Dream 100 – The Ultimate Advanced White Hat Link Building

– What’s up everybody? My name is Brendan Hufford,
welcome to 100 days of SEO. Today I wanna talk
to you about a tactic that has radically
changed my life. It’s called the
Dream 100, let’s do it. Alright what’s up,
we are in my computer. The goal of this video
the Dream 100 for SEO is to help you go from
sad SEO pug to happy SEO pug. In the next few minutes,
we’re gonna talk about linking building past,
link building present, link building future. How you win and then
I am going to actually walk you through an example. Not an example from
the digital marketing space where things are obvious. But from another blogging space that I think
will be really helpful for everybody
here’s that’s watching that has clients or does work in the
non-digital marketing space. So I’m really excited for this. If you have
already checked out my beginner link building video, you’ll see a little bit of
overlap between that and this. But if you want to
take it to a new level, this is definitely
worth watching. If you watch until
the end of the video, I got a really
special offer for you. It’s not an opt-in,
I’m not trying to get your e-mail address
but I think you’re gonna be pretty pumped about
it so make sure you watch all the way to the end. If you’re new here,
I’m Brendan Hufford. I’m the founder of
SEO For the Rest of Us and 100 Days of SEO. I’m also the SEO
Director at Clique Studios where I help everybody
from local Chicago businesses like window washers
and real estate agents to $100 million
venture backed startups and global sports brands. And I’m also a teacher. I was a teacher for 10
years so I’m gonna bust out all my teaching chops. Maybe even some dad jokes. Let’s do a quick
review of things. So what are the
SEO ranking factors? It’s your website, Google loves an old, fast,
popular website. It’s your content, does it
rival some of the best content on the Internet for what
you’re trying to rank for? Does it also solve
a user’s search query? You know that search
intent really matters. Then your authority,
this is primarily links. Do you have good links
pointing to your content and your website overall? And then everything else,
but these first three are what really matters. And today we’re really talking about building that authority. And all of this fits in
the “I AM” SEO framework. It was a framework I
came up to help explain to our clients how
we think about SEO. The I in I AM is intent. What does somebody
want and why do they want it when they’re searching for it? What is the asset we’re going
to create to give them that? In this case it
would be an article. Where does this asset live? In this case the medium
would be on our website. And then finally
the authority again, why we’re here today? How do we make
this more relevant? How do we get
more links to this? But the thing that
somebody’s gonna ask. I know I’ll get
trolled in the comments. You know do links really matter? Google and all these SEO
experts and speakers and gurus say like just
create great content and blah blah blah blah blah. Okay let me explain
to you how that works. So first of all, Ahrefs has
done two exhaustive studies. The first one they published and then it doesn’t even
exist on the web anymore. The second one just confirmed what they found
in the first one. But it was just that
the link factors correlated way more to ranking
than anything else. So the number of links
you have to the specific page. The number of links
overall to your website. And then all the on page stuff,
keywords and titles. All those things
that SEO plug-ins try to convince you
really matter, they don’t. Less than a five
percent corelation. Even having your
keyword in the title. So Google looks
at this way bigger. But we’re here to
talk about links today. This is by
buddy Matt Giovanisci. If you look in
the description below, you’ll see a link
to an interview we did. What’s really
interesting about Matt is that he has never
focused on link building. He is not a link builder. He is 100 percent a
designer and content guy. He is a media guy, so he never
focused on link building. And he created this
website called Roasty Coffee. Not that long
ago he actually sold it. He talked about it on
his website Money Lab. And Roasty was
ranking really well, why? ‘Cause Matt just
made great content. But the green line on this is
where Matt sold the website and if you look at the
referring domains in Ahrefs, you can see what the
people that bought it did was they started doing a
lot of back linking to it. They started doing a
lot of link building. The links went from roughly
around 200 from whatever that is June-ish 2018 to
