In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about link pillowing.
- What it is
- What it does to your site and link profile
- How to do it effectively in 2021 and beyond.
Without wasting your precious time, let’s get started now!
Table of Contents
What Are Pillow Links Exactly? And Why Should You Build Them?
Pillow backlinks are links on the web pointing to your site that you use to diversify your target page’s link profile.
Basically, pillow links are all those that aren’t targeted (don’t contain a target keyword) and are often nofollowed.
Why Would I Want To Build Such Useless Links?
I think that was a rhetorical question and that you already know the answer…
Because they aren’t useless.
Pillow links help your SEO in 3 key ways.
First, they diversify an already existing link profile of a page.
An example that pops up often, and you might have noticed it yourself, that you really want to rank an affiliate review page on your site to help drive revenue and monetize your blog.
So, you hit it with a kitchen sink.
You send backlink after backlink after backlink; you do perfect on-page SEO; you silo the heck out of your site structure, and the page moves up the SERPS to a certain point and then flatlines.
Send in as many new links as you want, it just won’t budge.
You pull your hair out of frustration but often the solution is easy and simple. Send in a bunch of pillow links and make your link profile looks “legitimate”.
Second, pillow links pave the way for strong keyword optimized backlinks that come later.
Because a page should have both types of links, it often pays to build pillow links first (which are completely safe from any algorithm); and then send in strong links with targeted anchors and see how your page responds.
Third, pillow links can get you referral traffic and more relevant traffic is always a good thing for any website.
Finally, pillow links won’t increase your domain authority. Instead they’ll build a strong foundation from which you can begin to grow your link profile.
“What are the types of pillow links I can build for my property? And where?”
It’s all covered right below!
7 Pillow Link Types Worth Building in 2021 and Beyond
These are the links that Google honors and that every legit website should have in their link profile.
#1- Social Profiles Links
Social profile backlinks are the low hanging fruit of link pillowing. Literally anyone can build them without any experience.
Standard ones are:
The list goes on.
Note: here’s an example of a pillow link, taken from Anthony Gaenzle’s Twitter profile page:
But you should not stop there.There are hundreds of sites where you can whip up a quick profile and point a link to your homepage.
Because there are so many and because it’s important to do it, I suggest you use a service called Knowem.
Pay them a fee and they’ll create profiles for your online business on pretty much any platform under the Sun, and definitely on those you care about the most.
Now, Knowem is kind of expensive. Their most desirable package which covers 150 social networks costs $349.
If you can’t afford that then you have 2 options remaining.
First, you can do it yourself. If you build just 10 profiles a day in 2 week’s time, you’ll have 150 profiles rocking in your favor.
Second, you can hire a VA (virtual assistant) to secure those profiles for you.
Pro tip- another reason why you should not sleep on profile link creation is because you want to secure branded properties before someone else snags them from you.
Imagine you grow a brand and your main competitor opens up a Facebook page under your name and then posts there with the aim of tarnishing your reputation.
Don’t let it happen, be proactive!
#2- Blog Comments
Blog commenting for SEO and traffic is a dying art form. Rarely does a blogger take this on, and spammers have overrun everything and everyone.
I’m sure, if you run a blog, that you agree and your spam folder is overflowing, the same as mine.
But, blog commenting the right way is still super useful.
It is possible to use blog comments for pillowing AND brand building, AND referral traffic, AND increasing crawl budget (leaving comments on many different blogs forces Google to increase your crawl budget as they find your links everywhere).
Blog comments offer such a variety of benefits that it’s a shame and a missed opportunity for those who don’t engage in this wholesome practice.
Pro tip – blog commenting links are superb for homepage pillowing. But you need to make sure that within the website field you enter your brand’s name. This will send you branded anchors galore which will enable you to later send stronger keyword-rich links to your homepage
Pro tip – You can also build niche relevance with blog comments.
Take a page from your site. In my example I’ll use my Fusebox Podcast Player Review.
Now I need to go and type “Fusebox Smart Podcast Player Review” in Google.
All pages that come up on the first page of Google are my target pages to drop a comment there, and in the URL field I’d leave the link to my money page.
