How Many Backlinks Do You Need to Rank on the First Page of Google? Is 1 Link Enough?


Are you wanting to know how many links you need to rank number 1 in Google. Well … unfortunately no one has that answer, but…

What I do have today is an experiment about the power of one very high authority backlink shooting a site from the 5th page to the first page and having it stick there.

One thing I want to make sure is emphasized is that the site used in this experiment is very high quality with 2,000 words of my own writing about a topic I am knowledgeable and it includes several useful videos. If you don’t have a quality site that deserves to be ranking on the first page of Google than throwing good links at a bad site is lipstick on a pig.

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7 Habits You Must Quit In Order To Build an Online Business on the Side


Are you wondering how much of a sacrifice is required to build an online business if you currently have a day job and family?

This post lays out 7 habits I enjoyed but happily chose to give up in order to get serious about growing my online business.

Plus I let you in on the 1 tip that made giving up these habits not feel like a sacrifice.

Each habit took up a portion of my time and energy that was not used to grow my business. By cutting out these activities and applying more diligent focus in the last 2 years I have seen my business grow consistently from $1-2k/month to over $10k/month.

My typical online business work schedule has me working 2-3hrs each weeknight (7:30pm-10:30pm) and 6hrs per day on weekends when my son is sleeping. My total hrs worked on my business is typically around 25hrs/week (some weeks can be a lot higher). [Read more...]

How to Register a Domain Name in 2014 and Avoid any Google Penalty

How to Register a Domain Name in 2014 and Avoid any Google Penalty

One thing that is great about the online world is the constantly changing landscape! Enough has been written about Matt Cutts “stick a fork in it” post on low value Guest Posting over the last week I wont address it. But, to be clear, I 100% still believe high quality guest posting is highly effective and my strategy here has not changed as a result of his post.

In this post I want to tie together several pieces of information that have gotten my attention over the last month which has resulted in a change to the way that me and my team register domains names in 2014. [Read more...]

How to Quickly Analyze Backlinks before Buying a Website or Expired Domain


Whenever purchasing a website or an expired domain there are a lot of risks that need to be considered. One of the biggest is the exposure to a Google Penalty based on the sites backlink profile (penguin or manual un-natural link penalty).

In this article I will show you the 9 common kinds of backlink SPAM and how to quickly spot them.

With both my expired domain finding service and my recent focus on purchasing a couple of websites I have been deep diving into analyzing backlinks.

What is the Risk?

Several months ago I purchased a website which I knew had paid for a few links. I believe as a result of those links the site went from making close to $1,000 in the first month I purchased it(after making monetization changes) down to $250/month due to a penalty!

I was aware of the links and believed I priced the risk fairly into the purchase ($4k to buy the site)…unfortunately for me the site got hit pretty quickly after purchasing.

Analyze Backlinks before Buying a Website

What Happened When I Purchased a Website With a Few BAD Backlinks

The 9 Types of Backlink Spam

I use MajesticSEO(not an affiliate link) to analyze backlinks because of the graphic representation of the link profile which makes it incredibly easy to quickly see the quality of the backlink profile.


Anchor Text manipulation is pretty easy to spot in Majestic SEO. Using the Anchor Text section there are 2 key things to look for..

  • First unnatural anchor text density
  • Secondly obvious SPAM in anchor text keywords (porn/poker/pharmaceutical or completely un-relevant keywords)
    • Unnatural Anchor Text Density
      • – Not as obvious an example but with the large number of links and only 3 different anchor texts this site shows clear signs of manipulation.Un-Natural Anchor Text Density
      • – This one is very obvious, 95% all with the same keyword – avoid!all with the same keyword
  • Obvious SPAM in Anchor Text
    • – This example is subtle! Often the spam is far more obvious with Porn/Pharmaceutical/Poker or other highly SPAMMED niches like PayDay loan anchor text. Whenever there are obvious signs of anchor text manipulation avoid it! In cases like the one below we need to ask ourselves if the anchor text could naturally occur in the way that it is being shown?Obvious SPAM in Anchor Text


  • Large difference Trust Flow to Citation Flow – Links build naturally should be balanced between citation flow and trust flow (or for MOZ PA/DA should not show a large (~3x or more) difference between them)
    • – Here there is an obvious mis-match with Trust Flow = 2 and Citation Flow = 15. Ideally we want that ratio to be close to 1:1 but anywhere up to 1:3 can naturally occur but be cautious whenever you get below 1:2 Trust:Citation.

mis-match with Trust Flow to citation Flow

  • Root to URL completely different - This one is often miss-understood. When there are good metrics for one domain and then none for another it often means that links were intentionally built to one URL and then none to another. This represents link manipulation!