now today over 600. So they tripled the links. That’s a very good, even up
and to the right kind of curve. It doesn’t look like
unnatural or anything. Let’s look at what happened
by building those links. All of a sudden the
traffic shot way up. It went from less
than 100K a month, these are
estimates in Ahrefs because that’s my favorite
SEO tool so that’s where I’m pulling them from. But look, keywords went up,
traffic went up, value went up. It is now pulling in
nearly a half million dollars in organic traffic
value every single month. Link building, they
clearly saw a great opportunity for that in this website. So do you have to build links? No, but should you? Absolutely. Now let’s talk
about link building past, where have we come from? This is me kind of
reminiscing about my past but you should know
how we got to today. Before we talk
about the Dream 100, we have to understand
how did we get to this? There’s not some novel approach
that comes out of nowhere. So this is in
2010 when I discovered even just building links. This is an
article from Pat Flynn, the,
that’s where I found it. You can see 2200
comments on there. One of them was mine,
what I commented later in 2012. And this is how we
used to build links. We’d have our
website in the middle. We would build
other websites around it. New blogs, Web 2.0’s like and Blogger, kind of fake blogs. And then we would
hammer those with a bunch of just scammy, link
building links stuff. You know Build My Rank,
Article Marketing Robot, Spinning articles,
all these things. Things that still
work to some degree. SEO’s that are really
more like gray hat, black hat will see this as kind
of a tiered link building is what we call it now. It doesn’t work
that well long-term but it does work really
really well in some industries where building links
is really, really hard. So we all did this,
in fact I did it too. Here’s my receipt
for The Best Spinner. I was heavily involved. I got in a lot of trouble
when Build My Rank went down because I was
using it pretty heavily. And I was like I
can’t do that anymore. So I thought alright,
I have to figure out how people are
building links now. This is how people
are building links today. They’re getting scripts from
websites about link building. The problem is these
scripts don’t really work for anybody except
for people who are looking for back links to their back
link blog about back links. And it’s just silly, right? Notice how this script allows
a lot of personalization without a lot of effort. No it doesn’t, not at all. This is terrible, this
is awful personalization. And you know what, I
can say that first hand. I’m not just scoffing at it. I sent these e-mails. I sent hundreds and
hundreds of these e-mails. I kept track of them. I had them in my Google sheets. I did broken link building,
resource page link building. I reached out to
everybody and I followed up with everybody and all
of these different things. And I had like three
links to show for it. Out of all that link building,
all those, the gurus telling me to
send those scripts. I sent them away, I used
canned e-mails in Gmail and all of this stuff and I
had three links to show for it. You know how many of those
links are still around today? You can even see
these are all back in, what was this like 2017? Back when I was
trying to do this. You know how many of
those links still exist today? Zero, none of them. I did all of that for nothing. And I don’t want you
to make the same mistakes. Because everybody is doing it. As soon as you say great stuff. You know this is somebody
on my team that was like assuming we don’t want to do
this but I’ll let you decide. Amazing job on your
page you have on your site. Really great stuff, so I wanted
to get in touch with you. I wrote this other article
kind of like your article. Like ewh, ewh,
you wrote an article and I wrote
something like it so read it. That’s bizarre, why
would I want to do that? You’re just telling
me you did something kind of like what I did. Okay but I already did it,
I’m done. Why would I link to your
article, it’s so bizarre. Right? But that’s how these gurus,
these SEO gurus teach people to pitch. Here’s another script right. Oh I was Googling
around for content. Were you really Googling around? If you say great
stuff or great work or keep up the great
work or I was Googling around, I know you’re scripting me, bro. I know you are and
I work in this industry. And you might get away
with it in some industries but I think that long-term
this is not the way to go. Here’s one, here’s
one from SEO Tribunal. They didn’t even
try to personalize it. They just sent
that out en masse. Right? And also click, one
