In late December 2017, I applied for access to Authority Builders and was approved. And in 2018, this was the main backlinks service that I tested across a variety of sites.
If you’re wondering what the service is like and what you can expect from the links, then grab yourself a cup of coffee. I share my thoughts and experience with this service and the links that I ordered.
This post contains some affiliate links to products that I use and love. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
I’m a previous Diggity Links customer, so I was expecting a similar experience since Matt is associated with Authority Builders. (disclaimer: I don’t know him personally and have never met him or Pete, the other guy who runs AB.) So anyways, I started buying links from Authority Builders expecting decent things to come from it.
I’ve used other services like this in the past and the problem that these types of services usually have is that you end up on lots of sites that are basically PBNs with low traffic (I usually just call these pseudo PBNs cause in essence they are PBNs but they have traffic and a little more effort put into them than your average PBN) . Those types of links can give you a rankings boost, but they’re not exactly future proof (or manual penalty proof).
So, I went into this fully expecting to have around 20% of my delivered links ending up on pseudo PBN sites. And I expected some noticeable rankings improvements, but nothing crazy.
What I Ordered
I placed my first order on January 5th, 2018 and through the end of the year I managed to order a total of 75 links from Authority Builders.
I used this service all year long on a variety of sites – some of my personal affiliate sites, some of my partner sites, and some client affiliate sites (I don’t normally use links from services like this on client sites unless they know and/or request them).
All in, those 75 links are split across 11 different sites. A few sites got only a single link each, while the most links any of the sites received was 35 links to a single site.
If you’re wondering why I only sent a single link to some of those sites, it was purely for testing purposes.
The cheapest link I got was just $63.75 and the most expensive was $363.75.
And my average per link cost was just $151.45. (so yes, I spent over $10K on links with Authority Builders last year)
Based on what I’ve seen when testing other services, right now Authority Builders has the largest inventory of sites for you to choose from when you’re looking to buy links. And they are regularly adding new sites to the inventory.
I like that I can do keyword searches for relevant sites and then sort the results by when their stats were last updated or by the site traffic. This helps speed up the process of identifying the types of links that I think are valuable for my sites. Yay, efficiency!
Are the links put on sites that are PBNs or pseudo PBNs? No, not that I’ve noticed. However, I did end up with a few links where if I’d known what the site was in advance, then I’d never have wanted a link on it (like contentrally.com). Of course, that’s just a personal thing cause I try to avoid “citizen newspaper” style sites. It was my fault though cause I knew in advance that I was buying a link on a site that covered multiple niches.
And since I always get this question from someone when I review a link service, yes, some of these links end up on sites that you could find and contact on your own if you want to put in the time to do so.
One thing that I think could be improved is their replacement suggestion feature when, for whatever reason, the site you want your link on just isn’t going to happen. While I appreciate that they give you replacement options, there doesn’t really seem to be any clear method in regards to how those replacements are selected.
Often the replacements are not even in the same niche as the original site you ordered a link from. And, sometimes the cost is wildly different from what you originally ordered – I once had placed an order for a link under $200 and my replacement option was $800! Luckily, you can just email them with your preferred replacement option, but that’s not super efficient….which is the whole point of using a service instead of going the DIY route.
Customer service is great. Whenever I’ve had any questions or problems, someone has quickly responded to me and taken care of it. So, I really appreciate that about this service.
I did have a weird situation not that long ago where I guess a blogger thought they were being sneaky and decided to publish the post containing my link with the noindex tag (or maybe it was a complete accident?). Obviously, I noticed this and sent in a message to support. In the end, they got the blogger to remove that noindex tag and the post got indexed in Google….though I can see that a week later the post was edited again and now it’s no longer in Google’s index, but that’s a rant for another day. (Just to be clear, I don’t blame Authority Builders for this blogger’s actions – this can happen to anyone at anytime when you’re paying for links.)
One thing that I’ve noticed about this service compared to others is that they try to get your guest posts live VERY quickly. In fact, I often get emails telling me the blogger hasn’t responded in a couple of days and that I can pick a replacement if I want. I always just ignore those emails the first time they come around because I’m in no hurry and I don’t want to miss out on a good link by being impatient. But if you are an impatient sort of character, then you’ll love this about Authority Builders!
But Do The Links Work?
And now, the most important part of this whole thing – did I see any movement from the sites that got the links?
One of my test affiliate sites got a total of three links from Authority Builders last year. No other links were sent to this site.
Yeah, not impressive traffic, I know. But, this affiliate site is in a very competitive niche, has no other links built, and actually started earning around $75/mo in 2018 without any fresh content (other than the start of the year) and these three links.
