Ultimate Link Emperor Review
The objective of this Link Emperor review is to help you determine if this is the right SEO link building tool for your link building strategies. The creators, Robert MacDonald and Kevin Bombino, stated that they feel, “…Link Emperor is the best link building system ever created”.
They also say right on their home page that this is, “The ONLY Link Building Service You’ll Ever Need”.
I’ve been testing Link Emperor on some of my own websites since November 4, 2011 in order to see for myself if this backlinks generator lives up to the hype.
If you have any questions about this review ask me in the comments section below. This is my first post on this site so let me know if you think I did a good job or fell short in some way.
To help you navigate to specific sections of this review I’ve included in-content links below.
The brains of Link Emperor is a software web application that attempts to intelligently organize your link building campaigns based on “Internet marketing best practices”. The brawn is made up of dozens of link building services that implement a wide range of link building techniques and social signal services to help you rank higher in the search engines.
In Link Emperor vernacular link building packages are referred to as “blasts”. When Link Emperor schedules a blast for your site, it is actually sending an order on your behalf to one of it’s participating link building services. These services specialize in most major forms of SEO link building such as blog commenting, article directory posting, wiki site submissions, social media submission, document sharing sites submissions, private blog network posts, forum profile creation and even multi-tiered link building. They accomplish this using a wide variety of well known SEO software, custom applications and even posting links by hand.
The campaign management features built into Link Emperor are intended to allow it’s users to set up link building campaigns once, then allow the application itself to manage the day-to-day duties. These duties include which of your sites to build backlinks to, what pages of those sites need backlinks, how many links, what kind of links and what keyword anchor text should be used when building these backlinks.
Let’s see how it holds up…
Here’s a sneak peek video where you can see Link Emperor build thousands of backlinks for my sites. Take a look and let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.
Link Emperor has a built-in community of link building services which it uses for the creation of backlinks to your websites. You can view all the vendors with descriptions and cost-per-link data here in the Link Building Marketplace.
This is one area where this SEO tool shines above all others. It is able to seamlessly incorporate every service from this market place or any custom mix of services you select into your link building campaigns. Intelligently implementing what link building service to use, what pages need backlinks and what keyword anchor text should be used. It gets even better, Link Emperor continually tracks your Google rank for each of your pages and all of your keywords. It does this in order to focus more link building effort where it is needed, perhaps helping you rank for keywords that seems like low-hanging-fruit. While also automatically lessening resources from going into building links to keywords that you have reached a number one rank on Google.
Link Emperor is capable of building all of your links on a continual basis with no input from you after you have set up your campaign. Setting up a ten page website takes me about 1.5 hours. You could definitely complete this task more quickly, but I have a thorough process I like to implement. I should also mention that as you add new pages to your site you will need to manually set up these pages from within the Link Emperor dashboard.
Default and Custom Link Building Allocations
Link Emperor comes with a default link building allocation which determines which link building services will be used in your campaigns and also indicates what percentage each service will receive. You are also able to override this default allocation with a custom allocation. Maybe you prefer not to build blog comment links on one or all of your campaigns. You can update these settings in a matter of seconds and, voila, no more blog commenting.
I usually do implement a custom link building allocation for my campaigns. There are a few types of links that I do not want Link Emperor to build for various reasons as well as a few vendors that I avoid. In order to keep this review from getting too long I have put together a report that details my personal Link Emperor link building strategies. You can read a bit more about this at the bottom of this page after the review. These strategies are free for everyone to download.
IP/URL Diversity in your backlink profile
One thing I’m always conscious of when carrying out link building campaigns is making sure I have a diverse backlink profile. I don’t mean that you can have links built by an assortment of types of sites like article directories, web 2.0 sites, forum profiles, blog comments, wiki pages, etc… What I mean is you acquire links pointing back to your website from a large pool of unique URLs and IP addresses.
If you are using the same software application or method to build links to your sites as time goes on you are just continually adding more links from the same URLs. Let me give you an exaggerated example to make my point more clearly. Would it be a good idea to get all of your backlinks from only 5 websites? No. Acquiring links from a larger pool of sources by using multiple link building applications and growing large customized lists of sites where you build backlinks from helps ensure you have a diverse link profile.
Link diversity is inherently built into Link Emperor as a result of the growing number of vendors in the Link Building Marketplace. When you add together the sum of websites Link Emperor’s vendors could build links to your site from it numbers in the tens of thousands. Having a diverse backlink profile of thousands of sites pointing back to your site is not going to guarantee you to rank number one on Google but it is one factor that should help.
