Rant about the link building industry

EDIT: A few follow hackers have taken the first version of the post as spammy and I realized I didn't state that it was a rant against the link building industry. I don't encourage anyone to buy links!

Link building is a pay-to-win game...

You might be thinking, "Great, another post about how I need to start building links."

But before you go any further, let me explain why this is bad news for Indie Hackers.

First of all, it's becoming increasingly difficult to rank without backlinks. And even if you do manage to rank without links, it's only a matter of time before your competitors start outranking you with their paid links.

Second of all, it's becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition. If everyone is using the same link building tactics, then you're not going to be able to stand out from the crowd.

Third of all, it's becoming increasingly difficult to scale your business. If you're relying on paid backlinks to scale your business, then you're going to hit a wall sooner or later.

Fourth of all, it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the curve. The best link builders are always one step ahead of the competition, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep up.

In short, link building is still a pay-to-win game, and that's bad news for small businesses...
bad news for indie hackers

I'd love to hear your approach to building links?

  1. 14

    Bummer, time to pack it up and go home

    1. -1

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  2. 8

    I rank for competitive keywords without any time spent on backlinks. I don't buy this at all.

    It's much harder to create high quality, engaging content that answers the reader's question. Quality content gets shared and gets linked. You should create content and distribute it.

    In fact, you should spend most of your time distributing your content. Eventually you'll get links. And you wont have to pay for them.

    Oh, what do you know --- You're the founder of a company that helps you with acquiring backlinks!

    1. 1

      Nice reply. Thanks for your comments and definitely for pointing out that the OP's biz is in acquiring backlinks.

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  3. 4

    Post about SEO in SEO group with clickbait title. Too much "SEO"...

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  4. 2

    I've tired to build backlinks to my surfer booking platform but without any luck. The competitors we have on Google just was too strong with tons of backlinks.

    How can I beat those guys?

    1. 3

      Check all major restaurant booking apps. They all have a blog with articles related to a restaurant business:
      EatApp also has some freebies to download (potentially can drive some links)

      https://wakeque.com has just one page (at least only one recognized by ahrefs). Backlinks won't help you to get organic traffic. You need to do keywords research, find topics with longtail keywords, write blog posts. Share them everywhere you can (including here). Come up with ideas of freebies, let's say wake park logos pack or some flyers designs for visitors to download for free.

    2. 3

      There is no magic pill
      Write link bait content.
      Post some freebies.
      Do crowd links (on forums)

      At last: buy a domain similar to your niche with authority

      Do keyword research. Longtail keywords are easy to get without any link juice.

    3. 1

      Hi surferdude. Link building is very boring and mandatory process. If you are interested, I can do LBD for you.

  5. 1

    The big fish eats the little one. It has always been like this

  6. 1

    No it's not. Paid backlinks are either spammy or are from very shady websites and can hurt your ranking. If someone responds to you by asking some $$$ for a backlink, run the hell away.

    This post is really misleading. Backlinks are NOT more important than ever. Good backlinks and referals are important. If you go out to the internet and just get 30 backlinks to the same keyword you'll get penalized or at worst have wasted money.

    I hate how SEO is still full of people who just circlejerk false information and approach it with a black hat on. Play the long game folks. Quality content, good relationships with other creators and you will succeed. Stop polluting the industry more than it already is.

  7. 1

    Paid links can be extremely expensive and / or risky or low quality. But getting good links using outreach, strategic link building, digital PR is still possible and can get better results. Some freelancers and agencies can offer this type of white hat link building as a service, myself included. But it requires a bit more involvement and work from the client.

  8. 1

    Link building using outdated spammy tactics is a pay to win game.

    SEO is about strategy. I do not/none of my clients pay for links. Somehow they rank. Is it magic? No. It's a good strategy, a well-designed website, and good content.

    These types of spammy posts are exactly why people do not trust SEO...

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  9. 1

    I did have a lot of success with broken link building as suggested by Brian Dean 2 years ago. I think he called it the moving man method or something. Unfortunately that is now totally saturated and doesn't work anymore.

    Best bet is to stay relevant with what the new method is by joining FB groups and SEO dedicated forums.

    It's kinda sad though that such tricks still works wonders in Google and a less worthy competitor will outrank you doing this if you don't.

  10. 1

    Just go after a niche community and work the subreddit and twitter communities for that field. Twitter/reddit have been far more valuable than SEO for my platform

  11. 1

    All of these things have always been hard... :)

    1. 1

      That's for sure! However, buying your way to links is only but a very costly rabbit hole.

      You'll be surprised by the results we see users get with manual outreach. It doesn't always have to be incredibly hard, but sure takes some patience.

      1. 2

        That's for sure. I've tried paid backlinks once. Mostly worthless backlinks in the sense that it doesn't bring any traffic at all. Only DR. Manual outreach hasn't worked well for me either. Only creating useful free tools has worked.

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