The term ‘link building’ refers to the process of acquiring links to your website from other websites. These links – think of them as a mention from another site to your site – are called ‘backlinks’ (although often also referred to as hyperlinks or simply links). Building backlinks from high-quality websites assists your site in ranking higher in search engine result pages (SERPs), as well as increasing authority to your site and content.
High-quality link building should play an integral part in any SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or digital marketing strategy. Backlinks are not the only determinant factor to a site’s SERP position, but they play a hugely significant role.
Because link building is such an integral part of SEO, but it is a time-consuming and multi-process task, many businesses with an online presence seek the services of a link builder.
Some companies may be lucky enough to have an in-house employee or in house link builders with the necessary link building skills, (a great content writer, sales and PR ability, negotiation skills, and a black book of journalists and website contacts), but for the most part, it’s necessary to outsource link building to a specialist link-building agency.
Outsourcing your link building strategy can offer several advantages over hiring an in-house SEO team or attempting to do it yourself (DIY). Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider outsourcing:
Building and maintaining an in-house SEO team can be costly. It involves hiring and training employees, providing salaries and benefits, and investing in the necessary tools and resources.
On the other hand, outsourcing allows you to choose from different pricing models, such as project-based or monthly retainer agreements, which can be more cost-effective and flexible based on your budget and specific needs. You can avoid overhead costs associated with hiring and training employees, as well as ongoing expenses for software and tools.
Link building requires a significant amount of time and effort. By outsourcing this task, you can save valuable time for your in-house team, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities and other strategic initiatives.
Link building agencies are dedicated solely to this task, allowing them to execute campaigns efficiently and effectively. They have established processes, access to resources, and streamlined workflows, which can result in faster and more efficient link building outcomes.
Link building is a specialized field within SEO that requires in-depth knowledge and expertise. By outsourcing to a professional agency, you gain access to a team of link building specialists who are experienced in executing effective strategies. These experts stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, algorithm changes, and best practices, ensuring that your link building efforts are effective and compliant with search engine guidelines.
Reputable link building agencies often have established networks and relationships with influential websites, bloggers, and industry influencers. They can leverage these connections to secure high-quality and relevant backlinks for your website. Building such networks from scratch would require significant time and effort. By outsourcing, you can tap into these existing relationships and benefit from their established credibility and trust.
Outsourcing link building provides scalability and flexibility to meet your evolving needs. Whether you require a one-time link building campaign or an ongoing strategy, outsourcing allows you to scale up or down based on your requirements. It enables you to adapt quickly to changes in your business priorities or marketing strategies without the burden of managing an in-house team.
When you outsource link building, you bring in external perspectives and fresh ideas. Experienced link building professionals work with a variety of clients and industries, which exposes them to different approaches and strategies. This diverse experience can bring innovation and creative thinking to your link building campaigns, enhancing their effectiveness and impact.
Companies from various industries and sectors may choose to outsource their link building activities. Here are some types of companies that commonly outsource link building:
When outsourcing link building, businesses typically encounter different pricing options offered by agencies or service providers. Here are two common pricing models:
1. Monthly Pre-Payment
The monthly pre-payment model involves paying a fixed monthly fee for a specified scope of link building services. The fee is typically determined based on the anticipated workload and the complexity of the link building campaign.
2. Project Payment
With the project payment model, businesses pay a one-time fee for a specific link building project or campaign. The cost is determined based on the project scope, complexity, and anticipated deliverables.
There are several important factors to consider if you plan to outsource your link building campaign to ensure you make the right choice and achieve your desired results. Here are some key things to consider:
Consider the cost of outsourced link building services and evaluate it in relation to the expected return on investment (ROI). While it’s essential to find a service within your budget, remember that high-quality link building requires investment, and excessively low-cost services may not deliver the desired results.
Ensure that the outsourced link building service focuses on obtaining high-quality and relevant backlinks from reputable websites. The links should come from websites that are related to your industry or niche, as this helps improve the authority and relevancy of your own website.
