Simple Link Building System That Works – But It Sucks Doing It

Simple Link Building System That Works – But It Sucks Doing It

Posted by on Jul 14, 2010 in SEO

I assume that you are aware of the importance of quality links that point to your site when it comes to good rankings in Google and other search engines.

If you are not aware of the importance of links yet, then check this post on what it takes to get more traffic.

The obvious question that comes after is, “How do I get links?”

I would rephrase this and ask, “What are the most effective links and most effective ways of getting them?”

Here we have links that in my opinion are NOT effective: links from Yahoo Answers, blog comments, forum posts, Squidoo, Hubpages, Answerbag, Yedda, submitting to hundreds of directories (total waste!!!) and most of other Web 2.0 links.

SO what are the most effective links (that once you get them the rankings and consequently traffic of your site will go up significantly)?

These are links from high page rank pages of quality related sites.

That is it. This will give you the most bangs for your buck – or the most link juice for the effort you put in.

These links will be the 80/20 that will be driving the rankings of your site.

The system you’re about to see is what I did for all of my sites that do well. Like I said in the title of this article, this system is boring and takes a lot of time. These links are typically hard to get and it takes time and perseverance to get them.

But once you do, your rankings improve significantly and so does your traffic.

You can basically laugh at those people doing blog commenting and answering Yahoo Answers (both no-follow) who have taken the easy route and hope for a miracle.

If it was that easy to get quality links, one could outsource comments and answers to freelancers and in a few months your site would have thousands of links and you would be on top of rankings without any hard work.

It is impossible.

Everyone would do that. So Google must have tougher rules and algorithms to determine whether your site deserves top spots.

The key rule here is that your site must have high PR links from quality related sites (many of them).

The Boring Link Building System That Works

What I have done for all of my sites that are doing well is I researched other sites in my niche, looked at where they got links from and tried to get them for myself from the same places.

I also tried to get links from the sites in my niche that ranked well.

There. That is what I have done and that is why sites rank well. There is your magic secret to success online.

Except that it is tedious, boring and frustrating to get links that way. It’s much easier to answer a question on Yahoo Answers, comment on a crappy blog-post and then feel good pretending that you actually built some links today. 😉

If you did not build one PR1+ link at all – then nothing significant will happen to your rankings. You are just avoiding the real hard work that gets results.

But back to finding links that actually work…

Here is a system you can follow infinitely long and you will never run out of ways of finding quality links:

1. For every keyword that you add an article to your site, do a Google search.

2. Check top 10 (or 20 if you are really a hard working person and you are determined 100% that you really want to become financially free) sites for that keyword and see if they exchange links or whether they accept articles from other sites or whether they link out to other sites from within their content.

If they do, contact them and start negotiating. Suggest a link exchange or submitting an article with a link back or something else that might get you a link.

3. The MOST IMPORTANT next step: Do a link analysis in (by typing link: Update: Yahoo is not showing links anymore so I suggest you create an account with and use the query: /seo to see all sorts of SEO data Blekko offers or simply: /domainlinks for inbound links to the domain.

That’s how you will see where that site got their back links. (Of course, do that for all top 10 (20) sites in Google that show up for your keyword search)

4. Try to get links from the same places! If those other sites were willing to link out to your competitor’s site, then they might link out to your site too.

5. And where did those other sites that link to your competitors get links from? 😉 Do a link analysis for them and see where they got links from! Go to #4 and repeat #4 and #5 as long as you want.

6. Once you get really tired doing that 😉 or better, get a few PR1+ links, start with #1 again. Every time you build a page for a certain keyword, start the process of getting links that work with #1.

That is all.

That is the process of building links that significantly affect your rankings and traffic – in a positive way of course.

The other links: Yahoo Answers, Answerbag, forum posts and other Web 2.0 links HAPPEN automatically exactly in the way they are supposed to happen!

Some of the gazillion people that browse the Internet and use those sites will come across your site and mention it because it provides quality content. That is how those links are supposed to happen – and not by you adding them there.

These links help perhaps 0.5% with your rankings and I certainly will not waste my time building them. They will happen eventually because other people will build them for you.

You need to realize three things while you are doing this:

1. You may contact 10 sites and only 1 will reply. If you get a PR1+ link, it is worth it, trust me. You will never run out of sites because you can simply run the #4 and #5 indefinitely.

2. If you are just starting out and your site has a page rank of 0, then it is going to be tough to get links from high PR sites. A PR1 site is more likely to give you a link than a PR5. You might also get lucky and that PR5 link can change your life.

So go with your gut or just simply keep trying. I know that I got a few lucky links like that and that got me PR3 from a PR0 in a few months. Once I had PR3 it was much easier to negotiate a better link exchange. Other sites started to contact me for link exchanges and I had many more options.

3. You will be doing this hard work ONLY ONCE per site. I typically worked hard for links for about 6-12 months per site. Once you establish your site high in the rankings, you will start getting organic links.

These are links when other sites just link to you because they feel you as an authority on a certain topic. To become an authority and occupy top rankings, however you will have to do the hard work.

Once you get there, you get the unfair advantage – you get one-way organic links and solidify your rankings on top. Remember the saying, “The rich get richer.”

That is how it is with top sites – they have tons of links and they just keep getting them automatically. Get to that place.

Keep that goal in mind while you get no answers from 10 emails you sent. Keep trying and looking for ways to get quality links to your site because once you do, the work stops.

You are showing on top of rankings for your main keywords and the traffic and income keep rolling in without you doing anything.

The system you see above is the real key to getting links. If you believe you have found another system where you can “easily” get links, it will not work, trust me.

The only system that gets real outstanding results is the system that takes a lot of work.

That is how Google (and life) weed out losers from winners.

It is like that in all areas of life and it is the same with your online business.

What usually needs to happen is for you to get lucky at some point, get a PR4+ link and see how your traffic almost doubles just because of that. That will hopefully wake you up and motivate you to keep doing the tedious work of building links that work.

And if you keep in mind the outcome you’re looking for, then working on these links will not really be boring. It will be exciting and for every link you will get you will feel that you are one step closer to freedom.

Update: Ken McGaffin from shows you exactly how to build links in his webinar. It’s exactly the same system I showed you here except that it’s even better presented as you’ll see the exact process of finding quality link partners in the video.

Update #2: My friend Goran has developed a software that finds the Pagerank of the incoming links and sorts the links by PR. That way you can easily see which are the most powerful links worth pursuing.


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  1. Hi there!

    Great post, really needed this.

    In fact I was just thinking hard about all the content I have and that I really need much more links. I checked your blog and bam! found this article. Talk about law of attraction 🙂

    Quick question about the value of reciprocal links.

    My website has a PR of 4 so I have good negotiating ability here. The other week I exchanged a link and got a direct PR 4 link. But of course I had to send a link back.

    Do you believe these high page rank links hold the same value if they’re reciprocal links?

    And, would you have a limit on the amount of reciprocal links you’d do, or more the better?

    Now that I have a PR 4 site I’m really willing to grind out link exchanges all day if that’s the best use of my time.

    Thanks for all the help.



    Tomaz Reply:

    @Jerrick: I’d say about 30 – 50 quality links (or link exchanges) will basically make the site a winner. If you checked the post mentioned above where I analyzed SBI sites, you’ll see that high traffic SBI sites get links from around 200 different domains.

    I got 200 links to my tennis site in 4 years and I probably initiated 50-70 quality link exchanges (or article exchanges). The other links may not have been so good but when you’re starting out you can take any kind of link.

    Lots of other links later happened organically…

    @Tyler: If I didn’t believe reciprocal links work, I wouldn’t have posted this article. 😉 And it’s not what I believe, it’s what I see every day in my traffic stats.


  2. Hi Tomaz,

    Somehow my previous posts have not been able to appear in your blog. Not sure why.

    I have been spending alot of time previously to do article marketing to my websites to build links. I felt that the result is much less effective than before. Is anyone still seeing good results out there?

    Personally, I felt that paid directories is also great way to “seed” a new site before doing links exchange and gain some PR first. It may cost a bit of money but I treat it as an investment…

    Just to ask Tomaz, roughly based on your experiences, about how many successful links exchanges (over the 6 months to 12 months) do you have for each site before you sees significant traffic rise?


  3. Wow. Awesome post.

    This will help me immensely. I have wasted my time on some of the other strategies. It’s time I get to work on your suggestions.

    Thank you so much Tomaz!


  4. Tomaz,

    in my experience blog commenting still works, even if they are no-follow, as soon as the blog post topic is highly relevant and the PR of the page is high.

    One of my sites is getting around 400 uv/day now with about 40 pages of content and 6 month old.

    That means 10 uv/page for a considerably new site.

