Backlinks that Work in 2016

29 Jul

It is often said “content is king” when it comes to online marketing and it may partially be true. Especially if you’re relying on driving traffic to your website using organic social media. It’s not at all true when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) however.

Yes, having awesome content that gets shared a lot can help with better search engine rankings – especially if the content is keyword optimized – but it is no match for the right type of backlinks.

Do Backlinks still Work?

Let me say this: It is easier to rank a random site for a keyword (even if the keyword is irrelevant and nowhere on the site) using a strong backlink profile then it is to rank a keyword optimized site with high quality content alone.

Of course you want both – high quality content and strong backlinks – but my point is this: In SEO, content is not king (yet). It’s merely a prince that has the potential to one day become king.

When it comes to search engines (especially Google), backlinks always have and likely for many many years still will be king. Anyone disputing this does not fully understand how the World Wide Web (WWW) works… or just how much it depends on being interconnected to function (kinda like a spiderweb).

This isn’t just theory either. I’m done with theories. I say “backlinks are king” because they are what get my sites ranking in Google’s search results.

Yes, I always strive for exceptional content, but not much ever happens with it until I build some strong backlinks to it.

In other words: When you test two things (content and backlinks) over and over again, and only one of the two (strong backlinks) gets you positive results every single time, it would be foolish to insist the other thing (content) is what made it happen.

Heck, I’ve gotten small sites ranked in fairly competitive niches – for keywords that were nowhere to be found on the site – using nothing but strong backlinks.

So yes, backlinks still work. They work very well. They work better than anything else preached by SEO gurus today.

The only question that remains is…

What Type of Backlinks still Work?

I was relaxing in a hammock at my in-laws last week when I decided to shoot an impromptu video for you. Apologies in advance for the shaking and closeup. I promise to buy a selfie stick for next time (if I can get over the embarrassment of owning one by then, hehe).

What backlinks work for me?

  1. Press Releases: I know this is nothing new, but truth is, I don’t know of any SEOs that still use press releases to the extent I am. The reason it is not very popular with SEO folks is threefold.
    1. Most of the links are no-follow. I know a handful of the sites that usually publish my press releases give me do-follow backlinks, but for the most part they are no-follow. SEOs claim only do-follow links help you rank better but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve had tremendous overall ranking boosts as a direct result of press releases.
      I say overall because I tend to target short and extremely broad keywords when doing press releases. I don’t use them to target specific keywords (although you could). I use PBNs for that.
    2. The second reason press releases aren’t popular with SEOs is that the same press release (content) gets used on all sites the press release gets distributed to.  I say “who cares?”
      That is how news spreads – the same exact story over and over again. I’ve never had a site penalized because of this and don’t see why it ever would get penalized for it.
    3. SEOs find press releases expensive. And they can be if you go through the conventional press release channels. I’ve tried a bunch over the years but this is the only one I feel good recommending. Not only does Nix write the press release for you, but he distributes it to over 300 press release sites as well… all for just $59.
  2. Private Blog Networks (PBN): Everyone in the SEO world is preaching PBNs these days. They work wonderfully, but they are pricey to set up and even more costly to maintain.
    I have a small PBN that I use for my own sites but I for the most part just buy solid PBN links from other SEOs who know what they are doing. Here are a couple I can comfortably recommend: Lightning Rank, Wi450 (Gary), Hatred
    Also, this is where you want to use your various keywords (that you want to rank for) as anchor text.
  3. Web 2.0 PBNs: Getting backlinks from web 2.0 sites is not new either. People have been leveraging web 2.0 sites for a decade, but few people create legitimate web 2.0 PBNs. As in, finding expired web 2.0 names that have strong linkjuice/authority/ranking power, then recreating them and placing links on them. I went crazy in May setting up a TON of web 2.0 sites using names that used to exist (and had strong links pointing to them) and seen insane overall rank movement on the test sites. I did not use my money keywords as anchor text with these but used all kinds of relevant texts instead.
    I will eventually be coming out with a guide that will explain this one in more detail (how I find, sort through, and set up these sites, etc). It is a lot of work (roughly 1 hour per site), and you need a couple dozen of these to see results, but it’s free and well worth it.
    I have not bought any such sites/service as of yet, but you can totally do that if you have more money than time. Here are two that were recommended to me: BacklinkServices, MissingLink
  4. Commenting: Blog commenting has been used by SEOs for ages to get better rankings. In fact, it is such an original way of getting backlinks from relevant sites that most people tend to forget about it.
    It also doesn’t help that blog owners are getting spammed to hell and back by bots (which automatically leave comments that don’t make any sense). If comment backlinks didn’t work, no spammer would ever bother with it.
    My challenge to you? Go to the top 200 to 500 sites in your niche and physically leave a legitimate comment. Invest a couple minutes in making sure the comment has a good shot at getting approved by the blog owner. Do that and you WILL start seeing your rankings improve.
    I usually do this myself or have my assistant do it for me (make sure they are fluent in English though – it helps big time).

