Outsourcing your link building has many advantages. It allows you to focus on the more important aspects of your business. It saves you money by not having a dedicated link building team. And it makes link maintenance more manageable.
However, outsourcing your link building also has disadvantages. You may not get what you pay for. Even worse, you may even hurt your own rankings.
Here are some simple tips to outsource your link building without getting burned.
1. Understand link building yourself
One of the main points of link building outsourcing is that you don’t have to be an expert to get results. You let the agency do their thing. (White labeling has the same concept.) But this doesn’t mean you can enter a deal with an agency as a clueless business owner. It helps to understand the process of link building yourself.
Do you reach out to bloggers and offer to send them guest posts with links back to your website? Will you rely on directories, news sites, and the like? Do you do a competitor link analysis to reverse engineer links and potentially steal them?
Your link building agency can help you determine the right strategy for your specific case. But it helps to have some understanding of link building yourself, so you are not completely oblivious. Being knowledgeable will also help you determine whether the agency is actually doing a good job.
2. Avoid scummy tactics
You will come across black hat SEO tactics while you are learning more about link building. It’s good to know these tactics, so you can avoid them. They will also help you determine whether the link building agency you are talking to is legitimate or not. If they are suggesting black hat SEO tactics, you may not want to employ their link building services. One example of such tactics is the use of PBN’s.
Google and other search engines are not stupid. If you try to game their system, you will be punished. They are completely aware of how some people try to game the system, and the websites of these people may suffer because of it.
One of the most common black hat link building tactics involves private blog networks. If a link building agency promises you links in a very short amount of time, it’s possible that they are using websites as link farms.
There is also some confusion about paying for links. This is actually okay sometimes, but you have to know what you are doing. Again, this is why it’s important to know link building yourself – to understand if a strategy is truly black hat or not.
3. Know the costs
Outsourcing your link building can, directly and indirectly, save you money. It can save you directly because you can simply employ an agency for a fraction of the cost of building your own link building team. It can save you indirectly because you can dedicate your precious time to other aspects of your business.
With that said, link building services still have costs. And you will get what you pay for. You may think you can just hire a cheap agency or a freelancer from another country that has a weaker currency, but this may end up being a complete waste of money and time. Gig platforms like Fiverr, for instance, are notorious for cheap and low-quality links, which are, of course, links you should avoid.
You may need to open up your wallet to get good results. This will be worth it if you are sure that the agency is competitive.
4. Look for the best link building companies
But how do you know that an agency is competitive? First, understand link building yourself and know the bad tactics some people use. This way, you are equipped with the right tools to spot bad link building agencies.
Second, check the agency’s case studies, reviews, and testimonials. Most competitive agencies will showcase their work with numbers to back up their competence. That’s where case studies shine. Most competitive agencies will also provide social proof. They may feature reviews and testimonials on their website. You may want to take a look at their GMB Profile as well. These profiles also feature reviews and testimonials.
5. Beware of those with outrageous promises
Link building is a complicated process. This is why entire digital marketing agencies even specialize in it. It’s basically a niche of its own. Probably the biggest factor that makes link building complicated is its unpredictability.
You just don’t know when you are going to get a link. Sometimes, you are even at the mercy of webmasters. For example, how many bloggers are going to reply to your offer of submitting a guest post? Having a single-digit response rate is normal. You can send a hundred offers and only get like five replies. Even if you have the best email subject lines, some people will still not open your message.
This is why you shouldn’t trust agencies with outrageous promises like being able to send you to the top of search engine result pages.
6. Manage your expectations
Outsourcing your link building is not an automatic win. You won’t automatically have a successful link building campaign just because you paid someone to do it for you. Again, the unpredictability of link building is to blame.
It’s important to manage your expectations in many departments, such as the authoritativeness of the links you get, the amount of time to build the links, and the frequency of the reporting of results by your link building agency.
If you are talking to a competitive agency, they will help manage your expectations. They will be honest with you in every aspect of your link building campaign.
Outsourcing link building can be very advantageous
Outsourcing your link building has many pros. It can save you a lot of time and money. But if you are not careful, it can actually cost you more of both. And in the worst cases, it can hurt your rankings.
Before you outsource, do your own research. Learn about link building in general. Scrutinize agencies before employing them. And manage your expectations because link building can be complicated even if you pay a competitive agency.