    I almost haven’t done any link exchange or request to this site.

    No paid directories, no social bookmarking and about 10 article submissions in total.

    In my observation, diversity of link profile is very important to effective ranking, as soon as you keep things balanced – not too much or too little of anything, and you shall be all fine.

    Of course it might be due to low competition niche that I easily get hose traffic, but I wouldn’t agree completely that blog commenting doesn’t work anymore.

    It might just be not effective if someone tries to get 1k blog comments in a month, but if you keep it moderate (lets say 50 comments per month spread out – it will still be valuable)


    Tomaz Reply:


    I share my thoughts based on my experience – these are obviously just my opinions. I have tried blog commenting, analyzed the results and they were dismal.

    When you make judgments whether something works or not you have to be very careful and do exact analysis to determine how one factor affects your rankings.

    You could have gotten one PR4 organic link which you were not aware of and your traffic jumped.

    Also, if you’re getting traffic directly from those comments, that’s not worth much. Your rankings are still poor and once those posts and comments get buried deeper you’ll lose the traffic. If of course your traffic comes from better rankings, then that’s a different subject.


  5. Hey Tomaz,
    Great article, although I’d like to get your thoughts on something…

    What about blog commenting on high PR, dofollow blogs?

    I pay an outsourcer $2 per link for every dofollow PR1+ blog comment link they get, provided the site and page are relevant to my site.

    I’ve had some success with the first site I tried, going from PR0 to PR2. So I was wondering more about why you completely discount blog commenting, even if it’s for releveant dofollow blogs?


  6. Hey Tomaz,
    Just realized you answered my question in your previous comment! 🙂


  7. I agree totally with you that this form of link building works (and works well) but is very boring to do indeed.

    A few things I have found to increase your results are (a) build a truly great site that people will want to link to as soon as you tell them about it and (b) if you don’t get any response after contacting a website owner then follow up again a few weeks later. You’d be surprised at the number of extra links you will get with an apology for not responding to your first email.


  8. Excellent post Tomaz! Thanks for sharig…


  9. Hi Tomaz,

    I did analyzed that site, and there were no high organic PR links at all.

    My traffic is from Google search engine mainly (over 80%).

    Though I have to admitted some of my article submissions got to PR2 – mainly because they were original articles, well written and not spun at all.

    I also found the little neat thing – if you check Google websmaster tool and have you site registered, Google will most likely only show you links from blogs if the link is within content and not author name – no matter if its follow or no-follow.

    This lead me to thinking that blog commenting still works, if you manage to get the link within comment itself.


  10. Hi Tomaz,

    This is an article that I really needed to read. It’s quite a simple message that you’re getting across, but still so many people don’t do this.

    Do you think ezine articles, buzzle etc count as good links? You have to put in considerable effort to get them, and the links are PR5 and 6.




    Tomaz Reply:


    I would always start link building of a new site with directory submission, and then article submissions. Ezinearticles and buzzle are good sites. While they may be PR5+, your link is NOT on a page with PR5. If you’re lucky, it will be on a PR1 page.

    The reason why I start link building with these links is because my site has no pagerank – therefore I have no negotiating power when exchanging links.

    So I have to build some pagerank with other links and then I can focus more on link exchanges and other ways of getting links.


  11. What about article submissions, like Ezine Articles? Does it still work? I read your old posts about it and was submitting to Buzzle, Idea Marketers, HubPages and was planning to do the same for Squidoo. I am a little confused now about what works and what doesn’t. My site started to get 100 uniques a day at 3 month and now I am at this number for around 3 weeks. I think I am doing fine, but I don’t know what links really mattered. In any case, thank you for this post. Sometimes I feel that SBI package without you would be incomplete.


  12. Yes that is the same formula I use, but I did it out of pure laziness (I wish I could say I was smart).

    After reading the forums and asking people for a list of the best directories, etc. etc. I decided that re-inventing the wheel was just too much work.


    I “modeled”, as Tony Robbins would say, the leaders and figured if they are #1 they are doing something right so I just went to Yahoo and copied all the URL’s to their links for me to get the same links.

    I am no where near finish (yes it’s a LOT of work), but my site PR and traffic picked up. I found some really good .edu links that way.

    Congrats Tomaz!


  13. Tomaz,

    Do you recommend any software packages to streamline this process? I’m not looking for any shortcuts here, just smart ways to work and keep organized, which I think is one of the keys to success in any business, online or off.

    I’ve looked at SEO Elite and Web CEO, which seem to be among the most popular of the dozens of programs out there. I suppose you can just cut and paste sites from the browser window to Excel to track your link building campaign and then go to Outlook for your emails. But as you do hundreds or thousands of these, it gets harder and harder to keep it all organized.

    Any tips?



    Tomaz Reply:

    @Will: I only used Excel sometimes to track my link exchanges but I never used any software.


  14. Tomaz,
    Great article. Very timely for me. I need to get to work on this. Thanks!


  15. Elena,

    I love that comment “Sometimes I feel that SBI package without you would be incomplete.” I so totally agree! 🙂


    Thanks for the excellent information as usual. Although I’m not sure that blog commenting is ineffective as long as it’s paired up with a diverse link building program that includes different kinds of links.

    I was struggling for traffic until I agressively used blog commenting and now my traffic continues to climb steadily. Of course, this is also combined with adding lots of new pages as well as some link exchanges so I can’t be 100% sure it’s the commenting, but I think commenting had a lot to do with it.

    As you mentioned the number of unique domains linking to your site makes a big difference in your traffic. For a long time I struggled because I had lots of links, but they were sitewide links coming from just a handful of domains.

    I mostly used blog commenting to improve this statistic (I did some link exchanges as well for a while) and saw a major growth in traffic.

    The one concern I have with blog commenting is how permanent the links are. I’ve noticed that some dofollow links can change to nofollow. Blog owners can also drop comments. The links also appear and then disappear from the Yahoo! explorer. So relying on blog comments alone is not a good idea. But it works really well to boost the number of unique domains linking to your site.

    Anyways, thanks so much for the strategy! I’m very grateful for the info you share on this blog and can safely say I would not be able to succeed without the advice you so generously provide.


  16. thank Tomaz 50 to 70 link exchanges is a good goal.

    Link exchanges definitely work though I find I need to add their link first and then contact them in order to get any replies.

    Article marketing still works because when I check backlinks, there are links from sites that have added my content to their site with a link back to mine.

    Recently I contacted 25 people and got back 7 link exchanges 2 of the people had an additional site for a link exchange, some luck is always good.


  17. @Elena, jeremy123 and others: The real question is not whether article submissions or blog commenting work, the real question is how EFFECTIVE they are.

    Sure, they “work”. They will improve your rankings by 0.034%. 😉 That’s better than nothing – so they do work.

    But a quality link from a related website can double or triple your traffic.

    Important: If you are just starting link building and you have 0 incoming links, then blog comments and article submissions WILL affect your traffic a lot.

    But once you have established some links and better rankings, you’ll see that blog comments, Web 2.0 links, forum posts and other types of crappy links do basically nothing to improve your traffic.

    ONLY high quality PR1+ links from related sites will make any significant change to your rankings and traffic!

    I do article marketing to get some anchor text links to all of my T2 pages and hope that some other site will pick those articles from and use them on their site.

    But the effect on rankings from that is minimal.

    And what works is not determined by Yahoo showing you links. It’s determined by positive change in traffic.

    A great new incoming link will usually start affecting your site’s traffic in 2-4 weeks…


  18. Hi Tomaz,
    Thanks for being so frank about what you see works. I’m a newbie with a PR0 website that is only a few months old. Can you say more about negotiating? How does a PR0 site like mine negotiate with a site that has a higher PR successfully? Do you have tips on what works in contact emails and what doesn’t?


    Tomaz Reply:

    Carla – You can’t negotiate with me for example. You have nothing to offer to me if you have PR0 and I have PR4.

    Some people are not so nasty as I am. 😉 Maybe they don’t know about PR, maybe they don’t care.

    So I generally build links with directories and article submissions and low PR link exchanges to get some PR. Maybe PR2 or even PR3.

    Then I can negotiate better. It’s a tough road at the beginning – I know, believe me.


  19. I’ve always appreciated your KISS (keep it simple) method of website success, whether it’s how to construct your site or building links. I have two questions:

    1. What sort of email did you send the webmaster of a site you wanted to exchange links with? Was it modeled after the Value Exchange email?

    I want the letter to sound beneficial for the recipient, but sometimes I feel a bit tongue-tied.

    2.Do you do link exchanges with sites that want to put your link on a links page with 20 other sites?

    Thank you!


