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Top 3 Best Link Building Services (We Spent $1 Million to Find Out)

Are you looking for the best link building services in 2022?

I got you covered because Chris Dreyer (founder of Rankings.io) and I have spent well over $1,000,000 on different link building services.

Let’s jump right into the findings.


Best Link Building Services for 2022

1. Page One Power

Page One Power

It should come as no surprise that Page One Power had the highest quality links.

I questioned whether or not we should have them on this list because they aren’t productized services like the others. They have monthly retainers, and their service is custom for each client.

That said, they are still a “link building service.”

And I must say, they’re damn good at what they do.

Page One Power’s link placements were the most consistent out of all the services I tested. But it wasn’t just their link placement that impressed me.

It was HOW they built links.

I’ve been preaching this for a long time, but the best way to build links to your site is by creating linkable assets. ALL of Page One Power’s placements do precisely that.

In fact: It’s a requirement.

This is the safest and most natural way to build links to your site.

It’s far more natural to acquire links to an informational content asset than a boring transactional page (example: local lead capture page or product page).

Placement #1 (5/5)

Page One Power Link Placement
  • Total cost: $550
  • Domain Rating (DR): 73
  • Ahrefs Rank: 48,167
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow): 3,101
  • Total Keywords: 16,740
  • Estimated Organic Search Traffic/mo: 7,441
  • Domain Relevance: 1/5
  • Content Relevance: 3/5
  • Content Readability: 4/5
  • Grammarly Score: 86%
  • Word Count: 768

I wanted to highlight this link placement because it doesn’t seem like it deserves a 5/5 (on the surface).

But let’s dig a little deeper.

Page One Power had to find link opportunities in the legal niche. Unfortunately, this is a notoriously tricky niche for getting REAL links.

The workaround is to sacrifice domain-level relevance.

Instead, you can build relevance on the content level.

I gave them a 3/5 for content relevance because it was a little broad, but I understand the reasoning (which is to make the placement more natural).

There were three elements that I loved about this link placement.

1. The content is editorial and written by a legit author

Editorial

2. The link profile is beautiful

The domains have DoFollow links from Adobe, The Guardian, Techcrunch, IBM, and Wall Street Journal.

Quality Links

3. They’re linking to a linkable asset

Page One Power linked to a data-driven blog post on the law firm’s site.

Perfect!

This link placement is an excellent example of why domain-level relevance isn’t always critical. A link can be high-quality when it’s on a website with a strong link profile, and the content is somewhat topically relevant.

Placement #2 (3/5)

Site
  • Total cost: $550
  • Domain Rating (DR): 69
  • Ahrefs Rank: 10,8155
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow): 2,411
  • Total Keywords: 7,381
  • Estimated Organic Search Traffic/mo: 995
  • Domain Relevance: 1/5
  • Content Relevance: 5/5
  • Content Readability: 3/5
  • Grammarly Score: 93%
  • Word Count: 626

This link placement had some good qualities such as:

  • It is indexed
  • The content is readable and high-quality
  • The content is linking out to other quality sources and does have internal links
  • It has a legit author

But it also has a few issues.

The website is general, and it covers sports, lifestyle, culture, women, money, and pretty much every topic under the sun.

General

The content the link was placed in is loosely relevant (and that’s a stretch).

The client is a personal injury lawyer, and the article is about “The Best Natural Teeth-Whitening Methods.”

Content Relevance

It is linking to a linkable asset about “chemical burns from defective whitening products” on the client’s site.

This is good. But overall, it’s quite the stretch.

However, the biggest issue I found was with the link profile. What I’m about to show you were a common trend among poorly-rated links in this case study.

It is the presence of public blog network links.

Blog Network

I believe that these links are built by the people who paid for the links.

PBN example

I don’t believe the host website built them in most cases. But, of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Placement #3 (1/5)

Remember when I said I would show the good and the bad?

This placement was an example of the bad (but probably not why you think). This placement has excellent metrics, good content, and a solid link profile.

Page One Power - Link Placement

So, what’s missing?

The client’s link was removed!

I’m not sure whether or not Page One Power replaced this link.

But if it wasn’t, that’s $550 flushed down the toilet and a missed opportunity for a link to age.

This was the only “bad” link I analyzed from Page One Power.

Page One Power Review

Page One Power is the real deal. So, if you have the budget, you should consider working with them. They understand how to build links in a natural and safe way. They vet every link opportunity, and they’re doing great work.

