Coaching Call #6 with Colleen & Perrin: Setting a Link Building Strategy

By pcarrell |

Hey Gang! Perrin here again, and I’m super excited about our call today.

Why? Because we’re finally starting to move out of the content creation phase and get started with some actual marketing!

A quick recap from our last call…

Last week, Colleen told us that she was nearing the end of her first batch of content. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that we made a slight adjustment in our content strategy: we decided to “launch” with about 40 articles instead of 60, and we reduced our initial categories from five to two.

This was a tactical decision. We think we’ll be more successful quicker if we create less content to start and spend more time marketing.

So, Colleen’s been rocking and rolling. She’s outsourced a good chunk of content, and she’s been banging out articles of her own.

Currently, she’s on schedule to have 40 articles complete by February 20th

We’ve also covered pretty much everything we need to (at least for the beginning phases of an online business) in terms of content.

So, even though Colleen still has a few days’ worth of content production to go, I thought it’d be a good idea to start laying the groundwork for our link building strategy.

So today, we’re going to talk about our strategy for building links.

For pretty much the entire history of SEO, people have been trying to devise ways to “build” links without actually having to talk to other people—to game Google instead of promoting content or networking with other webmasters.

There’s a prevailing mindset that “white-hat” link building is incredibly difficult, incredibly time consuming, and incredibly expensive.

I bought into this mindset myself, happily buying into the PBN craze… and quickly learned my lesson.

Since then, I’ve been learning about—and practicing—white-hat link building.

And it’s paid off… big time.

Not only has white-hat link building helped me grow a new site to beyond where aPennyShaved was—especially in terms of traffic—but it’s also showed me something very important: white hat link building is actually cheaper, easier, and more effective than any grey-hat technique I’ve ever tried.

During my last guest posting campaign, I spent 20 hours and roughly $200 to get about 11 links, including an incredible DA75 bombshell from the biggest site in my industry. You can’t do that with PBNs.

So, that’s the direction I want to steer Colleen.

Marketing Phase 1: Guest Posting

I love guest posting. It’s not the most efficient way to earn links, but it’s certainly one of the easiest, making it, in my mind, a great place for us to start.

It’s one of the safest forms of link building you can do, and it’s one of the only white-hat ways to build links that allows you to retain even a teensy bit of control over your anchor text and link placement.

But, more than that, it’s a great way to build real relationships with people in your market. And that, my friends, is absolutely invaluable when you start to scale into the realm of “business.”

We’re going to try three different kinds of guest posts…

1. Asking people we know.

If you think link-building is hard, you’re going to love this. I have no idea why more people don’t do this.

The first links Colleen’s going to try to secure are asking people she knows to guest post on their blogs.

Listen: it’s 2016. Everyone—and I mean everyone—has a blog of some kind. So everyone reading this—yes, even you—knows at least 10 people who have some kind of blog.

If you think you don’t, you’re wrong. You do. So ask.

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Just put out some feelers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… wherever your friends hang out. Simply ask who has a blog, and then as if you can give them some free content.

I literally can’t think of anything easier; your conversion rate should be pretty close to 100%.

The obvious problem, of course, is that almost none of these blogs will be on your topic. To get around that, simply write a post that overlaps with the two niches.

Have a soccer blog, but your friend has a parenting blog? Write a post about how soccer teaches kids life skills. Have an archery blog, but your friend has a travel blog? Write a post about regulations you need to know before traveling with a crossbow. You get the idea.

Colleen’s assignment: Ask 10 blogger friends for guest posts.

2. Find big blogs you WANT links on and “make those relationships happen.”

This is the preferred tactic of my good friend Ryan, one of the best link builders I know.

He’s always hated the idea of “link prospecting.” And he detests weak links. He only goes after strong links—links he can write home about.

To do this, he finds the best sites he can. Then he compiles a list of people who might be good contacts: editors, associate editors, marketing managers, content managers—pretty much anyone who might have any say in what gets published on the site.

Then, he’ll rank them in terms of priority, and he’ll just start pounding the pavement. In his words, he “makes those relationships happen.”

He’ll email one person and follow up about four times. If he doesn’t get a response by then, he’ll simply go to the next name on the list for that site. And he’ll do this until he’s got a contact who likes him. And then he’ll pitch them on a guest post.

And guys… the links he gets are ridiculous. Just one of these links is worth many dozens of lower-tier guest posts. So we’re going to try to get at least a few.

Colleen’s assignment: Find 20 amazing sites in her market she WANTS links on, and compile a list of potential contacts.

3. Find prolific guest posters and “steal” their opportunities.

This is the last and final guest posting strategy we’ll use.

The idea here is to find someone in Colleen’s broad market who’s publishing a bunch of guest posts. Then, we’ll try to find all the places that person’s posted and go after those opportunities ourselves.

A good way to do this is to use some simple advanced Google queries, like the following:

Using those, everyone should be able to find one or two good guest posting “role models.” If you can’t, broaden your search to a bigger chunk of your market (e.g. “fitness” instead of “yoga for dads”).

Then, we’ll see if we can track down our role model’s guest posts and pitch some ideas to those sites.

Check out our our call for an in-depth discussion

If you would rather listen to the audio only, you can download the MP3 file right here.

Wrapping it up…

Overall, this is super exciting. I love this part of the site-building process.

This is where the magic happens. This is what can really start the ol’ success snowball, and I honestly think Colleen has the perfect skill set to execute.

Do you guest post? Why or why not? Leave a comment!

Stories & Projects | 20 comments

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Real Apostas

Perfect. Say no to PBN !!!


Is it supposed to be coaching call #8? Nice share btw, I myself are using this strategy as well for the first time, it’s harder than automated link but I believe it’s well worth it!

