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Let’s Talk About Backlinks (Video Post)

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by PotPieGirl on March 14, 2014 · 17 comments

The topic of backlinks has been on my mind and apparently on the minds of many of my readers as well.  I rarely go a day without getting at least one email asking me about backlink building, if backlinks are “dead”, what kind of backlinks are safe – which work, which will get your site penalized, etc etc ETC.  So, let’s talk about backlinks here in the age of Pandas and Penguins.

Once upon a time the quantity of backlinks you had made a big difference as to where you ranked in Google for your target keyword.  These days, many claim that now it is the quality of your backlinks that makes the difference.

Me?  Well, I think we are somewhere in the middle.

The days of tons of backlinks however you could get ‘em are over – but I don’t think we’ve reached the day where it’s really only about the quality of your backlinks either.

Many in the SEO industry have gone into great discussions as to whether links are losing value – and if backlinks are “neutralized”, what Google would/could use in instead of backlinks as a ranking signal.

Heck, Google has even admitted that they have tested the search results WITHOUT backlinks counting – and they said it was really, really bad.

Bottom line is – backlinks DO still matter – a lot.

I’d like to share my thoughts on building backlinks here in 2014….how I’m doing it…what links I think are good – and which I think are bad.

This is the backlink training I talked about in the video(note: I’m not nuts at all about the info page for the training, but the training itself is really good)

If you’re interested in my R.A.M. method, you can find that here.

So what do YOU think? Have your backlink building techniques changed? Still doing things the same?


Jan Morgan March 14, 2014 at 6:54 am

I have always followed you. I think you are fantastic.

Taa da. You have always been a voice of reason.


Hamish March 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

Sounds like a very sensible approach to me.

Faye March 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

I’m really tired of backlinking but slow and steady success is always the best.

Enda McLarnon March 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

Thanks for the video and you are right that it seems so terribly confusing out there in SEO land. I think the only thing one can do at the minute is talk about what is working for them right now. The big G made over 500 tweaks to their algorithm last year and in the main they were small changes.
What I have noticed on my 10 active websites is that optimizing the URL, Title and description is now frowned upon, and especially if you have an exact match domain. Putting your keywords in all three is now it seems a big NO.

The linking is a mystery but from using the data on my own sites, there is a definite correlation between the competitiveness of the keyword and the number of links that is needed to rank. I have one site with a low competition keyword and 4 basic links seems to rank it in the top 3.
I had another site with about 30 relevant links to it and most of my posts hovered around page 2 and 3 on Google. I bought a high network link and within 2 weeks I was on the first page.

The good news it would seem is that you don’t need many links to rank, and I agree with you quality and relevance are important. It sure beats having to build a ton of Web 2.0 sites, post content etc.

I also tried out putting some external links out from posts on one of my sites to high authority sites, and within a week of doing that, I moved from nowhere to the bottom of the first page. I then added about 6-10 links and ranked on Page 1.

From all my analysis it seems that if you link a lot internally, pop a couple of external links on each post then you can see posts starting to appear on pages 2+3. When that happens I do some blog commenting and the odd article link. If nothing changes then I buy a good link and that seems to work almost always. From beginning to end it takes about 6-8 weeks. Good content on the site is something I just do as that helps with conversions and bounce rate. If possible I add a couple of images and a Youtube video as well.

Like yourself I write for my readers and share that information on G+, twitter and Facebook. Like you say though it is a changing environment all the time. When I build a new site I focus on good content, some social marketing and then wait 4-6 weeks. Usually that is enough to be able to see some of my posts appear on the first 2-3 pages of Google. When that happens I aim for 10 basic links. If that doesn’t improve then a high quality link is enough to get it up there.

Personally I never use anything like click here, or more information and just use different small variations of my keywords as my anchor text and that seems to be ok.

But who knows Jennifer, all of that could change tomorrow.

PotPieGirl March 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Great feedback, Enda! Thanks for sharing =)

From what I understand, EMDs are a bit tough right now – it’s too easy to over-optimize them even if not intended. But it sounds like you have a good system going for you right now and that is what matters.