My only recommendation for them is to watch out for author footprints.

I noticed they used the same author for many of the placed links. These leave a big footprint.


2. Fat Joe

Fat Joe

Fat Joe offers a popular blogger outreach service. The service is priced based on Domain Authority (DA) from Moz and it ranges from DA 10 – DA 40.

In most cases, I would avoid websites in the DA 10 + range because they’re A) too weak and B) not high-quality.

Hence the reason why they have low authority. You can, however, use lower authority links to grow the authority of tier-one placements.

Link Placement #1 (5/5)

Fat Joe Link Sample
  • Total cost: $253
  • Domain Rating (DR): 16
  • Ahrefs Rank: 10,523,902
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow): 163
  • Total Keywords: 2,518
  • Estimated Organic Search Traffic/mo: 463
  • Domain Relevance: 4/5
  • Content Relevance: 5/5
  • Content Readability: 4/5
  • Grammarly Score: 66%
  • Word Count: 1,351

We purchased a DA 30 + placement and was quite impressed by the quality and results. The link went live around May 3rd:

Fat Joe Results

The target site was in a very linkable niche, but we liked several key parts of this placement.

1. It has a natural and relevant link profile

Link Profile

2. The content was great

The content was long and had quality external and internal links. It also had a strong readability score and was topically relevant to the target site.

Content quality

3. The site is active and relevant

There aren’t many links on our list that received a 4 or 5/5 on site-level relevancy. This one scored a 4. It wasn’t 100% relevant, but it was a closely related niche.

Link Placement #2 (1/5)

  • Total cost: $60
  • Domain Rating (DR): 25
  • Ahrefs Rank: 6,041,323
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow): 398
  • Total Keywords: 237
  • Estimated Organic Search Traffic/mo: 33
  • Domain Relevance: 3/5
  • Content Relevance: 4/5
  • Content Readability: 2/5
  • Grammarly Score: 78%
  • Word Count: 560
Fat Joe Link Placement

This placement received a poor rating for several reasons.

1. The page isn’t indexed

Always copy and paste the page hosting your link into Google. There’s a problem if it doesn’t show up. If the page isn’t indexed, then your link is worthless.

Plain and simple.

2. The site isn’t secure

It’s a pretty well-known fact that Google cares about security.

Not secure

They’re labeling websites without SSL certificates as “Not Secure” on Google Chrome.

3. The content has outbound links, but they look like other paid links

I don’t know whether this vendor placed these links or the host website did. Either way, it looks like a link farm.

Paid links

4. The site has turned into a hub for paid links

Every new blog post is thin and crammed with paid links. So it’s safe to assume that getting a link on this site is practically worthless.

5. The link profile is weak

The link profile has barely (if any) editorial links and has directory, profile, and web 2.0 links.

Weak links

Fat Joe Review

Fat Joe is a reliable link building service as long as you use it the right way. I would stay away from the DA 10 + on tier one (but it’s probably safe to be used on tier two).

I also recommend upgrading the content length when you order. Most people likely purchase the default word count, and this leaves a footprint.

Lastly, promote linkable assets instead of transactional pages.


3. The Hoth

The Hoth

The Hoth is one of the most well-known link building company’s in the SEO industry.

They have a very successful company, but how’s the quality of their link building strategy? Keep reading to find out.

Link Placement #1 (5/5)

  • Total cost: $300
  • Domain Rating (DR): 90
  • Ahrefs Rank: 735
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow): 27,951
  • Total Keywords: 200,828
  • Estimated Organic Search Traffic/mo: 39,414
  • Domain Relevance: 1/5
  • Content Relevance: 5/5
  • Content Readability: 4/5
  • Grammarly Score: 91%
  • Word Count: 630

We ordered from The Hoth GP link building agency, and for the criteria type, we selected “Traffic” and 10,000. I know many people have opinions about The Hoth, but this placement was excellent for our backlink profile.

Not only did the link building campaign meet our criteria, but it’s already producing results in our search engine rankings.

The Hoth Results

There were a few elements I loved about this backlink building:

1. It’s on extremely authoritative quality websites and web pages

The metrics on this placement are nutty (as you can see above) and over-delivered. That’s a good thing.

For a website to be this authoritative, it’s guaranteed to have a strong link profile.

Quality Link Profile

2. It’s very editorial

The article is topically relevant, professional, and well-edited. Other relevant links also surround the target link anchor text.

