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, and (currently) Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.
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