    Tomaz Reply:

    Amy – Yes, I typically model my link exchange email similar to Value Exchange email.

    I do link exchanges with sites with links pages if I have no other option and if I need them. 😉

    If you have very few incoming links, then every link will help. You also need to consider what the PR of that links page is. PR0 pages with tons of links don’t really help much.

    Again – if you’re just starting out, any link helps. But later that link will make no difference…


  20. Great post!
    I always tried to get answer on the question: what is better – to get tons of backlink, or only a few but from high PR pages. Now I really found the answer.

    Thank you!


  21. Tomaz,

    I have now other questions.
    My site has 100+ pages and PR2. I would like to improve traffic and ranking. Should I still add more content, or it’s better to concentrate completely on your link building strategy?
    Should I search for link exchange with the same ranking sites, lower(PR1) or higher (PR3-4)? How many links are enough for higher PR?
    Should I need to find backlinks for EVERY page on my site?

    Thanks again for great article.


    Tomaz Reply:


    You need to do both. But you need to know how long to build links. Well how long?

    Until you get the rankings you’re happy with! If you start ranking in the top 5 for your major keywords (or even higher), then you should be getting good traffic and hopefully income too.

    Then focus on getting links to T2 pages and try and get them to rank better.

    But of course, at the same time keep adding content. Whether you should focus on content or links more depends on how well you rank for major keywords – T1 and T2.

    If you don’t rank well for most T1 and T2 keywords (let’s say top 10) with 100 pages of content, then links are more important than content. But once you get better rankings, you need to keep adding more content and build links here and there.


  22. Tomaz,

    What is your view on placing links on a Link Page or Resource Page? Is there any value on being placed on a Resource Page that lists dozens of links?


    Tomaz Reply:

    Joan and Nisheth: I never place any external links on the homepage. That’s because that link leakes pagerank from the whole site.

    If the link is on a T2 or T3 page, it leakes pagerank only from that page.

    Links / resources pages still work but you really need to add LOTS of text under each link so that Google assigns PR to that page. In my experience Google penalizes links pages with 0 PR if the links / content ratio is too high.

    Just make sure the page looks more like a content page with links in it instead of looking like a links page with a few lines of content.


  23. Tomaz,

    Another thing… Most link exchanges ask for a link on the home page since it’s generally the highest PR page. But after a certain number of links that can really clutter up the home page and make it look unprofessional. How do you deal with this issue?

    This is such an amazing article. I’m learning so much even from the comments and answers to them.



  24. Thank you Tomaz, I spent a couple of weeks recently following a link building challenge in the SBI forum and just couldn’t keep up with people reporting in each day how many Yahoo Answers, blogs etc they had commented on. As my site is growing slowly it was a bit demoralizing, and I was just about to start making those very things you say are worthless a priority in an attempt to build links. So thank again for this information its very timely.I only have limited time to spend on my site and can’t afford to waste it.
    Thanks 🙂


  25. Thank you Tomaz for this valuable information.

    Building a site in English is a big challenge for me and with the little experience I have gained since last year using SBI, I realized now that my concept is probably too broad and that it will take many more pages of content and numerous links before I’ll see the numbers of my visitors increase….

    But I’ll follow your tips and I will continue my good work because only perseverance will lead me to success!!!!

    Thanks again


  26. Elena,

    Excessive link exchanging is exchanging hundreds of links where most of them are placed on links pages.

    Here’s an example of excessive link exchanges:

    www . shredderwarehouse . com/links/ (delete the spaces)

    And even this site doesn’t seem to be penalized – I personally believe that Google just penalizes the links pages by removing all PR as I explained above already.

    I suggested 50-70 or even less would work fine – as long as they are quality.

    That’s why you need to focus on high PR pages when looking for links as those are much more effective than links on PR0 pages with 50 other links.

    The PR leak is negligible compared to the value you get. Google EXPECTS you to link out as this is world wide WEB.

    Your site must be interlinked and webbed into the Internet. If you’re just getting links IN, then this is totally unrealistic!

    It’s almost impossible that whatever topic you talk about (tennis, travel, …) YOU are the only knowledgeable person in the world and that there is no other site that you would recommend visitors to check out.

    That’s impossible or either totally selfish. It won’t work with Google because they know from millions of examples how a realistic website is linked to and how it links out.

    If your site’s links (incoming and outgoing) deviate from the average too much, it means that you’re manipulating the system.

    I also believe (from what I see) that Google really cuts us a lot of slack and is really not that harsh.

    Just be smart.


  27. Thank you Tomaz, I deeply appreciate your answer. I will keep on following your example the best I can and I believe I will succeed eventually. I am looking forward your new posts!!! Thanks 🙂


  28. Hey Tomaz, thanks for OVERdelivering and clearing up these questions.

    Over the last 5 days since you put up this post, I’ve actually done exactly what you’ve said and have obtained many link exchanges. 🙂

    I’ve contacted many quality link partners and many have responded positively. Probably about 15 – 20 quality links with a few blog rolls as well.

    I’m looking forward to the impact they make over the next few weeks.

    I’ve found that with the health/supplements/fitness niches there are so many quality links available if you just search for them.

    For this niche it seems like there’s an endless supply of sites that are worth linking to, and are willing to exchange. You just have grind out lots of contacts. Plus it helps that my PR is pretty good and I do have quite a bit of content. Being “link worthy” will definitely help you get more responses.

    My other site is a product review site and finding quality sites to exchange with hasn’t been as easy. I think I’ll need to look at more related topics as opposed to just the same product.

    All the best


  29. Great to hear Tyler!

    Just reading stuff changes nothing. Only ACTION moves you forward.

    Thanks for sharing.


  30. Thank you Tomaz.

    Illuminating as always. I love the no BS way you write your posts.
    You say that this way of building links is boring and tedious, but if that’s what it takes the let’s get it done.

    Content is easy, it’s this link building that’s the real art, isn’t it.

    I have a couple of comments and questions.

    I spent the best part of a month doing manic blog posting on any do-follow blog I could find. Got lots of links but no extra traffic. Quantity but poor quality.

    Following the advice in one of your earlier posts, I then spent 3/4 days exchanging emails and communicating with another site which was complimentary to my topic. The end result was that I gave away 2x PR3 links to one of his other sites in return for a spot on his PR3 blogroll (With 1200 daily visitors compared to my 150-200 I liked the numbers). In addition we exchanged “guest” blog posts. We were both happy with that deal. I reckon it’s much more advantageous spending that time getting the blogroll link than it was getting 100’s of poor links.

    I also spent some time on value exchange compiling a list of 25x PR1+ sites with a view to article exchanges as opposed to straight forward link exchanges. I’m going to start emailing them this week – be interesting to see how acceptable article exchanging is them.

    My question is regarding article exchanges. When we exchange articles they become new pages on each site and obviously are PR0 so where’s the value in article exchanges — from what you say I can see that they’re they’re worthwhile but I just can’t work out why? Is it the fact that there’s a link from a relevant site that’s important here and not the PR? Am I missing something really obvious?

    Also how many links is acceptable or desirable when exchanging articles?

    Thanks, John


  31. John,

    Every new page on a site has PR0 until Google assigns some PR. Even a new page on has a PR0. 😉

    But it WILL get PR. You can easily deduce the future PR by seeing what the PR of that Tier is.

    If you exchange articles, they will typically be placed as new Tier 3 pages. Your new article will eventually have the same PR as the other Tier 3 pages of that site.

    I would use up to 2-3 links back to my site from such an article exchange.


  32. Hey Tomaz,
    Have you ever tried outsourcing the contacting sites part of your link building system? I’m sure once you get a reply, you would want to negotiate.

    But just wondering if you ever outsourced sending an email template to the top 10 sites for each keyword?


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hey Dave,

    I’ve only outsourced research of PR3+ sites in my niche for example, but then I contacted the owners myself.

    The freelancers have no idea how to negotiate – they don’t know what’s important to look for.


  33. Fantastic no-nonsense quality link building post Tomaz! I’ve read this over and over from other sources, but somehow, coming from you gives it the extra authority because I know you speak from experience and results.

    I will work on more quality links rather than shooting in the dark with blog posts that give temporary boost.

    Thank you for sharing.



  34. @Tyler: That’s a great result and will definetly boost your rankings even it’s a competitive niche. Can you post an example of the e-mail you send to them? Or did you customize each e-mail?
    All the best!


  35. Hi Tomaz,

    what a great post! Thank you very much. This should reduce “wandering trough the desert”. 🙂

    Now for that matter, the following might reduce the above mentioned task and the number of steps.

