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Keyword Academy Case Study: Does Postrunner Work?

OK this is my last Keyword Academy Case Study post – its a review of where I got a new site to in the rankings by solely using Postrunner for back links and some thoughts about the quality of the Postrunner system.

Wellington Harbour Entrance - looking towards Pencarrow
Wellington Harbour Entrance - in a good Southerly

As of  27 September – my postrunner promoted site had the following statistics:

Rankings on 27 September  (2 August, 2 June | 30 April ,14 April 2010 in brackets | 8 April 2010)

  • 15 pages indexed in Google (18, 24, 26, 15 |13 pages)
  • 23  backlink recognized in yahoo (15, 13,13 ,6,1, 0)
  • domain name exact match long-tail: 5 (8, 12, 14, 17 | 17)
  • main keyword: 9 (14, 21, 17, 34 | 61)
  • main keyword singular: 1 (12, 19 ,19 , 31 | 61)
  • 4 other cousins are on page 1 and the other 2 are on page 2.

A qualified success I think – but only qualified. Why only qualified? I have published 69 posts in Postrunner to support this site the most recent went live on the 23 August 2010. However of those 69 fully 22 are not indexed.  Now each and every one of those posts went to a different site in Postrunner – so I downloaded the list of backlinked articles and looked at each and everyone of them – this is what I found:

  • one site had moved every post over to a new domain – and left a message on the old domain- friendly but useless for SEO – my post isn’t indexed and it wouldn’t be unless I put some effort it;
  • one site had completely deleted all of the Postrunner articles it had and had become a Bulgarian ecommerce site (I think – my Bulgarian is rubbish);
  • 3 or 4 sites had decided to change their permalink structure and then redirect the original post to the top level domain – thanks for nothing guys – I think this should be against the TOS (though I don’t think it is at the moment);
  • one site seems to have removed my article entirely (or maybe they just screwed up the permalink structure as above – anyway it was indexed so I couldn’t find it on a site search);
  • several sites that are or have been in Postrunner are now selling links on a popular link selling forum
  • in several cases my post wasn’t indexed but the content was indexed on category, author and tag pages – good for the site owner – useless for me;
  • although I only link once in an article (I could do it twice) – and I always link in the first paragraph – some owners still manage to get links in above my link – that’s mean spirited in my view.

Now I was about to embark on a campaign of bookmarking to get these other links indexed – but  frankly some of them are going to be difficult – once the content is indexed on other pages on the site is going to be quite hard to “correct” Google.

Of  the 47  backlinked articles which are indexed – Yahoo is only counting 23 – so I looked harder at those 23. They were an interesting set:

  • one was a scrapper site which had taken one of the other blog’s content – it was indexed with a do-follow link – don’t tell me that duplicate content doesn’t work 🙂 ;
  • in 10 cases the link counted wasn’t to the post – but to tags, categories etc, As most people use excerpts on these pages I’m not really getting a do-follow link that counts;
  • in several cases the post wasn’t indexed in Google but was being counted as a link in Yahoo. Because all any of care about is rankings in Google this means these links are probably not really in the count either.

What’s Good About Postrunner

  • There is a wide diversity of hosting and IP addresses.
  • Diversity of ownership of the sites in Postrunner.
  • If ALL you got for your Keyword Academy membership was Postrunner – it would be the cheapest deal I know for access to this amount of link diversity.
  • Unique content – duplicate content can rank – but it takes more effort – usually.

What’s Not So Good About Postrunner

  • I get no notification when articles are removed – this I think would be relatively easy to program and should be done ASAP.
  • I have to manually check whether links are indexed or not. If they aren’t indexed I have to do something about it.
  • Most owners don’t understand how to avoid diluting the power of links (read Leo’s blog on this) – I think that so few of even the indexed links are being counted relfect this.
  • Some of the site’s owners don’t know what they are doing – mucking  with the permalink structures is the obvious one.
  • Quite a number of the PR3 or higher sites are pre-owned domains which will likely lose their PR when the next update comes along (due anytime now actually).  These sites particularly likely to disappear from the system with your post, or just not get indexed at all (partly because so many posts are being approved on them). I’ve had better luck with PR0 and PR1 sites.

Do I still recommend Postrunner? Yes I do for $33/month its pretty low cost – but I am investigating another similar scheme which may be more effective – stay tuned. And if you are using Postrunner – do a periodic check of your articles and follow up the ones that have disappeared (by getting them returned via support) and those that aren’t indexed (by building more links to get them indexed).

I’d be interested in knowing  similar stats people have for Postrunner or similar program which involve the publication of unique content.