Jon March 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I totally agree with you about backlinks. And when considering backlinks, the thing to look at is the PA and DA of the site, as the PR of a site starts to become less important as well as less accurate. Equally important is the anchor text. I have used many backlinking services and would strongly recommend one that provides a refund if their service has zero impact on your website. In fact, I was disappointed when I clicked the link to the video you watched, as that is one of the companies that I got a refund from due to absolutely zero results. I get no satisfaction or benefit from saying that, other than that people need to understand that signing up for a backlinking service at ANY price doesn’t guarantee squat, it is not a magic pill or silver bullet.

PotPieGirl March 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Hi Jon =)

That link isn’t to a link building service. (just wanted to clarify that).

But yes, you’re totally right – no magic pills around here =)

Charles March 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Hi Jennifer,

(Sorry, turned out to be a long post, I got carried away. Hopefully I will have contributed positively to your onsite SEO?) ;)

You are basically the sole marketer I’ve come across in the past seven years that I have any trust or faith in. We’ve emailed each other b4 about this. It’d be nice if we could just have a small exclusive club with this, limited to the people it’s currently limited to. It’s the only forum I’ve ever felt ok about actually sharing what I’ve learned with. I haven’t yet started a RAM campaign, but am planning on it next week. And I’d be happy to use your affiliate links and buy anything you’re promoting to support you if we can keep this to a small club so no one ruins it. If I can really get RAM going, you can also count on a gratuity come the holidays. ;) (Seriously, you can count on it)

That said, a few more notes:

Mat Cuts sucks. ;) He’s a liar. We have to listen to what he says, but I listen with a huge filter.

I agree with everything you’re saying 100%. I’ve been at this 7 years and I’ve done tiered backlinking a few times, basically without results. I’m not even sure it works for videos as some marketers are claiming which is currently a large part of what I do. And I know I’ll never use automation, etc, regularly, (but see below regarding RAM) I knew intuitively at the start of all that, that it would only invite a quick-sand (pun) box.

(For the record, I have not made good money yet with all the things I’ve already done in the affiliate world. I’ve made just a bit of supplemental income, enough that’s been nice but not nearly enough to earn a living from, so I’ve been trying to make this into something that enables me to buy my first home).

I’m focusing more than anything on alternative-to-guuble traffic sources. Just high traffic areas that I can basically bring people to third party sites that I have that cater to their interests, and then continue to funnel/scrape from there hoping by sheer numbers that they’ll have interest in one of my broad-market items that appeal to the masses (like weight loss). Although it can increase my traffic to whatever I’m trying to steer it to, that does not necessarily equate to higher sales.

If you’ll let me be a little controversial, I’ll state to you/your audience to be careful about Matt Clark and his offers (often with Jason Kirtzpatrick, or whatever his name is). He has high quality teaching courses, but only “ok” information, charges a fortune for it, and getting a refund is like pulling teeth. I pretty much had to threaten him with the FBI and Interpol to get him to honor his refund policy, including third party credit card intervention. Trying to spread the word on that. There’s a good bunch of other marketers I no longer trust, perhaps I can list them another time. Many are recognizable names, and I’ve discovered they’re basically just selling outdated or semi-useless stuff. It’s their ads that really piss me off, making ridiculous promises. One gets tired of being pitched in sleezy ways, and I esp hate the OTO’s, which I’m sure countless readers can relate to. It virtually screams “you’ve just bought into a scam.” BTW, your website for the RAM offer was unique, fantastic from a marketing perspective, and respectable. I noted with each page how glued in I was as a consumer to purchasing that product, and I’m of course glad I did. I often wonder had you not been such a great marketer, if I’d have missed out on great info just because of a lack of marketing skill (which you do not have). Then I wonder if I miss out on good offers due to crappy marketing efforts in the forums…(who can you trust anymore?)

Warrior forum: Beware of plug-ins, I’ve had a couple disasters with them. I believe some of the producers of them are embedding code that may not only steal traffic or sales, but even more importantly security vulnerabilities that will get our sites hacked.

And this also applies to all WP themes that are not put out by established, long-term wordpress companies. My catalyst themes are no longer being developed and worded on, an allegedly solid theme for years. I do not ever and would never buy any of those new WP themes on WF or jvzoo, it just seems way too probable that they’ll be outdated and vulnerable in months, and who-knows what the heck is in the code.