    I don’t know have you heard about: WebRank Toolbar?
    (Pagerank, Alexa, Compete and Quantcast Rank, Pages Indexed and Backlinks Checker)

    There’s a mozilla firefox add-on:

    Hope this hepls, 🙂


  36. This is the information about Link Building I have been waiting for. Straight to the point with no cherries on top!


  37. This article, like all the rest, should be required reading for all web entrepreneurs. It’s so valuable.

    I’ve been using this strategy for a couple of days now, and it’s not SO mind-numbing. The only frustrating part is sifting through all the crappy backlinks when scoping out a site.

    No responses as of yet, but I remain diligent.

    Thanks Tomaz,


  38. Tomaz, as always you have a gift for distilling information into clear, actionable instructions that make otherwise overwhelming things seem very doable.

    I’m just vouching for what you’ve said – I’ve got over 10,000 back links and most of them are useless. The ones that really changed my life were the few from PR 5-6 websites that gave me a link when I asked for one, even though I had no PR to speak of back then.

    I saw the difference overnight and their links continue to benefit me in a big way.

    So don’t be afraid to ask highly ranked sites! You might only get one answer back from 100 emails you send out, (and yes, it can take months to send out those 100 emails!) but that can be the link that jumps starts everything.


  39. Thank you for clearing that up Tomaz.


  40. I want to start with a compliment about this clear and practical post. Because of this post there are a lot of questions floating into my head.

    In the niche I’m in, there are a lot of e-commerce websites, sites that only sell a product and not give any info. I haven’t exchanged a single link with them, while i have sent a lot of requests over the last year. In some cases i receive an e-mail that exchanging links is against their site policies etc. What are your experiences with these kind of websites? What to do when there are minimal similar informational websites like ours?

    And how broad do you go to find potential link partners? Maybe you can use your vacuum cleaner website as an example.

    All tips appreciated…


  41. Mark, as you have noticed e-commerce or brand sites do not exchange links. You can check them first to see if they link out at all to anyone.

    In most cases do not so sending them an email is a waste of time.

    You can go very broad when looking for links. When it comes to vacuums, I look for appliances, home improvement, cleaning and similar topics.

    Just do a link analysis of top 20 competitors in your niche that are not e-commerce sites and you’ll see tons of sites that gave them links. Try and get them too.


  42. Thanks for the information about the Ecommerce websites Tomaz. I have started diligently going over the top 20 non-ecommerce websites for my main keyword as a start today.

    I found out that 95% of the first 60 is ecommerce for “computer parts”. Guess what I found on page 6. I found my own website on page 6 for my Tier 1 keyword!!!!!! I thought I was maybe top 500, but not top 60! Nobody will see it but me lol, but at least I am on my way forward!

    Thanks again for all the great information and I will put it to good use!


  43. Thanks so much, Tomaz, and to everyone who posted questions here. This post and the responses to reader questions directly address all of my concerns about website strategy right now.

    You’re wonderful!


  44. Hi Tomaz,
    Long time lurker on your site. You over deliver on your articles as usual and I give you my thanks.

    I have a question for you if you don’t mind. Do you still recommend links pages for websites? I can still see many websites out there with links pages and would like to know what is your take about it.

    Thanks and more power!


    Tomaz Reply:

    Thanks, Gavino!

    I prefer sites without links pages where I exchange links from within my articles so it’s really hard to tell that I actually exchanged links. The links look like editorial links.

    If you do create a links page, then it has to be above average. Write it in a way as if you’re writing short reviews of the websites you’re linking to.

    I have one like that where I have around 100 words of text for each site that I link to.

    It’s very very hard to prove that these are “links” pages and the page is actually very useful to the visitors of my site since they can get a good feel for other sites before they click over and potentially waste time.


  45. Thanks again for this wonderful article.

    After following your advice, I have been offered a chance to advertise myself on a relevant website in exchange for writing some content for them. I am really happy about this.

    Apart from limited space, I think I can do whatever I want here. Do you think I should try to take advantage of this opportunity to write a little text that includes links to ALL of my main T2 pages?

    Or is there a disadvantage to having 8 or 9 links close together with minimal text around them?

    Thanks a lot!


  46. Nancy,

    I would include maximum 2-3 links per article. I suggest you write more articles for them and in include new links in each new article.


  47. Thanks so much, Tomaz, for your response and the advice.


  48. Tomaz,

    Thanks you for sharing your hard-won knowledge so generously! I’ve been following your process for the last few days and already have two new high PR links.

    You say the process is boring, but it’s fun for me right now because it’s working! I feel like I’ve discovered a gold mine of high-value links.


  49. Tomaz, I just submitted my site to the paid directories you recommend plus a couple of niche directories. As I’m preparing for link exchanges (got a list of good websites to exchange link), in my horror, many of the link pages are either PR 0 or N/A, although the websites themselves are PR 3-4. Even the ones which prefer to exchange articles have the guest articles on PR 0/N-A pages.

    If you just start out, will it help to exchange links with such websites ? I found them, by the way, through yahoo explorer (competitor analysis).

    Anyway, this prompts me to look at the pages I am listed in the paid directories. I check joeant and botw first, and …. the PR is N/A. Does it mean I burned $340 ?

    This is my first attempt with a product review site, and it’s been …. uhhmmmm …. interesting …:). It’s harder to find natural links …:)


  50. Dian,

    When you’re starting out all links help. Later you’ll see that they’re not effective any more (links from PR0 pages that is).

    Botw and joeant directory links help whether there is any PR on the page or not because these are authority sites.


  51. Tomaz,

    This is a great thread!

    When you speak of Page Rank, how do you find the Page Rank of a website? I use Google’s Toolbar in Firefox and can see the Page Rank of each page that I view. Is a website’s Page Rank the Page Rank of its Index page, or something more? If so, how do I find the site’s PR?

    Per your instructions, above, I checked out the top 20 in my niche. Perhaps I don’t understand this, completely, but many of these websites’ Index pages show as a PR0 in my Google Toolbar and yet have an Alexa rating of 100,000 or less.

    Does that mean they receive quite a bit of traffic, but Google doesn’t believe they are important enough within their niche to even bestow them with a rank of PR1? Or, does this mean they don’t have very many Links-In so as to achieve a Page Rank? How does this work, exactly?



    Tomaz Reply:


    You can see PR with your Google Toolbar or install Firefox plugin called Search Status. (just Google it)

    When looking at PR, it’s the PR of that exact page that will link to you that is important – and not the index page. Although a high PR of the index page suggests a trustworthy website and a link from such a site is always welcome.

    Not sure what Google believes for sites with PR0 and high traffic. Although I sincerely doubt that there are many sites with Alexa below 100,000 and PR0. Can you post a link to a few?


  52. Well, you found an interesting one – as that site has only two incoming links according to Yahoo.

    If you’re not sure about the pagerank always double check with command in Yahoo.

    Also, the index page is not the one you’re listing but the one which ends with .com.

    Anyway, the link from such a site would definitely not affect your rankings a lot but it might give you some traffic.


  53. Tomaz,

    Thank you for the answer. Your comments here could be another great article!
    My weak point is link exchange negotiation. Do you have any recommendations for how to create good email template and how to negotiate it properly?

    Thanks in advance,


  54. Alina,

    I typically modify a little bit the Value Exchange email that you get from other SBI-ers. Use that as your foundation and add a line or two complimenting the site of the person you’re writing to.


  55. I’ve been doing this for the last week, and I think it’s a much better strategy than wasting time with blog commenting/forums etc. Why bother thinking of a relevant comment to write to get one no-follow link on a low-traffic, low-PR page when you could just ASK the blogger to put a link on their blogroll for you??

    My template is basically: “Hi, I have a site which would interest your visitors, could you possibly add a link to it on your site? I’d be happy to put a link up in return.”, with a few embellishments. I alter the style depending on the site, and also try to think of a genuine reason why my site would be of value to their visitors. I get about a 25% response rate with this template.

    I think a help is having at least one page/section of your site that’s SUPER unique and valuable, which you can show as evidence of your worthiness to be linked to. I have no PR to negotiate with at the moment, but PR4 and PR5 sites have been linking to me because they like my content.



  56. Would you say that most of your link building suggestions HERE you have changed your opinion on, or gained new experiences about, making them “…are NOT effective: links from Yahoo Answers, blog comments, forum posts, Squidoo, Hubpages, Answerbag, Yedda, submitting to hundreds of directories (total waste!!!) and most of other Web 2.0 links.” ?

    I’ve suspected as much, but reading this here is a great confirmation. Does the same apply to EzineArticles?


  57. Rich,

    The article submission sites are all good at the beginning when it’s hard to get quality links. They’ll help build some pagerank and give you a good start – especially ezinearticles which typically sends lots of traffic too.

