Link Building in 2011 – What’s New and What’s Working Now?

by Jason Acidre on March 24, 2011 · 34 comments · Search

This entry is a guest post by Brandon Hopkins from The views and opinions expressed on this post doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the owner of this blog.

It seems that everyone is a SEO expert nowadays.  Why not, you can visit any webmaster forum and buy link building services for $50.  After all is said and done, what really defines an expert in the SEO field?  First let me give you the warning signs of what to avoid in your SEO “expert” and in 2011.

1. 10,000 of anything

If someone is offering your 10,000 of such things as directory listings, blog comments, forum spam etc., stay away.  A number this large means it’s done in bulk and it’s automated.  My philosophy has always been simple, if it’s easy to automate, it’s easy to detect and devalue.  Search engines want to provide the best search results, not the site with the best spam links.

2. Multiple links from the same domain/subdomain

If 50,000 links from the same domain mattered in the search results, wouldn’t everyone just create 50,000 subdomains and put a link to their main site?  And if that happened, wouldn’t it be easy to detect by a search engine?  By the way, I’ve been saying this for 4 years now.  Get one link and go!

3. Old and Outdated Link Building Methods

Let me tell you what’s not working in 2011.  Social bookmarking, forum profiles, forum posting, link wheels, link pyramids, and RSS feeds.  The reason why these don’t work anymore is because they’re so easy to automate.  I have software that can build all of those links.  I could have 10,000 useless links from forums, Digg clones, and Web 2.0 sites in the next hour.  I don’t waste my time with that anymore because it stopped working last year.  Move on people!

What’s working in 2011?

I don’t even need bullet points to tell you what’s working in 2011, it’s very simple.  Manual link building is back!  Does it take 5 minutes to place that link?  If nobody has automated a method yet, then that is where you want to be, ahead of the curve.  Are you buying software that builds links?  Someone has been using that software for their personal sites for the last year already, you’re behind as soon as you buy the latest software.

I know what some of you are thinking, “I’m glad he’s turning people off to the software I bought, now there will less people using it!”  That’s fine with me, in fact it won’t affect me even if we’re both competing for the same #1 spot.

While I don’t like to divulge the biggest secrets I have, a few high profile web directories can give you a trusted link, and it only takes a few minutes to drop your link.  My favorites are ODP, Ezilon, and

I’ll leave you with some proof, after all, I’m just another rambling “expert” unless I can prove that I know what I’m talking about right?  Here are two separate projects, each with two main keywords.  Screenshots are taken directly from Market Samurai.

Project 1 – 110,000,000 results

Keyword 1
Project 1 Keyword 1
Keyword 2
Project 1 Keyword 2

Project 2 – 5,900,000 results

Keyword 1
Project 2 Keyword 1
Keyword 2
Project 2 Keyword 2

Brandon Hopkins recently launched a link building service called and has a team of full time link builders.  Contact Brandon for link building information.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Shiva @ Blogging Ideas March 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi there Brandon,
Nice post. I think you are right, there are many seo agencies and seo professional who offer a lot of lucrative and tempting services like 10,000 links and all and many times, many people get scammed like that but people do not understand that it is not the quantity of link that helps in getting better Search Engine rankings but the quality. Like you said it is better to build manual links rather than build links using software.

Thanks a lot for the post.


Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing March 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm

LOL @ 10,000 of anything Brandon, that one line has got me going to your blog next…my kinda guy!


Nabil@bra håravfall April 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

That’s exactly what I said once I read that as it made me giggle a bit. My type of guy.

But he’s right — automated stuff is easy to find and devalue, no matter how you twist and turn it.

As for the post, there’s one thing I really, really like…


Usually, when people write posts like these, they just write them for the sake of getting a link themselves or something like that. But this guy actually has proof to back his claims up and it sure looks promising.

As for the link building methods, does anyone believe blog commenting will still work? Commenting on blogs not using nofollow, that is.

It has been working tremendously for the past year — but will 2011 be the year where it stops being effective? It’s manual (at times) — but still…


Brandon Hopkins@Link Building Service May 5, 2011 at 11:38 am

Everyone can afford Scrapebox which is what has sent the effectiveness of blog comments down the drain. I can scrape a list of 50,000 blogs with PR that are dofollow in about an hour. I could leave a comment on all of them within 2 hours, I don’t because it doesn’t work anymore unfortunately.


Urbanosaurus@Web Design Studio Shindiri July 13, 2011 at 4:17 am

Automatic blog commenting are pretty much useless now. As other parts of automatic link building. Specially after Google toolbar updates so you can see that PR of all these blogs is sooooo down. Using SEOmoz toolbar with mozRank, monthly updated, you can have a better idea about value, strength, authority for link from that page can have.

I have to say that I believe blog commenting will still work. But you have to give value in comments on good targeted blogs, related with your niche, with varying anchor text. In combo with other factors I believe that can help in building of perfect natural looking link profile. In correlation with other factors manually blog commenting will always works in my opinion.

One question for you Brandon.
What do you think about nofollow links from authority sites?
I have to say that I am not buying a story that nofollow links can’t have an impact on SERPs. :]


Linki@linkbuilding March 27, 2011 at 4:24 am

I think that social bookmarking and forum posting still work to gain a direct traffic, not just ranks. And getting a traffic is a linkbuilder´s task Nr. 1, it only depends if you get it through SERP or directly. I still consider above mentioned ways useful as a supporting method.


Goran March 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

Great article, I hope you don’t mind me stealing your idea and rewriting it for my own site :)


Cliff@ Website Marketing Tips For Small Business March 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Hey Brandon, intersting, thought provoking stuff.

