Building a Quality Link Profile

By Spencer Haws |

Today’s post is a guest post by Tyler Herman. Tyler is a web designer, internet marketer, and has some great insights into quality link building.  As we all know with recent updates in Google and more updates sure to come, quality content and links are now vital to the success of your online business.  Tyler shares some great strategies that work.  I do have to warn you that there are some advanced tactics in here like building “pumper sites” or buying links that are probably not a good idea for everyone.  However, Tyler is simply sharing what many companies do to rank their sites, the choice to follow any of this advice is up to you.  Overall, I think Tyler captures well the amount of effort and time it takes to truly build up a real quality link profile.  Enjoy the post!

I decided to write this post because it seems like a lot of people in the internet marketing community don’t know how to build a quality link profile. For a while now many internet marketers have been building link profiles that consisted of entirely:

If you are one of the people still doing this, let me be the person to burst your bubble. These types of link building practices are working less and less successfully with every Google update. Not only that, but you are setting yourself up for a penalty. It really is time to consider learning how to build a real link profile. Even if you only build 2 or three real links to your site, it may mean the difference between getting the Google hammer and surviving to see another day.

Just as a disclaimer of sorts. These techniques actually take lots of time and/or money to complete. They are not quick, or easy, and are harder to automate. Which means they probably aren’t meant for thin, niche sites, but you might find a few things here you can use, or if you decide to build a real authority site, here is how you do it.

A Solid Base of Valuable Content

If you want to rank for a truly difficult keyword, having amazing content won’t necessarily help you get there. But what it will do, is make it much easier to keep that ranking once you get there, because of longer time on page, lower bounce and exits rates, more social buzz, plus, more natural links. So if you plan on putting huge amounts of time into a site, which many of these techniques will require, you are going to want the very best content in the niche, or as close to it as you can muster.

Your entire site doesn’t have to be quality, but the handful of money pages you are ranking need to be targeted, relevant and highly useful to your users. You can probably rank a five dollar article to the first page, but it will be a lot easier to keep it there if you write better content.

One way to judge the quality and shareability of your content is to throw targeted traffic at it. An example would be Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery. You can spend a small-ish amount of money, to get a few hundred targeted visitors to your page, and see if they thumb it up or down.

OK, quality content, duh. Lets get to the link building.

Building Highly Linkable Properties

There is only so much you can do with blog posts or pages on your site. Some content just isn’t that shareable or link worthy. Are you going to tweet a link to that article you found that helped you with your herpes outbreak? Probably not. But it isn’t just embarrassing topics, some content is simply too dry, boring or too mundane to share or link to.

So in order to build links you’ll have to build some properties that can and will get shared easily. There are lots more than even these listed, you just have to be clever and think of 1) what will people find valuable and 2) can I put a link on it. Here is a sample list:

But as you probably know, if you build it they won’t come. You have to get these assets in front of the people who want them. We have a few tricks to do this.

Here’s one little trick for people planing on selling products from your site like ebooks. Start out by writing one ebook, and put it up for affiliates to sell at 100% commission. You give it away for free to affiliates to make 100% of the profit. Which will bring in far more affiliates willing to hock your product, increasing the number of links and traffic heading into your site. One of the cheapest forms of advertising online is letting affiliates do it for you.

Another way to promote your assets is to pay or make an arrangement with popular blogs in the niche to promote them. Not hard to get some buzz around your freebies.

You can submit your assets to blogs, download sites, galleries, anything that will take them. They almost always give a link back to the creator of the asset. This is a nice way to get links from high PR software company sites.

Pumper Sites

The basic idea is to build or buy sites for the sole purpose of linking back, and driving traffic to your money site. You control the amount of links and the anchor text. They are tougher to maintain than 2.0s because they require their own hosting and domain and take more work to create and maintain.

If you have a money site that doesn’t get a lot of natural links on it’s own, you’ll want to build pumper sites on similar or related topics that are easier to get links and traffic for. Then you can funnel that traffic to your money site.

If your money site is in the financial niche (hard to rank), you could make a pumper site about ponzi schemes and other financial crimes. Not impossible to rank, lots of traffic potential, lots of potential for getting links. Not the greatest example but hopefully you get the idea.

Not everyone has the time or resources to build an entire blog network but 10 pumper sites can have a good effect on your money site. In order to cut down on the amount of work required, it helps to buy expired domains. Or if you have the cash, buy established sites.

Remember most sites that aren’t making any money aren’t worth a whole lot, so you can actually come up with some cheap sites if you look around hard enough. You are looking for sites in or around your niche with natural link profiles. Don’t buy sites from internet marketers. They’re generally crap sites with crap links. Look for real sites that have dropped or don’t seem to be in use any more.