Note: This is pretty weak obviously and it won’t rank your site, but it’ll help you pillow that page and prepare it for links to come.
#3- Infographic Submission Sites
Having a nice visual on your page instantly makes it classy and 10x better. My opinion only, but I know from experience that I value information more from pages where there’s a nice infographic, pictographic or flowchart that shows me what I’m reading in a visual way.
Yes, infographics work wonders as blog post upgrades, but they can also be used to get some awesome pillow links.
I’m talking about infographic directories. These are sites that curate infographics on every topic imaginable, and – best of all – most of them are free.
How Much Does it Cost To Make An Infographic? And How Do I Submit Them?
You can make an infographic yourself.
Or you can outsource it.
It costs very little to get a decent infographic made on Fiverr.
For example, below you’ll see one from my site about doing dropshipping with Fiverr.
Would you believe it cost me only $5? And with it I can and will build hundreds of directory links, easily.
Another great tool for designing infographics quickly is DesignCap. You have access to lots of great customizable templates that you can update to your needs. Definitely recommend checking out this review of DesignCap and its capabilities here.
Pro tip – infographic link pillowing has a sibling and that is image link pillowing.
Here’s how it works.
You create engaging photos and post them on image syndication sites with a link back to your site.
Image directories are aplenty, most of them are really authoritative, and most offer nofollow links while some dish out followed links, which is even better.
#4- Local Citations
I bet you thought citations are for local SEO only. Well you’re wrong. They can be used on affiliate sites too, and with great effect to boot.
Local citations are perfect for homepage pillowing because they give you branded and naked URL links + a mixture of follow and nofollow anchors.
Perfect for link profile diversification.
Their cheapest package cost $17 and with it you get 15 citations, which is plenty.
#5- Social Signals
Truth be told, social signals are not pillow links. So why am I including them here?
Because they are an essential part of any link building campaign. Yes ,even pillow link building campaigns.
What do I mean?
Think about this. What is more common, getting social shares or backlinks?
It’s the former.
In the former case, your visitor literally just has to press the share button, and in the latter they have to:
- Log into their WordPress
- Find a blog post
- Find a relevant place
- Add a link
- Update their post
It’s a 30-minute job vs a 5-second job.
So, your site is in trouble if it gets more links than social shares.
I’m not saying you’ll be penalized or anything, but not doing ANY social promotion is a common mistake newbie bloggers make and a clear reason why you’re stuck in the SERPS.
The algorithm doesn’t trust your site.
Even Matt Diggity, the king of backlinking for SEO, said in one of his YouTube videos that he had sites die because they had received backlinks but zero social shares. And as soon as he started sending social signals those sites came back from the dead.
Social signal(s) is obviously plural and you need hundreds of them to see an impact. This is not something you can do on your own.
You need to pay for them and once again I recommend SEOButler. Ther basic plan of 200 signals is only $14, which is nothing and the value you get is excellent for the money spent.
Note: even though you can’t get the social proof you need all by yourself, it’s still a good idea to write highly shareable content whenever you can and to be active on social and share your content as much as possible.
Again, you won’t be able to do it manually but you can begin by using social media scheduling tools to help you.
There are quite a few of them out there and it’s up to you to test them to see which one you’ll like best.
#6 – Quora
Out of all link pillowing tactics mentioned here, Quora is by far the best source.
Because of 3 simple reasons.
First, Quora is one of the most trafficked sites in the world . According to SimilarWeb they get more than 544.4 millions visits per month.
Links you drop there have a high chance of getting clicked, especially over time, and links that get real users clicking on them have a definite SEO value even when they are nofollowed.
Second, referral traffic flowing through Quora is nothing to sneeze at, especially in the early stages of any blog when you’ll be getting paltry organic traffic from Google, and especially if you make it a habit of posting regularly there.
Third, Quora is like a huge forum divided into thousands of mini forums and niches. People that frequent those niche threads and ask questions are usually your perfect audience.
Any click you get from there could become a sale for your business or a new subscriber.
These reasons and more are why I build Quora links to my articles as much as I can and wherever relevant.
For example, see below how I promoted my Interact Quiz Builder guide. Those two pillow links have already sent me trickles of referral traffic and at least 2 extra sales.