Picking up on the “what’s not working for 2011″…I must say that I agree with you that the tactics you mention are pretty useless now. What about article marketing and press releases? It seems to me that, since the recent google algo change, these tactics are a lot less effective too.

I hope the spammers are happy now!




Brandon Hopkins@Link Building Service May 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

Cliff, Article Marketing Robot (and similar) has devalued article marketing. Press releases if done right (very expensive) are still effective, but doing it right is too expensive for most people.


Jennifer @ Sacramento SEO March 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm

It’s really surprising to me how many people fall for things like that. The same thing goes for those site owners who request x number of links from this type of site.

While I disagree that quantity isn’t important, it IS important that the links you build come from high quality sites. A bunch of worthless, spammy links from no name sites mean nothing. I, personally, would much rather trust a site that I find linked to by good sites within the same niche than something with a cheezy generic design that has a bunch of hacked content on it.

You’ve posted some great advice on here. Thanks!


Brandon Hopkins@Link Building Service April 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

@all – Thanks for the kind words.
@Cliff – I think the website is more important than they “type” of link building. If the website your article is on is full of dupe content, I would expect it to work much.


jilianne @ website marketing tips April 5, 2011 at 10:52 pm

When it comes to White Hat SEO – you should pick quality over quantity in all cases. I agree to your first warning sign – 10,000 of anything. Most providers that offer these kinds of services are using shady techniques like link farming and leaving links of your website on unrelated websites with very low PR.

Great round up, very useful :)


Ralpheal Jackson April 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Your absolutely right on about the softwares, I only heard one other seo expert state that old linking techniques such as link networks no longer works. Personally, I think that automated web 2.o linking and spam comments have been lost value, even before 2011.

Thanks for the value I’ll tweet this.

Ralpheal Jackson


Brandon Hopkins@Link Building Service May 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

I agree Ralpheal, it’s been a while since comment spam has actually worked.


Jon@review April 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Great information, I guess I’m behind the power curve. I’ve made this my go-to site for seo tips. Keep the posts coming!


Jean@GenieBra April 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

it only takes a few minutes to drop a link on those directories…but how long will it take to get approved ;)


Andy Kuiper May 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I’m still holding out for 20,000 directory listings for $99.00… cause that’s twice as many as 10,000 so it should give me twice as good a ranking, right?
Andy ;-)


Brandon Hopkins@Link Building Service May 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hey Andy, absolutely! Keep pushing forward with those directories, especially if you’re in my niches ;)


George@SEO For Beginners May 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

Link Wheels and article marketing still works. SEO needs to be looked at holistically. If you are only doing one type of link building with no on-site work, of course you aren’t going to get anywhere. These tactics should be used as part of a larger strategy that includes a variety of tactics.


Brandon Hopkins@Link Building Service July 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hey George, I appreciate your input on this topic. Why should SEO be looked at holistically? Are your potential clients going to look at your link profile before deciding to hire your services? To me, I want to be at the top to meet as many potential customers as possible.


Andrew Walker June 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Great topic! RSS feeds still works very well. I think there will be no degeneration. Technology always develops every day. Link Wheels is also great.


tom@awe June 17, 2011 at 2:40 am

Thanks for the great article – I guess with SEO it’s just becoming more competitive and a high quality link is still a high quality link.

Great blog – I’ll be book marking this one!


maneesh@windows 8 June 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Thank for such informative article…Manual link building is very useful foe SEO.
IT give great backlinks to your site as well as improve your page rank.
Scrape box comment generally don’t get approval.


Wastrox July 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

I think you’re right for google dot com only. I uses automated software like senuke and other software, that’s software work pretty good in local google site. I myself find the method to rank higher in search engine using dummy autoblog with different C-class IP. I don’t know if my method white or black but it still working great right now especially for local google.


Kya@Badrumsrenovering August 1, 2011 at 4:30 am

Beautiful article. This shows that divertiy of link-building work :)

And It gives great result.

You dont mind if I link to your article in my perosnal blog? Send me a e-mail :)


Tim Ryan@vanderbilt beach fl August 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

It is a good thing you discussed this particular topic on this post so people would have an idea as to what and how Search Engine Optimization works.


Bigmouth August 26, 2011 at 6:59 am

So you disapprove of automated link building, but are quite happy to linkspam wiki pages so long as it’s a “manual” process :-)


Noel Addison@Logo Design Ventura September 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm

You are right that manual link building is definitely back and it is the most effective way of performing SEO .


Rika Susan October 27, 2011 at 2:33 am

Good, common-sense post, Brandon. In the end there is no shortcut. Doing it right takes time, but that is the only way to go in this game. Thanks for the directories you mentioned. Will take a look.


Greg Holbert February 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thank you, Jason, for bringing to light all those companies that prey on people’s ignorance by selling a bunch of junk links to those who may not have the time or the dedication to build their own links. If anyone is mad at you for their post then they are only mad because they can’t keep taking candy from our babies!


Andy Kuiper - Search Engine Optimization Analyst - Calgary March 4, 2012 at 9:36 am

For sure on the automated software issue; yet so many SEO newbies and small business owners still go after it. I still like strong social networks though :-)


Joy March 24, 2012 at 4:45 am

Very prophetic post in the light of recent “panic” over link building penalties.

I long ago realised I couldn’t afford to compete by BUYING links so didn’t pursue the strategy.

What I’d appreciate an answer to, please, is a question about “spam” comments….

I have various spam comment stoppers installed, including CommentLuv, but I still get my fair share of “Wow most amazing post I have ever read” type comments. (If only it were true!!)

What is the best way to handle these? Is there any merit to approving them or are they likely to harm my blog?



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