We all know how much pressure there is to rank high in the SERPs nowadays. No wonder many professional digital marketing agencies have favoured link building as their preferred method to increase website traffic and lead generation. The reality is that many businesses are left stuck between developing their internal marketing teams or scouting a competent digital agency to outsource link-building projects successfully.
Suppose this predicament mirrors your current situation, and you are uncertain of how to proceed. In that case, you can stop worrying as in this article we’re going to cover:
- The most common reasons for outsourcing link building especially if you’re an Agency.
- How to find the right Link Building Agency that fits your needs
- Dos and don’ts when it comes to the process outsourcing link building
Now that we know what we’re getting into, we’ll dive into some more tangible aspects of the whole process.
Table of Contents
Even though there are countless reasons any business would or should consider outsourcing their link building campaigns, we’ll cover the most common ones and the ones that make the most sense.
Let’s give them a quick look.
1) You don’t have the resources to handle link building internally
No matter how you look at it, link building is time-consuming and bound to erode your resources.
Despite this, you’re going to need to create engaging content and increase your backlink profile at some point, whether it’s by scouting employees for an internal link-building team that handles your SEO and content distribution needs or hiring an agency to provide you with tailored SEO link-building services.
Both approaches to it have their pros and cons. However, and we might be a bit biased here, we think that outsourcing link building to a content creation agency is the better of the two, if only because it allows you to have a guided transition to more content marketing methods down the road.
2) You lack enough experience and knowledge with link building
Digital marketing is a huge field, and link building is one of its biggest sides. There is no strength in admitting you might not know it all.
I mean, there’s a lot involved in link-building:
- Choose whether to go with guest blogging, contextual edits, local or country-wide backlinks, press releases, or others.
- Know how to find the best sites with relevant content that might share or link to your content.
- Choose the right person to outreach to.
- Write a relevant pitch that engages site owners/admins.
- Create quality SEO-optimized content that will really drive traffic and increase authority through relevance.
- Know the right tools for each part of the process.
- And more…
When you dissect every aspect of link building, the amount of knowledge and effort that goes into a single outreach campaign becomes clear.
3) You want to increase your current link building reach
Let’s say you want to go from 10 monthly placements up to 40 per month. Or, you want to integrate guest blogging into your link-building strategy when you’re barely meeting your mark with contextual edits. That can be a stressful and very time-consuming endeavour for any marketer.
Most of the time, the best course of action is to simply outsource link building to a trustworthy and competent link building agency.
3) You don’t have access to the right tools
Part of the knowledge and expertise that allows a link building agency like us to be efficient at successfully developing and handling multiple campaigns is having access to the best tools in the industry.
And suppose you don’t own/handle multiple websites and plan to stay within one or two campaigns at the most. In that case, these blogger outreach tools and SEO tools can be very expensive. For a link-building agency, this is not a problem.
These tools allow us as an agency to streamline the process and get results exponentially faster, which grants you as a client a faster and higher ROI than if you tried to go at it alone.
#5 Your current link-building efforts don’t seem to be working
You think you’re doing everything as you should. Still, you’re not getting any replies from the sites you’re interested in. Or you do manage to get a placement, but the needle is still right where it was before, and your rankings are not improving at the pace they should.
As hard as it is to realize, you’re probably doing something wrong along the way. This is where consulting with a link building expert on outsourcing some of your link building projects can help you pinpoint what’s bottlenecking your growth and lighten your load.
There are a PLENTY of marketing agencies out there, ranging in the tens of thousands. So, in this enormous field of marketers vying for your consideration, it’s obvious that finding the right partner can become a titanic attempt. So, you want to build a certain standard that will help you rule digital marketing agencies that are below what you really need early in the process.
We’ve prepared a list of the things we think you should keep in mind the most when finding the best agencies to outsource link building.
1) Assess the quality of their previous work
This is the first thing you should focus your attention on. No reputable agency will deny showing you samples of their previous or case studies from their previous link building campaigns.
Ideally, you would want someone with some experience working within your niche. However, even if they don’t have any, you can still inspect their samples from others and evaluate the overall quality of their content. It doesn’t take long, and you only need to focus on these two things:
- Authority, relevance, referring domains and traffic of the site where the posts are placed
- Quality of the content
If any of these are not up to standard, you need to move on to an agency that actually deserves your time.
2) Ask about their process and flexibility
This basically means asking for a detailed plan on how their link building process works:
- Do they provide you with a detailed campaign setup process?
- Do they offer a way for you to track your campaign’s progress?
- Do they conduct a thorough inspection of every website considered for their campaign?
- Do they have the option to personalise their pitches to meet your needs?
- Do they offer pre-approval of sites, anchor texts and written content?
These are the questions you most commonly should ask. However, if you have any additional requirements, be sure to discuss them early on as well.
3) Ask for a detailed description of their pricing and look for hidden fees
Set the highest you are willing to pay for a campaign before you even start searching for agencies to outsource link building. First, set your monthly budget and check what kind of campaign you can get based on average link pricing. Remember that a guest post is not likely priced in the same range as a contextual edit or a press release. So, be sure to check their pricing and offers in detail with every agency you’re considering.
Also, whether you are interested in guest blogging or contextual edits, most pricing usually scales by domain strength. This is due to the higher the authority, the pricier and harder it is to have a link or guest post placed there. In turn, the higher the value you will get from that placement.
So, it is always recommended that you pay attention to their pricing scale and estimate the number of placements (and their authority) you can get within your monthly budget.