What Are Some of The Services That Offer Link Pillowing?
Yes, you can successfully outsource pillow link creation.
For those of you with a marketing budget at hand and more money than time, here are 3 services worth your attention.
SEOButler is a UK-based SEO agency that specializes in building many different types of links, from PBN’s and guest posts to local citations.
They don’t offer link pillowing as a service but you can still use their link packages for it.
In the past I’ve ordered both social signals and local citations from them, and have always had an excellent customer experience.
And every order was over delivered.
Besides having a super cool Arthurian pun-based name, SirLinksalot also offers an excellent “pillow links” package as a service.
Their $69 package includes:
- Niche directories
- Forum and social profiles
- Web 2.0’s
- 200+ social signals
I haven’t tested them so I can’t recommend or not recommend them to you.
InValley is a Netherlands-based link building agency that offers all kinds of link building services. You can find a full list of link types they build here, but what piques our interest the most are their QNA links.
Namely, after ordering and paying they’ll proceed to find or create questions on popular QNA sites, and answer them with a link to your site.
QNA links are by far my favorite type of pillow links to acquire.
The only problem is that they’re pretty expensive. Their standard package comes out at $15 per link which just might not be worth it.
That’s why I still build my links manually most of the time, and another option is to hire a VA (virtual assistant) which should prove cheaper in the long run.
Link Pillowing Quick FAQ – Crucial Questions Answered
I turned Quora upside down to find these questions people ask about link pillowing.
Don’t ask me how long it took (I’m ashamed to admit it) but do reward me with reading on.
#1- Are Fiverr Links Good For Link Pillowing?
The best way to tank a site’s ranking and SEO is to order a link package from Fiverr.
Listings like these are plenty and deranking success is a guarantee with any of them.
But what about building pillow links with Fiverr?
Surprisingly my answer is not negative (so it’s positive).
You CAN build certain types of pillow links with Fiverr without risking much.
For example, you can have an infographic made cheaply on Fiverr and then pay another freelancer to submit it to a bunch of directories.
This can work because you’re buying someone else’s time and they will do exactly what you would’ve done with your time and effort.
For extra security give them a curated list of infographic directories to submit to.
Pro tip: with this kind of sensitive service you need to get a true pro to help you. I suggest you search for level 2 sellers with at least 100 positive reviews to their name.
You can find level 2 sellers by using filters on Fiverr result listing pages.
#2- Are Social Signals Pillow Links? What About Links From Pinterest?
Social backlinks from all social platforms, including Pinterest are not counted as pillow links. They do however have their place in a healthy link building/SEO strategy.
#3- Should I Build Pillow Links Before I Send In Real Links?
No, not really.
Pillow links serve the purpose of making your site appear more trustworthy to Google so that later you can build links more aggressively.
However, it’s perfectly fine to kick off any link building campaign with a few solid guest post links or link insertion (called niche edits).
It’s just that you won’t be able to forever keep on building only following links.
#4- Are Guest Post Links Good For Pillowing?
Guest post links are one of the strongest backlinks you can get. As such, they should not be wasted for pillowing.
However, there is a way to get the SEO benefit of guest posting + get a link pillowing benefit.
Get both follow and nofollow links from the same guest post.
Let say the submission guidelines say you’re allowed to have 2 links to your site inside the content. And you ask the host to include a third link but make it nofollow.
9/10 times they’ll say yes because it’s a harmless link to them and yet still very helpful to you.
Concluding My Link Pillowing Guide for 2021…
I know link pilowing on the surface looks to be just a waste of time, money and patience. After all, you’re building links that will NOT rank you but will contribute to the noise of your link profile.
And that’s exactly the point.
Pillow links are a tough pill to swallow (pun intended) until you realize that they are a necessity, and that by building them first you can acquire real backlinks second, those that will move the needle in your all important money keyword SERPS.
You want that right?
You want to rank in Google and earn money?
Then stop sleeping on pillow links now:) and start pillowing today!
And let me know in the comment section below which tactics you’re going to use first. I might have a pro tip or two or three to share with those who bothered to read and comment.
- Pillow Links: What Are They and How to Build Them Correctly? - January 7, 2021