32 replies on “Keyword Academy Case Study: Does Postrunner Work?”

>> one was a scrapper site which had taken one of the other blog’s content – it was indexed with a do-follow link – don’t tell me that duplicate content doesn’t work

Actually, when this happens, your original article may never ever rank again unless you put in a lot of effort. Happened to me with article syndication. When I started my IM’ing, I posted the same articles to my blog and to EZA. Some of those articles on EZA got PR2s and PR3s but those on my site were never ranked.

However, in the past, I have seen the same article showing up in different article directories, and they all ranked in the top 30. So much for Google’s duplicate content filter.

The problems with postrunner and article directories in general (sites disappearing, etc.) have had me exploring alternative strategies. One of them is Fraser’s (from TKA) strategy of publishing everything on our own blogs/sites. I tried this on one of my sites and it worked well. The first few months, progress was slow. Then I got it backlinks from EZA, continued writing, and the site shot from 3 or 4 visitors a day to 80+ a day. I’ll admit that after 9 months progress seems to have plateaued. I’ll have to continue monitoring to see what happens.

I agree Calvin – but the orginal article isn’t indexed anyways … Yes any site with authority can rank duplicate content all day long (see . Yeah I never give EZA anything that is posted on my own site – they will probably out rank me – and I think their recent push to encourage writers to do exactly that is vl manipulative.

The issue with Fraser’s method is quite simple – I don’t build links for this site v. often either – people link to be organically because of my deathless prose (or something … LOL) – I still get links in other words – it just happens naturally. Now that is OK in a niche that people want to have a discussion about and where those visiting are savey enough to have somewhere to post a link – v.few niches are like that – MMO, travel, some areas of health, fashion, celeb – who acutally wants to discuss insurance or hair loss? They just want a solution – that’s why getting links has to helped along sometimes.

Interesting. As I waited for this post to open I was expecting, even hoping for, a glowing report of good results.

I tried TKA a few months back and gave up the trial after a few days (for reasons I have posted in the past) and never even tried the PostRunner feature.

Recently I saw a recommendation from another blogger that almost had me signing up again, becuase of the advantages of PostRunner.

But I have participated in a couple other commercial PostRunner type services in the past, as well as some informal blogger to blogger article exchange schemes and none of them ever worked well enough to make them worth the effort.

Google seems well optimized to recognize and automatically devalue links obtained through schemes like this … I’m not convinced any of them are worth the effort.

Thanks for your factual and honest appraisal.

Its interesting Dave the site in question would never in a million years get organic links – not even if it has the most awesome, compelling expert- written content in the whole Googleverse. Why – simple the people wanting that information don’t own blogs or post on facebook – like the other 90% of people they aren’t Internet switched on. So the trouble is what is the alternative?

Make your own or pay to use others – and yes Google is always watching. That said Postrunner has more effect than most because of the shear variety- hubpages and ezinearticles still work and possibly squidoo – but that’s only 3 sites – Postrunner has around 800 sites. IF you have a source of cheap articles than Postrunner will give you much better results than the usual candidates of mass article directory submission – but for how long – I dunno. That said If find that once you get a site up on page 1 I can usually keep it there with reasonably minimal effort.

Google can’t just mass deindex/discount a whole scheme like Postrunner – particularly one where the sites are owned by many players – its called anti-competitive or something – but do they devalue the links – and should people be using the broadest collection of anchored text – definitely. At the moment I still think Postrunner is a good place to start for a beginner – but you should never rely on just one system – and Postrunner really needs to start returning posts which are deleted and doing more to alert users of posts’s status.

Hi Lissie,

Seems you were the only left over in the case study 😉 I got, as usual, distracted with another site. As for Postrunner, one thing I really do like is having an article directory in the system. Free content and often the writers build links to their own articles whilst I build links to the site as a whole. Said all this, Postrunner stays and falls with the quality of the articles posted and I wish that people that have such a directory would take more pride in them! As for the site owners who messed things up for you, have you notified them? And, apart of a case study, do you spend really time to follow up the fate of each support article you post via Postrunner? One thing I would like to add to your great lists of improvements would be the possibility to ‘favorite’ sites we had good experiences with in the past, and perhaps even include this rating into how the sites are presented on the list. This way sites that are well taken care off, but have a lower PR would rate better then sites that have ‘only’ a high PR. Just my 2adcents, SY

We disagree on the quality thing SY -as usual 🙂 I barely read the posts I accept on my PR sites – but I am seriously quite pissed about some of the issues I mentioned above in the post . I certainly have my own private “favourite” sites and I think others do to because I notice my boring little PR0 general blog getting a lot of posts – and I think more than one member has figured out that it gets instant indexing (wish I knew why!)