click unsubscribe for what? I didn’t subscribe. So they can get in a
lot of trouble with GDPR, I don’t recommend
you do it this way. And that’s why I want
to present to you today the Dream 100
approach is the future of link building for SEO. You don’t need 1,000 back
links, you don’t need a million. You just need 100 of
them from your ideal websites. Now I want to remind you,
if you stay and watch ’til the end of the video,
I got something really cool. I’m gonna make an offer for
you right here in YouTube. You’ll be able to take advantage
of it, it’s pretty rad. So make sure you hang on,
check it out. Let’s keep talking about
the future of link building. Now first of all before
we talk about link building, you’ve gotta have content
that’s gonna attract links. What I mean by that is creating
something that’s unique. Either survey results,
something that doesn’t exist anywhere else. A rare interview,
some sort of really cool super-powered list post,
an epic guide or tutorial. Sharing some
sort of unique story. This strenuous journey
where you started somewhere and got somewhere else. Or just an exhaustive comparison
between multiple options. These are just ideas but
this is the kind of content that overall is really
going to attract links. Now my history with the
Dream 100 came from reading Chet Holmes’ book The
Ultimate Sales Machine. And I just couldn’t
ignore it after awhile. I had it on my Amazon Wish
List for like a year or two. But then I talked to
Glen Allsopp at ViperChill. I heard
Russell Brunson mention it, I heard
Noah Kagan mention it twice both on his own podcast and
on the The Tim Ferriss Show. And I was like alright,
I gotta read this book. And I learned about this
idea about the Dream 100. And what I wanna give
you today is the 10 percent of what I do with it that’s
gonna get you all the way there. You don’t need a
million back links. And I wanna give
you an example of what the Dream
100 really looks like. So this is Glen Allsopp when
he launched This is the e-mail
Glen sent out in June 2017 to say hey I’m
launching this new website, etc. Look at what happened right
after that website went live. Look at all the
links to it and why? Why so many links right away? Did Glen do some sort
of pitch box automated resource page link building
and all this other stuff? No, Glen just
sent out the e-mail. Sent it out to
his network of friends and then started
just publishing content. And that’s what
really matters here. Creating a network of
friends and people who want to promote your stuff. This matters tremendously and it’s extremely,
extremely valuable. If you look
within that first month. And not just overall, right, this is going all the
way through January 2019. But in that first
month from May to July, 88. I’m not a math doctor, I think
that’s 88 new back links just from the
website going live. He sent out an e-mail
saying he was doing it and he got 88
links in the first month. That’s pretty spectacular
and that’s leveraging that friend network. Look what happened to the
organic traffic over time. It exploded, again why? Because of that links but
also because of the network. Look at Chris Guillebeau’s
Side Hustle School. I don’t think Chris
does any sort of outreach or link building but his
network of people around him is so good that as
he launched this site, it just continues to
grow in links over time. This works for everybody. You don’t have to be Glen, you don’t have to
be Chris Guillebeau. This works for everybody. When I was starting out I
sent an e-mail to Pat Flynn and I was one of the
first 50 guests on his podcast ’cause I reached out
to him extremely genuinely and just said I have
an awesome success story, I’d love to share with you. What’s the best way to let
you know how you’ve helped me? And he was just like,
just send it to me in e-mail. And I sent him this e-mail that
was pretty much a blog post. It had images and formatting
and all of this stuff. And he’s like,
“Do you want to come on “my podcast to talk about it?” And I was on one of the top business podcast
really early on. You know this was 2011
so tremendously impactful. And something, you
know I was a nobody. There was no reason for him
to have me on the show other than I knew that I could
provide value to his audience. I did the same
thing with Ryan Holiday. I said hey I’m gonna, this
was back when I was a teacher. I’m gonna get a classroom set
of books for my classroom. And he said
e-mail me when it’s up. And I just sent him an e-mail. Not only did I set that up,
not only did Ryan share it but it was funded,
it was completely funded within a couple minutes. And Ryan himself
donated money to it in 2016. He doesn’t know me.