Understand the link building techniques employed by the outsourcing service. Avoid companies that engage in black hat tactics such as buying links, link farms, or spamming. Instead, look for ethical and sustainable strategies that comply with search engine guidelines, such as guest posting, content outreach, local citation building, and natural link acquisition.
A well-rounded link profile consists of a diverse range of links from various sources. Evaluate if the outsourcing service has a strategy to obtain links from different domains, including different types of websites such as blogs, news sites, local directories, and authoritative websites.
Outsourcing link building can be a smart strategy to improve your website’s search engine rankings and increase organic traffic. However, it’s important to approach this process effectively to ensure you choose the right agency and reach your target results. Here are some essential steps to follow:
Begin by researching different link building agencies or service providers. Look for reputable companies with a proven track record of success. Check their websites, explore their portfolios, and assess the quality of their work. Opt for agencies that specialize in link building and have experience in your industry.
Understand the fundamentals of backlinks and off-page SEO before outsourcing. Familiarize yourself with link building strategies, such as guest posting, broken link building, and resource link building. This knowledge will help you evaluate the strategies proposed by the agencies and determine their effectiveness.
Seek reviews, case studies, or samples of previous work from the agencies you’re considering. These resources can provide insights into their capabilities, success rates, and overall approach. Review their client testimonials and online reputation to gauge their credibility and customer satisfaction.
Different agencies may have varying approaches to link building. Find a provider whose process aligns with your expectations and goals. Consider factors such as their outreach methods, content creation, link acquisition strategies, and ethical practices. Ensure that their approach is transparent and complies with search engine guidelines.
Communicate your goals and expectations clearly to the agency you choose. Define your target audience, desired anchor text or target keywords, preferred websites for backlinks, and any specific requirements you have. Providing clear guidelines will help the agency understand your vision and create a customized link building campaign for you.
Regularly review and inspect the completed work to ensure it meets your standards. Assess the quality of the backlinks, the relevance of the websites, and the overall impact on your website’s SEO. Ask your provider questions if you need clarification or have concerns. Open communication is vital for addressing any issues promptly.
Patience is key when it comes to SEO and link building. It takes time for search engines to index new backlinks and for their impact on rankings to become noticeable. Recognize that link building is an ongoing process, and results may not be immediate. Trust in the process and continue to monitor progress over time.
Knowing how to avoid any sub-par marketing agencies or other rogue link building services will save you a great deal of time, energy and stress in the long run.
Reg flags to watch out for include:
To ensure that you attain the best possible outcomes, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with some of the most common pitfalls when you outsource link building and how to avoid them.
Here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common potential pitfalls.
Some services can be considered purely on price, but typically, you get what you pay for, and link building is no exception.
Succumbing to the temptation of engaging a cheap (or offshore) provider, or just one person selling a five dollar deal on Fiverr or UpWork will often result in:
Lower standards of content – cheap writers/editors tend to lack expertise and don’t use quality (but expensive) tools like Surfer SEO.
Poor quality control overall – inevitably less care will be taken than an in house specialist
Less accountability – cheap providers will likely focus on quantity rather than quality and be willing to lose your business rather than address any issues
Lower quality publishers – ultimately, the more authority a publisher has, the more it is worth, and cheap providers will likely favour low-authority publishers that can significantly harm your campaign’s success
The most expensive link building agencies/providers are not necessarily the best choice either, just be sure to avoid cheap options that will likely cut far too many corners.
Using tools like SurferSEO and Grammarly to create quality content shows that the agency is serious about creating the best content possible. We’ve actually used both tools to write this blog post, to ensure it is quality content and has the best chance of ranking and getting traffic, so more people like you can read our tips and advice on outreaching link building!
Of course, non-native speakers of English can be excellent writers, but it’s vital to ensure that no quality will be compromised by outsourcing providers using non-native speakers to generate cheap, inferior content.
Some non-native English speakers may struggle to create word-perfect content, as they may struggle with prose fluidity, sentence structure, the use of slang, and more. Reputable publishers will not be willing to accept sub-standard content or plagiarism – so make sure to ask for examples of content and articles they’ve published before you agree to hire them as a link-builder/your link-building agency.
