Podcast 23: How to Build Links the Right Way with Jon Cooper

By Spencer Haws |

Jon Cooper is a sophomore at the University of Florida studying finance.  Even though he's “younger”, he happens to be a respected expert in the SEO arena; particularly when it comes to link building.

I had the absolute privilege of interviewing Jon Cooper recently to discuss niche sites, link building, and more.  Today I am excited to share that podcast interview with you!

I've actually referred to Jon Cooper and his site many times. Jon is someone who has taken the time to both discover lots of great link building techniques AND to actually document those for us all to follow.

In particular, whenever I am stuck for how to build links, I will refer to his Link Building Strategies page to spark some ideas.

The Interview

I wanted to get Jon's opinion on a number of topics and what's working for him right now.  Here's a quick outline of the topics covered in the podcast interview:

Overall, we covered a lot of these topics in detail and had a great discussion!

You can catch Jon on Twitter here: @PointBlankSEO

And of course, check out his blog at:

And finally, we didn't talk about his link building course specifically in the podcast, because I just wanted solid content.  However, his course is a very very good one on link building.  Like I've mentioned before, its the basis for a lot the link building that I do for my sites.

Listen to the Podcast Here

As always, I'd love to hear any thoughts or comments that you have below.  If you enjoy this podcast, feel free to leave a review on my iTunes page here.

Update: You can Download the Transcript Here!

Podcasts | 43 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.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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Interesting topic. Can’t wait to listen to it during my next longer car ride


Great podcast, Spencer.

Lots of valuable info and Jon is a very articulate guy the way he explains things .

In regards to what Jon said about Google keeping their eyes on anything that scales and is publicly known, just wanted to get your thoughts on RankHero (seeing as it’s a link on the top now).

Not discounting Hayden’s or your expertise at all, but just wanted to get your thoughts, Spencer?

Spencer Haws

Google works algorithmically for the most part, so quality sites – even those in a network – don’t set off alarms for Google. The spammy/black hat networks do set off alarms for Google.


Gotcha – thanks Spencer.


Jon is very knowledgeable about link-building. Thanks for the podcast.


I don’t know what to be more impressed with: How much Jon knows about link-building and effective strategies? Or the fact that he’s so young and already created more entrepreneurial business attempts over the Internet than most of us will ever accomplish! I’d love to see where Jon is 10 years from now. Nice work!

That link-building-strategies resource page is outstanding. So many good things there to try that I hadn’t considered.

Spencer Haws

Yep, Jon has a lot of great things going on for sure!

Blake F

Another great post Spencer. Jon is an interesting guy. You guys covered a lot of ground on link building, but I was curious to see if you had any thoughts specifically on link building/ranking pages outside the home page. Obviously sending links to the pages outside the homepage is important, but if you have multiple target keywords in the same kind of niche you cannot have: EMD for all, Home Page title tag for all, etc.

Take for example keywords: best natural soap
best clarifying soap
best body soap

Would you find it more worthwhile building one larger site say of 30-40 pages. Call it: Then have 5-10 articles for each keyword all linking to 1 landing summary page for that keyword which you build most your links to.


3 total websites around each keyword? ie: 5-10 pages around just best natural which you build most links to home page which is your main landing page?

Sorry for length. Thanks for another great podcast.



I think what the trend right now is to go with a larger more authority site and build inner links similar to what Perrin is doing on his site.

EMD really does not hold nearly as much weight as it did in the past so you probably want to go for a more branded keyword similar to what you suggested.

The micro sites with 5-10 total pages seem to be going by the wayside and not ranking as well as they used to (I have one or two that are ranking in yahoo/bing but not in google).

Greg Nunan

Hey Blake. Haven’t done a detailed post on my blog about it yet (planning on it), but I had a site in a tight section of a niche that was 15 pages of content – doing well enough ($300/mnth Adsense)… Due to a legal/copyright issue, I had to take the site down.

I created a new site covering the broad niche and the former content became a sub-section of the new site, which I link built the pages of. 4 months on, site has just passed $1k in earnings in past 30 days. All rankings for previous keywords recovered and new broader keywords ranking well so traffic is well up on before.

Process has taught me the value of building bigger, broader sites My strategy moving forward is to build larger sites and target link-build sections that otherwise would have been stand-alone smaller sites.

Spencer Haws

Larger site would be more effective most likely.

Steve - Texfly

Not listened to this yet, but I *know* it’s gonna be awesome, Jon has put out some fantastic free info in the past, and I’ve heard his link building course is well worth the admission fee.

Will download this and listen when I finally get some free time this evening.

Thanks in advance Jon and Spencer!


Hey Spencer, been following your blog for a few months and i love it. I would like to know if i were to create niche sites based on a foreign language that targets the malaysian and indonesian market, will the basic principles of building links remain the same?

Spencer Haws

Yes, same principles.


Very interesting listen. Thanks for the podcast guys.

I like what Jon had to say about how link building strategies will be different and unique for each and every site. And about how different niches/markets have their own link building strategies because of differences in competition and the types of websites.

I really like the talk about direct and indirect competition research… see what’s working for other people and do it better. Good stuff.

One question I have is towards the end of the podcast Spencer and Jon talked about how it was obvious what direction Google is going in, in terms of link building. And how it’s just a matter of how quickly Google decides to get there. And they both seemed to agree what the state of SEO/link building will look like in 3-5 years.

I wasn’t clear what trend/direction Google has been heading in, or what link building/SEO is going to look like in 3-5 years?

Can you guys clear this up?

Anyone have any links to Google or Matt Cutts talking about the trend they’re going in and what they want to see from websites?