    But once you have established your site you’ll see that building links that way (article submissions) has almost no effect on your rankings.

    You’ll need more powerful links…


  58. Great post Tomaz. You are becoming a recognized authority. Just to clarify:
    Am I correct in understanding that although has PR=8, the page my Yahoo answer appears on may have a PR=0 and therefore the link has a value to me of closer to 0 than to 8? The trick then is to get links from high PR sites from PAGES with a high PR. And, of course, Yahoo Answers (and PR=8, PR=10 etc) is not going to link to my page from their home page.
    So the best strategy is to try to go after links from blogs and related websites with PR of perhaps 3 or 4.

    Thanks again

    Ray (a fellow SBIer)


    Tomaz Reply:


    Links from Yahoo Answers site are all nofollow which means that they don’t pass pagerank. So it’s doesn’t matter what the PR of the homepage is. They can bring you some traffic but they won’t affect your rankings.

    So yes, the goal is to get links from PR1+ pages.


  59. Tomaz,

    This was a really great article. I think I’ll spend my time doing this. I was one of those folks doing forum/blog commenting. It’s a waste of time and takes a lot of time.

    I’d rather have 10 PR1 backlinks than 100 forums links that I made myself.

    I’ve spent time doing article marketing and all of the other sualy stuff and i saw no results. Bottom line, for the best and fastest results, be high PR, relevant sites linking back to yours.



  60. Hi Tomaz,

    I decided to take on board what you are saying and follow your advice on building links because web 2.0 commenting such as blogs, forums and so on doesn’t seem to be effective in my experience.

    Over the past week I have contacted over 400 websites related to my own site and out of these I have received around 10 PR1-2 links pointing back to my homepage with my specific keyword in the link.

    As I have only gotten these links recently I haven’t experienced much in the way of a traffic increase. My question to you is, will these links effect my traffic in a positive way in the future? And also is it worth continuing this process for another few weeks until I get 50+ links from domains?

    Thanks for sharing this information btw,



    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Kieran,

    In my experience it takes from 2 weeks to 8 weeks to see effects of some good links. Those effects can also extend into months – as traffic can continue to grow even though you don’t add any traffic.

    Also, I wouldn’t set an end goal of 50+ links from domains. The end goal is when you’re happy with your rankings and traffic.

    Build pages and links until then – or consider starting another site if you realize (or get other opinions) that your first site cannot get much more traffic and or better rankings no matter what you do.


  61. Hi Thomaz,
    Propz on this article like so many before me have said! I had a great idea on SEO already but your writings have opened many new doors for me and REALLY put things into perspective.

    So the best system of getting good rank (and correct me if I’m wrong)goes like this for a new site:

    New Site (w/ page rank 0)
    1. Begin adding your links anywhere you can with good keyword anchor text- (mainly popular directories with good page rank) because anything in the beginning is a good start.

    2. After you develop at least a page rank of 1, and have some good quality backlinks, start going for the page rank 1,2, and 3 sites with creating a strategical email showing/convincing them that it would be beneficial to them to let you write an article on there site linking back to yours and vice versa.. Also maybe inlcude your alexa rankings and page rank, etc, to show them your a growing website and have potential.

    3. After you receive a page rank of 2, start going for the big dogs. (page rank 3 – 5) Use the same strategy in the email and link to some of your most quality content.

    4. Of course like you said you want to keep repeating these steps for your main niche keywords that rank high in the search results until you feel like your happily “on the map”.

    Although, like you said previously.., sometimes a PR 0 website will get lucky and get a PR 4+ website to link to them. That would be great and all but it just doesn’t seem logical when your beginning. It makes more sense and has more strategy to start off small and build your way to the top getting quality websites on board (growing progressively), right? Just have to do your research.

    Ok, now I have few questions lol..

    1. I am creating a forum website, so how should I go about asking for other sites to link to me? I would have no problem writing an article for them pertaining to how great there website is and put it as a *Sticky*, but how would google see that as? Just another crappy forum post trying to get exposure?

    2. How would google know that its from a forum? Would they treat it as a no-follow link?

    3. Is my best option to create articles for sites with high PR value and add them separate from the actual forum in perhaps a “websites review directory” or something of that sort?

    I’m a new follower of this website and am glad I found it! Will definitely be studying for of your teachings.. Thanks again!

    ~ Justin


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Justin,

    That’s how I usually build links at the beginning of a new site. (the points 1-4 you mention)

    As for the answers, I think you put too much expectation on Google. I don’t. 😉 It’s a computer algorithm that reads content pages and counts links.

    You need to build links in the same way as you do for sites. Also, Google cannot treat a link as a no-follow unless you mark it as such.

    And yes, I would probably create a page with links to other sites as a link exchange page.

    The key to that page “working” well is to review those sites with enough content (description) so that the page doesn’t really look like a link exchange page but rather a page where you review and recommend other useful websites.


  62. Hi Tomaz,

    This is such a great site! You are really clearing up the fog by your contributions to all of us.

    Have you ever solicited a link from the same website for a different keyword anchor text? Does that go well with the website or have you now become a pest? Just curious.


  63. Hi Paul,

    The key is to develop friendly relationships with other people / webmasters.

    Once you’re friends, everything is easier. And yes, sure, I’ve contacted webmasters again if I had a new site and suggested that I give them a link from one of my sites in return for a link to my new site.

    It speeds up the rankings and traffic of that new site immensely.


  64. Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. I don’t know how to negotiate and was wondering if you had already written on this topic or may have any tips on how to do it. I know I could look up negotiating in Google, but I wanted to hear it from someone who has first hand experience.

    Sometimes I look through websites I know that has a lot of inbound links and wonder where all the outbound links are. I only have a PR1 on three of my pages and one is the homepage. If I were to do link exchanges on my 2 Tier 2 pages with a PR1 link, I would think that would fill up the pages with quite a few outbound links. I would have quite a few outbound links that would look almost unnatural. Of course no one but I would know about it.

    What is the most outbound links you would recommend on a page?

    I could start a links resources page as I have seen on one of your sites, but I don’t feel the webmasters I’m trying to negotiate with would like for their link to be on such a page when it doesn’t have any value to them.

    Please guide me on this if you will. Thank you Tomaz for your advice ahead of time.


    Tomaz Reply:


    I would suggest up to 3 outbound links per page. In time all your T2 pages with get PR and you can link out from those too.

    Eventually even your T3 pages will get PR. Also, not everyone looks at PR as the holy grail of link exchanges – and you shouldn’t too.

    Look for some PR on pages that will link to you and hopefully get in-content links.

    As for a resources page, you “think” that webmasters won’t like them and yet you see me getting quite a few link exchanges that way. If you add enough content on the link exchange page so that it is actually useful for visitors and looks like a content page with slightly more links than usual to Google, then you’ll get some PR on that page and can use it for linking out.

    I usually do both even on one site. I might offer links from links pages if that’s the best the other webmaster can offer. If they can offer a link from a content page, I can do the same.


  65. Hi Tomaz,

    I just read your article on monetization. Currently I have Adsense on all of my pages except my home page. I’m reworking my title tags right now, but then want to dedicate much of my time to link building the way you described to do it above.

    Should I remove my Adsense before I start my link building campaign? My site is two years old and I only make about $100 every 2 months with it. I don’t have includes, so I would have to go through each page individually to remove the Adsense. I have 300 plus pages.

    What are your thoughts and recommendations?

    Thanks so much, Tomaz!


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Paul,

    It’s probably not worth removing 300+ Adsense blocks. That’s your call. Once you build a PR3 or PR4, webmasters won’t care about your Adsense. Contact webmasters who also have Adsense on their sites first – they cannot object to it. 😉


  66. Hey Tomaz!

    Great idea! I never thought of it that way. I once heard or read a rumor that Google doesn’t put as much weight on links gathered from SBI sites as other non SBI sites that are pointing to an SBI site. Have you heard about any of this? I can’t see how Google can discriminate in this way, but who knows.

    Thanks so much for continually offering your advice and just trying to help us who are just embarking on certain aspects in developing a profitable website. A friend of mine shared your blog with me. It is such a pearl!

    Thanks again, Tomaz!


  67. Paul,

    Sitesell hosts various SBI sites on the same IP address – and that’s supposedly not good if those two sites link to each other.

    In my opinion it’s quite unlikely that you’ll exchange links exactly with the site that has the same IP as yours.

    Of course, many other sites have a very similar IP addresses since Sitesell uses a group of IP addresses for all their sites.

    I wouldn’t worry about it.


  68. Hi,

    Following the method in this article (thank you again), I have been getting quite a few interesting links.