Some link building outsourcing providers will admit to using non-native (and typically cheaper) writers, but if they do not volunteer the information, you may have to do some probing. You can either ask them directly or scan their website for any evidence of low-quality content.
Checking their blog is a great place to start!
As we’ve discussed, the key to great link building is to focus largely on quality over quality. Still, some offerings can be a source of confusion. When it comes to backlinks, their value to the site they link back to is almost entirely dependent on their level of quality.
Always consider the link building method and what kind of return you can realistically expect from each link when weighing up one offer over another. Of course, so long as no quality is being compromised, then the more links the better, but always consider quality over quantity for the best strategy.
Cheaper link building providers that focus on quantity over quality will often consider publishing sites indiscriminately, taking no account of their level of authority and value to the site they are linking to. Quality link building providers should either provide a wide range of publishers to choose from, or at the least be transparent about what sites they use. The quality of a publisher site depends upon its:
Domain Authority (DA) – in short, each site has a DA value as determined by google, and the higher a site’s DA value is, the more it will improve the linked site’s DA and rankings
Online Reputation – as well as a site’s DA, the quality of its journalism and worldwide acclaim can significantly enhance the reputation of any site it is willing to link to
Website Traffic (ST) – the greater the traffic a publisher site enjoys, the more the linked site will likely receive
Even with all of the above taken into consideration, it’s important to remember that link building does not deliver instantaneous results.
Link building is only one component to your search engine position; other factors include the quality of your brand awareness and your on-site SEO, your content, and your reputation through online reviews.
Commit to working diligently on all other aspects of your SEO while your outsourcing team works to build your backlinks. If initial link building results are disappointing, discuss this with your outsourcing team – any professional outsourcing team will be happy to address your concerns. That said, the most common concern with link building is the lack of immediate results – so remember that link building results take time to cultivate and try to exercise patience and trust in the process.
Remember: If you have taken the time to diligently choose a reputable link building provider or hire in house, be sure to exercise some trust in their expertise.
Of course, it’s important to keep an eye on progress and maintain good channels of communication. Still, be careful to avoid placing too many demands on them and creating a stressful, complicated working relationship.
So long as you are confident that you have chosen a team dedicated to quality output, be open to learning from them and give them space to do what they do best – having to constantly communicate back and forth can put a strain on things, and could even result in further expense.
We have mentioned that link-building results aren’t instant but they are very powerful – and here’s an example of that.
Check the graph below. This is a year-long review of how one of our client’s organic traffic (the orange line) has increased as the number of backlinks/referring domains has increased (the blue line).
You can see in September 2021 our client had 106 referring domains (a referring domain is a site that is linking to you). You want to get backlinks from lots of different sites/domains – 3 links on one site/referring domain is not worth as much as three links on different, equal quality sites. In September 2021, our client was also receiving 2,943 in organic traffic each month, and was also paying for 4,708 hits to their website each month through paid traffic (the purple line) – Google ads, etc.
Fast-forward a year, and after a carefully planned link-building campaign, their referring domains has grown to 647, and their organic traffic has increased to a staggering 88,611 hits per month – meaning they can afford to stop any paid traffic.
While this exponential increase was also a result of a carefully planned content strategy that focused heavily on highly searched keywords with low keyword difficulty, good links and a clever anchor text strategy played a huge role in this rise. You only have to look at the below graphic to see how their results in the SERPS have changed over the course of a year:
They are now ranking for 457 keywords in positions #1-3 on Google, and 3,191 keywords in positions 4-10. These keywords are on pages of beautifully written, SEO-optimised content, that have some fantastic backlinks built to them.
Ultimately, the success of link building is dependent upon the quality of each link, and ensuring that each link is a quality one requires it to be created by an expert in the field. Done correctly, outsourcing your link building is a cost-effective way of increasing a site’s authoritative reputation, rankings, and flow of high-quality traffic. The most valuable way you can spend your time is to carefully choose the right provider and work openly with them toward clearly defined goals to build the best backlink profile possible.