Google Rankings in 2016 are Easy!

Here’s the thing: Don’t complicate SEO. It really is so simple.

Do some keyword research, write high quality (relevant) content on your site, and then get busy building backlinks to it. Realize that ultimately what good rankings will come down to is backlinks.

The tougher the niche and the harder the competition for that keyword the more time and/or resources you will have to invest in backlinks. Yes, it IS possible to rank using just one of the above linking strategies (I have done it multiple times with each of the four link types), but don’t depend on one link-source alone.

Spread your eggs in different baskets to strengthen your site’s SEO foundation. Using one link-source alone doesn’t look natural and COULD – in theory – get you penalized… although I have to yet see that happen.


So there you have it. Backlinks still work in 2016 and likely will continue to work forever.

Content is not king (yet). Backlinks are king and will likely continue to be king for many many years to come.

What type of backlinks work? I show what backlink building strategies I use and how you can do the same, be it:

  1. Press Releases
  2. PBNs
  3. Web 2.0 PBNs
  4. Blog Commenting

I’ve given you my blueprint. The only other thing you need to get results like I am is action. Implement the above, track your results, and you too will start to rank in Google.

Lastly, bookmark this blog. I always test different things and as time permits I share my findings on here. While you’re at it – if you found this post useful – would you mind sharing it as well? All reciprocal love is GREATLY appreciated 🙂

Konrad Braun

I'm an entrepreneur at heart & have been a full-time internet marketer since 2009. I specialize in SEO & affiliate marketing. I married the most amazing woman I ever met & travel the world with her. I love my life!

3 thoughts on “Backlinks that Work in 2016

  1. Hey Konrad, thanks for the great tips and advice! I always find it helpful pay close attention to what you offer.

    We’re re-working and overhauling our main corporate website,, and we’ve been having some challenges showing up at all in the Google Analytics results. Even with our strong usage of ‘Social’ we seem to have a tough time getting people to share anything. Plenty seem to get reached and give it a ‘Like’ but that’s about where it seems to come to a grinding halt.

    As such, we’re going to give your strategies a ‘test run’ and see if it can help us out, like it has you. Thanks again and happy travels! If you get to Vallarta, stop in for coffee… 🙂

    Very best regards,
    Jen (Jennifer) McNeil,
    Executive Administrative Assistant,

    • Hi Jen,
      Thanks for the feedback. I much appreciate it!
      I too have tried going the social route on a few of my sites but – like yours – it just never went anywhere. Which is why I keep going back to good ole backlink building… the stuff that I KNOW works, hehe.
      Social is great but not nearly as powerful as often claimed to be (in terms of SEO). This is especially true when it comes to more “interesting” niche sites.
      Best of luck and if you need any help figuring it out, just give me a holler 🙂

  2. I think backlinking is probably the hardest part of SEO nowadays. Especially quality ones. Sometimes I have the impression that a nofollow link from a page with high PA and DA is worth more than a dofollow from a irrelevant domain

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