Unlike what some of you are used to with 2.0s you are going to want to keep these sites updated. Having pumper site with real traffic is the goal. They may even make a little money on their own and could compete with your money site at times for some longtail keywords. Never a bad thing to have two or three dogs in the fight.

Web 2.0s

The little brother of pumper sites. I’m not going to go into this with any detail because you all should know about them already. One thing though, it is better to build 10 2.0s that you update once a month compared to 50 that you build and never touch again. It isn’t hard to turn a Tumblr, WordPress or Blogger blog into a PR2 or PR3.

There are some services available where people will build you quality 2.0’s and charge you a monthly fee to keep them updated. Can be as good as renting links if you stay with it long enough.

Renting and Buying Links

Not really a topic people bring up in public often, but lets be honest, it is still pretty rampant across the internet, especially with large corporations with large budgets. Having a couple of site wide links on a few PR4, PR5 sites will give your site a real shot in the arm. I’m not telling you to go buy links, but, if you want to compete for top keywords, your competition is probably doing it. With any blackhat strategy there is risk, but you’re all big boys and girls. Try ranking your site the legit way, if you still can’t get there, then consider buying links.

I would stay away from services on this one, as the sites those links get posted on have a footprint and a history of selling links. Instead try to contact individual sites on your own. Start out by asking for a guest posts or link exchange. If that doesn’t work put a figure out to them and see if they bite. Something like, “Hey I noticed you have a blog roll on your site. We feel our site fits your audience perfectly. How can we get linked there?”


Not as great as they once where but the big ones can still be worth it. The big ones:

Guest Posts

Another old one. If you can’t write or don’t have time, you can find lots of guest post services available around the web. You can pay anywhere from $30 to $200 per post, depending on the quality level of the writer and the PR of the blog they’ll be posting on. It can take up to a month for a guest post to get approved and up on a site but it is worth it.

One trick. Take a look at the link profile of your competitors. Eventually you’ll come across one of their guest posts. Now copy part of their author bio and do a search for it in quotes. You now have a list of the places they’ve made guest posts and you should be able to score guest posts at all these sites as well.

Authority and Social Proof

Ok, I’ve given you a few examples of ways to build authority links, and there are some more down below but first I want to talk a bit about social proof, authority and how it relates to getting people to link to you.

If you see two videos on Youtube, with the same title, same image even, but one has a million views and the other 24, you are going to watch the one with a million views 99% of the time, unless of course you’re just trying to prove me wrong. You think people can’t be gamed or duped into liking, viewing or sharing content but you are wrong.

The popular content on most social sites gets there because people paid to get it there. It can’t be total crap, but if it’s decent and promoted right you can float anything to the top. The more popular it appears, the more it get’s shared, even if the popularity was faked to start.

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It really is pretty simple. The more likes, the more shares, the more views a piece of content has, the more likely real people are going to share it themselves. Humans are herd animals and tend to follow along and be validated by what the group says, thinks and does.

How many times have you not watched a youtube video because it had 70% thumbs downs or not bought something on Amazon because the reviews were bad. Those metrics can and are gamed on a regular basis, and yet we still act on them. Man we’re dumb.

I don’t think the general public is going to catch onto this for quite a while, if ever, so use this to your advantage. Social signals are incredibly easy to game. Much easier and cheaper than search these days. You can buy likes, views and shares for almost nothing. I’m willing to bet there are more bot accounts on Twitter than actual people these days.

Putting This Knowledge to Use

There are tons of very cheap ways to fake social proof and make yourself look like an authority. Never have a Facebook widget on your site unless you have a bunch of followers. For a new site, just buy them. Same thing applies for Youtube, Yelp, Google Plus, Pinterest and LinkedIn. There are plenty of services available and they’re cheap.

If you have to create your own fake accounts and share, comment on, and like your own content, do it. Or if you have a VA have them do it. Someone has to get the ball rolling.

Fake it ’til you make it

You might think this is dishonest but I guarantee all the big boys online are doing the same thing and not feeling bad about it what so ever. People want to be told what to like. So give them what they want. It might as well be you making the money instead of some other jackass.

Incentivized Sharing

This is a great way to get social shares, links, email subscribers, comments and of course, traffic. The most common method you see today is people giving away a free ebook for signing up on a list. It works the same way for getting social signups, comments, likes, any metric you are trying to build. It can also work for links. Create a contest for bloggers with a nice prize and you’ll get a lot of the contestants to naturally link to your contest page and share it via social media.

