How To Build Links & Rank Websites With GSA Search Engine Ranker

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My GSA Search Engine Ranker review & tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to get the most out of the software.

GSA Search Engine Ranker was heavily featured in my tiered link building series and has had a bunch of awesome new features added across the past year.

A lot of readers have asked for a more detailed tutorial and how to use it to build links directly to your money site.

Although I highly suggest you download this free link building checklist to make sure you’re only building awesome links that rank.

What You Will Learn

  • How to use GSA Search Engine Ranker properly
  • What all of the advanced GSA SER options mean
  • How to build high quality links
  • How to setup a tiered link building campaign
  • How to remove links safely

Resources In The Video

GSA Search Engine Ranker – A very diverse link building tool.

GSA Captcha Breaker – The best captcha solving software.

BuyProxies – I use the semi-dedicated proxies.

Kontent Machine – Check out my full review to learn how to use it properly.

Don’t Like Videos? Follow This Instead!

GSA Search Engine Ranker is a tool that’s come to be one of the most powerful in the link building world. Last year it went through several updates and transformations to make it easier and faster.

I will teach you to:

  • Setup GSA Search Engine Ranker properly
  • Create tiered linking structures
  • Build quality backlinks
  • Remove past links to prevent penalization

This tutorial is pretty detailed so let’s just get into it!

GSA Search Engine Ranker Interface

First let’s look at the interface before we get into the nitty gritty stuff.

On your main GSA Search Engine Ranker panel, you can see your list of projects created, tools, colour coded verified links and a real time log with statistics.

GSA Search Engine Ranker interface

The stats along the bottom tell you-

  • How many submitted links there are and which ones submitted today
  • The amount of active proxies
  • Number of verified links from today
  • How many submitted links a minute
  • How many solved captchas
  • Memory & CPU usage

If you ever need a reminder of what they mean, hover over with your mouse for an explanation to pop up.

To see more options, right click the project and you have lots of things to change here such as status, priority, type of active mode and modifying the project.

GSA SER options panel

Show URLs will allow you to look at both submitted and verified links which you can export or look at more specific statistics about them in charts and graphs.

You can even sort them out by engine, internal/external, follow or no follow and link type.

Remember, a submitted link is one that has not been verified if it is live and a verified link is one that is submitted and currently live.

Other project options include making changes in bulk and importing target URLs. You can import your own URLs that you’ve scraped or you can import from a site list.

GSA Search Engine Ranker Settings

On top of the last verified URL list, there is an option button to change the settings for your project. The setting options you have are thread count, proxies, and various other things.

GSA Search Engine Ranker options

The thread count defaults at 50 which is fine unless you have a more powerful computer. Mine is quad core with 16 gigs of rams so I can set it up to 250 threads.

If you don’t, 50 will work just fine.


Make sure you have checked the box to use proxies and GSA SER will scrape public proxies for you. Set it to search for new ones every 60 minutes if there are less than one hundred active.

Test all of them and take out the failed proxies if they’re older than a few hours.

gsa proxy settings

The problem with public proxies is that they aren’t 100% reliable and you normally receive a high failure rate which ends up wasting your time.

If you spend a few dollars on Buyproxies and buy semi-dedicated proxies, the success rate is much greater and is really worth your money.

To input your own proxy list, click Add proxy, import them from clipboard and set them to private. After you add them, go back to settings and decide which proxies to use, private or public and when.

I use my private proxies for search engines, PR checking and submissions.

Interested in proxies? Check out my list of SEO proxies and residential proxies.

Captcha Solving

Although GSA can support a large range of captcha solving services, there are two types that you really need to know.

captcha solving

The first is a software based solution such as GSA Captcha Breaker. It will try to automatically solve them for you which saves on human based captcha services.

The second one is a human based solver like Death By Captcha and these are really cheap, around $1.39 for a thousand solves.

The best way to set it up is to select a software based service as your primary and then a human based as your secondary.

That way your primary will help reduce the captcha costs and your secondary can pick up any failed ones and is much cheaper.

captcha service setup

To set it up click Add and select the services of your choice. Test to check your balance, set up your retry limit and the rest of the options.

If you don’t want GSA to ask you when solves aren’t successful, untick the box that says to ask the user if everything else fails.


GSA Search Engine Ranker will automatically ping all the backlinks it makes but you can integrate them into the supported indexing services if you want.

