[Video] The Ultimate Offpage SEO Tier List: 28+ Link Building Methods Ranked from S through F (and a Few Other SEO Concepts)
Published | Last Update 📌
Are you smashing your head into the keyboard trying to figure out what is and isn't true about offpage SEO? Here's a simple, definitive tier-list ranking 28 of the biggest link building techiques. And also a few non-link-building techniques.
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- The 28+ Link Building Methods Ranked as a Definitive Tier List
- Context for Video Tier-List Format
- eBooks Mentioned in Video
- Follow Up Video: 27 Link Building Methods Added to the Definitive Tier List
- Infographic Overview of Tier List Segmented into Black, Grey, and White Hat Methods
- Final Offpage SEO Tier List
- Guest Posts
- Donor/Sponsor Links
- *Sponsor Events, Venues, Etcetera
- Doorway Pages, Cloaking, and Hacked WordPress Sites
- *Social Media Links
- Wiki Links
- Expired Web 2.0s
- *Expired Twitter Account Links
- Scholarship Links
- Parasite Pages
- *Content/Site Acquisitions
- *Email People That You Mention
- *Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
- *Review/Testimonial Links
- *Interviews/Podcasts with Other Sites
- *Plugin/Theme/Developer Footer Links
- *Roundups and Crowdsourced Posts
- Blog Comments, Forum Posts, and Fresh Web 2.0s
- Social Signals
- Infographic Submission Sites
- GSA, XRummer, and Automated Link-Building Tools
- Suggesting 404 Replacements
- *The "Moving Man Method"
- *Unlinked Mentions
- *Content Syndication
- *Local Listings and Directories
- DOC/PPT/PDF Submission Sites
- EDU/GOV Links
- Paul and Angel Links / Profile Links
- Directory Submissions
- Public PBNs
- *"Stealing Inferior Links"
- *RSS Feeds
- *Resource Pages
- *Articles Pre-Dated for Next Year
- URL Shorteners
- Custom PBNs
- 301 Redirecting Expired Domains
- *Link Reclamation
- *Creating an Affiliate Program
- *"Linkable Assets" and "Link Bait"
- *Intern/Job Postings
- *The Skyscraper Technique
- *Link Exchanges
- SAPE Links
- Link Wheels
- Exact/Partial Match Domains
Are you smashing your head into the keyboard trying to figure out what is and isn't true about offpage SEO? Here's a simple, definitive tier-list ranking 28 of the biggest link building techniques. And also a few non-link-building techniques.
The 28+ Link Building Methods Ranked as a Definitive Tier List
The video below discusses link building methods and ranks them as a tier list. Originally, this was the only video in this thread and is a stand-alone guide.
Context for Video Tier-List Format
eBooks Mentioned in Video
- [eBook] https://www.256kilobytes.com/content/show/10325/does-black-hat-seo-work-7-black-hat-link-building-methods-that-are-used-by-professional-spammers-in-2019
- [eBook] https://www.256kilobytes.com/content/show/10337/the-ultimate-guide-to-internet-marketing-seven-years-and-seven-figures-of-internet-marketing-experience-in-seven-in-depth-chapters
Follow Up Video: 27 Link Building Methods Added to the Definitive Tier List
Here's another video with more link building and SEO methods. These methods lean more toward the "guru"/"white hat" side of things.
These methods are listed in the SEO tier list below denoted with asterisks.
Infographic Overview of Tier List Segmented into Black, Grey, and White Hat Methods
Final Offpage SEO Tier List
The absolute S-tier of link building. Links from the body of content, customizable links and anchor text. Clean links when done correctly.
Currently used by many sites that are ranking for very competitive and profitable keywords. "Not selling links." Generally on very authoritative pages that are close to the site's homepage, often linked on the main navigation bar.
*Sponsor Events, Venues, Etcetera
Like donor and sponsor links, but rather than seeking out specific existing pages, funding events/venues/other independently. Have seen sites get quality links from very clean pages using this method, although these are generally gotten incidentally by companies that are already planning to donate money and/or sponsor events.
Doorway Pages, Cloaking, and Hacked WordPress Sites
Blatantly illegal. Still used by various people (mostly in Ukraine et. al.) to great effect. Probably don't do this. A somewhat recent post from Google also discusses these. Cloaking and doorway pages are not necessarily illegal (many sites, such as Forbes, use light cloaking), although are grouped with hacked sites here, since they are often used together.
