Tutorial: Building Tier 1 Links with GSA SER

Link Building

Build Tier 1 Links with GSA Search Engine Ranker

Greetings SEO Infidels! As I browse the web I am constantly seeing people post negative things about automated link building with tools like GSA SER, Ranker X, SENuke, and others. People are are always saying, “don’t use GSA on your money site”, or “only use it for tier 2 and below.” While this might be good advice for someone who has zero experience using automated link building software, more experienced SEOs can get away with leveraging these tools to build some powerful tier 1 links.

Tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker respond to the inputs given by the user. If the user is telling the tool to go out and make 10,000 forum profiles, then that’s what to software does. However, if the user tells the software to go out and post sites that have the word “lawyer” on the page, then the tool can do that as well.

This post is not about blasting massive links, but rather how to use GSA SER in 2016 to build high quality, “white hat” style backlinks directly to your money site.

What you will learn:

  • How to use GSA SER for tier 1 link building
  • How to auto-post blog comments that get approved by website owners
  • GSA SER settings that allow you to post to high quality sites

Tools Needed

  • GSA Search Engine Ranker
  • GSA Captcha Breaker
  • Third Party Captcha Solver (2Captcha is my favorite)
  • 10-100 Private Proxies – (I prefer Squid Proxies)
  • Spin Rewriter (optional)
  • SEO Content Machine (optional – high quality articles)
  • Kontent Machine (optional – lower quality than SEO Content Machine)

Bonus: Get a copy of the exact settings I use for tier 1 link building.

Getting Started with GSA SER Tier 1 Link Building

Step 1. Set Up a Project

The first thing we need to do is open SER and create a new project. For this kind of super-targeted tier 1 link building, we only want to select a few different link types. I generally only check Blog Comment, Image Comment, and sometimes Forum Profiles. If you select platforms such as Article and Web 2.0, you won’t get any links because of how we are going to setup the project (more on this later).

Step 2. Source Your Content

For this advanced link building we are not going to use the standard blog comments that GSA SER provides. We want to create our very own comments that make sense for our specific niche. The standard SER comment is fine for posting to auto approve sites but it’s very likely that our comments are going to be scrutinized by a moderator so they need to look real.

Tips for writing comments that will pass moderation:

  • Use correct spelling
  • Write about how helpful the post was
  • Mention that you shared the post on social media (refer to a specific network like Twitter of Facebook)
  • Mention that you bookmarked the post to show clients/friends
  • Try to sound natural. If english isn’t your first language then pay someone to write the comments for you.

Once you have a few generic (but well written) comments you can begin to spin them. You need to either spin them by hand or use Spin Rewriter to manually spin them.

Repeat this process for Image Comments, Forum Comments, and any other platforms you intend to post to. In order for this to be effective, you have to spend a good deal of time preparing your content. If you do this correctly you will be able to post to sites that are heavily moderated and very valuable for linking.

If you do a good job creating your comments, you’ll have website owners that will actually reply to you. Look at the pic below (I am John’s Italian Restaurant).

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 9.14.26 AM

Step 3. The Finer Points of Platform Selection

What choosing what platforms to post your links on, it’s important to stay away from sites that are known for spam or sites the GSA SER has a hard time with.

For example, Guestbooks often give dofollow links but they are usually spammed to death. Plus, may Guestbook platforms only show the 10 most recent entries. SER interprets this page as only having 10 outbound links but if you actually visit the page you’ll see that there might be over 10,000 guestbook entries. This is bad for tier 1 links.

Here’s a detail of each platform and what I use it or do not use it:

  • Article – Don’t Use. Creates a new page and is useless for this process.
  • Blog Comment – Use. Lots of nofollow links but can be highly relevant using my strategy.
  • Directory – Don’t Use. Doesn’t help us for this task.
  • Document Sharing – Don’t Use. Shares a document that you upload. Not good for this strategy.
  • Exploit – Don’t Use. Not a high quality platform.
  • Forum Profile – Use. Mostly dofollow. Can be spammy if incorrect settings are applied (more on this later). Creates a new page but can be a forum in your niche.
  • Forum Post – Use/Don’t Use. Be careful as this can ruin your site’s reputation. No advisable unless you really don’t care.
  • Guestbook – Use/Don’t Use. You can easily mess this up and end up with a bunch of spammy tier 1 links. I would stay away until you have mastered the settings.
  • Image Comment – Use.
  • Indexer – Don’t Use.
  • Microblog – Don’t Use. Creates a new page.
  • Pingback – Don’t Use.
  • Referrer – Don’t Use.
  • RSS – Don’t Use.
  • Social Bookmark – Don’t Use. Mostly nofollow. Not really applicable for this project.
  • Social Network – Don’t Use. Mostly dofollow. Not really applicable for this project.
  • Trackback – Don’t Use
  • URL Shortener – Don’t Use
  • Video (Adult) – Don’t Use. Duh!
  • Video – Don’t Use.
  • Web 2.0 – Don’t Use. Not helpful for this project.
  • Wiki – Don’t Use. Mostly nofollow. Not helpful for this project.