Verified Link Building Reports
Each Link Emperor account comes with a certain amount of Link Building credits every month. Each time a blast is ordered through one of the vendors for your campaign, credits are deducted from your account.
Each vendor promises a minimum amount of links will be built for each blast. Once the vendor has reported that the links have been built, Link Emperor automatically goes out and verifies the validity of these links. Every link built for you is displayed in user admin area and are one-click to download making them easy to share with other programs.
As seen in the image above, the link building reports display 4 sections of data:
- Service – the types of sites backlinks are built on
- Provider – the vendors or link building service used in the blast
- Status – this displays the status of each blast
- URLs Submitted – the number of URLs that work successfully verified
If a blast fails to yield the promised amount of backlinks, then the credits are refunded to your account. You can see this occurring in my screenshot above where the status of some blasts are marked, “Unsuccessful, Not Charged”.
Download Your List of Backlinks
You have the ability to click on any individual blasts included in your link building reports to display the sources of each backlink. The screenshot to the right shows a sample of this report. The column on the left displays the URLs of the links and the column on the right shows the number of links found on that page.
In order to help keep the costs of link building down, Link Emperor has recently introduced Cost Per Verified Link data to the marketplace. You can now view the vendor cost per verified link data right here on the right hand column of the Link Building Marketplace table. This allows the vendors to compete for you business if you choose to select a custom link building allocation for you campaigns.
If you are going to use a custom link building allocation and are factoring in the cost of each vendor, do not forget that all links are not created equal. Make sure you compare apples to apples. For example, you can compare the cost of a link from Vendor A’s article directory submissions service to Vendor B’s article directory submission service. However, you wouldn’t want to compare the cost of Vendor A’s article directory submissions to the cost of a links built from a blog commenting service.
As I covered in the Link Building section of this post, Link Emperor is continually prioritizing each of your keywords across all campaigns to determine not only which keywords need a blast on a given day but also what type of links will be built.
The algorithm uses 5 main factors when making these determinations:
- Search volume – the search volume of the keyword
- Keyword difficulty – how difficult the keyword is to rank for on Google
- Current ranking – keywords that have the ability to achieve a high rank with the least amount of effort are given priority. Once a keyword is ranked in the number one position Link Emperor will reallocate resources to other keywords that need a boost.
- Visitor value – You determine how much a visitor to your site or a landing page on your site is worth and Link Emperor factors that into its link building calculations.
- On-page relevance – Link Emperor analyzes your website’s pages to determine the relevance that each keyword has to a particular page. This is a handy way to find out if you have overlooked an on-page SEO factor on one of your pages.
You also have the ability to override Link Emperor’s keyword prioritization should you feel the need to allocate more or less resources to a particular keyword.
Anchor Text Diversity In Your backlink profile
Link Emperor also has the ability to randomize your link anchor text by appending prefixes and suffixes or replacing your keyword anchor text with generic terms such as “click here” to help build a more natural looking backlink profile. This is a good feature to have but I since the Google Panda and Penguin updates you should do more.
I utilize a smarter way to achieve anchor text diversity within my own campaigns. It’s very simple to implement so I recorded a short video tutorial of me setting up a campaign from inside my Link Emperor account…
Access Video Tutorial Here
The keyword research module of Link Emperor is decent at best, despite what the sales copy reads on their site. You can find new keywords to target by analyzing your competitors’ sites. The keywords are organized into a tree structure making them easy to view and sometimes useful for planning a category structure for your sites. You do get some traffic data included with your results.
Keyword research done with Link Emperor is also slow as you may have to wait hours for the system to go analyze a site and report the keywords back to you.
I do not use the keyword research module of Link Emperor. I create a lot of content for SEO and if you do too, neither should you. It falls short when compared to SE Cockpit, which is the best keyword research tool on the market, period. But, then again it shouldn’t have to. The primary focus is link building and they should stay on target.
However, Link Emperor does have the ability to do something very useful here that you may not want to overlook. It integrates with your Google Analytics or your Clicky account. This integration allows Link Emperor to track the search terms the traffic on your websites come from in order to add additional profitable keywords to your campaigns.
Here is an example scenario – Let’s say that your site is ranked in position 28 for a particular keyword. This keyword gets enough traffic that even being ranked way down on the third page your site is still getting visitors from Google’s SERPs. Once your site gets 3 visitors or more in a month Link Emperor decides that even though this particular keyword was not included in your original set-up, improving your rank for it will mean more visitors to your site. This keyword will automatically be added to your campaign, prioritized and links built accordingly.