    Many of them are from the blogrolls of Typepad and WordPress blogs, and I have noticed that in the Value Exchange link information, these are all listed as links from Typepad and WordPress, i.e., they appear as if they come from the same source.

    As I work to build up more links, should I avoid this type of blog in order to increase the variety of link sources? Does this matter?

    Thanks so much,



  69. Hi Nancy,

    You shouldn’t avoid such links at all. Just try to build links from other sites too.


  70. Thanks a lot, Tomaz!


  71. Hi Tomaz,

    Very helpful article. Like some of the other readers I have been trying to increase my backlinks with ezine articles, forum posting and directories.

    I’ve just checked my back links – haven’t found one with a PR of 1 or above yet! My site has a pr of 3 though so I going to steam ahead with your strategy and see how things go.

    A quick question. I’ve been looking through tennis mind games and vaccum wizard to see how you’ve placed your outgoing links but I can find very few on t2 pages. Am I missing something? I thought you said 2 to 3 outgoing links per t2 page would be about right.


    Tomaz Reply:


    I am saying that “up to” 2-3 links per T2 page is acceptable. I link to brand websites from my T2 pages on the vacuum site.

    But if I can avoid linking out to other sites from T2 pages, then I will. I would prefer to link out from T3 pages – there is less pagerank leak.


  72. Hello Tomaz

    Ok thanks a lot that helps.


  73. I’m in the process of building my first niche site AND learning about links at the same time. It’s all a bit confusing but I do understand how important this is.

    Thanks for the “road map”. With lots more sites in my future this will be very helpful.



  74. Hey Tomaz,

    Thank you so much for this article – it really motivated to finally jump start my link building programme. I got links from several PR1 pages and, would you believe it, even a PR4 page! One month later, my traffic has more than doubled!!

    Anyway, I have a couple of questions…

    1. Once you do start getting some quality links in, how long does it take for your PR to go from 0 to 1 or higher?

    2. When you want a link, do you link to them first, THEN ask for a one back?

    Thanks again,



  75. Hi Tim,

    Your visible PR in the toolbar is updated every few months when Google updates the toolbar PR.

    Your real PR is updated (supposedly) every day or so. So to really see what your PR is, you may have to wait 3-4 months.

    As for link exchanges, I email the webmaster and suggest a link exchange.

    The only time I’d link first is if I was including links to their site anyway in my content. (as a useful resource)

    Then I’d email them, mention that I linked to them and suggest that a link back would be beneficial to both.

    I still keep their link if they don’t agree – because that link is useful to my visitors.


  76. Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks for a great article and for taking the time to answer all the questions. I’m about to invest in the Wordtracker tool (mentioned at the top) to help me put your strategy into practice even more effectively!

    I have one question: I’m thinking of using your method, in part, to find good affiliates for my ebook.

    Would a link that clicks through to my site, but actually goes via e-Junkie (ie the URL points to e-Junkie and contains a bunch of affiliate code) be any good for my link popularity?

    I’m thinking not, but that’s just a guess. Your expert opinion would be greatly appreciated.



    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Harvey,

    I don’t think a link that goes through e-junkie would help with link popularity. It would only provide you with traffic.


  77. Hi Tomaz,

    Like others who have commented on this post, I really like the way you explain things clearly and to the point. This article is a gold mine 🙂

    I wanted to thank you for another blog post you have (which I can’t seem to find now) on how to check your competition and see who is your real competitor then target those keywords which have less competition.

    I have tried this myself and have seen good improvements in each keyword I focused on 🙂

    I am now going to work on building links with this method.

    Thank you so much for sharing your valuable tips.


  78. Hi Tomaz,

    Excellent advice here, I will certainly be following the link building strategies.

    When you said you spent 6 – 12 months building links for a new sites, approximately how many hours a week, would you be dedicating to this??

    I can see it is very time intensive, but if it yields long term results, then it has to be worth it. I just want to get an idea of how much time I should budget for over the coming months for link building to my new site.

    Thanks and all the best.


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Marcus,

    I am not that systematic. I get periods when I get “pissed off” 😉 since there’s no special increase of traffic on my site and then I build links for 4 hours in a row.

    I repeat these periods of madness maybe every few months and that’s about it. I do focus almost exclusively on high quality links from good websites. Even 20-30 such links can really make a difference.

    If you are more systematic, work 30 minutes per day on this system. You cannot fail after 6 months.


  79. Hi Tomaz,

    Amazing article and comments.

    Which directories do you submit to for a new site,
    is it the paid ones mentioned in another post, or free ones.


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Jeremy,

    I typically submit only to a few paid directories. Haven’t seen any real effect on rankings or traffic from free directories.


  80. Hi Tomaz,

    I can say that I have really learned a lot from your article.
    I have just one question — how do you know if a site is a dofollow or nofollow?

    Thanks for you answer. Keep up the good work.


  81. Just found NoDoFollow plugin for Firefox.
    Great tool!



    Tomaz Reply:

    That’s the one, Irena. You can of course use “View Source” to check HTML code of pages and see which links are nofollow.


  82. do you still think link exchanges are worth it? also when you do link exchanges do you stick the links in a resource pages or a partner page of some type?


    Tomaz Reply:


    I build most effective links through exchanges. I typically place links to other sites on my most related T2 and T3 pages so that I link from within the content.


  83. Hi Tomaz,

    Quick question: do you recommend exchanging links with competing web sites or not?



    Tomaz Reply:


    I don’t really see other sites as competing (there’s enough space for everyone) – so yes, I do recommend exchanging links with them.


  84. Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks, learned so much from this post!
    I’m not sure if someone already asked this with regard this post but when link exchanging for each keyword we add a page on the site, do we ask that they link for the exact page we built or just a link on the homepage?

    Thanks again..


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Mon,

    We don’t really link exchange for each keyword – it would be really hard to find 300 quality link exchanges. I typically link to the homepage if I get high PR links (like PR3+) and I link internally (mostly to T2 pages) when I get lower PR links.


  85. Thanks Tomaz.. Learning a lot from you 🙂


  86. Fantastic ideas here.
    What do you think of SEO companies that get links for you – promising certain amount of PR 2-8 etc?

    Is it damaging to your site if the inbound links come from all over the place, even unrelated sites?



    Tomaz Reply:


    Inbound links supposedly cannot hurt your site since you cannot control them. I think they will simply be no effect from poor links.

    I’ve tried outsourcing link building and never had any success with that (there was no difference in traffic or rankings) even though I got 20 PR2+ links ranging up to PR4.

    Test and see what works…


  87. For all of you reading this new post, I have condensed every useful information in this format. Hope you find it useful.

    (a) build a truly great site that people will want to link to as soon as you tell them about it and
    (b) if you don’t get any response after contacting a website owner then follow up again a few weeks later. You’d be surprised at the number of extra links you will get with an apology for not responding to your first email.

    E-commerce sites generally don’t link out

    [Links page]
    I prefer sites without links pages where I exchange links from within my articles so it’s really hard to tell that I actually exchanged links. The links look like editorial links.
    If you do create a links page, then it has to be above average. Write it in a way as if you’re writing short reviews of the websites you’re linking to.
    I have one like that where I have around 100 words of text for each site that I link to.
    It’s very very hard to prove that these are “links” pages and the page is actually very useful to the visitors of my site since they can get a good feel for other sites before they click over and potentially waste time.
    The key to that page “working” well is to review those sites with enough content (description) so that the page doesn’t really look like a link exchange page but rather a page where you review and recommend other useful websites.

    [Link exchange with bloggers]
    Hi, I have a site which would interest your visitors, could you possibly add a link to it on your site? I’d be happy to put a link up in return.”, with a few embellishments. I alter the style depending on the site, and also try

    to think of a genuine reason why my site would be of value to their visitors. I get about a 25% response rate with this template.

    I build most effective links through exchanges. I typically place links to other sites on my most related T2 and T3 pages so that I link from within the content.

    The key is to develop friendly relationships with other people / webmasters.

    [Sites with Adsense]
    It’s probably not worth removing 300+ Adsense blocks. That’s your call. Once you build a PR3 or PR4, webmasters won’t care about your Adsense. Contact webmasters who also have Adsense on their sites first – they cannot object to it.

    [Linking out to people]
    I am saying that “up to” 2-3 links per T2 page is acceptable. I link to brand websites from my T2 pages on the vacuum site.
    But if I can avoid linking out to other sites from T2 pages, then I will. I would prefer to link out from T3 pages – there is less pagerank leak.