As you can see, we aren’t using many platforms for this project. You can use the other platforms but you won’t be able to get niche related links (in most cases – there can be exceptions).

Blog Comment, Image Comment, Forum, and maybe Guestbook are the only platforms we really want to use here. You’re going to see a lot of nofollow but that’s ok because these links are going to be on sites that are related to your niche. You could block nofollow links from being posted but that will really reduce the amount of links you’ll get with this project (you don’t get many to begin with).

Step 4. Keywords and Anchor Text


For this project we are not going to use any sort of list. We are going to send GSA SER out to find sites to post to. SER is going to use the keywords to find these sites.

Head over to Google Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io, or Uber Suggest and find some keywords that SER can use to find target sites. I like Uber Suggest because it spits out keywords that you can just copy and paste into SER. You want to use a lot of keywords to increase your chances of successfully finding sites to post links on.

Anchor Text

You want to use LSI, branded, or generic anchors for this project. Don’t use exact match anchors because if you screw up, you’ll have a big problem on your hands trying to recover from a penalty.

We are using these links to supplement our more powerful links. As a general rule, you use exact match anchors on your most powerful links and use links like these to build relevance and to avoid over-optimization.

tier 1 link building with gsa ser
I forgot to check “generic anchor text” but I am definitely using it. I also forgot to tick “anchor text variations.”

Part 2. Filtering Out Spammy Sites / Proper Settings for Tier 1 Links

The settings you input into GSA SER will determine the quality of your links. I am going to show you my settings that I feel work really well. You can certainly experiment with your own settings but use a fake url in case you mess up.

Step 1. Setting Limits

Even though this project makes very few links (compared with blasting a list), it’s still important to tell SER when to stop. For this project I want no more than 3-4 links per day (remember that some will not be indexed by Google). If I am using multiple urls then I might set GSA to only post 1 verified link per url, per day.

maximum links per day
Notice I set a variable of +/- 1 link. We don’t want to make the same amount of links every day.

Step 2. Captcha Solving

It’s best to use a backup captcha solving service for this project. GSA Captcha Breaker is good, however we don’t want to miss valuable, niche related links due to failed captchas. It’s worth the few extra pennies in this situation.

Step 3. Finding Sites to Post Links

Using Keywords to Find Target Sites

This is where the magic happens. We want SER to use our keywords to locate sites that will accept our links. What we want to avoid is posting to sites that are completely unrelated to our niche.

To drill down some good targets, we need to select the option, “Always use keywords to find target sites.” When you tick this option you will be greeted with a warning that says you might miss a lot of sites because GSA SER uses “footprints” to locate sites as opposed to keywords.

Don’t worry about this. We want SER to find sites in our niche so if we leave this unchecked we will probably get a lot of sites that are spammed or unrelated.

gsa target urls
Click OK when prompted.

 Search Engine Selection

We want to select search engines that use English as their primary language. We want to avoid posting to sites that are not in the same language as our money site. See the picture for proper engine selection.

proper engine selection in gsa ser

Scheduled Posting

We don’t want to post to the same site more than once. Do not allow SER to post to the same site again. Leave all boxes in this area unchecked. (I realize I have one box checked in the image above. Don’t check any boxes in the Scheduled Posting section.

Filter URLs

This is a very important area that can make or break your campaign. You want to avoid posting to sites with any sort of spam and this section is where the filtering happens. See my settings below:

gsa ser settings
I want no more than 20 OBLs on a page. Some people might feel comfortable with up to 80 OBLs but we are looking for the highest quality links so I am setting this to no more than 20 OBLs.