Each of the Link Emperor subscription plans come with the ability to generate articles for your link building campaigns. These articles can be used when links are being built to article directories, private blog networks and the like. These articles come from 2 sources. A PLR article database of hundreds of thousands of articles and Articlebuilder.net generated articles.
Watch my article generation demo below.
With Articlebuilder.net you have the ability to create 5 articles per day that are a length of your choosing up to 1,000 words. You are able to import 15 PLR articles per day and the length of these articles are completely random and out of your control.
Articlebuilder.net articles are provided complimentary so there is no need to purchase their service. You also have the ability to export these articles and use them outside of Link Emperor if you would ever have the need to.
This particular module of Link Emperor gets a lot of comments in the members forum. A common complaint from the members is that the stats are only updated once per week for each keyword. One response I read from the LE team is that by implementing an upgrade and having to track stats on a daily basis would increase the resources seven fold and something along the lines that those costs would need to be passed on to the customers.
I have sort of an insider’s perspective on this since I have developed (and by I, I mean my programmer) a web application that does a number of things for Google Places listings for local businesses and one of those things it does is track rank stats. I do understand their concerns for making sure that resources are managed and don’t get out of control. However, the costs of upgrading to daily statistics would be nominal compared to the premium rate Link Emperor charges customers. (More on this in the pricing section of this review.)
I view rank tracking as a medium to long term game. You can’t perform some kind of SEO action today and substantively measure the results tomorrow. Not to get too philosophical here but there is no real need to look at your ranking stats for every keyword every day, even though most of us do. This time can be used more wisely on other parts of your business that are vastly more important such as creating great content.
The critical data you need for your campaigns is the trending data so you can view how your site is performing over time. Link Emperor stores this data for you and provides you a graph for each of your keywords.
I should also mention that Link Emperor currently only tracks stats for Google. Which is also sufficient in most cases since the lion’s share of your search engine traffic will be coming from them.
For those stats junkies who like their stats updated on a daily basis, you’re going to be let down. I have to say that I do use an external application to track all of my campaigns but I only do this because I started to take on clients and want to provide them with more full-featured rank data. I’m using Authority Labs for this.
Updates And Upgrades
It is very important to me that any tool I add to my arsenal is being updated on a regular basis. Fixing any bugs and adding new features to improve the product. Link Emperor has seen many improvements since I started using the service in the beginning of November 2011. Here are just some of the updates that I thought were important and worth mentioning:
- Campaign categories – ability to categorize your campaigns by niche allows vendors to properly categorize articles when submitting on your behalf
- Article creation – automatic creation of articles via ArticleBuilder.net as well as PLR database of hundreds of thousands of articles
- Clicky stats integration – users have had the option to integrate their Google Analytics accounts with LE since before I was using the service. Now, there’s the option to use Clicky (which is my choice)
- Spun articles – articles can be automatically spun using TheBestSpinner (TheBestSpinner account is not required and there is no extra charge for this)
- Link building vendor reviews – the community can discuss the abilities of each of the link building services
- Anchor text randomization – helps ad variation to the anchor text of your backlinks
- Link purchasing API – those with programming chops can set up other programs to automatically build links via Link Emperor
- Press release submissions – vendor will write and distribute press releases for you
- Cost-per-link monitoring – Link Emperor independently verifies successful links built by which they use to assign a cost-per-link amount
- (April 17, 2012) New & improved custom link allocations – the system automatically has your links built by the most cost-efficient vendors
The crew at LE have been working diligently on both enhancing already existing features as well as implementing new ones. This is critical for any product or service that you are going to make a significant part of your business. They have even implemented some of my suggestions posted in the forum. You can view my posts in the forum under username, “Affiliateboy” – Naturally ;).
Is Link Emperor worth the price tag?”, is the first question I asked myself.
At first glance this may seem difficult to figure out because you can’t compare Link Emperor to any SEO backlink services or link building software on the market today. You won’t be comparing apples to apples. Still, I needed to know if it made sense, or not, to incorporate this product into my business.
Where Does The Money Go?
I really wanted to figure out how much of my money was going to actual link building activities versus how much is going to the application for managing my campaigns? From the pricing page you can see that the cost of link building credits are $50 for 30,000 when you purchase additional credits. This gives me a baseline I can apply across each of their price plans.
Next, I divide 50 by 30,000 and get $0.0016666666666667. This gives me the cost-per-credit amount.
Now, I am able to use this cost-per-credit amount to figure out the amount of each plan that is going towards actual link building activities and how much is going to all the other things the application manages (and profit).