For hidden fees, you should check their pricing description and look out for charges like “consultation hours” or “project setup fees” and other activities that aren’t directly related to link building.
While there are cases where a specific request may indeed include extra efforts that justify these types of fees, these fees should be stated very early on and not through a nasty plot twist in a monthly report.
4) Go for monthly subscriptions or one-time packages first, not long-term contracts
So, you found what seems to be a great agency; they sent some really good samples, and their communication with you is hitting all the right notes. There is still a chance you’re being misled:
- Maybe the sample they showed you are not representative of their average work and are just hand-picked from the best ones they’ve done.
- Maybe the security they are portraying is just overconfidence in their skill to handle your niche.
- Or maybe your account won’t be a priority when a problem occurs due to them having too many big clients.
You can evaluate none of these possibilities without working with them for some time. This is the main reason why you should focus on testing them out first and not go for a long-term commitment right off the bat.
5) Cheap links means zero value
Quality comes at a price, and here’s why.
The writing and publishing of quality content can range from $100 to $300, depending on the niche. That’s without considering the research time needed to:
- Set the target audience.
- Competitor backlink/keyword analysis.
- Find relevant blogs.
- Find the right contact and their information.
- And finally, manage all aspects of the outreach process (initial pitch, negotiation, and follow-up discussions) and of course either creation of content or contributing more content to an existing page that of course will benefit the users and the site audience, you need to provide value.
Simply put, a link building campaign that results in quality content published under your name on relevant sites in your industry can’t be cheap.
So, if someone offers you an impossible price per link, you know they are cutting corners, and it will impact your business.
Nobody wants to waste months on a project to find out they are wasting their time and money. That’s why it’s important that you know what they can or should expect and approach outsourcing link building extra carefully.
The bottom line is that you need a partnership based on good collaboration. This means your attitude towards the project and disposition to help clarify confusions, communicate expectations, and offer guidance where needed will impact results.
Let’s focus on removing friction and improving collaboration by giving you some tips coming directly from us, an agency with the experience of working on dozens of outsourced link building campaigns.
1) State your expectations early on
Before the outreach starts is the time to set your rules and communicate your expectations, so the process speeds up and ensures that you and your agency speak the same language.
Do your best to define:
- The communication channel that best suits you
- Reporting frequency if your needs differ from the one the agency states on their product page
- Sites, anchors or pitches you want to avoid
- What part of the process you need to review before moving along (sites/content/anchors, and others.)?
- If you allow sponsored-tagged posts or link insertion within this campaign?
- Results and turnover time you’re expecting for the campaign
- Lastly, any special condition or request you might have
Most of the time, it’s OK if you miss something; just know that waiting for approval or specific orders on some aspects of the campaign may delay the project.
2) Be open to adjusting those expectations
Stating your expectations early on will reward you with knowing what the agency you’re working with can deliver or not. You will realise how flexible they can be with your particular needs.
However, your agency is not the only party that should try to reach a middle point.
For starters, wanting to see results immediately and calculating an exact ROI is practically impossible in link-building. Asides from the tangible reward of climbing the SERPs for the keyword you rank in, backlinks predominantly build exposure, awareness, and brand trust. Those are things you can’t put an absolute numeric value on.
And if that wasn’t enough, it takes time for link building to increase your rankings. So, measuring value from the few links you ordered as a test will never be a real representation of the actual value an agency can provide you. Instead, focus on the quality of the agency’s work and the work synergy they can achieve with your business.
3) Be sure to get involved at the beginning of the campaign
The early stages of a project are where the setup for the campaign happens.
The agency will tackle most of the grunt work in those stages. Such as:
- Research into your target audience.
- Niche and keyword analysis.
- Set up your project in their tools.
- Find good sites for link-building within your niche.
- And come up with effective anchor strategies and content ideas for your site.
Having a dedicated person that can provide constant and precise feedback to help the agency whenever they need it, it’s a resource that will save tons of headaches down the line.
This is even more true at the beginning of a new project. Every agency you outsource with will have all sorts of questions regarding your site, niche, competitors, and your approach to SEO and link-building.
This is why we usually start our process with a strategy call and a short questionnaire for every new client.
As you may already know, an effective Link building strategy aims for a long-term approach and integration with a larger and well-crafted SEO or content marketing strategy.
The whole process of finding an agency to handle something as important as your link building might seem uncomfortable at first. Still, if you follow our advice in this article, we think you’ll find the right partner in no time.
And suppose you’re looking to learn more about starting, or scaling, your link-building efforts through outsourcing. In that case, we recommend that you take a free strategy call with us. We pride ourselves on providing complete outreach link transparency, guaranteed metrics, and pre-approval for every link.
Not only that, we’ll analyse your site and niche, and together with you, we’ll work on effectively scaling your outreach link-building strategy in more detail.
P.S. If you are an agency a lot of the above will still apply and we are already priced accordingly for agencies and PR companies alike. So feel free to get in touch with a member of our team and chat through the commercials to see how we can help you or your client’s businesses grow.
Karl Hudson is an entrepreneur who spends his time in the field of digital marketing. He is involved in a multitude of niches and has many investments in all kinds of businesses. He enjoys spending his spare time reading the news, gymming, and travelling.
With the travel, he meets all sorts of people involved in a multitude of niches, from gambling to finance and everything in between. He is passionate about writing and trying to spread positivity around the world.
Karl is the founder of Searcharoo.