He’s never talked to me before. Not long after this I ended
up going on to write for Again another really important
influential website, why? Because I’m about
building relationships. The Dream 100 with
regard to link building is about building relationships. Now here’s how you
win with the Dream 100. First of all, have a
good reason for reaching out. Writing something
similar to what somebody else has already written
is not a good reason. Trying to get a link is not a
good reason for reaching out. Right, this is the
type of stuff I’ve written that has worked
sometimes but not always. But again, this is
still me asking for the link. This is not
Dream 100 link building. Here’s one that Glen got. This is bad
link building, right? Hi I’m Nicole from this,
I read one of your articles. I noticed you linked to
this about starting a blog. We just wrote an
article about starting a blog, blah blah blah. Here’s one that
Tim got from Ahrefs. Again, same thing, oh
I wrote something similar to what you already wrote. That’s a terrible
excuse for reaching out. All of these like the
similar thing, the same thing and the I think you
should just link to me thing. They’re done.
We can’t keep doing this. It doesn’t work.
It’s not scalable over time. So here’s what
we’re gonna do first. We’ve gotta make a list. It’s called the
Dream 100 for reason. We are reaching out
to our 100 ideal websites to get links from. Your first tier, the
first 33 people on the list should be people that
are at the same level as you. You can use this, you
can use arbitrary metrics like Domain Authority
or Domain Rating from Moz and
Ahrefs accordingly. You can reach out to
tier two people that are you know maybe a
little bit farther past you. Maybe they get more traffic,
they seem a little bit above you. For me example
would be like Copyblogger, Smart Passive Income,
bigger more popular websites. And tier three yeah,
a third of your list is gonna be moon shots. This would be me
trying to get a guest post on Tim Ferriss’
blog which is possible or even Seth Godin’s
blog which is impossible because nobody but
Seth writes for that blog. But again, getting a
mention from Seth on his blog would be really valuable. And the only way you
get a mention from Seth is by sharing
your stuff with him. And it might be
worth it to reach out to that top third of people that could really
really put you on. Now how do we find
tier two and tier three? It’s easy to find
people at our level right? But like I said, I like
to check the SEO tools, I use Ahrefs, Google
things related to your industry. See who’s already ranking,
searching out a “Blue Ocean”. So don’t look at
direct competitors but just others that
I can share knowledge with that would care. And I love this,
this is my best hack that I’m really glad
you’re watching this video ’cause nobody else is
talking about this really. Looking for
affiliates in your niche. Going on Clickbank, JvZoo, etc. Look for an
affiliate in your niche and see if they
have a leaderboard for their top affiliates. And that’ll tell you
alright these people are top affiliates for
these people in the niche. These are people whose
websites I wanna get on. They’re great
affiliates but it would also be really valuable if
I got a link from them and more importantly again, built a relationship with them. I’m not being paid to promote
this or share this even. I didn’t even mention to Glen that I was gonna
put it in this video. But I’m a member
of Detailed Pro. It is literally
the quickest shortcut to building a Dream 100 list. I highly suggest
you check it out. Go to That’s just the actual link. I’m not an affiliate
or anything like that. I don’t even know if they
have an affiliate program. But it’s really really cool. Glen pretty much just
went into every industry. Him and his team
went into every industry, pulled out all
the major verticals. Pulled out everybody who
has really strong websites. Gave you even some custom
tips on how you might wanna reach out to them. You can sort them,
all this cool stuff. So again check out Detailed Pro, it’s a great shortcut
to building your Dream 100. And why am I talking
about building friends? This is a great
example from Pat Flynn. These are websites
Pat links to the most. Not because these
people ask for links but because
these are his friends. Chris Tucker is one
of his best friends. Derek Halpern
from Social Triggers, Amy Porterfield,
Darren Rowse, Michael Hyatt, Ramit, Caleb, John Dumas,
these are all people that Pat has a
close relationship with. And there’s no amount of
outreach that can get Pat Flynn to link to me 125 times. But if you’re one
of Pat’s best friends, you know that’s gonna happen. Now that’s the thing like you’re
not trying to make friends and manipulate people
into getting you links. But you know the long
game of being in business is about relationship
and that begets links. Putting together this
Dream 100 for link building and starting
with the relationship. The links, I guarantee,
I can tell you from all of my professional
experience will come to follow. So remember when
you’re reaching out. Remember your why, right?