The pie charts below show what percentage of your subscription costs go toward link building. As you can see the larger price plans give you more bang for you buck. (UPDATE: There is one exception, 100% of your payment for the trial offer goes to link building (You can’t represent 266% in a pie chart). You receive $125 worth of link building credits for $47. More about this update below.)
Gladiator – $497
Senator – $1297
Emperor – $2997
(New) 14 Day Trial – $47
As you can see from the table above, between 59% and 67% of your costs actually make it to the pockets of the backlink services depending on what plan you are on. Right?
Nope. Not so fast…
Some more digging revealed that Link Emperor pays out its link building vendors $1 for each 1000 credits. See Link Building Partner Program page. That comes to $30 per 30,000 credits they payout while charging $50. That is a 40% mark up on each blast. Wow, Robert and Kevin are not afraid to make money! This seems a bit steep to me and I am taking into consideration that they are picking up the tab on article generation.
|14 Day Trial – $47||75,000 /14 days||$125 (266%)||$0|
Did you catch that? The percentage of your $47 trial payment going to link building is 266% based on $50/30,000 link building credits. They are giving trial members $125 worth of link building credits for $47. See full details of trial offer here.
Is The Price Too High?
We would all like to see the price of every product or service we use be a little lower. However, you need to be aware when a tool that your business depends on is improperly priced too low, the margins can become razor thin for the developers and can lead to poor maintenance or even full abandonment of the product. This is often the fate of products that have a one-time payment model and solely rely on revenue from new users to fuel future updates. (I know, I know… There are many tools that are exceptions to this.)
I feel that the portion of my monthly subscription payment that is going to the application for management of my campaigns (and profit) is justifiable. It is expensive to run a web application that manages a lot of data for it’s users.
The 40% cut I mentioned earlier that is taken out of each link blast transaction does seem steep. A 10-20% cut would seem to be more reasonable to me. This could be beneficial for both Link Emperor and it’s users. Reducing this percentage from 40% to 10% would be a 30% increase to our monthly link building output. That is a huge amount and not using Link Emperor would almost seem foolish with this increase. Therefore, (hopefully) translating into more customers for Link Emperor to make up for the lost revenue. However, I’m not going to hold my breath.
I should mention that they have already made one round of adjustments to their pricing plans that did increase the amount of link credits for the users. The newer pricing plans are better than the original ones. Who knows, maybe the future will bring more adjusting?
Link Emperor Vs. Hiring Outsource Workers
I use outsource workers in my business to handle a myriad of tasks. A full-time outsource worker skilled enough to run link building campaigns that also has a solid grasp of the English language from, let’s say the Philippines, can cost you roughly $350 per month.
When you hire someone to do this kind of work for you, you become their trainer and manager. You need to (or should) layout link building strategies for your campaigns the way you want them executed, record videos showing step-by-step examples of how to use each software application, more training when you integrate new ones into your campaigns, monitoring them to ensure their work hours are spent productively, hiring and firing, etc… If you have ever employed full-time outsource workers, you know what I’m talking about. My point is that in order to make this relationship beneficial, you are going to spend a lot of time managing, training and monitoring each outsource worker in your business just as you would any employee.
Yes, one skilled outsource worker you pay $350/month could build more backlinks than the Link Emperor’s Gladiator package that costs $497. However, don’t forget you would need to cover the cost of all the programs this worker used. SENuke alone is $147/month and that makes up the entire difference of the price without even getting into all the other applications.
You would have to spend time training your worker and he or she definitely would not have the same level of expertise with the variety of applications that the LE vendors have (See the Link Building Marketplace). He or she couldn’t effectively manage your campaigns, if at all, when the number of pages started totaling one hundred with a few hundred keywords. Link Emperor does.
Link Emperor has proved to me it’s a practical alternative when compared to using outsource workers for link building tasks.
Could you do it yourself and save money? Yes, you certainly could. But again, you would only be able to keep up with a fraction of the things LE can do for you. You would not have nearly as much versatility in your campaigns and most importantly, you would not be able to scale your business. There are only so many hours in a day you can work. Link Emperor can easily handle the bulk of your automated backlink building for 100+ sites without breaking a sweat. You can’t do this on your own. In fact, ten of you probably couldn’t do this effectively.
At first glance the price of Link Emperor may seem high until you dive-in and start using it. I quickly realized all of the day-to-day activities I am freed from performing. Now I am able to focus my time on activities that are more important, like creating great content, building my social presence online and scaling my business.
This Link Emperor review would not be complete if I did not mention customer support. Their support is not going to change the game like Zappos.com, but it is good. There several ways you are able to reach support and get the assistance you may need.