Although some people like using the indexer services, I don’t believe they’re really all that necessary. Instead you can build more links to them with GSA SER but if you’ve got them and want to use them, then feel free to integrate them.

indexing services

Some of the indexers are GSA SEO indexer, Linklicious, Nuclear Link Indexer, Link Pipeline, Lindexed and Back Links Indexer. Just select the ones you want and enter the API key for each one.

Another option is the filter which allows you to skip submissions if the URL if appearing in your blacklist. You can leave all these at defaults.

Advanced – Site Lists

Sites lists allow you to keep a log of different types of links GSA Search Engine Ranker discovers and submits to.

You can then reuse these lists in other projects to speed up the overall submission process.

There are 4 types of site lists-

  1. Identified sites to post to
  2. Sites that have been successfully posted to
  3. Successfully submitted and verified links
  4. Failed links

site lists setup

I recommend keeping a record of successful and verified submissions so you can use them later on in future projects.

One of the options for a new project is to import target URLS and you can do that from a previous site list.

After a few months of using GSA Search Engine Ranker, you’ll end up having a huge site list of verified and successful links that you can save and import quickly in various projects. So tick verified and successful to save these two lists.

Starting Your Project

When you’re done setting everything up and all the options are how you want them, click Start to get your project going.

As soon as you do that, GSA Search Engine Ranker will start going out and finding targets and submitting and verifying links.

starting your campaign

During the process, you might get pop ups from GSA that needs you to answer random questions. To prevent these pop ups which can get annoying, hit Stop and double click the project.

Select Options tab and you’ll see a line that says if a form can’t be filled to Ask User or Choose Random. To stop pop ups, change it to Random.

fix popups

You’ll have to change this for every project so remember to do that before you start a new one!

So that is an overview of the GSA interface and the specific features and options it has.

Now let’s look at a sample project!

Sample GSA Search Engine Ranker Project – Quick Tour

I’m going to show you around a sample project quickly so you get an idea of how everything fits together.

Then we are going to create a project together 🙂

The left side column is a list of links to where you want to submit to such as:

  • Blog comment
  • Directory
  • Forum
  • Image Comment
  • Pingback
  • Social Bookmark
  • Social Network
  • Video
  • Web 2.0
  • Wiki

gsa ser sample campaign options

Compared to SENuke XCR, this list may not look like a lot. Even when you click on the plus, you’ll see all the options underneath but it still doesn’t look like there’s many places GSA Search Engine Ranker posts to.

This is because all of these are platforms used by thousands of different sites. Wordpress for example is a widely used platform so if you choose Wordpress article, GSA Search Engine Ranker will post to all sites using that platform which is in thousands.

Don’t be fooled by your first impression, there’s endless supplies of sites to post to behind the scenes!

platforms list

In the main window you have to input all the data for your campaign. The options panel gives you great control over how links are built which has gotten a lot better in recent times.

So now you know what you are looking for let me take you through creating your first project.

Creating Your First Project

To start a new project, click New and a new project will pop up. First you have to choose which link types to use which will depend on the type of campaign your running.

A good rule to stand by is that if you’re making your money site central to your link building structure, you have to use high quality contextual links which are links surrounded by relevant content.

new project

We can tick some of these options here such as Article, Wikis, Web 2.0’s, and Social networks. I’m going to leave it fairly simple for this example.

After you’ve selected your link types, you can start on the rest of the settings.

  1. Enter URL
  2. Enter keywords
  3. Fill in anchor text

new project settings

You can enter multiple URLs which GSA Search Engine Ranker will just rotate through at random and make variations of capital and lower case letters.

For keywords, there is the option to collect more from target sites and to use those collected words to find new target sites.

The anchor text should be based on your main keywords and must be in spintax format.

Your keywords (used to find sites to submit links to) can be the same as your anchor text if you want, just tick the box that says use keywords as anchor text.

Create A Natural Looking Link Profile

Now the next few options are important for building a natural looking profile in GSA Search Engine Ranker so you reduce the risk of being penalized by Google Penguin.

Please see the main tutorial video if you get confused here.

gsa SEO software options

Partial match: A partial match is one that includes the main keyword with something else. I really recommend keeping a list of partial anchor text.

Branding anchor text: Some examples of branded anchor text for my blog, would be Matthew Woodward, Matthewwoodward and

LSI anchor text: Use scrapebox or Google wonderwheel to get some new words and paste that into here.

Generic anchor text: words like “click here” or “see more”.

Citation: Creates a naked URL of your site which makes your profile look much more natural.

Anchor text variation: varies the uppercase and lowercase letters of anchor text

Combined, these settings will help you build a very natural looking profile.