Link Placement #3 (3/5)

  • Total cost: $180
  • Domain Rating (DR): 34
  • Ahrefs Rank: 2,361,323
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow): 955
  • Total Keywords: 6,349
  • Estimated Organic Search Traffic/mo: 1,110
  • Domain Relevance: 1/5
  • Content Relevance: 3/5
  • Content Readability: 3/5
  • Grammarly Score: 74%
  • Word Count: 596

The Hoth was in a tough situation with this client because they are in the legal space. It would have been much easier for them to land a relevant link if the client was promoting a linkable asset (instead of their homepage).

Their link-building tactics were decent, but they had some issues.

The Hoth Link Placement

Here’s the good:

  • The link is indexed
  • The link is surrounded by external and internal links
  • The content is topically relevant
  • The content quality is decent
  • It’s a real website
  • The site has real traffic

It has some quality links:

Link Quality

But the bad part about this link placement is the other part of this site’s link profile. It’s littered with public blog network links:

Network Links

The biggest giveaway of network links is when a website has many homepage links. It’s rare to have homepage links, so when you see it, it’s a red flag.

Here’s what the network site looks like:

public blog network site

The other negative side of this guest posting placement is that it’s not relevant on the domain side.

Link Placement #3 (1/5)

Where do I start with this one?

The client ordered a link from The Hoth’s guest post service, and they received a link on a web 2.0 (Weebly).

Weebly

Just so you’re aware, web 2.0s are not editorial links. Anyone can create a free account on Weebly and create what you see above.

These links worked well several years ago, but they’re practically worthless now.

Plus, that’s not what the client ordered.

The Hoth Review

Everyone in the SEO community has an opinion about The Hoth, but the links I analyzed were solid.

I recommend selecting “traffic” as your criteria when purchasing links from them. And like Fat Joe, avoid low authority placements (DA 10 +).


Other Link Building Services We’re Testing

This section is dedicated to link building services that we believe have potential. However, we haven’t invested enough capital to make a fair assessment of their link quality.

RhinoRank

RhinoRank

RhinoRank offers two different types of link building services: guest posts and curated links. Their curated links service will get you placements within existing content.

I’ve seen mixed results with their curated links. Some are great, some are really low-quality. I’ll report back soon.

Audience Bloom

Audience bloom

Audience Bloom (now SEO.co) was founded by the prolific online writer, Jayson DeMers. They used to only provide link building services, but now they offer a wide array of services.

That said, we have a lot of link data from them and I’ll let you know how they are soon.

Authority Builders

Authority Builders

I’ve tested and analyzed a few links from these guys. It’s a great service because you get to select what website your link will be placed on.

Authority Builders is also operated by a standup guy, Matt Diggity.

Loganix

Loganix

Most of my experience with Loganix is with their local services. However, we’re currently testing their links. They let you pre-approve their placements and the company is run by Adam Steele.

Adam cares about customer experience, so I’m sure their services are excellent. I’ll report back soon.

There are a few other services that we’re looking into, such as Click Intelligence, Love to Link, and SEO Butler as well.


Here’s a high-level overview of the 942 links we analyzed:

As of 6/24/2020, we’ve collected data from 942 different link placements. We have the most data from Fat Joe and Page One Power. This will change as we continue to add more orders to our database.

Total Links

The Hoth and Page One Power had the highest number of unique linking root domains (on average). However, this data isn’t valuable at a high level. I’ll explain why.

Average Referring Domains (DoFollow)

Both link building companies also dominated the total organic keywords for their placements. This is a solid metric, but it’s also not 100% reliable because of the reasons I’ll explain.

Total Keywords (Average)

Lastly, link placements from Page One Power and The Hoth also dominated the estimated organic search traffic numbers.

Estimated Organic Search Traffic (Average)

Here’s how we conducted these link building companies services case study:

1. We gathered metrics for all link placements using Ahrefs

The KPIs we used for a 30,000-foot view analysis are:

  • Ahrefs Rank
  • Referring Domains (DoFollow)
  • Keywords
  • Traffic

The objective was to see what services faired best at a high level.

Here’s why high-level metrics (averages) don’t work:

1. Varying order types

Some links are at a higher price point, while others are at a lower price point. As you can imagine, higher-priced placements are generally better. This leads to:

2. Metric inflation

One or two websites with big numbers can inflate the averages. Therefore, we filtered out super high-authority sites to avoid inflating the averages as much as possible.

3. Total referring domains doesn’t mean much

The only way to truly judge the quality of a website’s link profile is to do a manual analysis. Link-by-link.