I put Link Emperor support to the test myself on more than one occasion. Not because I was testing them but, because I actually needed support. I have sent messages to their email support as well as posted in the support forum. Here are my email messages and how they responded.
Email Support Form
The first email I sent to LE was on Dec 11, 2011 at 7:21 PM PST.
I quickly received the usual automated response telling me that they have received my request and would be responding shortly.
Then Brett Phillips from their support team responded to my inquiry on DEC 12, 2011 at 07:58 AM PST. Just about 12 hours after my initial message. Pretty good considering I sent my request in after typical business hours and I received a response first thing the next morning. Brett was both professional and thoroughly answered my question as you can see from the screen shots below.
I sent another request for assistance on Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 6:45 PM and received the answers I was looking the very next morning on JAN 03, 2012 at 09:39 AM PST.
User Support Forum
I have found that the forum works just about the same way. If you ask a question early in the day, you will likely get an answer that day. If you submit your question at night, you will likely get an answer the next day.
They do seem to push to have all user account related problems sent to email support rather than posted in the forum. I’m pretty sure the official response to why this is done is so support tickets can be managed more effectively. But, a forum works fine for many product related customer support issues (unless there is private data that needs to be shared).
I would like to see more issues discussed in the forum because it acts as an alert system of sorts. It allows other users to check their accounts for any bugs that may be affecting the original poster.
The Support Center
This is essentially a frequently asked questions area. If you take the time to watch the videos in their Getting Started Guide, you won’t need to spend too much time on this page. I watched all the video tutorials before I started using Link Emperor and never had to reference this page.
Admittedly, I have not tried their phone support as of yet. You can reach Link Emperor support staff by calling (720) GOOD-SEO.
Overall their customer service has been solid from all of my experiences. I have not noticed disgruntled customers complaining about poor service or lack there of in the support forum. Brett seems to stays on top of all support requests.
I teetered back and forth between giving a rating of 4 or 5 stars for this Link Emperor review. Overall I think this SEO tool is appropriately priced. However, I do believe that they should reduce that 40% cut they are currently taking from each link blast. I must take value into consideration when rating any product and I feel we could get a little bit more bang for our buck in this area. Weighing this against all the other factors, it’s not enough for me to deduct a full star.
Link Emperor is the only backlink system on the market that can build backlinks to your website continually taking into account real word factors such as your keywords’ current rank on Google, competition level, etc… All this with no input from you after a fairly quick set-up. All things considered, I decided to give Link Emperor a 5 out of 5 star rating.
The new 14-day trial price they just started offering is a no-brainer. The value they are giving here for people to try their product is excellent.
- As close as you can get to set-it-and-forget-it link building
- No need to pay for any other link building tools
- Manages campaigns better and cheaper than an outsource worker
- Ability to scale with your business
- Unparalleled link diversity
- No need to write articles
- No need for proxies
- Frequently updated with new features
- Solid customer service
- 2-week trail is a great way to see if this makes sense for you business
- Most importantly, really saves you hours everyday performing link building and/or management tasks.
- They take a 40% cut of each link building campaign blast
- Less control over the “finer” details of your link building
Bug: With every vendor update, custom link building allocation are reset to default(Resolved) Entry level price point scares off newbiesCheap trail pricing added
Finally, let’s answer the questions presented in the introduction of this post…
Q. Is Link Emperor is the best link building system ever created?
A. It’s difficult to compare either a link building software or a backlinks service to Link Emperor because it is essentially both combined. It is indeed a system as is correctly stated on their website. So, let me answer the question by saying that if I could only choose one thing to build backlinks to my sites, it would be Link Emperor at this point. The fact that I am a still a paying member and active user further backs up my words.
Q. Is Link Emperor The ONLY Link Building Service You’ll Ever Need?
A. Maybe. If your plan would otherwise be to build links using common methods like automated software, hiring outsource workers to write articles and post them, then yes.
However, if your SEO plan includes activities like guest blogging, link exchanges and developing high quality linkable assets then you will still need to perform these activities yourself. Link Emperor does eliminate the need to pay for and then spend hours each day learning and using any link building software. Don’t forget, some vendors in the marketplace even post your links by hand.
I would love to hear what you think about my Link Emperor review so let me know in the comments.
Formula That Will Boost Your Results
If you decide Link Emperor is the right link building tool for you or just want to learn some effective tips for building backlinks after the Panda update then watch these videos.
These videos are recorded from inside Link Emperor and will help you:
- Devise an effective backlink strategy post Google Panda
- Follow a system for creating a diverse backlink profile
Enter your first name and email address into the form on the right.