to display search results in a certain order (i.e. someone has to rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), they have to develop a ranking system so they can figure out who gets placed in front of who. Obviously, in order to get the most traffic from search engines, you want your website to rank 1st or 2nd. Therefore, in order to rank higher, you have to figure out what the search engines use in order to judge which page ranks higher than which.

        With that in mind, go ahead and contact and ask me any further questions. I know it gets a little complex after what I just said above, so again, ask away.

        Thanks Ernie!!

  6. FIJ says:

    Enjoyable content, hope turns into an income as well soon :-)

    Test all kinds of link building techniques on my personal site, to see effects and Google in particular, even after Panda, still loves exact match link text.

    My issue with black hat techniques, is whilst they continue to rank sites well, people will continue to use them.

    Have seen first hand effect of Panda update through some accidental duplicate content, site went from page 1 to page 10, and although will lose visits, was still indexed, so in theory links from those sites will still work.

    Keep up the good work, contribute to SEOMoz blog, which in turn will send more visits to this site.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks FIJ! I too agree that it’s frustrating to tell people to avoid black hat techniques when they’re still working for some people (although a smaller number day by day).

  7. It’s always been about link bait for some time now. Link building has become increasingly more difficult, less effective, manipulated and abused that the mileage in traditional and ethical link building is just so much less these days.

    Good luck with your niche project, keep us updated! :)

  8. Mareks says:

    Meany thanks! Very interesting Article!

As a link builder, I’m disappointed - Point Blank SEO
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