I have in the past got posts back from sites which have stuffed things up – but frankly – this was just one site – I am actively link building for 17 sites at the moment – it took me a good 3 hours to go thru this list – I could easily be spending more time keeping an eye on the backlink articles than I am spending posting the bloody things in the first place. In the search for automatable methods to get non-indexed posts indexed was what started me on the quest for looking for alternatives… I need something that will scale – and Postrunner isn’t smooth enough to do so at the moment.

I completely dropped out of any kind of link building schemes after I designed one and ran it for a few months. Part of the reason is because of exactly what you saw with PostRunner.

I have determined that the majority of sites included in any kind of scheme will become substandard if they aren’t already. It’s because the site owners only care about THEIR rankings and not yours. Those that do care about others are few and far between.

Since I started using NetworkedBlogs on Facebook and posting my blog links to Twitter, I’ve seen a much better improvement in rankings than traditional backlinking ever did for me. I don’t know why other than maybe it attracts more organic backlinking (I have over 38,000 backlinks in Google for only one blog, by the way – the one in my link above).

RT, the blog in your link above returns a blank page for me. Not sure if the problem is on my end or yours, but it might be worth checking out. As for taking care of post-receiving sites, as I make money from it (Adsense / Amazon) I do have an interest in getting and keeping all articles indexed. And therefor an interest in having quality content on my site (Sorry Lissie, couldn’t resist 😉 ) SY

Yes, I have a very aggressive spam filter (custom) and some IP ranges are on 30-day blocklists. It’s entirely possible to end up as a false positive. Since I have no way of knowing what IP address is yours, perhaps Lissie can forward it to me so I can check it out.

Since I use nginx in front of Apache, I use a special 444 error code to prevent returning any kind of errors to the screen. I wouldn’t have to except that a specific botnet has targeted my domain for the last two months.

Wow, might be because I am located in the Czech Republic? Lissie is welcome to forward my ip address if she wants to go through the hassle, it is a static one, so it should be good for a while 😉 I promise to not spam your blog more than I do Lissie’s 😉 And just for the records, I am not a botnet nor do I really know what they are, SY *makes note to herself to check out the term Botnet on Wikipedia

Lol, I have a story about this approach I want to share before giving away my approximate ip range 😉

Some months ago my hubby got contacted by an US-American choir that wanted to sing at our venue – for free. Problem was, he couldn’t get one single email through to them because they all came from a .cz domain. So I stepped in and made the middle woman and all worked out well. Problem was, their over-zealous webmaster had blocked the whole Czech Republic! After some emails being send / received via my .com account, their choir sung at our — church! One overzealous webmaster (from a the Diocese of Washington DC) blocked emails from an priest of an Expat church in a ‘suspicious’ country like the Czech Republic…

OK, enough of story telling, here my ip range, last three digits removed: (Just for the benefit of being paranoid, Lissie, can you remove it when RT confirms that he ‘released’ me?, Thanks)

Oh, and just a suggestion, I use in order to ban spammers selectively. SY

Thank you, RT! I can see your site now, one other thing that helped me to get a handle on the spammers was having a simple captcha on the comment form of Reduced my comment spam from 250/ day to close to nothing, SY

I personally like using PR and don’t go back to check whether a post has been indexed or not. I suppose I should, I did start using amplify or share this to bookmark my GoArticle submissions since they weren’t ever getting indexed. I tend to just post it and move on to the next thing. worrying whether or not all my posts are getting indexed takes as much time as writing and submitting another article sometimes I think. I do keep track of where they’re all posted to so technically I could go back and check. But don’t. Even if a site get’s shut down, big deal I lost 300 words of content. I do prefer the larger more cared for sites and am always willing to write a longer article (400+) for sites that seem to take care of themselves.

I try to use every resource available as to not be too dependent on one source for back links. There are enough out there to get ranked if you just work hard.

I assume sooner or later the PR network will either dissolve or something bad will happen. I REALLY hope it doesn’t as it’s been a big help in my short IM career and is surely one of the reasons for some of my success. But then again, its just another resource out of many. RT made a good point about using NetworkedBlgs, Twitter, etc. but that doesn’t do much for us who have a lot of niche sites and no supporting facebook page or branding campaign. I guess that comes down to really good content though and organic backlinks. But I digress.