Any contest is a great way to dig up traffic and links. Just find a way to dangle that worm in front of them, and they’ll bite. You can use paid traffic, paid social promotion or give some other sort of incentive to authorities in the niche to spread the word.

Widgets and Awards

The biggest web design gallery gives it’s “winners” a little badge they can place on their website that links back to This tactic can work in other niches, you just have to be clever about it. Examples might be: locally owned businesses, organic or green sites, standing for a certain cause, or maybe being a part of a specific group.

Lots of people us WordPress so create custom widgets or make your awards or badges fit naturally into a widget. Instant site wide link.

Press Releases

Press releases are similar to social media but are sent out to the media in hopes they’ll publish it. Essentially a short article about your business that could be about new product launches, current promotions, community service projects, local team sponsorships. You get the idea. Once you have your release written you can pay to have it distributed. The more you pay the bigger the sites are you could have your release featured on.

If you are familiar with article marketing it is very similar. You have to write content that people want to publish. Since this is about business, go have a look at Wall Street Journal and Yahoo Finance and see what press releases they’re publishing.

If your site is or is going to be a real business, you need to be doing this. Remember social proof, this is part of it. If you need links from news organizations you can either be an expert, write for them, or get your press release published.

Community Outreach

Want to push your way into a niche. Find a way to connect with the people already established.

One way might be to create a niche-wide newsletter or curation site (perfect idea for a pumper site). You can highlight and promote the best posts, news and resources from around the web. Send it to other sites in the niche and show that you’re promoting their content. Everyone likes free promotion, and they’ll remember who you are now hopefully. So when you come calling with a favor you’ll be more inclined to get it.

These business to business connects are highly valuable.

Natural Link Building

If you weren’t aware, natural links are those from other sites who you didn’t pay, contact, or guest post for. They just liked your content, or hated it, or for some other reason felt like giving you a link.

So you have some great content, promotions, contests all that stuff ready to go. You’ve faked the social proof, making it look like there’s a bunch of buzz about your content, but you still aren’t bringing in the traffic numbers you want to see yet and you still aren’t fully ranked. You know the content is good, and people will link/share it if given the opportunity to do so. You now just have to lead the horse to water, or at least speed the process along.

Which is where paid traffic comes in. Methods include: PPC, CPA, CPM ads, retargeted ads, paid social share and promotion, paid posts, press releases, offline and traditional advertising, and so on.

Here is a good list of online advertising platforms from 3 Things.

You are probably well aware of Google ads but there are tons of other ad networks out there, and most of them are cheaper, although the quality level can be lower. You’ll just have to do some testing with each and see what your return is.


There is no diminishing returns with any of these methods but the more you can diversity the better off you’ll be. For a new site you might do something like this:

Set up your social profiles and buy followers. Create a few videos, a few tutorials, a couple presentations to share and promote them. Create an initial press release to announce your site. Pay to have one or two other linkable properties made and distribute them. Build or buy a couple pumper sites. Build or buy some 2.0s. Submit to a couple directories. Start putting out five guest posts a month. This alone should be a very solid link base for any website and may be even more than you need. But if you still aren’t ranking…

After that you can work on a promotion: adding in affiliates, starting to advertise, more press releases for your contests and promotions. Then begin to buy links, build more linkable properties and build additional pumper sites and 2.0s.

Hopefully you get the idea and some of this is helpful to you. Obviously, you can’t do this for a niche site making $100 a month but when you are ready to promote an authority site, these are the tools that will get it done.

============================AUTHOR BIO================================

Tyler Herman is a web designer and internet marketer. Currently, working on some free tutorials and resources geared toward small business owners. Instructing them how to build a WordPress site, create email campaign, and otherwise promote their business online, over at

Blogging & Niche Websites | 34 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

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Nice & Fresh article. Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery is something worth a try! Thanks.


As a user that is beginning to build out an authority site this article couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks for the great info.


I agree Mike. Same boat. Check out the other Link Building articles Spencer recently posted.

Kent Chow

Very nice, one of the best guest posts on NichePursuits. I picked up a few new ideas I could go and implement.

You got my social share as well. Very helpful!

Spencer Haws

Glad you enjoyed the post!

Football is A Beauty

I am a newbie. I really like it very much. Will implement some tricks like info graphics and wallpapers.

Tung Tran

Hi Tyler,

Thanks for your great sharing!

Can you explain more at the idea of turning blogger, wordpress,.. and some web 2.0 to pr 2, 3? It would be valuable for us 🙂

Thanks in advance!


Marvin Fontanilla

Hey Spencer,

In regards to Pumper sites, could this hurt your rankings? I mean, they probably share the same WHOIS info.