Kontent Machine About Me Profile

For your About Me, you either drop in a default profile or use Kontent Machine to generate several about me’s.

For the log in and passwords just tick the randomization box and GSA Search Engine Ranker will generate them for you. Enter the website title, categories, either suggested or root, forum comment and a description.

I keep my descriptions the same as the 250 description and leave the forum comment at default. Forum nickname and forum password will be randomized if the box is ticked.

Don’t forget to properly spin any content with my The Best Spinner tutorial before adding to your campaign.

Even More GSA SER Options!

Don’t think we’re done yet! Under the options tab, we have even more stuff to fill out.

gsa project advanced options

The options you have are:

  1. Choose to pause your project after a certain amount of submissions or verified links a day
  2. Leave the verified link options at default and tick the box to send verified link to indexer services.
  3. Do not tick the box to use character spinning!
  4. Choose to randomly have spelling mistakes or typos

To avoid pop ups like before, remember we have to select the box to randomly choose a selection. Have all services fill captchas if you set up captcha solving services.

To use tags, you have a choice between keywords or anchor text.

scrape targets options

To tell GSA Search Engine Ranker how to get target URLs, you’ll need to tell it where to look.

First, pick the search engines. Right click to search by country which I usually do and this will depend on your target audience and language so I’m going to pick UK and United states.

I also like to use keywords to find target sites. Even though it comes back with less, the results are usually more accurate and relevant which is what you want when building links.

 Quality over quantity!
gsa search engine settings

Tick the box to use URLs from your global sites list if you have one and you can also choose to analyze and post to competitor’s backlinks.

This option will try to replicate the backlinks for sites that rank for your target keywords. It’s not perfect but you are able to get some substantial value from it.

It doesn’t differentiate between good links and spam links so the risk is if the link profile is pretty spammy, then GSA SER will try to grab those links for your own as well.

GSA Search Engine Ranker posting schedule

GSA Search Engine Ranker allows lets you set up a posting schedule so you don’t get banned if you’re building multiple links from the same site. Try to space it out so your links don’t get deleted or anything like that.

I don’t normally use it but it can be handy.

GSA SER target url filter

Under the Filter URLs tab, it’s important to set these options up.

  • Skip sites with more than X amount of outgoing links on one page. Normally, sites have about 125 links so you can safely increase this to 100
  • Skip sites with a PR of X
  • Types of backlinks to create
  • Skip sites that have bad words, from different countries or languages and the following words in the URL or domain

Consider creating multiple projects to get a variation of PRs to look more natural. Try to skip sites with a PR less than 0 and unknown PR.

Email Verification

There’s three types of email addresses that we can use.

  1. Disposable
  2. Web mail based
  3. Self hosted

Disposable sites are widely available but many sites will block those so you’ll end up with a high failure rate.

Webmail based emails don’t fail as much but there are still some sites out there that block web mail based accounts.

Self hosted email is something like but using a gmail or hotmail account will be fine for most. You can take the time to make your own or buy a bunch on Fiverr.

email settings

Enter your email of choice and at the bottom are several more options to choose from. I want to wait fifteen minutes between two different log ins but the rest is left at default.

Make sure you test this!

If anything doesn’t work here, your campaign is in danger of failing as it’s running.

Article Manager

Now let’s choose some articles to add but make sure you spend time creating quality content to use in your link building.

If you don’t know how, I suggest you check out my advanced spinning tutorial with The Best Spinner because you need have to have some high quality hand spun content.

article manager

If you already have articles ready, just click Add and paste your content directly into there with a title. It’ll grab the first paragraph automatically to use as the summary.

Once that’s ready, you can preview it, complete with links and all.

Repeat the same steps to add a second article. Easy as that!

On the bottom are some more options for editing your articles in terms of links and such.

Inserting Links

You can either insert a link with a sentence at the bottom, a sentence in the article, or No link.

To be honest, these options don’t give you as much control since the link seems randomly placed. To make it look more natural, directly add your links when you are spinning the article with The Best Spinner.

insert link options

I talk about this in my The Best Spinner tutorial but you can do this with a tag in GSA Search Engine Ranker.

Next you can insert media randomly with GSA Search Engine Ranker and that saves you some time. One last thing I change on here is to not duplicate content anywhere instead of per account.

Click OK to finish your campaign setup and you’ll see it get added to the list!

Tiered Link Building

Setting up a tiered link building campaign is fairly easy and is similar to creating a new campaign. First we have to create a new campaign like we did before.

The one difference is to tick the box that says use verified URLs of another project (multi tier/link wheel). As soon as you select that box, a pop up will appear.