That’s why step #2 in this process was critical.

2. I randomly selected ten link placements from each vendor and did a manual analysis

I’ll be sharing a granular analysis of 2-3 out of the ten link placements for each vendor. My focus will be on placements that received a perfect score of 5, an average score of 3, and a poor 1.

Here are the domain-level criteria we used:

  • Is this a legit website or a PBN rebuild?
  • Is this website active?
  • Is this website adding new value or is it just a hub for accepting paid links?
  • Is the website using an SSL certificate?
  • Does the website have a clean history?
  • Is the domain-relevant? To score this, we used The Relevancy Pyramid.
  • Does the website explicitly say that it accepts guest posts, sponsored posts, or paid links?
  • Does the business have an external presence on social media?
  • Does the website have organic search traffic? If not, does it have traffic from other sources?

Here are the page-level criteria we used:

  • Is the page hosting the link indexed?
  • Does the article have a legitimate author?
  • Is the article readable?
  • Does the article have a Grammarly score greater than 70?
  • Does the article have relevant, high-quality external links?
  • Does the article have internal links?
  • Is the article thin?
  • Is the article topically relevant?

Based on high-level metrics and manual analysis, these are the top 3 best link building services:


Big Takeaways

Analyzing these link building services was fun, thought-provoking, and grueling. Through the process, I realized a few things.

1. There are no perfect link building services (and that’s fine)

Getting perfectly relevant links with impeccable link profiles is nearly impossible.

The point of a link building service is to help you offload one of the most time-consuming tasks in SEO.

So, you have to ask yourself:

Is a 4-star link acceptable if you don’t have to think about doing the work?

The answer is “yes” for me.

Sure.

You would only have impeccable links in your profile in a perfect world.

But that’s not even natural.

A “natural” link profile will have a wide array of websites.

Some strong. Some weak. Some amazing. Some terrible.

THAT’S NATURAL.

2. If you’re going to use link building services, then do this:

  • Create and promote linkable assets instead of transactional pages. Watch this:

  • Only invest in higher authority opportunities (generally avoid the DA 10 – DA 19)
  • Less is more
  • Invest more to get deeper content/higher word counts
  • Use natural anchor text
  • Recommend the external links you want your link to be surrounded by

3. Your niche really matters…

You can’t expect to get 100% relevant links when you’re in a narrow niche. That’s why creating linkable assets is so important.

4. You (usually) get what you pay for

More expensive placements are usually better, while cheap placements are worse. Common sense here.

That’s All (and What’s Next)

We’re going to update this list to keep it fresh continually. Unfortunately, some vendors may fall, and others may enter the top 3.

I hope this was helpful, and please share it if it was!

Thanks for reading.

Photo of author

Nathan Gotch

Nathan has led 100s of successful SEO campaigns in the most competitive verticals like SAAS, health, finance, and law. He's also helped 100s of agency owners scale by systemizing their SEO. Nathan is featured on Ahrefs, Semrush, and Search Engine Journal and his YouTube channel has over 1 million views.

17 thoughts on “Top 3 Best Link Building Services (We Spent $1 Million to Find Out)”

  1. Very useful and excellent link building recommendations! We invest in link building considerably due to their enormous traffic building abilities, not to mention the good SERP rankings. It is advised to select the best services after following the valuable recommendations mentioned in this blog. Thanks once again for the useful insights.

  2. Hi Nathan,

    It’s been quite long since I visited your site.

    And a lot has changed. And this case study is a solid one.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this study.

  3. Fell on your site today after seeing one of my connections like your Linkedin post, this article perked my interest to say the least. I’ve heard so much contrary about The Hoth and Fat Joe, maybe I need to look at some higher DA placements and see what the numbers look like. Checked out RhinoRank before and was luke warm on that site, never even heard of Page One Power — I’ll take a look! Thanks for this..

  4. Great post Nathan. Thank you for sharing it. I have tried LovetoLink, their DA40 links are good. I will try Hoth as the next provider and hope to get good results from them.

  5. Very informative article you got here. Most people don’t have the cash to do this kind of research and it was very nice of you to share your deep knowledge on the subject matter. Manual link creations can be a painful process and most SEO’s don’t even know how to find and obtain links by themselves without services like this. That being said, you offer huge value to your readers and you are appreciated!

  6. The good thing about this blog is that I can relate to it myself. It is surely going to help me in my future endeavors. Keep up the good work.

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