Recently one of the more popular backlinking services, BuildMyRank (BMR), shut its doors down to the general public. Citing the need to address growth concerns by improving their network and code base, this leaves a lot of people hung out to dry in terms of what is advertised as a high PageRank (PR) blog network.
BMR worked a little differently than your typical blog network. There was the typical monthly subscription, yes, but they have a strict human moderation system for any content that is submitted to the network. This was put in place to ensure that all content was unique and not spun, duplicate, or private label rights (PLR) content. The system is viewed favorably in general and many claim to be able to rank high for certain keywords using BMR alone.
There is another network like BMR, that being LinkVana. It has a slightly less strict moderation system, but at a hefty $147/month price tag, it isn't viable for a lot of Internet Marketers, especially when just starting out and funds are scarce.
Then, along comes LinkAuthority.
What is LinkAuthority?
LinkAuthority is a sister network from the creators of ArticleRanks. Designed as a direct competitor to BMR, it has the same human review system that makes it different from other networks that allow all kinds of content. Here are the basic requirements and features:
- Articles that you submit must be unique (100% Copyscape-passed)
- They must be well-written with perfect English spelling and grammar
- Content length must be at least 150 words. You can insert 1 hyperlink into the text this way.
- Content length of at least 300 words allows you to have up to 3 hyperlinks inserted into the text.
- There is a daily submission limit that does not accumulate or roll over onto the next day.
- The minimum PR of each blog in the network is at least 2.
- You can purchase a daily submission quota via Paypal if you choose in any amount that you choose. Currently, it costs $10 for 1 daily quota. I.e. you can submit 1 article per day per month for a total of 30 articles. For February 2012, there seems to be some kind of discount and the cost is currently $9.70, I'm not sure how long this will last. You can do this, -- OR --
- You can contribute your own blogs to the network to increase your submission quota. A PR2 gets you 2 submissions, a PR3 gets you 3, etc. This method is absolutely free, minus your cost of domain and hosting, which you obviously aren't paying LinkAuthority for (more on this below).
The basic process to submit articles is roughly the same as any other network. You create projects in LinkAuthority that will represent a backlinking campaign, website, or keyword that you want to rank for. Then, you add articles to that project for submission. The article gets queued for moderation, and if it is approved, it gets published on the homepage of a high PR blog. LinkAuthority's team will try to ensure that the post is indexed within 24-48 hours so that when Google crawls your link, you gain the PR link juice from the homepage. Keep in mind, that like all other networks, once the post rolls off the homepage your post will drop down to a PR N/A or PR0 link.
Advantages of LinkAuthority Over BMR
One thing that you should immediately notice is that signup is completely free. If you just want to take a look at the interface, you can do so without paying a dime. To save you the trouble, here's a look at the main user interface when you login:
Another nice advantage is that LinkAuthority supports submission of articles to unlimited domains right off the bat. This is in contrast to BMR, where the base subscription only allows posting to 5 domains that you own. Sure, you can rotate domains each month, but why do more work when you don't have to?
I've been testing the service out for a week or two now and the user interface is clean and very simple to understand. From the above screenshot, you get a nice high level status view of how your posts have been distributed within the LinkAuthority network. You get to see the exact PR distribution of where your posts have landed (I got a sweet PR5 up there).
The subscription model is also nice as well. If you choose to, you can simply pay for a daily quota and set that on auto-pilot per month. But, you can also choose to submit your own blogs into their network as long as they meet the necessary PR requirements. You can see from the above that I have added two of my own sites into LinkAuthority, allowing me 5 submissions daily. (I did also have one kind soul sign up through my affiliate link, that also gave me 2 additional submission credits for a total daily quota of 7)
Adding my own sites in (a PR3 and a PR2) was an easy process. These sites were just normal WordPress blogs, and you setup a non-administrator user for LinkAuthority to connect to. You add your site URL in and it gets reviewed, and voila - daily quota practically overnight. If you choose to go this route, you only need to pay for the domain and your web hosting. LinkAuthority will not charge you anything, as you are contributing to the strength of their network. This is a huge advantage over BMR.
Also, if you're very adventures, it is possible to do both methods. You can buy credits AND submit your own WordPress blogs.
Lastly, LinkAuthority also has a scheduling feature. If your quota is 5 submissions per day, for example, and you submit 10 articles, the last 5 articles will get queued for the next day. This is good for people with limited schedules, so that you can queue everything up all at once and let LinkAuthority drip feed the articles for you.
The Disadvantages (Yes, of Course There Are Some)
Just like BMR, LinkAuthority is an uphill treadmill in terms of the way the network is designed. Although they are a high PR network, you need to keep in mind that it is mostly the root domains only that have high pagerank values. When your post slips off the homepage of the blog, it will lose that PR. There will of course be some link juice trickling down from the homepage, but when your post finally settles it will most likely be PR0 or PR N/A.
