The Untold Secret of Linkbuilding

Top Secret

It’s out. There is no one way to build links. There is no holy grail in getting tons of high-quality, relevant links to your site. There is only the untold secret. And I’m about to uncover it now.

Remember the good old days?

When directories and blog comments worked like magic? Yeah. Then a black and white bird came and pecked away all the fairy dust. What if I told you that directories and blog comments got their magic back?

I know you wouldn’t believe that. It’s too… Easy.

So I’m not gonna tell you all that unbelievable, magical crap. But I’m going to tell you what I’ve noticed recently – some directories and blog comments are creating positive ranking effects again. Weird huh?

This is the first case.

Spending Power

Text Link ads and other forms of paid links have been axed off. And for good reasons. It was an awesome, completely artificial way to manipulate rankings through money. It was an entire industry of its own.

The thing is, more and more people got into the boat. Google noticed.

And just like any hot linkbuilding strategy, it saw its demise.

This is the second case.

Rumored to Have Died

Guest posting is dead. That’s what blog entries last year said. The truth is, it didn’t die. It just sneezed.

And since it got snot all over the place, Google had to shut its nose. Guest posting got stricter and stricter with webmasters and linkbuilders alike. And like all things scarce, it increased in value – albeit silently.

Guest post requests have died down since last year. But what you don’t know is that it still has the same link value as before.

This is the third case.

The Recovery

What did you notice about these three cases? They were very popular linkbuilding strategies.

They worked.

Then Google lifted its sword and staff and said “That’s enough!”

Linkbuilding Shall Not Pass

And down the drain it goes.

Here’s the million dollar question for you: “Did you ever try to go back a few steps and try them again?”

The Secret

I won’t keep it any longer. I know you’ve been itching to know what the untold secret is. So take a deep breath, collect yourself.


Here it is.

“Go against the flow.”


You heard me right. Go against the flow. When a linkbuilding method is getting traction, don’t go with it. Chances are, it will bubble up and explode – getting snot all over the place.

From all the years I’ve been doing linkbuilding, here’s what I noticed: Google axes mainstream linkbuilding strategies.

Then when things have died down, they will put it back in their ranking algorithm.

Pretty cool huh?

They say that diversity is key to linkbuilding. I couldn’t agree more. But let me add to that if you would.

One key to linkbuilding?

Go against the flow.

Value Principle

Here’s my personal theory about linkbuilding that we teach at SEO School: “The linkbuilding methods that are not as popular hold the best value for effort at any given time.”

This is dictated by Google’s learning machine.

The best thing about this theory is that, since not a lot of people are practicing that linkbuilding strategy, then it’s not as hard to get into.

Tips for Keeps: What’s the most common linkbuilding strategy that’s being talked about today? Keep away from it – at least until it dies down.

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  • Nice article! I think you might be right, even if its all speculative… I think as long as it’s controlled, done manually and is garnered from where it’s due (niche sites, local listings, public profiles, review sites, social platforms) then why wouldn’t you build links? The second it gets on the big G’s radar, trouble’s afoot – but does that really serve users? Can the algorithm cope without linking signals?

    I think it shows how important baclinks still are to SEO and to Google. If they have to lay down so many rules and penalise manually, rather than rely on the algorithm, links can still be seen as they key.

    • h3sean


      That’s right. Links will always hold power. Afterall, it’s what catapulted Google into what it is now. It’s the web’s way of signaling relationships, value and votes.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  • louiesison

    Keeping this blog entry on my watch list. I hope other readers will give their inputs regarding your question “What’s the most common linkbuilding strategy that’s being talked about today?” I’ll keep an eye on those.

    • h3sean

      Keep away from mainstream linkbuilding. That’s the main take-out.
      You’re on the right track Louie.

    • Hi louiesison,

      Common link building (3 Safe Ways to Build Links)

      1. Focus external link building efforts on the acquisition of
      editorially given links. These are links requiring human intervention
      and approval.

