6-Step Link Building Plan for Niche Sites

People love talking about how to get websites to rank in Google.

It is a fun topic – an art form not a science – and everyone has an opinion.

Some people go full-on-white-hat guest posting while others wear a gray hat and build backlinks with expired domains, free web 2.0s, press releases, and anything else they can think of.

I am going hard core on my case study as of a couple weeks ago, around late July 2015, for reasons that I will post soon. I recently posted about going after the long tail keywords for my niche site. In that post, the keyword was ranking at about 32nd and about 10 days later it is ranked 20th.

Not bad for a keyword that I didn’t initially target for my site. If you are just getting started with your Amazon Affiliate Niche Site, then check out this roadmap about the whole process. Looking for more inspiration: Here are examples of Amazon Affiliate Sites with traffic data…AND get 15,000 Keywords.

It will be critical for me to get this particular site ranking for a few search terms in the next 90 days or so. When the retail season gets rolling, the results can be shocking.

You can see the monetary benefit of ranking well in the retail season. We need a back linking plan to do that, and just like any good project manager I am ready to plan!

Let’s look at how I sketched this out on the whiteboard…


Internal Linking – Silos

Grain Silos

Silos and deliberate interlinking…It requires some thought upfront and some planning. On my very first site, I just posted everything as a WordPress Post and it turned out fine. I didn’t really know what I was doing. That site still made a lot of money so implementing a silo structure isn’t absolutely necessary.

But the internal linking is necessary. In this particular case study, I have a post (or page) that I want to rank and the keyword has a large search volume. Let’s assume it’s about 10,000 exact match searches per month.

Let’s also assume there are about 5 supporting secondary keywords all of which have a post (or page) with 500 – 1,000 words of content. I would make sure that those supporting posts link to the post that is targeting the 10,000 search volume post.

Sort of like this Silo post talks about… Look for the graphic about interlinking…the one with all the arrows.

I am currently testing a similar idea, described very well by Matt at Diggity Marketing. Read more about Establishing Relevancy

Takeaway: Make sure your site has lots of interlinking in a way that makes sense topically.

Blog Commenting


Manual comments to real blogs. We are not talking about crappy, spammy comments here.

You actually have to put in the time and read the blog post. Then, you have make an intelligent comment. You can take a couple shortcuts by replying to another person’s comment. It still has to be a good comment so that it will be approved.

It is unlikely that you can rank a site solely with blog comments, but the referring domain diversity is a great thing to have.
Here is how I like to look up blogs to comment on – I target blogs that use CommentLuv.

Looking for do-follow blog comments?

After you get a bunch of these CommentLuv comments approve, you can use this strategy. You will need to pull a backlink report from ahrefs, moz, or majestic.

Filter for do-follow links only and you should have a list of a bunch of blogs that use CommentLuv and have the links set as do-follow.

Now, go comment on those blogs…again and again.

This isn’t a fast process and most likely, your competitors are not going to take the time to do this level of commenting.

Takeaway: Make real comments in your niche, or a related one, to get backlinks. Later, you can reach out to those blogs for guest posting.

Social Profiles


Go setup Twitter, FB, Pinterest profiles. Be sure to add a link to you website. The best practice is to actually use the accounts and share your content and other content from the niche.

Takeaway: Create profiles and be active on social media. You get backlinks in both cases.

Web 2.0s


Build out the sites manually or with a service like the HOTH. I wrote a guest post at Dumb Passive Income about creating Web 2.0s and here is more info about the process.

I actually use the HOTH for this process. They do a better job than me, they do it faster, and for cheaper than I could do it. Here is a video about how I order a Platinum package from the HOTH.

The big benefit is that you can get your backlinks from posts that are about the right topic. Niche relevancy is a big deal these days so a free Web 2.0 blog allows you to get niche relevant backlinks.

Takeaway: You can get in-context, niche relevant backlinks where you control the anchor text. If you build them manually, it can be a free source of backlinks.

Private Blog Networks


Private use only PBN. The emphasis is on private. The best practice is to use a PBN to link to one money site.

Sure, you can link to more but the risk increases fast. If you want to keep the money site safe, then a dedicated network is the way to go.

If you are new to PBNs, you can read more here.

Takeaway: Private Blog Networks work well when they are truly private. PBNs work even better when you have a dedicated network for ONE money site.

Guest Posting


Outreach, networking, and content creation. This is a back to basics kind of tactic. It is something that very few niche site builders even consider.

I used to be the same way. I said that guest posting takes too long, and that no one would actually accept my guest post. Well, I have changed my tune on guest posting.

I actually wrote a few guest posts on guest posting:

Here are a couple primers that helped me when I started out:

Here is my trick with guest posting for niche sites…

  1. Pitch you guest post idea to bloggers that you have already connected with, say through commenting on their blog, via email, or social media.
  2. Suggest that they put in their own Amazon Affiliate Links.
  3. Write an awesome post and link out generously to the blogger’s site, authority sites, and most importantly your own site.
  4. People love it when you can provide high quality original or royalty free images.

Here is the exact script that I use…

Hi (name),
I am a big fan of (site name). You may have noticed my comment on (post name) – great article too! 

I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post.

I’ve been brainstorming some topics that I think your readers would get a ton of value from:

  1. Idea A
  2. Idea B
  3. Idea C

I’ll make sure the piece overflows with information. You can even add your own Amazon Affiliate links within the post if you want.

Here are some other guest posts that I have done recently:

  • Sample 1
  • Sample 2
  • Sample 3


(your name)

It is no big deal if you don’t have any samples yet. I just added that part and it increased the conversion rate. Obviously, only provide the highest quality samples if you have them.

ninjaoutreachsidebarI highly recommend using a tool like Ninja Outreach to keep things organized. You can manage it all yourself using spreadsheets but trust me, a tool makes it go WAY faster. You can get a 14-day free trial with Ninja Outreach through my affiliate link.