Why are you reaching out? Do you have a good reason? Do you have
something worth sharing? Number two, remember their why. You know, you’re e-mailing them
but what do they care about? They wanna make
money and they want to get results for the
people reading their website. And if you can show how
what you’re sharing with them or what you want to do for them, whether it’s writing a
guest post or being added to their resource, whatever
you’re reaching out to them for can get them
both of those things. They’re more likely to
open your e-mail and reply and listen to
what you have to say. And then finally,
do your research. There’s this great time,
if you’ve ever listened to the Entrepreneurs and
Coffee podcast, my old podcast. I talked to Corbett Barr and
Corbett was so surprised. I asked him some
questions about his first job and he’s like wow, have
I talked about that before? I was like yeah in some
podcast like four years ago. He’s like wow you
really did your homework. And that led to such a
great long relationship that I was recently
just talking to him about SEO for There’s so many neat
things that come from just building a long relationship
and doing your homework, showing that you care enough. And it’s not just about you. Finally, don’t give up. Most people will tweet,
send one e-mail and then they’re not persistent. You can’t give up. You follow up every so often. I like to follow
up a couple times in pretty short order. And then just
follow up again over time. But again, if you’re
reaching out again, have some reason to reach out. “Hey, did you see
this big Google update?” “Hey I noticed you published
this article, it’s really cool.” “Hey I have some feedback
on something you just did.” Have another reason to
reach out but don’t give up. Here’s a great example of this. When I wrote a really, really
great article for Growth Lab I worked with an editor named
Sean Blanda who is amazing. One of the best editors
I’ve ever worked with. And it took over a year. If you’re looking
at the dates here, it started March 21, 2017
and March 2, 2018 is when the article went live. You know it takes time. You have to keep following up. What’s cool is that I
built a relationship with Sean and now that Sean’s
moved on from Ramit’s company, I Will Teach You to
be Rich and Growth Lab and all the other
websites Ramit runs, he now works at InVision. Which is a web
design prototyping app. And I work at a primarily web
design and marketing agency. So now I have a great
relationship that I can reach out to him and say hey
I’d love to write for InVision or how can I support
what you’re doing at InVision? All these great things. So it’s so, so cool. I mean we use
InVision at Clique. So there’s so many
cool things that come when you build
genuine relationships. Again, you just
have to reach out. Here’s a
hilarious set of tweets. One from, it starts with
Mike Vardy saying you know I really wanna
bring Austin Kleon on my podcast blah blah blah. If you can help me
I’d love to hear from you. And Austin himself
replied and was like you didn’t even
bother to e-mail me? And Mike was like “Yeah,
I didn’t even think of that.” Always e-mail the person first. Especially if you’re
gonna put out, “Hey, can anybody
connect me with this person?” And you’ve never even
tried to connect with them. It’s just silly,
just e-mail people. So I wanna walk you
through an example of this really quickly so
you know how to apply it. Remember, don’t forget
to watch until the end. I’ll actually offer
you some personal help in putting
together a Dream 100 list. So I wanted to do
this in a vertical that was not digital marketing. Everyone loves to use
digital marketing examples. I think things in
digital marketing are skewed ’cause it’s like
the niche of the niche. Like building back
links to your back links blog, that’s really easy right? However, I wanted to
do something different so here’s a gardening blog. Let’s say I’m trying to
put together a Dream 100 for my gardening blog. So I just Google. I don’t
need special SEO tools to even say I have
Ahrefs installed here. You can use Moz the same way if they have a
free Chrome extension. If I’m looking
for gardening blogs, I found this blog. I noticed they have
a high domain rating. Cool, let me go check it out. So I click through. I notice there’s three
real ways to get in touch. They have a newsletter.
