How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Link Building

building backlinks like a badass

If you're a long-timer reader, you know I hate link building. 

In fact, I wrote an entire post about how I've grown an affiliate site to five figures a month without doing ANY link building. 

I'm here today to say that I'm joining the dark side- I'm going to start building backlinks in earnest.

I'm also going to document what I'm doing so that you can follow along and learn with me. 

Why Am I Giving In?

For a long time I've purely focused on on-page SEO and keyword research. This combination alone has produced massive results for me. What it looks like is finding low-competition buyer keywords (i.e. "best computer monitor") and producing 1,500+ word writeups.

(Check out my 'how to start an affiliate site' process if you want to copy my process.)

So there are a couple reasons why I want to learn how to build links. 

  1. I want to10x my affiliate sites by increasing their rankings, traffic and earnings.
  2. I want to buy sites from Flippa, build links to them, and extract maximum value from content sites that just need a couple links to achieve powerful rankings.

The frustrating thing with (1) is that there are some of my posts that 'should' be on page 1 for their primary keyword, but they're sitting in the middle of page 2. A lot of the page 1 content is thin e-commerce pages- so I just need some stronger domain authority to push my content above my competitors. 

Regarding (2), as I've matured as an 'online marketer', I've built up some strong cash reserves. I don't know much about investing, so instead of pouring money into a stock investment that I don't really understand or have a passion for, why not reinvest in my skill and passion- online businesses!

There are a lot of sites on Flippa that have decent content, modest earnings, and mediocre rankings. This means that they can be purchased pretty cheap- for example, a site earning $50 a month, a 2x yearly income valuation would make it a $1,200 purchase.

If I'm able to define an outreach process that my Virtual Assistants can help scale, I can purchase these 'value' sites and focus on strengthening them where they're weakest: their backlink profile. 

My Favorite Marketing ToolsTheir UseMy Review
RankXL Authority SEOLearn how to build and grow ultra high-traffic, profitable blogs using SEO strategies that workFull Review
LongTailProKeyword Research & Rank Tracking (desktop & cloud)Full Review
GeneratePressFast WordPress ThemeFull Review
ViralTagGetting Pinterest TrafficFull Review
ConvertKitEasy Email AutomationFull Review
DepositPhotosAffordable Stock PhotosFull Review
iWriterCheap Content MarketplaceFull Review
MissingLettrSocial Drip FeedFull Review
Big Guest PostingDatabase Of Guest Post SitesFull Review
SEO PowerSuiteOne-stop SEO software (rankings, on-page, backlinks, and reports) Full Review
TheBestSpinnerRe-Writing SoftwareFull Review


Starting off, I've decided to use the following tools: 

  1. GMass- a popular outreach tool that works within Gmail and utilizes Google Sheets to craft personalized, auto-followup outreach campaigns.
  2. I'm currently deciding between 2 email discovery services: and
  3. For email prospecting, i.e. finding the websites I want to get links from, I'm starting off by using LinkClump to copy links from the Google SERP- and using a Google Search Operator to filter the sites I'm targeting. 

Setting Up GMass

I recommend that you watch this video from AuthorityHacker on how to set up GMass

One thing you should do, and it's mentioned in the video, is to set up a DNS record that will function as a dedicated tracking domain for your email campaigns to prevent them getting blocked as spam. You can read the full explanation here

I contacted my hosting provider, sent them a link to the above GMass page, and they helped me configure a custom tracking domain. Then you just need to ping GMass and they'll automatically set you up- and you're good to go. (Read more here.)

12/24/17: I decided to try outreaching to affiliate sites in the 'kitchen' niche, with the goal of getting them to link to a review post I did on a popular kitchen product. 

I used a snippet from the Amazon affiliate disclaimer: "participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program" and the keyword "kitchen" and found a slew of sites that looked like affiliate sites in the "kitchen" niche. 

I then used the LinkClumper tool to grab all of the links.

Pro tip: change your settings to show 100 results per page- it's much easier to grab all the results that way. 

link building SERP example

Ryan Nelson is a full-stack online marketer. I help people discover niches to build passive-income online businesses (for free!).

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