Spencer Haws

This would be a long answer; but what we mean is look at the history of algorithm changes. Panda, Penguin, EMD update, Penguin 2.1, and more. If you study those updates, you’ll see a pattern towards higher quality, more authoritative sites, will less spammy links and anchor texts.


This was one of the most interesting podcasts episodes. I am a big fan of discussions regarding general strategy and project overview for longer term planning, rather than specifics of what exactly works now.

Mark N.

Hi Spencer

Thanks for the podcast. I have a question / request:

Would it be possible in your future podcast overviews to include the estimated time where a discussion on a specific subject begins? Assuming of course you listen to each recorded podcast in full before you post it because otherwise it would be a hassle for you. So what I’m asking is to have something like this:

– (2:50) How Jon got started in link building
– (6;40) Why he decided to create
– (14:25) I ask Jon why he doesn’t just quit school to pursue


I was interested in only two of the subjects specified in the outlined and I found myself spending a lot of time scrolling through the audio trying to find the parts I’m looking for. So if this is something that is easy for you to do I would really appreciate it.

John J. Ziemba

Nifty post. Seems like it all boils down to writing great content that folks can actually use. I think I can understand the protests that arose from many site builders who were content with the old style of building sites which was to slap up some low-hanging content and call it a day. My goal has always been high quality content and I work hard atit, investing hours in writing copy. And as a more mature *ahem* site builder, it’s interesting that the internet marketing field is so populated with young guys & gals who really have it together that we can all learn from. Thanks Jon for sharing your thoughts.


Thanks for the info Spencer.
Downloading the audio now…cant wait to listen.


Great stuff Spencer and Jon, actually I’ve enrolled in Jon’s link building course – pretty good info there… I’d recommend it for people new to link building


Holy cow this was an awesome podcast.

A lot of amazing nuggets of information.

One of the suggestions was about raising dead content which is a sweet idea.

Thanks for the great interview

Spencer Haws

Thanks Iain!


Hey, Jon and Spencer–

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I bought the link-building course last week, and WOW is it solid. It’s not easy to make a course that is useful to both beginners and advanced users, but there is a ton of stuff in there that’s valuable to both. It’s both the guide I was I had a year ago and the guide I need now.

So—rock on! Thanks for making such a great guide. Looking forward to listening to the podcast.


Spencer Haws

Thanks Matthew4500!


HI Spencer and Jon,
I have question regarding link building,
Are Press Releases still good and aren’t they duplicate content, since you write one PR and submit to 150 sites?

Spencer Haws

I’m not a big fan of Press releases for links. Google has specifically said they don’t like it for link building.

Mitchell Du

Spencer, What is the AA trap URL you mentioned in the podcast?

Spencer Haws

I don’t recall, “AA trap URL”…most details?


If I choose niche/keywords which is US targeted and I am not resident of US, How do I SEO for US from another country ?
What with adsense account/ domain registration address etc. ?

thanks in advance

Spencer Haws

There’s no difference. Just build links from .com, .net, .org sites mostly…no reason you can’t rank in US.


Hi Spencer,

Thanks for the information.

Are you saying there is no difference is SEO approach to rank either for US or Worldwide ?

best regards

Spencer Haws

That’s correct, its essentially the same. Where you host sites and country of links pointing to your site will make a bit of difference; but the rest is same. Someone living in Spain can rank a site in the US just as easy as someone living in the US.


thanks, appreciate your reply. regards

Richard Johnson

I’m a Point Blank SEO member (based on Spencer’s prior recommendation.) It is a solid plan.

Didn’t realize Jon was a Gator. My wife graduated from the biz school at UF.

Thanks for a great podcast Spencer!


Spencer Haws

Thanks Richard!

Mitchell Du

Spencer, AA Trap or AA Track was mentioned at 35:40,36:10 on your podcast. You said you use it as well and will show us the link in this post.

Spencer Haws

Ah…I see. Its called Ahrefs…

Troy in Las Vegas

If one has many websites in as many different genres and is building links via blog / website comments, is it best to post these comments using a pseudonym or one name for all? My concern is how can I be an ‘authority’ on tea AND razors AND coffee mugs AND watches AND candles AND… ? How can I be a believable brand like that? It would be easy enough to have different emails and names for each website (like “Betty” runs my gift basket site) but some roadblocks could come up and complicate things ie: some sites require comments via Discus or Facebook or ??? so that means each pseudonym should have their own Discus or Facebook or ??? That just seems like A LOT of effort. Is it worth it? What are the odds of someone noticing ‘Troy in Las Vegas’ speaking on several different topics?
What do ya’ll think? Thanks in advanced for your detailed and thoughtful answers. 🙂

Min Ad

Hi Spencer, how long should i build link for my niche site since i created site?

I plan to buy expired domain to build authority site! I think i can build link on this domain without worried about google algorithm! Thanks

Lee John Belcher

Awesome podcast spencer and I totally agree with what Jon Cooper is saying!

Thank you both once again

Matt B.

I get the whole, “you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket” thing, but many people who use this phrase don’t even have any eggs to begin with.

When you’re starting out running multiple sites it’s a bit like trying to bake your first cake, your first batch of brownies, and your first souffle all at once. Sure you might get them all done, but I bet they taste like crap, and you might just burn the house down. It’s far better to make one kick a$$ cake and then move on to the next dessert.

Most of the newbies I talk with who try to juggle multiple sites right off the bat end up with 10-20 sites all ranking for terms on the 3-4 pages of the Big G. Cue tumbleweed.

That kind of portfolio can start eating up your cash flow really quickly, which is not the way you want your bank account to go if you’re looking for financial freedom. 🙂

Thanks for sharing!



Hello Sean,

This is a great website and I’m learning a lot. However, I have question that relates to landing pages. Are landing pages considered a website? And, must it be listed a a no-follow page because google won’t index it? Thanks

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