Root to URL completely different

    • – Here the metrics on the Root Domain are ok but then the metrics at URL are non-existent!

metrics on the Root DomainVS…

metrics at URL

  • Concentration of Links on the TF vs CF Map – This is one of the reasons why Majestic is so great. A quick look at the TF vs CF graph can tell a lot about the backlink profile. The ideal graph is a series of domains spread along the line moving 1:1 from the origin. Two indications of a SPAMMY backlink profile is when there is an unreasonable concentration of links all in one location or when all the links are low trust. On the graph each dot represents a single link and the Trust and Citation score of that link.
    • – In this example shown below there are 2 concentration and another grouping along the bottom representing Trust Flow on each of those links of ZERO. Typically what occurs is when a link building service is purchased a lot of the links will come from similar sites with the same CF/TF which results in concentrations on the TF vs CF graph.Concentration of Links on the TF
    • – Here there is one single high density concentration of links, there is a chance with this link profile that it could occur naturally but this is a warning flag. Whenever there is a single concentration of links on the TF vs CF graph there is a reasonable expectation that the links are artificially created. Large consentration


  • Non-Relevant Link Pages/Directories/Blog Network Pages
    • (non-relevant links) – Non-relevant backlinks like the ones to this site provide no value.
    • (directory) – Here is an example of a site that only uses directory links. Relevant human-reviewed directories are good but having only non-relevant free  directories are bad!
    • (directory) – Here is another example of too many low value link/directory pages.
    • (PBN & Hacked Sites) – Sometimes most metrics can look good but when you visit the pages linking to it it becomes obvious the links are all blog network links or sites that have been hacked.
    • (SPAM sites) – When the sites linking to the URL are only SPAM sites then it is obvious the site provides no value and should be avoided.
    • (non-relevant directories) – Again relevant directories and link pages can be natural however, low value directories as shown by these links are bad.
    • (Blog Network) – There is the famous quote from Judge Potter Stewart stating in regards to Porn vs art “I know it when I see it” and this applies to most of us who look at websites and can quickly determine if the site is built only for links or not. When the majority of the links pointing to a domain was clearly built for the purposes of providing a link, like in this example, we should avoid it.
  • Blog Comment or Forum SPAM
    • (Forum) – Blog comments and forum SPAM are old low value black-hat tactics that still many domains have links from. In these cases it is important to look at the comment and forum post and just think if it is reasonable. Blog comments and forum links that are real are fine, blog comments and forum links that are only left for the purpose of the link are bad! Another fast way to tell is to see if there are A LOT of useless comments on the post…if that is the case then the site likely has auto-approve comments on and has been hammered by low-value black hat SEOs. 
  • Foreign Language Links
    • – Here is an example of english links on foreign language websites. This is almost always a sign of link manipulation and if spotted should be avoided.


Most of the instructions above are pretty obvious. The intent of this post with the videos was to hopefully show a nice effective way to quickly determine the quality of the backlinks pointing to a site. Using MajesticSEO daily is a huge time saver for me and I wanted to share some of the tricks I have learned analyzing thousands of domains and dozens of sites over the last few months.

What other tools do you use to analyze a sites backlink quality? Ahrefs? OpenSiteExplorer? other?

How effective is a Private Blog Network – Actual Results Revealed

Timeline of PBN Sites Being Built vs Search Ranking

For all my talk about the effectiveness of expired domains and private blog networks there is little in the way of quantifiable proof showing just how effective it is.

Not just if it is effective but by how much can a private blog network improve your search engine rankings?

I will break this post into 2 parts…

  • Part 1 – By the numbers – We will deep dive looking at the search ranking movement of 13 sites who all had quality private blog networks built linking to them using this service. [Read more...]