Had a nightmare with a recent plugin vulnerability (watch out for “gorilla” software, their keyword for the garbage plugins and software they’re selling that aggregates new content for your sites; the plugins stop working within a month or two and emails are not responded to, refunds do not come, again, without threats of terrorism).

And the Optimize Press theme; stay away from it, massive security holes, and once they get in, they infest ALL your sites.

On the positive side, found an honest and professional (but expensive) hack repair guy who fixed our 2-month-long nightmare completely, including a piece of code routing my subscribers to an Asian handbag site (I do health-oriented stuff; my customers have no interest in handbags unless it’s to carry my supplements in ;p).

And, if you like plugins but are unsure of them, guys like that can look at the code for you and determine if they’re ok.

I personally think there is some great stuff going on in WF and JVzoo, but also some really bad stuff mixed in. Want a list of opinions? I’ve bought just about all of it. (Not saying I’d provide one…lol…saying I’d LIKE to, but it’d be quite time consuming. Perhaps I can do it a little at a time whenever you’re blogging here. Don’t those guys KNOW that when they SCREW people, PEOPLE WILL START TO TALK?!?).

The PotPieGirl, Jennifer, ranks at the very top currently, on a long LONG list. ;) My only complaint?…She does not blog ENOUGH. ;)

More whining:

Bluehost sucks. They charged me plenty to help get rid of my hacking issue (their in-house service called “Site Doctor,”) but never resolved it, and I could not get my money back (if you do get your money back within the 30 day time period, they revert your site back to it’s pre-Site Doctor condition, bringing your problems back, AND, suspending your sites if the hack is deemed deep enough).

I had a good experience with Hostgator, but they are unfortunately the same company as bluehost. I’m just suggesting people stay away from both, and if one can afford it and uses WP, wpengine is one of the better hosts (but expensive). They are WP pros.

The above hacking problems also made your tactics that much more appealing…none of the RAM technique would be my own websites, and after being hacked, that is EXTREMELY appealing.

I noticed you apparently do not domain-keyword for SEO purposes. Anyone wanting pot pie recipes is surely going to be very confused landing on your site reading about people slamming Guuble/Mat Cuts. ;)

Where’s the light flaky crusts, sweet gravy and savory vegetables?!? ;p

Q:…I am just a little confused about how then you would apply the backlinking strategies to RAM. If I recall, there does come a time when automated backlinking services are utilized. Or is it the case that they can be because the nature of the sites used and their already-existing PR. (?)

Q2:…had a little trouble understanding the part of RAM that embeds other scripts into these third party sites. Will study that more, but I wonder how much of your audience does understand it. (?)

Lastly: Any opinion on using Andrew Hansen’s style of keywording, using the drop-down menu results solely, from guuble searches to build a site with. I found the idea appealing if for no other reason than a lot less work (I can’t stand keyword research, but am willing to do it if it works) and/BUT…I have never been completely convinced that automatic dropdown menu is giving the results that are claimed; are those REALLY the other keyword searches people are typing in? I’m not sure about that personally.

P.S. Our kitties are all on a soft-food-only diet and as grain free as possible. Helps them lose weight and avoid health issues, seems great to stop UTI’s as well, along with fresh water twice a day. We had to slowly introduce the mostly-all-meat soft food diet, but they also preferred it in many cases. Those hard kitty foods and grain based are very addictive (just like they are for us). I’m trying to spread the word about how great these diets are for kitties, and I’m betting your editor-in-chief will be interested. ;) See Dr. Karen Becker, she works with Dr. Mercola. :)

PotPieGirl March 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Hiya Charles =)

First off, THANK YOU for your kind words! And thank you for sharing such in-depth info in your comment.

Lots to cover…let’s see how I do…lol!

RE: Matt Cutts – Aw, let’s not do the name-calling thing. We try and play nice around here =) I’ve always said that there are two jobs in this world that I absolutely, positively, do NOT ever want. Those are: President of the United States and Matt Cutts’ job.