Plus, this site has several #1 rankings for long tails in this niche.
Links for it hit in:
Though this is a competitive niche, it is one that is very easy to build links in at a low cost if you go the DIY route. I spent around $365 total for those three links (so, $121 avg) and that is a really high cost for this niche. I tell you this because using a service like this is definitely not the right choice for all niches – if you know that it’s easy to build links at a low cost yourself in your niche, then your money is better spent hiring a VA or someone else to do it.
Next up, this site got a total of 12 links from Authority Builders, however it did also earn some natural links during this time period so the test isn’t completely clean. And to throw another wrench in this one, it got hit by a manual penalty in June cause some neckbeard sent it a bunch of spam links!
Here’s how the links hit this site:
- April (1)
- May (1)
- July (2)
- October (1)
- November (1)
- December (6)
Note that most of the links came after the manual penalty and the recovery for this site has been VERY strong. In Q3 and Q4 2018, this site picked up some nice #1 rankings and featured snippets.
Looks pretty good, huh?
And now, for the site that got the most links, Authority Builders was used as an additional source of links and was not the only place links came from. This site also managed to get hit by spam links in the summer and earned itself a shiny manual penalty. (same niche as the other site I mentioned that got a penalty)
Here’s how those links were disbursed:
- February (1)
- March (5)
- April (5)
- May (3)
- June (9)
- July (6)
- August (3)
- October (1)
- November (1)
- December (1)
In Q4 2018, my team was doing most of the outreach for this site, which is why the link buying sort of fell away here. The site was still getting plenty of links, just not from Authority Builders.
Lest you think every site I used these links on resulted in amazing growth, I can show you some of my dud sites. This site was also hit by a ‘spam links created by assholes’ manual penalty in June. (yup, same niche as the other two sites that got hit)
Recovery for this one hasn’t been as easy as it was for the other sites I worked with that were hit by the same penalty.
In total, this site got 12 links from Authority Builders and no other links were built to it. Here’s how those links landed:
- March (1)
- April (2)
- June (2)
- August (1)
- October (2)
- November (3)
- December (1)
I want to point out though that just because the site isn’t seeing an amazing recovery after the penalty, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the fault of the links or this particular service. Links are really only part of what you need to rank and this site could be suffering from on-page stuff or other issues. (This isn’t my site, so I’ve not diagnosed it – I’m only contracted for occasional link building and not paid for analysis.)
Here’s another test site that only got links from Authority Builders in 2018 until December when it got a single link from a different service that I’m testing. This one got two links that both went live in the same month.
The two links both went live in late April. This site was on a bit of a downward slide before those links hit and it appears that an algo update in May pushed it even further down.
I basically didn’t touch this site all year, other than the links. So, you can’t really draw any conclusions here in regards to rankings drops and these links, especially since the overall neglect of the site and thin content are likely the cause of the site’s decline. Sometimes you can just throw links at problems, and sometimes you can’t.
Recommend: Yes or No?
Though I’m in the midst of testing other services, right now this is my recommendation for people who want to outsource their link building on the cheap. I know that cheap is a relative term, but I’m defining it as an average per-link cost of around $150.
So, yes, I do recommend it if your link budget is around $150 average per-link. But please keep in mind that no service is perfect and there’s no guarantee that you’ll see positive results. There’s not even a guarantee that you’ll have the same experience as me.
Honestly, if you’re thinking about using them, then I suggest you start today because you gotta apply and get approved to use the service.
Seriously, don’t wait.
I do want point out that if you can spend more on your link acquisition or just go the DIY route and put in the time to hustle up your own links, then you’ll end up with overall better quality/value for the money. My team has scored some DR 70 and DR 80 links at a much cheaper per-link cost (not for any of the sites mentioned above, though).
That being said, I have scored some great links through Authority Builders, so don’t think that you can’t get awesome links from them. Also, they do sell more expensive editorial links, but I haven’t bought any of those…yet.
And, I suggest that you never get all of your links from a single source, no matter how good or safe it seems. So, don’t exclusively use this (or any other service) for all of your link building. Mix it up a bit and spread your risk. Cause remember, technically Google doesn’t want you actively seeking out links like this.
For the best results from Authority Builders, I suggest you sort by traffic and seek out the highest traffic options that you can afford and that are niche relevant. Just be sure to check that ‘last updated’ column to make sure you’re looking at recent data.