Spam Filters and Language Settings

For this project I make sure to block sites when NSFW words appear. This setting is subjective and will need to be modified on a per project basis. For example, if you’re making a site about divorce lawyers, the word “sex” might be used on a page but the page is not dedicated to sex. Use your judgement when it comes to which sites to skip.

I only want to post to sites written in English so I check “skip sites from the following languages” and the deselect the English check box.

gsa ser settings

No that we have our settings configured, we are almost ready to begin posting.

Part 3. Preparing to Post

Testing Your Setup

Now that you’ve got everything setup, you want to test the settings to make sure everything is going to post correctly. Click the button labelled “Test” and review your work to ensure it all looks good.

gsa ser test settings
Make sure your comments are able to pass a manual review.

The Results

As I’ve said before, you’re not going to see tons of links but in this case we don’t want tons of links pounding our money site. What you will see is your link appearing on some very authoritative niche sites.

For this project I used a pretend Italian restaurant as an example. I only wanted to post to sites related to Italian food, or just food in general. You can broaden your searches to get more links but to be on the safe side I set this project to target very niche specific sites.

You need to have patience and just let the project run. As time goes in you’ll begin to see more verified links and you’ll probably even see some responses to comments from the authors of the posts you’re commenting on.

You’ll also see a lot of submitted links but very few approved links. This is because we are posting to sites that are very heavily moderated. We have to wait for the mods to either approve or deny our comments.

In the first 20 minutes of this project I already got 2 links approved from some really nice sites. See below:

trustflow ratings 2
Remember, my fake site is an Italian restaurant. Both of these links are very topically relevant to my money site.

trustflow ratings 1

Get My Project Settings

I exported my project settings as a .SER file. You can download the project and restore it into SER. This will save you some time.

Click Here to Get My Project

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

8 thoughts on “Tutorial: Building Tier 1 Links with GSA SER”

  1. On every forum i read that GSA is for tier 2 and tier 3, but after reading your post i changed my mind and will surely try this out the GSA quality Settings. I do recommend others to share this unique article on social Media.

  2. I actually ordered this service from SEO Khan and the links I got were pretty dam good. After three months of running this service, I then ran a ‘bad links’ report in SEO Power Suite, and didn’t find any bad links created based on what I got from the link reports from this service. Actually I only had to disavow around 110 links which were mostly directories which this service didn’t do. The point is – all the links I got were great and all the links added value 🙂

  3. Hey man, im following this tut but can’t seem to get any links, at my first try i got like 10 links but from NON-RELEVANT Keyword niche, so pretty much useless and spammy links.
    I replicated the same settings and downloaded your ser project, can’t seem to find anything and i got the error
    No targets to post to…

    Also, what do you think of blasting sites almost in 2017?

    Thanks you bro!

    1. With the method you don’t get many links at all. Maybe 30-100 good links per month depending on the niche.

      Try using broader keywords. For example, if you’re trying to rank a carpet cleaning company in Atlanta, try searching for blogs based on the keyword “Atlanta.” That way you get broadly related stuff.

      How many submissions are you getting vs verified?

    2. What do I think about blasting sites? Well, I did an experiment where I built a dental lead gen site using the Workhorse SEO plugin and straight GSA link blasts. The site made it to about page 2/3 for some of the keywords but wouldn’t budge beyond that. Keep in mind, I ONLY used GSA links on the site.

      If you want to rank you’ll need authority links.

      But, my DA and PA on the blasted domain went through the roof. It now has DA41 PA48 all from GSA links. That goes to show how easy you can manipulate PA and DA.

  4. How many submissions are you getting vs verified?

    Literally im getting 0 and this error, when i first tried your tutorial i got like 10-15 and only 1-2 were about the keywords i was searching for.

    Ofcourse i won’t be looking for “shopping fruits in atlanta” in that case, i was trying to get links for the keyword “Overwatch” which is a popular game from Blizzard, i only got getting a comment on heavy.com about an article of the game, nothing more, trying to replicate it doesn’t even submit / verify a single link.

  5. About the GSA thing, i am trying on a fresh new website with about 50-200k articles per website. I did bought some News articles from pretty high PA DA (80-80) for about 20€ here in my country which i find pretty Ok and i am also figuring if i should blast this website too, i did about a year ago and it climbed pretty ok.

    Thanks you Seo Khan!

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top