Google could possibly perceive something like this as a blog network. Thoughts?

Tyler Herman

You can always hide your WHOIS info and should have unique IPs, just as a best practice, but Google doesn’t concern itself when a legitimate businesses owns multiple websites that are all in their own way real websites with real traffic and content.

Look at Amazon. They own dozens of sites that feed traffic back to them.

Marvin Fontanilla

Perfect! Thanks Tyler.

Tyler Herman

As far as getting page rank for 2.0s go, you simply have to use them and build a few links as usual. Here is a pr6 tumblr That was seriously the first site I clicked on, and there are tons more of them around. Just take a look at the frequency of posts, link profile (ahrefs) and general content. It is a lot easier to rank a 2.0 than your own domain. Especially sites like Tumblr where your content gets shared so easily and there is a great internal link structure in place.

You can use a service like Kippt, and there are probably lots more, that let you share the things you find around the web on your 2.0s. You can and should create posts in bulk. If you’re doing a microblog, go find quotes in the niche and schedule 1-2 a month. Curate your own content and other peoples content in the niche and schedule them to drop 1-2 a month. Snag photos from Flickr and videos from youtube and have them drop 1-2 a month. You should be able to create a blog and have a years worth of posts scheduled, in about a days worth of work.

You just have to get over the build it and leave it idea. Schedule out your content and come back every couple months and build a few more links. They don’t have to be anything special, just something to get Google to crawl you once in a while.

Tung Tran

Hi Tyler,

Big thank from me. Really helpful advice!

I’m going to test it out.




Does anyone use 2.0 sites (squidoo for example) to build a few links and then pump those with a ton of backlinks for more link juice to your money site? This way you are won’t hurt your own site?

Tom Ewer

Hey Tyler,

Great article – I read every word. Really interesting stuff.

I have two questions:

1. Pumper sites – is it an issue if they are hosted on the same account as your money site? I.e. will Google spot this and potentially penalize you?

2. RE your “curation” site idea – this is great idea for creating a genuine site that can link to your blog, but you would be linking to all of your competitor’s blogs too – wouldn’t this rather cancel out the benefit to your site?



Tyler Herman

@ Tom If you host more than one site on a hosting plan it will have the same IP, so yah, looks a little suspicious to Google but it doesn’t mean you’re looking at a penalty. Google probably already has a method of devaluing links from the same IP and if they don’t I doubt anything short of a manual review will get you slapped for that, even then, doubtful.

You don’t always have to link to direct competitors but if their content is good, why not. Your goal is not to just rank your site but to put your site square in the middle of the niche, and establish yourself as an authority. If you’re apprehensive about linking to a competitor, for every site ranking above you there is 100 more below you who you can safely link to.

Honestly, if you look around the web, the biggest authorities on a subject are never ranked in the top 100 for their subject. Search around for college professor’s blogs who are experts on the topics. You also don’t have to curate on your exact topic. Curate on a related topic so you can link to sites not in direct competition with you, and still link to your own stuff.

Simon Harris

Hi Guys

You need Unique IP’s to hide your content from google.

Why are you hiding what your doing?

Do you not think that google will not devalue curated content unless your an authority? Its just trash filling up the blogoshpere

Also i find this a rehas of better content (pumper sites is a term written up 10-15 years ago, recently by Joesph archibald and then pat flynn)

You dont explain that pumpers will have no PR which is why the experts now use web2.0 and gavce up on pumper a long time ago.

You dont explain that High PR domains cost $x00 dollars and may or may not have fake id.

As a generalised background chat this has value. But i see nothing new or original.

Nor more importanlty do i see it addressing a method to create a Quality link profile today in 2012. For example i see no discussion of link types, link velocity, Anchor text link diversity.

Worse still the only way to build quality links today that are going to be safe is to not build links.

You didnot cover gaining links by request.


Tyler Herman

“You need Unique IP’s to hide your content from google. Why are you hiding what your doing?”

You can’t really hide from Google but you don’t have to be completely obvious either.

“Do you not think that google will not devalue curated content unless your an authority? Its just trash filling up the blogoshpere”

Umm nope, I don’t. Sure the blogosphere is full of trash but Google doesn’t have a good way of sifting through it. Curation done right is part of the solution not the problem.

“Also i find this a rehas of better content (pumper sites is a term written up 10-15 years ago, recently by Joesph archibald and then pat flynn) You dont explain that pumpers will have no PR which is why the experts now use web2.0 and gavce up on pumper a long time ago.”

No kidding none of this is new. It was around long before anyone knew of Pat Flynn, but people seemed to have forgotten old techniques when everyone jumped on the spam bandwagon. Yet these old techniques still happen to work.