      2. Build links that are relevant – on pages where the readers would have a genuine interest in your website.

      3. Links from high trust/authority
      websites will have more impact than hundreds of links from “Made for
      Guest Posting” blogs.

  • Jason Jersey

    One thing I learned in the financial industry is “the masses are asses”. What that means if they go long on a stock, I need to be going short (puts). Same goes for marketing on the web as well. If SEO goes left, I need to be going right. Another example, a magician will say, look at my left hand, but in reality thats the distraction and the real magic is happening in the right hand. Idk if any of that made sense. lol

    • h3sean

      Makes a lot of sense Jay. Thanks for shedding some of your wisdom here.

  • h3sean

    Hahaha. Where did you hear that?

  • Marcel

    I agree with Jason. I also work in the stock market and the best time to step out is when everyone is making money. The time to step in is when everyone is selling, Contrary is best.

  • I think that if you have a link building strategy that works, don’t give up on it. Even if people say it doesn’t work any more, it doesn’t give the same results and so on, trust it for your own case. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try others and have more ways of getting those links. Most link-building strategies have other benefits as well.

    • h3sean

      You got that right Alexandra. I just heard about Matt Cutts saying that guest posting is now dead. I think there’s lots of factors there that failed to define exactly what type of guest posting has ‘died’. There should be qualifications specified. But knowing Cutts, he probably won’t define it for the public eye.

      • 11pa1993

        Yea sean i feel Matt cutts just confuse the bloggers

        • h3sean

          Can’t say you’re wrong.

  • Jessica

    Great posting Sean, link building always excellent way to gain back links to a site or blog but it should be in nature link building other wise it effects on SERP & page rankings as well as domain authority too.

  • Email Marketing Services

    These Link building methods are very handy, they always changes as per the trends, but some of them are consistent.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • h3sean

    You’re very welcome Thomas

  • h3sean

    Perhaps you mean white-hat SEO. Don’t go mainstream. It’s a loser’s game. Innovate strategies and it’s a case-to-case basis per client anyway.

    • Of course! We are always talking about white hat SEO here.. At least, I’m safe and the outcome is lifetime. Lol

  • h3sean

    Couldn’t have said it better Andy. Looks like you’ve got a good grasp of the untold secret of linkbuilding.

  • Nice idea. A good example of this is the recent Matt Cutts article about guest posts. Tonnes of people are going to panic, but anyone with a little bit about them, will realise that this is the perfect time to guest post now that Google has unofficially set the guidelines ;)

    • h3sean

      Couldn’t agree more. Gotta love Matt Cutts!

  • h3sean

    Of course!

  • suklambar

    Nice strategy Sean, since so many days i spent time for new seo strategies after humming bird.due. your tips are sound good. now i am going to apply it again

  • Akash Agarwal

    Wow it’s amazing. Link
    building helps to get more visibility of your blog in search result. And it also helps in getting indexed in search result
    easily. Thanks a lot for sharing such secret with us.

    • h3sean

      My pleasure Akash!

  • h3sean

    When you are against the grain and you are not doing it exploitively (massively/quantitatively) I doubt you’ll be in a position to get hit in the negative SEO area.

  • Nice post, I get lots of knowledge after reading this article, thanks for sharing with us. I learn lots of tips regarding link building. This article helps lots of new bloggers. very helpful article. thanks once again

  • h3sean

    My pleasure Evie! Yup you better start building those connections now. It’s one of the best investments you can have over the web.

  • Well, PUBLIC guest post exchanges are dead. With that said, guest posts, under a different name and process, is still alive. Stop doing SEO and build BRANDS instead. That’s what separates cheap outsourced ‘SEO’ from agencies that withstand the test of time. Hummingbird has made algo updates much easier. That should be a warning for people who think SEO is all about ‘quick and easy’ or ‘quick and dirty’ tactics… Expect some big news re paid links soon.

    • h3sean

      Good insight Gene. It’s always been about branding – from the moment we realized that Google is prioritizing how the real world works in their algorithm.