I could sign up for the newsletter and
then just reply to that. Instead of cold e-mailing them, I’ll just reply
to the newsletter. They’re on a lot
of social channels so I could reach
out to them there. But then I also noticed, this is in the
footer of their website. They also had gardening writers. And I was like oh maybe
I could just, if I wanna start building a relationship,
I could just write for them. So I go to that page
and the first thing I see, we will pay you. Cool, that means
they value content. They value good content. But at the bottom
it says at this time we are no longer
accepting articles that are written for
the purpose of embedding a link to another site.
Interesting. You know why they’re
writing that kind of crap? You know why they put
a space between editor and @gardeningknowhow and
number one here on this image? Because they know
that people are scraping their website
for e-mail addresses and they’re getting a
lot of pitches to get links and they’re tired of it. They’re like look,
“We’re gonna pay you “because we take
this crap seriously. “But we’re not, don’t
pitch us just to get a link.” And that’s the thing, we’re
not just trying to get a link. We’re trying to
get 125 links. Right? We’re trying to build
a relationship over time and write for them
again and again and again. And work with them again and
again and again and again. Again, we gotta stop
doing this kind of stuff. I just wanna show you again,
I’ve been there. I’ve written
these crappy e-mails, I’ve been that scumbag.
Don’t do it, it’s worthless. You know instead of
doing this kind of outreach, I would reach out
to Gardening Knowhow and I would just say I noticed you really shine on Pinterest. They have like four
million monthly views. Facebook, they have
a half million likes. That’s significant, they
work with advertisers, cool. So I have to contact
Shelley which is great. That’s another
person to talk to. I saw in their media kit. This is interesting, they
really do take this seriously. In their About page,
I noticed it was started by Heather Rhoades. They take a lot of
pride in what they do. They donate a lot of money. I could even
leverage my SEO knowledge to be like hey your
blogs on a sub domain. It’d be better if you
moved it to the root domain. You know there’s really
a lot that I can do there. Again, I used to find e-mail addresses to reach out. There is so many
options again ’cause I want to build these kind
of relationships. Because again, I don’t
want just the one link. I wanna build a ton over time. And the goal is
really to go friends first. I wanna build friends.
I want that friends network. That’s what matters
more than anything else. Now if you’re like Brendan,
I don’t know how to put all this together.
You’re talking about content. You’re talking about
putting together a Dream 100. That was really overwhelming,
it’s all in this one video. I’ve actually broken this
out into a 30 day challenge called the
One Ranking Away Challenge. And people are
absolutely loving it. I’m getting tons
of positive feedback. You can find that at The link is in the description. Again, that’s that will walk you through a
30 day organized process of just hey do this
little task every single day. And by the end of it,
you will have content worth reaching out for,
worth getting links to. And you will have a set
plan of how to get links back to that content. If you go to as well you’ll see a bunch
of awesome blog posts. My partner is Pod Reacher
helping me create all of those posts from my
podcast episodes and my videos. Go to
to check them out. Now I promised
I’d give you something at the end of this video. So, here’s what
I want you to do. Comment below what website
are you working on right now? And this is what
I love about YouTube. Only a certain percentage
of people will watch videos all the way though. Anywhere from
20% to 70% of people will actually
watch a full video. So not that many people
are seeing this right now ’cause they give up too early. But if you put a
link to your website in the description below. Let me know what you’re working
on, what industry you’re in. I’ll give you,
the first 10 people three solid
Dream 100 opportunities. So I’ll give you a tier one,
a tier two and a tier three
for your industry. And that is going to
be extremely valuable. Here’s three, this is
advanced link building. Here’s three people I think you should build
relationships with. Three websites that are worth
building relationships with. So go ahead and comment below. Let me know what
you’re working on. Let me know your
URL and I’ll give you those Dream 100 opportunities
to get you started. I’ve been Brendan Hufford. Don’t forget to work hard,
be nice to people and don’t get too lost trying to create
something that matters.

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