Spencer Haws

Nope, this is Perrin’s 6th call.


PBNs is all I do. Going great so far am killing it

David Robinson

Edgar, we (the dedicated audience) wish you the best with your strategies but cannot condone them as they are risky and a “clock working backwards” dated strategy that is not ideal for the long term. PBNs are NOT advised for anyone. That said, best of luck to you and anyone else using PBN strategies.


Is it possible to rank in google with a technical niche blog with zero link building?

Spencer Haws



OK, lets put this matter to rest.

Here is a screen shot of a niche site of a friend mine that I built links to from my PROPER SITES PBN on the 6th of September 2013.

2013 folks. Ranking in the top 2 for the last 2+ years.

As you all say in America: “You do the math” on the amount of google penalties that have occurred in the last 3 years.

PBNS are not the devil here. The abuse of PBNs is. You CAN have a PBN that is made up of real sites and not a spammy spun content crap network.

I have come to believe that there is a threshold of links under which you may be immune from penalties. This is why I only have a few of the most powerful domains I can get my hands on instead of 100s of crap domains.

And for the last 5+ years, these handful of domains is all I ever needed for my ranking needs.

Also, and with no offence to anyone, the ONLY link google is fine with are links that you DID NOT SOLICIT.

Getting someone to let you guest post is borderline and it differs from “proper PBN linking” only in the fact that SOMEONE ELSE gives you the permission to have a link in an article on a blog.

Just because google burnt down a PBN that was used for a PUBLIC CASE STUDY doesnt mean that everyone should run for the woods like the zombie apocalypse just started.

Please let this comment be posted as it could mean the difference between success and failure for some niche site builders.

Thank you



Like !


Yea i do agree,, not that i have much experience with it all,,, but here are my thoughts
the sites that ONLY build pbn links are the ones that are ticking time bombs,,, if your already guest posting and doing things the right way,,, then your safe guarding your site from a penalty in the future, those people who totally rely on pbn’s are the ones who need to be careful, if your sprinkling those pbn links in with already powerful links then i don’t see it will hurt you at all
does that make sense??


Couldn’t agree more Rob. Obviously Spencer suffered greatly after the large PBN was deindexed and I cannot blame him or Perrin for being scared to use them again. Heck I almost decided to get away from PBN’s.

Yet the truth is that still work, as you have shown. If people are able to accept the risk and IF they buy great domains and treat them as real sites then there is very little chance of being deindexed.

I’ve owned several large PBN’S over the last few years and have only ever had 5 domains deindexed and those are 5 domains I bought as a package from someone else and never got around to changing the whois info and change up the hosting/registrar accounts. Stupid mistake and lesson learnt.

I think it’s unfair for Perrin to make a blanket statement that PBN’S are bad. Sure, they’re bad if you use a huge public PBN that allows hundreds of SEOs to buy links from it (RankHero), however, If a PBN was built correctly I feel a very different song would be being sung right now…perhaps one that would be singing the praises of how powerful a PBN can be.

Lastly, ‘outreach’ being cheaper than PBN’S? I’m not so sure, personally I value my time and if I took my hourly rate and multiplied it by the number of hours spent on research and outreach, divided by the number of links you get accepted…I guess that would com out to a number much higher than buying and setting up a PBN in a couple of hours.

I do reap the benefits of outreach myself and it works no question, but I feel readers/listeners may be mislead by your fear of using PBN’s guys.


Great comments Rob

john alba

Should you find the DA of your friends blog you want to write? If so what would be the minimum DA you want to write for? Thanks

sharon Maddox

this is really inspiring, so thank you.
I am trying now to build links to my niche site and this post really help


Hey guys! Great call. Been following along every week and it’s been very helpful. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Just had a couple questions…

1. When you do a guest post, should the title be a keyword or phrase you are trying to rank for, or is it more just a whatever fits for the post thing?

2. Should the anchor text be the same as your targeted keyword or can it just be close? Like say, if say your keyword was “nursing assistant” but your anchor text was “caregiver”.



Very helpful Perrin.Please include some of other link building tactics to another post that you are following.

Sharon Koenig

Hey everyone! Thanks for the update Perrin. I’ve had some fantastic success with outreach so far. Not only did I get my link on some high quality, high PR sites, I have gotten more traffic to both my site and my Facebook page. Some thoughts I have though as I am reading. Could finding the guest post opportunities be given to a VA? Also, there is no mention of any other sort of backlink concepts here. Will you simply not add any others? I was considering editorial and .edu links but man! That is a bit more time consuming. Do directory listings matter at all anymore. I remember with aPennyShaved I believe obtaining several hundred directory listings was the first strategy. A lot of questions here. Sorry. I think I have been saving up for a year or more. HA! 😉

Shahidul islam

Thanks for providing the right way to create links for a niche site. Can you send me the way of sending emails to the other blog authors? I mean the formatted e-mail to send to the authors for guest post.

Bryan Sebring

I love your blog and podcast. I normally don’t leave comments in marketing blogs like yours because I have a lot to learn. But through your coaching calls I have realized that I am not the only one that has a lot to learn. You guys are doing a great job! Thank you!

I will be purchasing long tail platinum soon to amp up my keyword research.

I also wanted to let you know that a lot of your advice I have used for my local remodeling company website. You don’t have to be a niche or authority site to utilize your teachings. So thank you very much.


Does it matter if the link on a guest post is follow or no follow? If so, how do you know if they are follow or no follow?

for guest posts, does it matter if the blogs have very low traffic (less than 50 views a day), does that still count as a good juicy link?

Do links from sites like Medium help?

Thank you!

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