*Social Media Links
Can be very powerful, especially for posts that get a lot of traction where your link appears on high-profile pages (such as a social media site's homepage or its more important directories).
Wiki links, particularly Wikipedia's nofollow links, are discussed in more depth in this case study, which suggests that these links can in fact improve SERP position. Wikis are generally good at filtering out spam via neckbeards, which makes these links mostly used by real/"legit" sites.
Expired Web 2.0s
Like PBNs, bu but with web 2.0s, such as site.wordpress.com, asdf.weebly.com, and goldenhookers.tumblr.com. Commonly done on Tumblr because many old account names were made available because of users not logging in for over a year. Limited utility due to a lack of diversity in platform (lack of variety in referring domains), but still used in black hat niches.
*Expired Twitter Account Links
The same as expired web 2.0s, but for Twitter specifically.
Even though many of these "scholarships" are completely, fake even terrible scholarships like the "Clash of Clans Lovers" scholarship mentioned in the video (clashofclanslovers.com/scholarships/) have backlinks. Despite being situationally and having many limitations, a number of sites still use these and seem to be relatively successful with them. 10Beasts may or may not have been penalized for scholarship link building with his scholarship page, although that might have been bullshit.
An SEO method where instead of attempting to rank one's own site, they create pages on other large sites (such as web 2.0s and social media platforms) and then attempt to rank those. Often blasted with a tier of spam with the concept that search engines will be less likely to suspect pages on large, existing sites of being ranked with spam links. Some sites use these types of pages effectively, such as the Huffington Post parasite example discussed in the video. Often done poorly. Used to be more heavily used back in 2014, plus or minus a few years.
Situational link building method where you can purchase sites that were formerly owned by others in your niche. Often times redirecting to a specific subpage of your site.
*Email People That You Mention
Works in some cases when you're not blatantly shilling for links (or in the event that the recipient is oblivious that you're blatantly shilling for links).
*Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
A link building methods where you either do an excellent job at it or you do terrible at it. Requires that you get your foot in the door with various reporters. Having an existing reputation can be helpful for getting traction.
Can be good links if/when you can get them. Generally, sites only list a few testimonials, which means unless you're the one of the most notable people who've reviewed a site, product, or service, you will generally have a harder time of getting these links.
*Interviews/Podcasts with Other Sites
Situational and require connections with others within your niche. Can be solid links. Easiest to get if you're notable within your niche.
*Plugin/Theme/Developer Footer Links
If you happen to be a web developer who works with clients, and/or a plugin/theme developer, these can be good. Otherwise, these are likely inaccessible to you, unless you become a developer in those areas.
*Roundups and Crowdsourced Posts
Situational. There are a limited number of roundups that exist. Generally easiest to get if you're notable within your niche.
Blog Comments, Forum Posts, and Fresh Web 2.0s
Generally done poorly and sold by various spammers on freelancer sites for $0.10 per link. Can actually be done relatively cleanly and effectively if you do these personally.
While social signals are mostly only a thing in that links from social media sites are still links, links from social media platforms are useful when done correctly.
Infographic Submission Sites
Despite the fact that infographics are relatively easy to make, people are often to lazy or busy to make them, which means that infographic sites are often fairly clean, although some are still terrible.
GSA, XRummer, and Automated Link-Building Tools
Bulk automated spam is mostly devalued/ignored, but some ends up slipping through. Hard to penalize sites for this type of spam because of the potential for abuse it would create related to negative SEO.
Suggesting 404 Replacements
Sound effective, but in practice mostly ignored. Even if your link is actually relevant, these emails are generally ignored, because they feel like/are spammy. Constantly shilled as a good method by terrible SEO articles on Medium et. al., but completely overhyped as a link building method.
Bonus side note: Backlinko estimates that roughly 8.5% of outreach emails (in general, not just 404 link replacement requests) get replies. That's probably roughly accurate.
*The "Moving Man Method"
Like 404 replacement, but looking for domains/sites/services that have been shut down. A term created by Brian Dean.*
*Brian Dean comment ITT for a nice White Hat Unlinked Mention SEO
Generic term with many different methods within it. Depending on what specific method you're referring to, this could go up or down a tier.
As far as outreach-type link building methods go, this is one of the methods that is more likely to result in replies and links. Of course, this requires that there are actually unlinked mentions of your brand, which makes this method limited in its utility due to the limited number of available links. Best for larger sites and/or corporate marketers/SEO consultants who work for larger brands.