If you do want to use the service, then you need to apply and get your account approved before you start ordering links. You can learn more at: https://authority.builders/
reminder – I have no relationship/connection to this service or the owners, this is just my personal opinion/experience. And yes, I do still use this service for some of my personal sites.
June 2019 update – I’ve added some affiliate links to this post, but it doesn’t change how I feel about the service. I’m currently still using it.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.
20 thoughts on “Review: I Bought 75 Links From Authority Builders in 2018”
Thanks Shawna, I found my way from your experiences using FatJoe for link building. Looks like AuthorityBuilders is the way to go and wish there was an affiliate program I would reward you with. Anyway, thanks for this honest review and will bookmark your site as I also have some profitable niche sites. Thanks! – Joshua
Thanks for comprehensively documenting this whole process for the benefit of everyone else, Shawna! I’ve seen Authority Builders mentioned a few times elsewhere, too; may have to check them out now.
Cheers, really good summary and a great review. Matt Diggity knows his stuff!
Thank you for the detailed review. I signed up for Authority Builders via your affiliate link yesterday and have just been approved.
Thanks for letting me know about the service. Will try them out and see how it goes!
That’s great! I hope you get good results from them. And just an FYI – they’re going to have a 25% discount offer on Black Friday.
I have applied for authoritybuilders but I didn’t get approval yet, it’s been a year around.
Is there any way to get quick approval? Please let me know.
I’m not aware of any ways to expedite the process. If you have multiple sites, then you can try applying again with a new site. Good luck!
Thanks for the info, do you plan to check the results again and what the DR of the websites was in real? Did you find that sites in your competitiors links?
I still use the service and have only spot checked the stats of the sites and found no problems with them. And yes, from time to time I do see competitors getting links from the same sites, but they could be getting those just from pulling my links and reaching out to the sites. That’s a risk no matter how you get your backlinks.
Nice article. I was thinking if I should get links from ABC and came across this article.
Appreciate the time and effort taking this up!
Great article. I was on the fence about using them. Now i feel more comfortable trying them out. Thanks for the info.
I have a couple of questions.
Are you still using Authority Builders?
If so has your experience changed?
Is it getting better or is it getting worse?
Do you do SEO for other people?
I just looked in my AB account and the last order I placed with them was August 2019. I don’t feel like my experience with the service has really changed for the better or worse, but it does seem like the average link cost has increased while the site quality has remained roughly the same. For that reason, I’ve been doing more outreach myself (and with my linkbuilder). However, I sold a bunch of my sites in the first half of 2019, so that left me with more time on my hands to do the link building on my own.
I occasionally do SEO for others. Client SEO isn’t really a major focus for me though. If I did a lot of client work, then I’d probably use a service like AB just to save time (which I assume is what you’re really asking here).
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the detailed review!
Just got a couple of questions.
1) How old were the above domains?
2) What kind of anchor text strategy did you use? Exact / Partial etc?
3) Would you recommended building AB links immediately after a domain jumps the sandbox?
4) Do still build and flip websites? How long does it take you from registering a new domain to reaching your desired organic traffic before you flip it?
Looking forward to your reply 🙂
1)If you’re referring to my sites that got the backlinks pointed at them, they were between 1-3 years old.
2)When I buy links like this I tend to go for things like “best blender,” “blender reviews,” “cheap blender” with a mix of stuff like “one of these blenders” and “get yourself a blender”. I just try to mix things up and not re-use the same anchor text.
3)Why wait? I start building link as soon as I see that posts start getting indexed and showing up with keywords in Ahrefs.
4)Yes. Depending on the niche and how much focus I put into the site, usually between 15-24 months. And that’s to flip a site earning between $1K and $3K/mo. This year I’ve decided to hold sites until around $5K before the flip, so I’m not sure yet how long that will take.
Good luck out there!
Thanks for the prompt reply.
Really some useful information there. Much appreciated.
So do you just go for outreach links straightaway? I mean before profile/Web 2.0s/foundation links?
How about content? Do you aim for a minimum number of pages?
Sorry I missed this reply last week. I try to setup the social profiles first and then do the links, but that’s mostly because I want to auto-syndicate the new posts to social as I get them live. But I don’t always get around to the social profiles when I intend to.
Typically I’m at around 15-20 pages before link building, but with a new site I started this year I basically creating a landing page with an email signup and started HARO link building immediately. Then, I started adding content.
No need to apologize. Thanks once again.
So what changed since you wrote this article? Do you still buy links from them? Or do you recommend any other service instead? How do you build links nowadays? Thanks.
Not really buying any guest posts these days. Primarily using HARO for links.