Link Building Is Dead. Again?

“If I Had a Dollar Every Time I Hear That…”

We are following dozens of SEO blogs and we are on a number of email lists. The reason we do that is to keep up with the ever evolving world of SEO and update Kontent Machine accordingly.

what works

One thing I often see is people getting paranoid whenever Matt Cutts or Rand Fishkin says something.

There is no better way to get yourself confused than reading Gold nuggets can be found there, for sure, but if you are following their blog you might be thinking about abandoning link building and throwing it all in “content marketing”.


Blackhat vs Whitehat SEO

Here is a funny thing: Once a SEnuke course provider asked us if Kontent Machine was blackhat and if he can use it with SEnuke. I wasn’t sure how to answer that question.

How exactly does Google know if somebody shared my content because he likes it or because I put a gun to his head? Where is the line between “earned” backlinks and “built” backlinks.

They say “blackhat is any attempt to manipulate the search engine rankings.” Well, if you are doing “content marketing” with the idea of having people share your content so you can get backlinks… isn’t that an attempt to manipulate the search engine results?

For me there are no such things as “blackhat” or “whitehat” but only strategies that work and those that don’t work. It all depends on what you want to achieve.

What amuses me the most is people saying that automated link building is dead. This cannot be further from the truth.

Recently our friend Matthew Woodward posted about a case study on his blog. Actually, the author is Charles Floate (the owner of What Charles did was to rank this page from his blog for “Rand Fishkin” and other related keywords by secretly building links.


Read the full case study here: Ranking for Rand Fishkin

It is more than interesting and proves not only that link building does work when used intelligently but that  you can get pretty decent results in no time.


“You will get penalized… I guess.”

The question is “Will it work in the long term?” and the short answer “Who knows?”

If anybody tells me “This will soon get penalized” or “This will not work in the future.” he is obviously seeing the future or coming from it. If that is the case I have other questions for him.

It is all about testing and seeing what works and what doesn’t at this point in time, not what worked in the past and certainly not what “should” be working years from now.

Next week I will show you another awesome case study about a link building strategy which “shouldn’t” work again.

P.S. What we think about the whole “whitehat vs blackhat” thing is beautifully summed up here under “(THIS EMAIL WAS NEVER SENT TO RAND IN THE END, BUT MAYBE HE’LL SEE IT)” We couldn’t have said it better.

  • Sarah Cutler

    Scritty weights in and shares, listen and re-read his comment, then read it again and take notes.

  • All things considered I think quality beats quantity.
    Some people take that to mean automation is now a “no-no”. Those that thought “automation” was a swear word anyway.
    For me nothing could be further from the truth. With the right settings a good content scraper, article builder or linking tool can and should be set for “quality over quantity”.

    It saves as much time as ever. Instead of making 50,000 links and a trash linking profile you are making 500 high quality ones remembering to vary your anchor text, use as many platforms as you can, have varied and contextualy correct surrounding content, ensuring you check your follow and nofollow metrics, picking context sensitive targets, building them over time, adding social proof into the mix, adding decent content on your site to link to (the only part of the process I DON’T automate that one). All the rest – automated to a greater or lesser degree.

    A 50 hour week done in 2-3 hours.

    Automation does not need to mean spamming. You can get a tier one that is pure quality, with content that ranks and is actually clicked through.

    “Click through”, to my mind, is the acid test of a good first tier. And despite what those who don’t look or don’t care to try might say, automation is capable of giving excellent and long lasting SEO results entirely indistinguishable from “hand made” or “white hat” and taking 1/20th of the time.


    Scritty (Paul Rone-Clarke)

    • Georgi

      Exactly. Automated link building is evolving and what I’ve noticed is that those who say that it is spamming do not really know much about it.

  • As far as I can see, ranking for things like ‘corporate banana traps’ is always going to be easy by building links and mild kw stuffing. This is probably like ranking for a name i.e. Rand Fishkin. I think the problem is when your keyword is more like ‘cheap car insurance’, this is when I got slapped. Maybe Google knows from its adwords db that these phrases are worth a lot of money?

    • Georgi

      I don’t think “Rand Fishkin” is like “corporate banana traps”. 🙂