Can get some halfway decent links. Potential issues with syndicated content outranking your original article.
*Local Listings and Directories
Can actually be good if you run a local business. There are a limited number of relevant local directories, but the ones that are actually good can be halfway decent.
DOC/PPT/PDF Submission Sites
Generic cheap spam. Almost all are complete trash. Basically nothing else to note.
Complete trash links discussed primarily by people who are unaware that non-causal relationships exist. Anyone who can Do You a Nice SEO with EDU and GOV links is selling trash.
Paul and Angel Links / Profile Links
These links consist of registering a bunch of user profiles on various sites and then adding links to the bios. Often orphaned, which is why users often make a post somewhere on the forum as well to create internal links to their bios. Mostly trash/complete spam, although there are actually real scenarios where you might add links to user profiles; if you have a website, feel free to add a link to your 256 Kilobytes biography/signature field.
More generic spam. No one has used a directory for anything since 1997.
While most sites made in Current Millennium don't have guestbooks, some old sites with guestbooks are still spammed for links. They're basically all trash and complete spam.
Complete anarchy spam. There are also a number of people who claim to have been penalized by using them. Most of these are run by people who don't give a fuck about you or your site. Regardless, there are sites that rank with these. If you use these, you know what you're getting into.
*"Stealing Inferior Links"
An obnoxious link building method that consists of sending emails that will mostly be ignored without reading.
Having an RSS feed set up can result in sites (generally low-quality sites) syndicating your content. Easy one-time setup. Good idea to have internal links in your article to ensure that scraped content includes a link back to your site, as scrapers may not cite the original source.
While often oversaturated, it is often easy to pick up a few of these by sending a few emails.
*Articles Pre-Dated for Next Year
Potential to get a head start on ranking for "[...] 2020/2021/Other" by updating your site's content and title tags in December.
The absolute shittiest of all of the terrible, cheapo spam sold on SEOClerks and other similar sites.
One of the most "black hat" SEO methods out there. Obscenely expensive with recurring costs. Technically complicated. Inferior to guest posts in basically every possible way.
301 Redirecting Expired Domains
Scroll into the comments to read Hash Brown's comment on these.
Mostly bullshit. If a link to your site was removed, there was probably a reason why that occurred that probably doesn't even have anything to do to you. You look like a fool groveling for links.
*Creating an Affiliate Program
A massive amount of work. Only worth it if you actually want to run an affiliate program, which is enough effort to potentially be a full-time job.
Gimmicky, hit-or-miss link building method. Probably a good idea to set these up as subdomains to avoid recurring domain registration costs. Can be good when pulled off correctly.
*"Linkable Assets" and "Link Bait"
While it's a good idea to have content that is actually good, this creates a "chicken-and-egg" problem. To get links, you'll need visibility, which can be a limitation here for new sites, barring the most exceptional, top 0.1% of content.
Potentially fine links, but:
- Require that you actually want to hire someone; and
- Often disappear after a week or two
*The Skyscraper Technique
A method that involves creating content slightly better than the currently-best article. The concept is that everyone cares about the tallest skyscraper, but not the second-tallest. Name created by Brian Dean. While this is a fine method for developing content, to get links, you need visibility, which is not guaranteed purely because of the quality of your content, especially for new sites.
A thing that hasn't existed since like 2001. While you can certainly link to a site that has also linked to you, creating shitty lists of "our nice friends" on your homepage/sidebar as part of a link exchange is far too blatant black hat SEO to be used by anyone in Current Year.
Hacked links that were, back in like 2010-2014 (plus or minus), sold by people who were probably Ukranian (or similar). Links were generally injected into site sidebars and/or footers. These links aren't sold anymore, are easily detectable as sidebar/footer links, and are also, at the minimum, questionably legal.
If anyone mentions these to you while trying to sell you SEO services, ignore their opinion on SEO. Easily detectable and generally consist entirely of terrible web 2.0s.
Exact/Partial Match Domains
While domain name used to be a massive ranking signal that allowed for sites to easily rank by registering domain names with keywords in them, they have been substantially devalued (at least by Google; Bing seems to put more value on these). Having a brand name is extremely useful and EMDs are completely pointless in Current Year.
- How can I optimize my Website Loading speed?
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- How to Rank on the top in Google for a long time?
- Which are the most important factors On-Page SEO?
- Best Subreddits about SEO?
- Principles of Effective SEO
- Best keyword research tool? Are any of the paid ones worth it?