I am getting about a 15% success rate by using that email sample above.

Takeaway: Guest posting works and most of you competition is not doing any guest posting. Once you get started, it is like a snowball…You gain momentum. Use a tool like Ninja Outreach to make the campaign easy.


You have to take this stuff in stages or you will get overwhelmed fast. There are multiple stages for each one of the six ways to get links above, and some of them take a great deal of time to execute, like blog commenting.

Others require some technical prowess and will cost some money for hosting and content, like the PBN.

And, something like guest posting requires personal relationships, writing content, and the ability to believe that someone will accept your guest post after hearing “no” 20 times in a row.

My advice is this:

  • Take each phase one by one.
  • Finish a small, but complete piece of each phase. The piece of work should stand on its own and be useful.
  • Move to another phase, and finish a small piece of that one.
  • Move on…repeat…
  • Refine your process over time. If something is performing really well for you, then double down on that one. Feel free to cut out a phase that is under performing.

It is important to actually work on a piece of a project for 2 reasons:

  1. A piece of a project is manageable to work on without getting overwhelmed. That is key for sanity.
  2. The piece of work can be completed and will stand on its own. The terrible thing that happens all the time is a project (or piece of a project) that is 95% complete.

Here is an example for a Private Blog Network

  • You may have grand plans to build out a PBN. (If you want to learn how to do it, check out the Ultimate PBN Course or you can learn about PBNs in general sign up for my free 10 part email course.)
  • Maybe you are planning on building out 10 domains, which is a nice sized network for a niche site.
  • You go out and find 10 domains.
  • Then you set up the hosting. You start getting the content written and then you have issues with one of you writers.
  • Next thing you know a month has passed and you only have one complete PBN domain even though you spent 40 hours on the process.

A better solution would be to work on one to two domains at a time. People will argue that batching the process will yield faster results since you can keep yourself from switching tasks.

The problem is that you aren’t running an assembly line. So, working on one or two domains at a time will allow you to finish them completely and move on. You can move on to the next couple domains or to another link building activity.

Link building is a game of incremental gains. 1% per day adds up over time.

Which ones of these strategies have you used to get links to your website? Let me know in the comments below.


About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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  • Thanks for the detailed post, Doug. I’m still depending on Web 2.0 and content marketing for all of my niche sites, and most of them are performing pretty good.

    BTW, I wrote a post last month on how I build my Web 2.0 properties that rank my niche sites. Feel free to check if you are free: https://marketever.com/how-to-get-backlinks-web-2-rank-site/


    • Hey Al-Amin, thanks for the comment!

      Are you going the guest post route for the content marketing? Any tips or observations?

      Great article about Web 2.0s!

  • Jack Agnew

    I don’t know how you do it all! More EXCELLENT information and time invested in writing this great article. And you are obviously doing what you teach and making some serious money at it.

    THANKS for this and all the articles you give us. I VERY much appreciate all that you do!

    May you have huge success in all that you pursue… Jack

  • I want to add slideshare and youtube for getting SEO juice and referral traffic. Both of these two media can really help in SEO in many ways. Web 2.0 and Guest posts are the two most important weapons to rank for niche sites. Thanks Doug for the awesome post 🙂

    • Seo Danismani

      Yes, I agree with you bro. I think you are finally right.

  • Hey,

    I am just getting started with building niche websites and was looking to build a PBN for my new niche website but I think as I should get started with manual blog commenting and Web 2.0’s before PBN’s. What do you say?


  • Only just seen this, but it’s a solid link building plan and not only one that works, but one that doesn’t rely too much on one particular method. You’ll get a nice clean link profile too.

  • Hi,
    Will you add new SEO document to your site? I wanna see 2016 SEO tools. Thank you now bro.

  • Feroz


    These are really great tips, but apart form this we should focus on onpage seo also. And the most effective way to boost rankings in 2016 is content marketing and optimization and targetting long tail keywords.
    this morning i found this beautiful infographic – you may consider it sharing with ur readers. https://www.dilate.com.au/blog/top-16-effective-search-engine-optimization-tips-ever-2016/

  • Steps are so details, Than you very much for you blog post 🙂

  • Hi Buddy
    I thoroughly enjoyed your post.. I glad that you have shared link building techniques. I was looking for link building techniques. Then i found your post . This post is the solution of mu all problems. I think Publishing info-graphics is a great way to build backlinks. Submitting infographics to infographics directory helps in building backlinks. I was still depending on Web 2.0 and content marketing for all of my niche sites. Now i will use your other tips also. Thanks for sharing this post with us. I will look forward for more information..
    Diane F. Cassity

  • Hi Doug,
    I truly find your website helpful, especially the Niche Site Process chart, your coaching case study of Jim Horner and other lessons in Youtube.
    I have subscribed to your channel.
    so far my takeaways are Keyword research is the most important, follow by content-related to KGR & generating back-links.
    Have a great day. Thanks!

  • I appreciate it.

    Do you think the web 2.0’s will be good to go for some time in the future? I know a lot of people are thinking they are going to take a hit.


  • Raul Brandão

    Nice article! Thanks for sharing this tips!

  • Wow, I feel like this post was written for me because the I’ve been victimized by those ineffective SEO tactics you mentioned, and as the internet matures it’s becoming more and more challenging to get decent backlinks.

  • Muhammad Saeed

    This is really nice post I appreciate this because I have to struggle to improve my blog to ranks in google but it was not going in ranks but honestly I just read this post and do the same got relevant backlinks and now it’s going great it has a handsome ranks in google even its a Blogspot blog but some keywords are really in google page first ranking thanks really appreciating your post.