So, if you can expect a surge in your ranks as a result of using this service, expect to lose some spots eventually.
You can circumvent this in a couple of ways. The most common way that everyone seems to do is simply throw more links at your site. The not-so-common way is to backlink your backlinks in a tiered fashion. If you're doing this with LinkAuthority alone, it can get expensive if you're outsourcing content.
Speaking of content, writing your own will be time-consuming even if you are only writing 150-word articles. Yes, you can outsource, but that of course will cost you money. These are high-quality links for sure, but expect to pay a premium if you don't want to write articles yourself.
To protect their network, LinkAuthority will also not reveal the URL of the blogs where your content gets posted. The workaround is to just do a Google search for the title or body text of your article (it IS unique, after all).
These are just some of the things to keep in mind. I think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by far.
LinkAuthority Project and Article Management
Managing projects is simple. Each individual project will have a main status screen showing the name of your project, the titles of each article that you've submitted, and more importantly, the pagerank of each blog that your article landed on.
Of course, I'm most happy when everything says "Published" in the first column. :)
In terms of submitting articles, you simply click on the Add New Post button and you're brought to this screen:
The interface uses special placeholder variables for the hyperlinks your article. This is the %LINK1%, %LINK2%, and %LINK3% that you see in the main text window there. What you do with these is substitute the placeholder variables in the text where you want your hyperlinked keyword to go. For example, say your keyword was "flannel pajamas", and you were looking to make a sentence like this:
There comes a time in every man's life where he needs a pair of flannel pajamas to keep warm.
In LinkAuthority, what you would to is replace the keyword like this:
There comes a time in every man's life where he needs a pair of %LINK1% to keep warm.
Then, in the appropriate text boxes in the form, you just need to place the keyword and hyperlink as you would want them to appear. Make sure that you or your virtual assistant is using the preview function liberally to make sure that your posts are exactly the way that you want them.
What Is The Support Like?
Something that you don't see too often on blog network reviews are comments on the support system. I've submitted about 4 tickets so far and I'm happy to say that all of my issues were resolved within 24 hours. You get the typical auto-responder with a ticket number immediately. My issues were small ones such as:
- I can't find my blog post in Google (Resolution: Indexing took a little longer than 24 hours)
- Status screen is blank but when I go into the project it's not (Resolution: They were doing maintenance, so this was expected)
My other tickets were just "How do I...?" questions, which despite the FAQ button clearly labeled in the menu bar, they still took the time to answer me using a non-RTFM response. So, they passed my customer service test with flying colors.
I believe that LinkAuthority will have good service for the next little while because they are the little guy in comparison to the 800lb gorilla that is BMR. If they grow at the same rate as BMR and get too popular, I can see that service might get slower, but only time will tell if that's the case.
Does LinkAuthority Actually Work?
Does LinkAuthority actually increase your ranking in the Google SERPs? From my initial testing, I would have to say yes. I need to do a longer case study on this, but last week I had one site float up to rank #1 and I had given it about 15 posts from LinkAuthority. I had stopped all prior linkbuilding about a week before entering in my first blog into their network, so I'm confident that it did help contribute in positive SERP movement. I've decided to do more testing on my other sites that are in the top 5 and see what happens, but I think that we've got a winner here.
A Final Important Note
Since LinkAuthority only accepts high quality content, it's good for linking directly to your niche sites. I'm a big believer in diversity, however, and I would definitely not use this service alone if you're trying to rank your keywords. Ideally I think that you need to complement this service with other things, and not rely on this or any other single source of links by itself.
Be patient as well. Prior to coming onto LinkAuthority, my process was working fine for me with the keywords that I have. I was tempted to use it across all my sites, but would rather do it in a controlled manner on a small number of sites at first. Although I am really looking forward to the next couple of months in terms of testing, as I think that LinkAuthority will play a vital role in my portfolio this year.
I like that fact that you can get in on the ground floor for a very low cost if you choose to insert your own blog into the network. You can buy PR2 domains very inexpensively at forums like DigitalPoint, WarriorForum, and TrafficPlanet. There is of course, some upkeep required to maintain the pagerank of your blogs, however, as they don't magically gain PR without any links. But, there's nothing stopping you from backlinking your LinkAuthority site with LinkAuthority links, right?
Or, just get the 1 submission per day subscription and you can submit 30 articles a month, which is a great way to test the service as you'll be forced to drip feed links. If you go this route, I recommend that you get all 30 articles written beforehand so that you're sure not to miss a daily submission, and you can deal with rejections much easier.
If you're interested in giving a really nice alternative to BMR a try, visit LinkAuthority here and sign up (affiliate link).