- How do I rank higher on Google?
August Garcia is some guy who used to sell Viagra on the Internet. He made this website to LARP as a sysadmin while posting about garbage like user-agent spoofing, spintax, the only good keyboard, virtual assitants from Pakistan, links with the rel="nofollow" attribute, proxies, sin, the developer console, literally every link building method, and other junk.
This is great.
Now rank races.
Now some actual thoughts and predicted follow up post:
If you are restoring useful content and websites to create PBNs you are making the internet a better place and it could be argued (in an autistic way) that this is a whitehat thing to do and actually Google are the evil people by discouraging this kind of communal restoration project.
Also ranking custom PBNs you own and control in any way over $6/link shit fests is literally giving me downs syndrome, they should be swapped. At least having your own PBN gives you other possibilities like boosting brand, ORM, perfect control over anchor text, perfect control over content and control over niche relevant domains if that's important to you.
This was a thing in 2014ish where people would buy burner domains (mainly $1 .info's), spam them with GSA and 301 them to your site, with the idea that if the links are bad you can simply undo the the 301 and recover the money site.
Looking back it was absolute autism, but this autism then continued into "well fuck it why even use GSA/fiverr gigs lets just 301 old domains with links".
I've seen it work, but generally this is autism. I've seen it work very well though by 1 particular person which could be repeated.
I have a friend who runs a successful affiliate blog in an industry, he buys the domain(s) of start ups that fail (in his niche) and has created a handful of bio/informational page about these start ups and 301'd those domains to these pages.
This has boosted his Ahrefs traffic by 30-50k (which is always an underestimate) and it's worked well multiple times.
This is far more like how Google say you "should" use 301's, so I'd call it whitehat but there were definite sitewide boosts in traffic.
404/Broken Link Building
This requires all the same effort that guest posting requires, except you're going to insult the author (if you even manage to email the correct one) by saying they did a shoddy job of picking a source that died 4 years after their shit was posted.
I've also seen this adapted into the "skyscraper" method where you find a competitors most linked content, make something better and ask the authors to swap the links.
This is guru billy bullshit nonsense, why would anyone waste their fucking time editing content in the past like this? Generally external links are just chances to give your audience to leave your fucking site, get distracted by other shit and never return. What fucking difference does it make if they change the link to something else? It's why a lot of news outlets will no longer publish external links.
However if you're giving them content and all they need to do is copy and paste it converts much higher.
"THAT DOG IS GETTING RAPED" - Terry A. Davis
> Now rank races.
There's literally a chapter on that in this eBook:
- [eBook Link] https://www.256kilobytes.com/content/show/10337/the-ultimate-guide-to-internet-marketing-seven-years-and-seven-figures-of-internet-marketing-experience-in-seven-in-depth-chapters#race-war
Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.
What a great thread bump with an additional video and more SEO methods.
Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.
Bonus link building method. Probably A-Tier if you're a copyright lawyer.
- Get clients whose copyright is being infringed
- Get paid money to sue them and/or to otherwise seize the domain
- Redirect the domain to your domain and/or put a notice up on the existing domain (with a link back to your law firm's website) that indicates that the domain has been seized
Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.
Another situational concept that is so dumb that it would work:
August Garcia 12:43 PM
Here I am
Looking for examples of like sites built on like 80 different content management systems
So get this Gypsy shit, right
Like half of the results on any of these lists aren't even built on the specified CMS
Probably because people built some shit on like Squarespace then moved to WP or whatever
Something something there's probably some funny bait you could do to get links
"lol I made a nice weebly ur example sites aren't on Weebly anymore give me a link please"
Quote is from the 256 Kilobytes Slack chat, which you can join via this link, if that's something that you want to do:
- Edit: New link below. If you're reading this in the future and this one is also expired, check the sidebar:
Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.
Re: "Google is probably not using third-party data from Twitter et. al. for ranking purposes."
There's a document from the leaks discussed in this thread that states that they are or at least were at one point using Twitter post trends/data to identify "spikes" in searches/interest, which contradicts that statement from the original video:
However, people who sell "legit social signals to boost your SERPs sir" are still selling trash.
Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.
I like your Research, thank you for sharing with us. I hope after following your techniques I'll get some positive results.
Hii, Excellent post.
Thanks for sharing this information. This post is about link building in digital marketing and in SEO Services. We have deals with cheap and affordable services like digital marketing, social engine optimization (
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Mod Edit: Spam link removed.
Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.
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