6 Tips to Outsource Link Building
Link building is one of the most important parts of SEO.
There, I said it.
Relevant & high authority backlinks are important, but getting them can be one of the more difficult parts of SEO campaigns.
This is true whether you’re a small business, solo freelancer or a marketing agency providing that service for your clients.
Because having a solid link building strategy in place can be really time consuming.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to save time trying it yourself, increase your chances of success (by leaning on our experience and expertise) and get some actionable tips for outsourcing your own link building campaigns.
But first, let’s cut straight to the chase:
Should you outsource link building?
Obviously I’m a little biased here. But I believe at some point in an SEO strategy you need to build links. And sometimes, it’s just more effective to outsource link building.
Like I’ve said, the link building process take’s up a lot of time.
To climb up the SERPs you need to:
- get the right balance of link quality vs quantity of links (that will have a real impact on organic traffic)
- keep the relevancy of links aligned with your sites niche
- avoiding any spammy links
- get contextual links on authoritative sites
- make sure your domain authority is moving in the right direction (pssst, use this free DA checker tool)
- ideally get some nice referral traffic coming your way too.
Phew, that’s a lot to think think about whether you are a business owner, blogger or even for SEO agencies.
That’s why many find it necessary to outsource link building to companies that specialize in it.
It saves you the time trying it out yourself, and it gives you more chances of success by leaning on existing experience and expertise.
Benefits of outsourcing link building (& when you should)
The main benefit of outsourcing link building is freeing up time.
So few businesses or even agencies have the time to dedicate to building the types of links to be successful. Especially if you need to hire a a link building specialist or team to have them handle it in-house.
It’s common for any business to outsource certain tasks that are necessary but outside of their main scope.
Here are some of the main benefits of hiring a link building company:
- Saves time – you can focus on doing what you’re good at and expand your business.
- Saves money – the cost to outsource likely comes out cheaper than spending the money in salaries, software and link building tools to manage it yourself.
- Save worry – you do not have to stress about the success or details of a link building campaign.
So when should you consider outsourcing the task to a link building company?
It won’t necessarily be viable for everyone, and not at all times.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when determining when to outsource your link building:
- Do it when you don’t have the time or resources to handle it in-house
- Do it when you don’t have anyone on your team with experience in digital marketing
- Do it when you want to really expand your link building efforts
- Do it when you’ve tried other link building methods yourself already (and not had much success)
On the other side of that coin, you should NOT do it if you don’t have the money for it or time to really research a good company. You might also not necessarily need it, or it may not be the right time for a given site.
6 Tips to outsource link building
If (after reading about the benefits) you’ve decided to seriously look into hiring an outside company, here are some tips to get started.
1. Do some research
When hiring an agency, you want to make sure you get the best company for your requirements and the kind of link metrics you want. You also want to know you’re getting your money’s worth.
Specifically, you want a partner who understands all about SEO, link building, and how the two impact each other. The hiring process can be made easier using an applicant tracking system.
The end-goal of you hiring a link building agency is two-fold:
- to take tasks off your plate and free up your time
- to improve your backlink profile, keyword rankings, and organic traffic.
You want to choose the best option for your business and the results you want. Consider looking at the following:
- Case studies – get data on how their services helped past clients (especially in your industry if possible).
- Testimonials – look for reviews and testimonials of past clients and what they say about the agency, good and bad.
- Cost & plans – see how much their services cost and how flexible their plans are.
Whatever you can’t find on their website, you should ask them directly in your initial rounds of communication. There’s no real reason for them to not have any of that information, so it is a red flag if they don’t.
2. Understand the costs (aka know how much you *should* be paying)
When it comes to outsourcing your link building: you get what you pay for.
You may want to save money by hiring a cheaper agency or service package, or look for a freelancer online.
But link building is difficult and complicated. Enough so that you should absolutely not risk wasting your money.
If you find the right agency who knows their stuff and is highly efficient with their service, you could save both time and money.
After all, going the cheap route that gets you a mediocre single link and some low-quality blog comments is a waste of money. You might as well not have bothered.
Keep in mind how much it would cost to hire a dedicated SEO or link building professional in-house. Regularly running a guest posting campaign and producing high-quality content as part of this can be costly.
Multiply that by how long you would need to hire them for a full campaign. You’re looking at least $1,000+ per month, but that would be for one less-experienced employee.
Meanwhile, you can find service packages for link building from an agency that costs the same, or even a bit less. They would also come with a full team of expert link builders and SEO professionals, not just one person.
3. Avoid Black Hat SEO
The last thing you want is to pick an agency who promises the moon and delivers by using shady tactics.
When they build links for your business, they act in your name in the eyes of Google. So if they get caught using Black Hat SEO tactics, your business is the one that will be penalized.
It’s just not worth it.
If you are unsure what methods you should be avoiding, do some research for black hat tactics and red flags to look for when researching an agency.
They will try and hide it under reputable sounding terms, if they mention it at all. Ask for examples of their work and always check their reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
When it come to Google, buying backlinks is a murky subject at the best of times. So keep it white hat to be on the safe side.
4. Beware of over-promising
In the world of SEO (and especially building links), it is almost impossible to reliably make and meet any large scale guarantees.
If an agency tells you that their link building service is guaranteed to get your website ranked #1, take that as a red flag. A big red flag.
While link building is still a major factor in any search engine’s ranking algorithm, there are several others as well. Links by themselves will have a noticeable impact, but there is a lot more that will go into your website ranking at #1.
A good agency will give you an honest and specific set of promises, timelines, and ultimate results of their work.
They should give you an idea of how many links they will build, in what time span, on what websites, with what anchor text, and so on.
5. Understand the process
It’s also good to know the general logistics around how link building campaigns work, such as the difference between organic and local link building.
That understanding will pay dividends when it comes to picking a reliable and quality agency.
When you ask questions or look into their services, they should be talking about each necessary step in the process.
At the same time, it will also help you better understand what will be involved even when you pick a good agency. You will know the time and resources involved, and what the potential impact will be of their work.
6. Set clear expectations (on both sides)
Expectations are a two way street when it comes to the relationship between an agency and their client.
There are certain things that should be clear between each side as far as how everything will work. That includes:
- What your goals are and what you expect them to accomplish
- How you will communicate with each other and how often
- How they will report on their progress and successes
- How often they will send you updates and reports
- What their timelines will be
Whatever is important to you as far as their work for you is concerned, you should have a clear understanding from them. Make sure you ask questions that have clear answers before you sign any contract.
Sidenote: Finding an outsourced marketing agency
Aside from everything listed above, there are a few miscellaneous points to keep in mind to help you choose the right agency:
- Ask for samples of previous work
- Learn about their workflow and ask about flexibility
- Discuss the budget and look for hidden fees
- Avoid long-term contracts and look for a month-to-month program
- Run away from everyone that is offering “cheap links”
Takeaways for outsourcing link building:
- Do some research
- Understand the costs (aka know how much you *should* be paying)
- Avoid Black Hat SEO
- Beware of over-promising
- Understand the process
- Set clear expectations (on both sides)
With this advice in mind, you should be equipped to start more in-depth research into outsourcing your link building. You will be able to look for an agency that has a cost model, service link plan, and workflow that aligns with your needs.
Picking the right agency should not be a quick decision.
You should look at several options, and a few in more depth, before you sign a contract with anyone. It’s a big and important investment, and not a decision you should take lightly.