Choose your project, the money site.

tiered setup

Now your new campaign is going to build links to the campaign you chose earlier, tier 2 to tier 1.

To add another tier, repeat the steps to set up another project, tick the same box and pick the second tier.

Building tiered link structure is quite easy in GSA SER!

Removing Links

We all know that Google is constantly changing. What worked perfectly a year ago, may not work so well now. So you always need the ability to remove links you have built, just in case!

GSA Search Engine Ranker can help you clean your backlink profile as long as they were created by GSA SER which is extremely useful.

remove links

All you have to do is right click on the project, hover on status and click Active (remove links). GSA SER will go through and remove all the links created as it is running.

It can’t remove ones such as blog comments since there was no registration/account created but it can remove a large amount of them.

Integrating Kontent Machine

GSA Search Engine Ranker allows you to integrate with various services to help you set up campaigns quickly.

One of the best tools I like to use for this is Kontent Machine. Just follow my Kontent Machine tutorial to learn how to prepare your content.

Once you’ve finished preparing your content with Kontent Machine, there’s an option to build and export. Choose the GSA Search Engine Ranker template, select export and save it.

Kontent Machine GSA Export Tool

When it’s done saving, you can go back into GSA Search Engine Ranker to import the content.

Select Tools, import, data field, your file and fields you want to fill. Right away all of the data has been exported and filled in all of the boxes.

GSA Kontent Machine Import Tool

You could also use Kontent Machine to generate hundreds of articles to import into the article manager.

Wrapping It Up

The GSA Search Engine Ranker team has been constantly working and updating this tool in the last year and it’s miles ahead of what it used to be when it first came out.

They have come a long way in the past year to make it one of the most powerful and diverse link building tools on the market. It really is a crucial tool to have in your arsenal.

Want to write product reviews like this one? Use my product review template!

Resources In The Video

GSA Search Engine Ranker – A very diverse link building tool.

GSA Captcha Breaker – The best captcha solving software.

BuyProxies – I use the semi-dedicated proxies.

Kontent Machine – Check out my full review to learn how to use it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

GSA SER is a search engine ranking tool that automates link building. It’s a diverse and powerful tool that can be used for tiered link building and has a bunch of awesome features. If you learn how to use GSA Search Engine Ranker right, it will be a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

What Are Your Thoughts?

723 Responses

  1. Hello Matthew,

    Today is 1/10/2024.

    1) Thank you for your tutorials. Top notch!
    2) I would like to know if GSA is still working for ranking. I am planning to use it according to your tutorials but would not want to break my ranking!

    Please let me know!

    1. Hi Yvan, in 2024, I would suggest you build your links organically/manually rather than automatically with GSA.

  2. Thank you so much for such an amazing and informative blog. I loved reading it and gaining knowledge from it.

  3. Hi Matt,The best video tuto of all the world.I start project with GSA since 1month but my links build is not indexed by search machine so the result is nothing :(A advice to improve the indexation of links on Google ? (I have GSA Indexer too…)Thx Laurent

  4. Hi Matt, excellent content indeed, thank you!A simple question, is it still valid in October 2020, since last Google updates?

  5. I remember I used to have complete GSA setup with captcha breaker, WAC, dedicated proxies, etc. I used it on my affiliates sites and ranked many websites within a month or even less.This article is really handy for people who are looking forward to starting building tier links with GSA>Great article as always.Thanks, Matt.

  6. First of all…I didn’t know about GST…But I saw when i’m browsing your top articles…Explained really well…Thanks for taking this many efforts…-Abhishek

  7. I’m using GSA Proxy Scaprer, can you make a tutorial configure between GSA SER and GSA PS. Actually, i see GSA have many new tools (or new with me) and only few very simple guide to use it. All of guide i saw on internet, your guide is easy to understanding and more details than others. Hope will see more tutorial about SEO tools. Thanks Matthew Woodward

    1. I dont use it sorry, the price of semi dedicated private proxies versus the speed increases they give make it a no brainer for me. I use BuyProxies

  8. You have great articles Matthew, i have a question that i m using link assistant for seo. Is GSA better than link assistant ?

  9. GSA is super powerful. However it is not as simple as its cover design. Not easy to learn especially for an Indonesian like me, with a lesser English comprehension. Thanks Matthew for this review, really helps!

  10. Great video, thanks Matt. I know how long they take to do so appreciate it.I always worried about using automated link building tools like GSA. Recently purchased it and am seeing some results. I guess I can always monitor all Google updates and cut the links to my money site in even of penalty.

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