“You dont explain that High PR domains cost $x00 dollars and may or may not have fake id.”

I did mention high pr domains cost but it isn’t that hard to pick out fake PR. PR 2s, PR 3 aren’t that expensive and are easy build. PR4+ yah it gets pricey/time consuming.

“As a generalised background chat this has value. But i see nothing new or original.”

You’re right, none of this is new.

“Nor more importanlty do i see it addressing a method to create a Quality link profile today in 2012. For example i see no discussion of link types, link velocity, Anchor text link diversity.”

Can’t cover everything in one post.

“Worse still the only way to build quality links today that are going to be safe is to not build links.”

I disagree.

“You didnot cover gaining links by request.”

Again, can’t cover everything in one post. Feel free to drop me an email or drop a link to some of your content. I’d like to hear your ideas.

Tom Ewer

Awesome – thanks for the comprehensive response Tyler!

simon harris

Tom, you blog about wordpress
you started out as a niche guy but it “didnot work for you” and you think this guy is adding value?

Theres nothing new and what he’s doing is leading people into disaster.

This is old stuff better fed to newbies in a WSO.

Mark these words

“With in 4-5 months Tylers sites using these techniques will be devalued by google” broke he’ll start talking about white hat and no link building oh and only authority sites work.”

Lastly, to think that google is not looking at curate content as another low quality soucre of links well he’s not read what matt says about the next iteration.

Its time to stop pedaling what people have said before and move forward. Go white hat or at least clever grey..


Very informative. Great post Tyler!

Catherine Graham

Excellent and informative post! Thank you Tyler.
I did not realise a Web 2.0 such a Tumblr would be so easy to rank and like the idea of turning a site like this into a news/review type pumper site.
Do you think links from Web 2.0’s are likely be as effective as from domain named sites with the same PR?

Yasu Tano

Nice post Tyler,

Pumper sites are great traffic and link sources. Considering big media networks such as Gawker Media (Lifehacker, i09, etc) and the Cheezburger Network is essentially a network of inter-linked pumper sites, this is not the most risky link building strategy, as long as you have a real reason to link the sites together.

simon harris

BUT they are not pumper sites but legit sites in their own right.

Every large group such as Amazon has sistes or child site sthat niche down that also link back to the mother ship.. Thats business not link manipulation.

Have a great week

Yasu Tano

But who says that your pumper sites can’t be legit businesses in themselves?

If I run two complimentary sites with their own unique product revenue streams (no affiliate offers, no adsense). Am I going to choose not to link the two sites together because Google might say that is a link manipulation scheme? Heck no!

The point is with links is to provide a relevant and valuable experience to the visitor, just like the rest of the content on the website. In this case linking a subsidiary site with a parent site. That is what a good white hat pumper site is.

Daryl Mander

Great post Spencer. So much info in there! Gonna have to read again and digest it some more.


Splendid compilation of ideas and tips towards building an especial link profile. I’m into guest posting now but hope to expand the scope of my promotions from the information shared here. Buying links is of crucial importance with regard to speed of ranking a site higher, but not advisable in terms of sustainability. I’d suggest buying links to get your site on the progressive path and then refraining from it once you’ve built permanent links on high quality sites.


Tyler, I’m about two months into building an Authority Type Site and I’m working out a few more design tweaks and I will begin aggressively promoting/back linking to it shortly. You put together a great article here.

Do you do any consulting? Would you Consider it a site review/consult?

What’s the best way to blogs to guest post on?



Tyler Herman

I don’t do consulting but if you send me an email I don’t mind taking a quick look at your site.

I’m probably not going to keep checking this post so if you’re leaving a question in your comment, and want a response from me, send me an email or hit me up on Twitter instead.


What’s up Dear, are you actually visiting this site regularly, if so afterward you will absolutely take good knowledge.


I am building a 2 authority sites, both on the same hosting plan. When I post a new article; would you recommend me posting a press release and guest post at the same time? Or should I be waiting a period of time between the time I post on my sites and the time that I submit a press release or other link building?



how many pumper sites do you think I can get away with on one hosting account while all of them have links back to my money site?


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Select a Strong Domain Name ‘ Choose a domain name that is relevant to the content of your blog and that is easy for people to remember. Backlinks link your websites to other internet sites and in addition to helping you move up in the search engines you can also get site visitors from the web-sites you are linking also. Higher page rank internet sites this sort of as Twitter, Facebook or even blog network web sites make it possible for you to develop a cost-free profile on their web-site. I have done this many times by going through the proper training and getting the education I needed to do this. If you’re concerned about backlinking and how the new Panda update will affect you
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