Best Web Hosting Affiliate – Learned From 100 Sign Ups in 1 Weekend

Affiliate 4

This post is going to look at over 100 affiliate web hosting sales I generated to multiple hosting companies and answer the question of who has the best web hosting affiliate program.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday web hosting promotion I ran gave me a unique opportunity to review multiple hosting affiliate programs at one time. [Read more...]

Top 3 Cyber Monday Web Hosting Deals 2013

cyber Monday web hosting deals

Here are the top 3 Cyber Monday Web Hosting Deals. This whole weekend has seen some pretty incredible hosting deals! I have been busy adding accounts to my network as my done for you private blog network service scales.

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Top 10 Black Friday Hosting Deals 2013 – That I Purchased


The popularity and demand of my done for you private blog network service has been great. One thing I have been having to do is add more and more hosting accounts to my network since no clients site is on the same hosting account. One exciting project I am working on is creating a very detailed comparison of all these hosting companies speed, support, etc and will share my finding in a couple months.

So Black Friday has offered a great opportunity to add accounts at steep discounts.

After my VA’s have done research these are the 10 accounts I added to my network today so I thought I would share that research with everyone…



The 10 Unlimited Hosting Accounts I Purchased on Black Friday 2013

All these hosts offer unlimited domains, CPanel or similar and are popular reliable hosting companies.

Each of these hosts I am now (or again) a customer of. I haven’t obviously had time to try them all out but my VA’s did a lot of research to recommend these 10 for adding to our network.


1. IPage - 88% Off – $1/month

This is a huge sale from a host that has been pretty solid to work with in the past.


2. WebHostingBuzz - 75% Off – $1.74/month

Quality CPanel hosting with good uptime and fast servers is the not so unique selling proposition of WebHostingBuzz. I will see how they perform.


3. HostGator - 75% Off – $1.98/month

Although the service has dropped their discount makes it hard to pass up – 75% OFF!


4. WebHostingPad - 80% Off – $0.99/month (UPDATED)

This hosting company has won a lot of awards, unfortunately they are all a few years old. I will have to see if some of the more recent reviews turn out to be true and they don’t have the best up time.


5. Eleven2 - 25% Off – $5.00/month (UPDATED)

I am excited to try this host. I have had them on my list to add after hearing about their high speed and their new age looking interface.


6. FatCow - 65% Off – 3.15/month

FatCow has been a solid host for me with great up time and limited other problems of any sort.


7. iPower – 65% Off – $3.25/month

iPower I am sure is another member of one of the larger hosting conglomerates. I expect reasonable service but I always like to try and get hosting companies outside of the conglomerates for data centre IP diversity.


8. MyHosting - 50% Off – 3.25/month

I am surprised I have never used this company before since it is a trusted name in the hosting world. Popular choice with good reviews and unlimited hosting.


9. Arvixe - 50% Off – $3.25/month

Arvixe has been getting pretty solid reviews for a number of years and so expect to get exactly what I am looking for out of them. I have little concern with Arvixe and think they will be a great new host.


10. BlueHost - 50% Off – $3.95/month

BlueHost has been really annoying lately for me, lots of too many file warnings etc but it is still a very popular service so hosting a small portion of my done for you clients sites on it just makes sense.


After my VA’s scoured the internet these were the 10 unlimited hosting accounts I decided to add to my network today.

Are there any better ones that I missed?


7 Ways to Make an Ass of Yourself in the Online Business World


The online world is a pretty amazing place… It is capable of sharing and showcasing some of the best of humanity – “people are awesome videos” “TED Talks” plus anyone can add value to world and build a business from anywhere – pretty amazing! [Read more...]

5 Productivity Tips and 5 Productivity Failures While Traveling

My Travel Bag Set Up - No Wheels
The last few weeks has seen me doing more traveling than I normally do for my day job and holidays. The trips were somewhat unexpected and with the increased online workload of bringing a small group of beta testers through a done for you expired domain service I have been extra busy.

This post is going to talk about a few things I have done to try and be as productive as possible while traveling and several of the problems I am having. There are far more experienced travelers than me and hopefully if you are one of them you can drop some of your best tips in the comments below. [Read more...]