When you put yourself out there it is REALLY hard to deal with all the criticism and downright mean-ness of people paying attention to you. I’ve only had a little itty bitty teeny tiny experience with that in comparison to what Matt goes thru, and it’s not fun.

Matt has a job and that is (from our perspective) to be the “face” of Google. The questions and topics he talks about rarely have concrete, “one size fits all” type of answers that blanket every possible scenario behind the question.

I’ve also come to realize that many people “hate on” Matt simply because he won’t flat out say, “THIS is EXACTLY how you rank #1 in Google” because at the end of the day, that’s what we all really want him to answer, isn’t it? lol!

Ok – moving on… Lots of good advice you shared… thank you.

As for blogging more – yes, I totally agree. The last year or so I got so busy with my other projects and things like my column over at MarketingLand.com, that I simply didn’t spend the time right here, on MY site…my home base. I plan to work hard to change that this year.

As for hosting – I’ve had, for the most part, a very good experience with HostGator over all these years. As I’ve grown, they’ve been right there. And thankfully, their support people are very patient with my dumb questions since I am FAR from a hosting/server expert. I kinda just learn as I break things…haha!

As for keywording this domain – If you think about it, it IS “keyworded”. I invented a term that I wanted to brand myself with….and it was a term Google had never heard of before I came along…and I turned it into a keyword =)

As for the RAM questions:

#1 – That is not the type of “auto backlinks” that I speak of in my video on this post. That is totally different and FAR from a large scale manipulative thing.

#2 – I’m sorry, but I don’t know what “scripts” you’re speaking of…. analytics, perhaps?

As for Andrews keyword ideas – yes, love that. Google does not make those terms up. Every day, about 25% of searches made on Google are brand new phrase that have never ever been searched for on Google before. As people use those phrases more, Google learns then and then starts suggesting them in those dropdown ‘suggested’ searches in the search bar. So, yes, real people are really using those search phrases.

As for the cat diet thing – very interesting, I’ll have to read up on it. Neither of our 2 cats are big eaters nor do we feed them ‘human food’. In fact, they are both on a good weight control type of cat food… but they just keep getting larger. They’re just fat and happy kitty cats =)

Thanks again for sharing!

Charles March 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm

P.S. I would love for Enda to expand upon where she is buying her one high quality link from. A lot of us are basically doing what she describes, and are looking for that one to three high quality links instead of the tiered wheels and whatnot.

Monna Ellithorpe March 14, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Hi Jennifer,

I believe this is one of the best videos you have made to explain a topic that is so very confusing to many of us. Like you, Google divorced me or I did (not sure which) a while back but we do still have to play nice to a certain extent.

Just as your video makes me feel like you are talking just to me, I try to provide value to my readers as if I were sitting in my living room talking to them and it has made a huge difference in a lot of things.

Have a great afternoon, Monna

PotPieGirl March 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Monna, I WAS just talking to YOU….lol!! You’re doing an awesome job – just keep it up!

Monna Ellithorpe March 15, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Thanks, Jennifer.

Jack March 15, 2014 at 3:25 am

Sorry not prepared to share websites for obvious reasons but i will share something here that will help everyone rank faster and stronger. This is simple but at the same time a little hard.
What ever niche your in does not matter as this is mandatory to rank fast.

Type in your own keywords and search back through those sites that are below you and find a way to add your link. This is what google is looking for ( related content ) pretty easy but you have to make friends and communicate with website owners.

Google is giving you a great tip by showing you thousands of pages in search for your niche or millions – if you rank on page 2 find all the people on page 3 and offer them something simple like a video on your channel to get them to add your url on their site and you will start to conquer very quickly. keep going through all the pages in your niche until they are exhausted no matter how many and get that link.

Its all about related content!!!

Google wants relevant content in every niche so dig for the gold on pages behind you to rank on page one.

PotPieGirl March 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

That’s a great share, Jack, thank you!

rashmi singh March 22, 2014 at 5:14 am

very informative post, i am website designer and now working on SEO projects as well. this video has given me new aspects of backlinking, now i can do more with my SEO skills in backlinks. I have a question also for you: Do we get backlinks from youtube video when the link is in video description section?

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