    Q1. Once you do start getting some quality links in, how long does it take for your PR to go from 0 to 1 or higher?
    A1: Your real PR is updated (supposedly) every day or so. So to really see what your PR is, you may have to wait 3-4 months.
    Q2. When you want a link, do you link to them first, THEN ask for a one back?
    A2: As for link exchanges, I email the webmaster and suggest a link exchange.
    The only time I’d link first is if I was including links to their site anyway in my content. (as a useful resource)
    Then I’d email them, mention that I linked to them and suggest that a link back would be beneficial to both.
    I still keep their link if they don’t agree – because that link is useful to my visitors.

    Q: I’m not sure if someone already asked this with regard this post but when link exchanging for each keyword we add a page on the site, do we ask that they link for the exact page we built or just a link on the homepage?
    A: We don’t really link exchange for each keyword – it would be really hard to find 300 quality link exchanges. I typically link to the homepage if I get high PR links (like PR3+) and I link internally (mostly to T2 pages) when I get lower PR links.


    Tomaz Reply:

    Thanks a lot, Calfred! This is a great summary.


  88. Hey Tomaz, it was 100% my pleasure!


  89. WOW! Thank you so much for this helpful information! I know this is just what I need to do to give my site a boost.


  90. Hi Tomaz,

    Many thanks for your strong dedicated to helping the rest of us here.

    I am right now implementing your ideas and instruction for my male enhancement site.

    Please some questions:

    1) Unrelated Links: My main keyword is “Male Enhancement”. After searching toughest competitors on Google, then entered into Yahoo for links, I discovered that many sites linking to them are VASTLY UNRELATED.

    What do you advice? Avoid them as I am doing right now? Or also link to them?

    2) PR = N/A: Many sites PR are showing N/A. Please what should I do with these? Presently I am avoiding them. And what does N/A really mean?

    3) Most Bloggers don’t have “Contact US” or Email: These have made contacting them very difficult, because they don’t add email, contact us form. I am presently contacting via the “Comments” form. Is this advisable?


  91. Hi Tomaz – have been following, and using the above advice for some time now.

    However – there seems to be a paradox:

    I request links from pages that have PR2, 3, 4 and 5 ratings. These are typically links pages on sites run by passionate amateurs. Often they have a high PR because of site age – and sometimes little traffic. I get a good positive reply – about 15%.

    Here is my question: If I do all the work “upfront” and only request links from PR3+ pages – then I will end up with a small number of slowly growing quality incoming links (e.g. one of my sites has 100 approx links with 8 PR3 incoming, 5 PR4 incoming and 2 PR5 incoming) then this seems to run counter to advice I have seen you giving elsewhere which seems to suggest that high traffic sites have 1000s of incoming links from different domains.

    However, most of those 1000s of links seem to be PR0 and PR1 when I look.

    So – am I right continuing with the “snail” approach above – and concentrating on going only for the “big fish” (sorry about the mixed animal metaphors!)

    All the best, Mike.


  92. Hi Mike,

    I see your point but I am 100% sure that “less worth” links will happen organically over time.

    As for my “advice” of 1000 links, I simply stated the fact. Also, 1000 links happen maybe from 50-100 domains as many are blogroll links and Yahoo counts links from all pages of those blogs.

    I definitely did not build 1000 links to my site. Maybe 50-100 over the time – some happened to be blogroll links and some happened organically.


  93. Hi Tomaz – thanks for the comments.

    It is difficult for me to see the effect on good recent PR links on the site in question above – as a recent “Google Dance” caused about 35% of the pages to fall off the google radar.

    So, while an increase in good PR incoming links “should” be leading to increase in traffic – it has gone in the opposite direction for the past month – temporarily 🙂

    Thanks again for the great evidence-based comments, time and thought you put into your replies.

    All the best, Mike.


  94. Hi Tomaz

    I posted a question but it seems you missed it. The comment went in before Mike’s.


  95. Hey Jim,

    Sorry, posted your Q above…

    1. Not sure why you’re thinking about linking TO them. For link exchanges? Yes, you can do that. But you need links FROM them.

    Are asking about getting links from unrelated sites too? Sure, you can get some too.

    2. PR N/A means that Google doesn’t trust those sites at the moment. They probably don’t have many links OR they are getting spammy links. Avoid those.

    3. Sure, you can contact bloggers through comments or find their contact info through


  96. Sorry if you receive multiple posts. My system or internet link not working well


  97. Hi Tomaz,

    Excellent post – well done and thank you!

    Just 2 quick questions:

    1. Is it a good idea to crete lots of articles, say about 50, on Ezinearticles?

    2. Or is it better to create 10 on EzineArticles, 10 on, 10 on buzzle, 10 on goarticles and 10 on another article site. Which is better for traffic and PR and link building?

    3. re EzineArticle link backs to my site from my article with them going to be nofollow or dofollow?

    Thanks a lot,


  98. Hi Tomaz,

    Also, just wondered: what do you think of submitting to a directory submission sites who submit your site to directoris for you? Are they trust-worthy? Do you know any trust-worthy ones?


  99. Also Tomaz,

    What do you think of Directory Submission sites that you pay a fee and submit to between 100 and 750 directories for you?


    Tomaz Reply:

    Hey Grace,

    LOTS of questions! 😉

    1. You don’t need 50 articles on ezinearticles. There’s nothing wrong with that but I think 10 is about the max and after that you can focus on building higher quality links.

    2. Sure, it’s better to spread them along other sites.

    3. Ezinearticles links with a dofollow but that link will not make your site successful. It’s one piece of the puzzle and it’s definitely not the key one. Key links will come with the above explained system.

    4. Mass submitting to directories is a waste of time and money. Submit to 5 main ones and that’s it. Your main focus should be – again – the system explained above.


  100. Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks a lot for your help. Appreciate it.

    What about article directory submissions. To do 10 each for me one different article sites? Would you pay for that?
    Also, how many articles directories should the maximum I should submit to and which ones do you recommend?

    Sorry I didn’t realize the 3 posts made it through. You’ll notice the 2nd and 3rd were duplicated. Its because there was an error when I pressed the ‘Submit Comment’ button for the 2nd, and it said ‘error’, and my 2nd comment was not showing, so I re-typed it.

    Thanks again Tomaz,


  101. Grace,

    Submitting articles to article directories is like 0,1% of your total online presence. I feel that you put too much emphasis on details that don’t really matter.

    3, 5 or 15 articles on each article directory or on just one will make no difference in the long term.

    It’s something you start your link building campaign with. But these links are really not strong. They help ONLY when your site has 0 incoming links.

    Later, once your site has a few more you’ll see practically no effect from these links.

    As for directories, I explained to which ones I submit in my first post about link building strategies.


  102. Hi guys,

    I find that high PRs (4,3,2) websites/blogs do not accept my request in guest blogging or link exchanges at all.

    (But I have managed to get a one-way PR3 link on a homepage blogroll! Really excited about this one.)

    Do you guys think that starting small (emailing sites with PR1) is the best way if my site is PR0?


  103. Tomaz,

    Questions about linking out to a brand website:

    1) Do you request a link back from them?
    2) Do you not potentially lose revenue since the customer can then buy the product off the brand website and not from your affiliate?
    3) Do you ask permission before putting their link on your site?



  104. AG,

    1. Brand sites do not link out. I do not request links from them.

    2. Theoretically I lose revenue – maybe 0,0000142% of my revenue is lost through that link. 😉 So to me this is not worth thinking about it.

    An authority on a topic will link out to brand sites and other authority sites – to be of service to visitors. I am sure Google guys expect that too.

    3. I do not ask permission. You can link to anyone – they do not control incoming links.


  105. Hi Tomaz,

    Great post. I read that you recommended writing T2 pages to be a minimum of 700 words and T3 a minimum of 500. My reviews are around a 1000 words on my new site but the articles are around 350-450. Should I add to these articles? I have no problem doing it but wanted to make sure. I don’t remember anywhere in the action guide a recommendation of page length and that surprised me as it has to be important. Thanks.


    Tomaz Reply:


    In my opinion (and it’s just an opinion, based on common sense) the 350 word articles won’t rank in top 5 in the next 5 years…


  106. 1) What if all your pages except for the home page have a PR saying n/a?

    2) How do you pick where to start from? if you go through all your T2 and T3 pages (roughly 30-40 total) one by one, this process could take years.


    Tomaz Reply:


    1) Keep building links.

    2) This is not an exact science. Built links mostly to homepage and when you rank in top 10 for your main keywords, start building links to T2. Start at the top of your navbar. 😉 I don’t build links to T3s.


  107. Hi Tomaz,

    😉 Ok thanks a lot!


  108. Thanks for all your help, Tomaz!

    You’ve been a big help in my IM journey.


  109. Hi Tomaz,

    Just discovered you and this blog, nice work, love your story (been online about three years). I came through SBI, I don’t use it (SBI) yet but have just signed up as an affiliate and recommended it two a couple of newbies – I think it is a great way to start on line. I will use it in the future too.

