My name is Benedict and I have been working within the backlink industry for over 18 years.

There was a time in SEO nominally in 2012-2016 where backlinks were the essence of good SEO.

If you wanted to rank highly in Google’s index the solution was to build as many links as possible using exact match keywords. It was that simple. It was all a question of quantity over quality.

Although as an SEO agency we were still writing content and optimising pages all existing clients but new customers only wanted were backlinks and more backlinks. Our agency clients put all content requests on hold and just ordered as many backlinks as we could source as quickly as we could.

There is no anchor text strategy, no quality control, there was no link profiling or outreach program, it was “all we want is for you to build links by the number of domains, not by any related MOZ score or domain authority.

We sold backlinks in batches of 50s.

As a company, we were invoicing over £70,000pcm for backlink creation to various UK agencies.

Then made changes to its algorithm. This update was called Penguin and it happens in September in 2016.

What it does mean  for backlinks

The bottom literally dropped out of the market. We heard of one UK  company that built an 820 strong PBN server the indexing of all their clients. The only went into receivership five months later.

Our own invoicing or backlink building time from £12,000 in four months. Though not one of the circuses clients suffered a penalty; we did not receive a single call for new backlinks for the next six months.

Every existing client began asking about removing toxic links etc.

What none seemed to understand is that the minute a client submitted a list of ‘toxic’ links to Google to be removed or discounted, they were in fact admitting to Google they had bought backlinks or at least paid a company to build them.

Last fact checked and updated on October 20, 2020