I agree Jake – diversity is the key to this business – I hope the Postrunner evolves and adapts – but I am making sure my business is not dependent on any one service 🙂

Hi Liz,

You did great with your keyword case study 🙂 I’m just wondering how your traffic went? And with the conversion as well. Does postrunner allow sitemaps? I think that’s the one you need to really make sure each page are getting indexed. I also suggest to ping the backlinks you have built, since crawlers sometimes take too long to reach hard to find pages.


Haha good questions Jason – the traffic is low – around 4 or 5 search visitors /day – as usual the traffic stats from Google are wrong by a factor of 10 or so 🙂 I was using an affiliate product and obviously with those number I haven’t sold anything

Hi Lissie: great review, and I agree with almost all of it. My own results have been better than yours – I took a year-old site from -100 to #8 and #9 for two modestly competitive keywords with 10 Postrunner links and nothing else. By modestly competitive, I mean that the post didn’t rank in the top 100 by itself when I put it up and it got the new content boost.

My experience with getting indexed and having PR sites remain stable has been much better than yours. However, site owners who come in and poach the #1 spot in my content with their own link is a common problem. If the price weren’t so great, I would drop it and go with a more reliable service (and I think we both know which one), but I use their keyword tool as much as I use Postrunner and together it’s just too good a value to pass up–plus my affiliate commissions pay my monthly fee. I just wish people would stop asking KWA to police for quality content (because nobody can agree on what that is) and start policing for good SEO practice.

As for Google busting this type of network, I think this type of threat is overrated. It’s just too small a percentage of all the activity on the internet to be worth their time. What I’ve seen happen instead, with networks like Linkvana and Backlink Solutions, is that the owners like collecting money so much that they let their content acceptance rate outpace building links to their own sites. I quit using Linkvana after inspecting several of their sites and saw they were taking 50-100 posts a day to a site with fewer than 100 backlinks. Of course the content wasn’t getting indexed–it got pushed off the front page five minutes after it was posted, on a site that had no authority to begin with.

I just completed a $200 content order. One-third is going on Postrunner, and two-thirds is going on another service that allows one link per 150 words and seems to be more reliable. Trying to get to full time with this–wish me luck.

I am totally in agreement Loreecee – and you make a very good point about number of posts v. number of backlinks to the site.

what is the “more reliable service” you are referring to? Just curious… I use Post Runner everyday and now I’m starting to think I need to diversify a little bit.


Thanks LC – I am and I am loving it so far – but I’ll wait until I have some figures to publish

Hi Lis
Your data is interesting and gels with my less rigorous approach to trying to figure it out. When I have traced backlinks I’ve found that many aren’t indexed or go to scrapers etc. That said, when I sometimes do the same with an Ezine profile I also find that half of those are in the same boat. It is iritating having to build backlinks to one’s backlinks and raises weird sort of metaphysical questions (does one have to backlink the backlinks to one’s backlinks?). When my mind goes down that road it starts making me a bit crazy so I’ve just been trying to post articles and move on and hope that enough stick.

I’m keen to hear about the new service. I see quite a few people are trying it out and starting to talk about it and I wonder how different it will be. The greatest strength of Postrunner is, to my mind, the extreme diversity. Some sites may go bad or vanish, but equally some (your’s I hope – say, give us a clue) will be looked after and SEO’d for years to come. I’m hoping that at least some of my links will gain with age.
I’m also assuming that becasue people come and go from TKA and are putting sites in and out of the system that it becomes increasingly difficult for Google to keep track of and penalize.

On second thought…
I had a moment of panic earlier this week after your post and a similar one by Strathy’s (for which I can’t find the URL or I’d give a link). Anyhow I went back and did some manual checking of links using a random snippet of text (not an automated check or url check) and found that almost all of my PostRunner articles were indexed.
Now it may be that I skewed the results because the ones I checked were all several months old and many had been the beneficiaries of at least a few links (I did a BLS run of spun content and dripped about 5 links to many of the backlink URLs in my spreadsheet). So this may not be an apples for apples comparison.

You are the scientist here, so I don’t want to question your methodology, but if you didn’t check using snippets of text and used an automated checker it may be worth going back and double checking whether it is as bad as it seemed at first. I may have just been lucky (or the BLS run did what it was meant to) but the sky definitely isn’t falling on my head.

PapaJ – I had to dig you out of Askimet! I just grab the url and then check it using the site:url operator in google … I would say your backlinks to your backlinks worked quite well 🙂

If you’ve ever posted an article on a WordPress blog, then you’ll feel right at home. It’s just as easy to post an article to the Post Runner site owners as it is to post to a WordPress blog.Another nice feature of Post Runner is that it will search your article to see if it is duplicated elsewhere.

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