    Like you, I have been a pro sportsman (golf for me I have been very focused on product building and not so much on traffic – that is going to have to change.

    My Question on Links: What about paid advertising or an affiliate link on Important Key Sites in a Niche, do they rate as highly as an article with a link in it. I plan on advertising (banner ads) with my Golf Fitness site (as well as starting with adwords) plus I will be Promoting my product to affiliates (it is with clickbank so affiliates can sell it).

    Cheers Tomaz,


    Tomaz Reply:


    Affiliate links through Clickbank or some other site don’t pass pagerank – therefore don’t help in terms of SEO. If you advertise with banner ads which link directly to your site then that will help with SEO.

    Not sure what you mean by paid advertising. Google Adwords ads are not real links – it’s a javascript.


  110. Hi Tomaz,

    since google has had only one PR update in 2010 (April) and now one in January 2011 (and I drew a blank 🙁 ) how would you start out with a new site…? Since it is now even harder to get a higher PR and make things easier??

    Any ideas?

    Thank you


    PS.: Looking forward to London 🙂


  111. Daniel,

    A new site has a PR of 0. Realize that MANY webmasters – especially regular people who blog about their hobbies – have no idea what PR is.

    So you’d start with directories, article submissions and looking to establish relationships with webmasters in your niche and related topics.

    Comment on their blogs a few times, let them get to know you and eventually suggest a guest post or even a link exchange.

    Keep trying with regular websites – again suggest a guest article with links back to your site or link exchange.

    Some are obsessed with PR but many are not. A good looking site with quality content shouldn’t have too many problems getting links in the long term. But you’ve got to keep working on them for a while.


  112. Hi Tomaz,

    thank you so much. Yes, am on it (thanks to your suggestions), but if google keeps this long interval, we all will have a harder time until a rising PR makes things easier…

    Btw.: Yesterday I acquired a link to my blog, which is mapped to my domain by InfinIt.

    Though the page is PR 5 (, it has a lot of links (more like DMOZ) and is linking to a mapped domain.

    Do you believe this link has any worth to my site still??

    Again, Thank you



  113. Daniel,

    I think the link has value. But realize that my opinion has nothing to do with what really happens.

    Perhaps my positive opinion can help you feel good for a while 😉 but that’s irrelevant to your site’s ranking.

    Build links until you see good results…


  114. I couldn’t resist chiming in on this, because I once did link building for a popular website as a part time job. And here is what I found from even the most professional and high rated websites.

    First you have to approach them, via email, with an email which doesn’t sound spammy. In your email describe your website and longevity online and give them a reason they would want to link with you. Contrary to what most people think, they are looking to link with websites which enhance their discussion and not just with websites which have so many “eyeballs”.

    Another thing, you have to make the link process easy for them. Most people don’t want to take the time for any potential problems. So make sure that when you give them your link, it is to the correct URL and in your email make sure you give them a place to contact you in case they have any questions. The more detailed information you can give them which will be helpful to them when they do the link, the better.

    For instance,some websites want the link, but with a small description of what the website is about. Even if they don’t post the description on their website; they get so many link exchanges that they could forget what your site is about. And they don’t like to take the time to go back to your website again to see it’s subject.

    So when you contact them, imagine yourself sitting in a room trying to get through thousands of emails requesting link exchange. What would help you? how about an email subject line which is clear? how about brief and to the point copy in that email?. Make sure they never have to look twice at your website to get some type of information. Everything they need should be in that email.

    I recommend you go to their website and find out where they put their links; read it over, read over their website and be prepared for your email to discuss THEIR issues.

    The linking process is similar to a person submitting an article or manuscript, to the editor,for publication.

    They want to know that you see the value for your website to be on their listing.


    Tomaz Reply:

    Thanks for sharing, Sandy. Good pointers.


  115. Wow, this post along with the follow-up comments is the Bible of link building!

    I’ve been trying to figure out what constitutes the 80/20 approach when it comes to getting links, and you’ve just given me a complete, no B.S. system/plan.

    Thanks for making our lives easier, Tomaz!


  116. Thank you Tomaz for this post. Link building is the area I have neglected the most in my sites. This gives me a good foundation to start from and the motivation to do so.


  117. Hi Tomas,

    Awesome post! Now I have realized something about links. Because what I learned was that you can use automatic article submission softwares to get hundreds or even thousands of backlinks and ping those backlinks to get indexed and wait for your page to rank on the 1st page of Google for that particular keyword you are trying to rank for. Now I see a total different kind of approach. So this is kinda interesting. Looking forward to learn more from you Tomas. Thanks again.


  118. I’ve been getting emails from some folks with whom I have reciprocal link exchanges that, in line with Google’s Feb 24 changes, they are removing their reciprocal links pages.

    What’s going on? Are they concerned that a pageful of links will make them look like a pap farm, or is Google now against reciprocal link exchanges as well?

    Has anyone heard about this?


  119. Hello Tomaz and everyone else,

    I have a question about guest blog commenting. I have done a couple of guest blogs for PR3 and PR4 blogs. The first paragraph or so shows on the blog home page but you have to click on the link to open the full post. When the page opens it shows “not ranked by google”.

    Does this mean that these links will not count as a high page rank link? I guess I already know the answer but I am just hoping by some strange luck they do.



    Tomaz Reply:

    Hey Brian,

    I am not sure what you mean by guest blog commenting. Are you writing guest posts or are you commenting?

    In case of commenting, most of comments are nofollow – they don’t pass SEO value. But people do find you and if your site is good, you might get a link here and there.

    In case of guest posts, your link will eventually be recognized by search engines.


  120. Tomaz,

    Sorry for the confusion. I am writing as a guest blogger. Not commenting. I am just wondering if this is a high quality back link because it is from a PR4 blog with a alexa score of around 100k but you have to open a new page to read the full article. If this is ok the blog is www. Johnisfit. Com. I’m not promoting this site just thought that might help you to see what I am talking about. Please delete if posting that is against the rules.



  121. Brian,

    Obviously the link will be on one of the pages which is not the same as having a PR4 link – but it’s a link on a good site and it helps with your rankings. Keep doing what you’re doing. 😉


  122. Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks again for your very valuable post here. I’ve come to read it again! 😉

    I walso wanted to ask about Marica’s comment above of 3rd October.

    “I wanted to thank you for another blog post you have (which I can’t seem to find now) on how to check your competition and see who is your real competitor then target those keywords which have less competition. ”

    Could you reply to post the link of your blog post she was referring to pls?



  123. Hi Grace,

    Most likely it’s this post about real competition that Marica looks for.

    I now rely only on SBI Brainstormer’s Real Supply – less than 1000 for T2 keywords and less than 500 for T3 keywords.


  124. What a fantastic article! Tomaz you are a wealth of knowledge, thanks for this, the work is yet to come…! Keep up your fantastic efforts on this amazing site!
    All the best


  125. Tomaz,

    This is perfect. I have been talking about this for years since 1994. This is exactly the link building system that stands the test of time and all Google updates or (Slaps.) This is what Eric Ward has been teaching for so long.

    You are so right on. People do not want to put in the hard work to do this. But this is what works and works for the long term.

    An example of how well this system works is, You can create a 10 page website and using this system along with onpage seo you can achieve great traffic results. All you have to do is notice how much traffic your link on a page will receive.

    Thank you for teaching this to others.


    Todd J.


  126. Hey Tomaz,
    thanks for all your advice. I started doing this but wasn’t able to search their back links with Yahoo.

    Are we still able to do this in 2012? Or am I doing it wrong? I did the link: on the yahoo search but it didnt work. Then I looked through the help but found nothing on searching backlinks.

    Any advice you recommend is appreciated!


  127. I found ”” and that does it (altho it has annoying pop-ups).

    If there’s anything else you use or recommend using I’m all ears!


    Tomaz Reply:

    Thanks for the reminder, Daniel. I’ve updated the post with my recommendation of using search engine.

    You’ll need to create an account with them to get access to SEO data. It will give you much better data than…


  128. Thank you for this information. I tried out the blekko site, and it is much easier to find what I am looking for vs using alexa or majesticseo.

    I submitted my site to a lot of paid directories of PR 3 or higher which seemed to give my site a pretty good jump start. However, I ran out of good directories after a certain point.

    I haven’t done much with commenting on blogging mostly because it took 2 hours to find a decent blog to comment on. Turns out to have been rather ineffective in generating traffic or quality links.

    So, I will try out your suggestion. If I can do 30 min. of link building a day, using this method, and 1-1.5 hours of content building a day, I think I will be much happier with the results than what I have been doing with blog commenting.




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