Bing might be suggesting that link building is on its way out, but Google still regards links as one of the top three ranking factors for search.
Links are search-engine gold but link building is not for sissies. It takes time, knowledge and experience to get it right. Many businesses choose an outside agency to do the hard work for them.
Read on to find out if you should choose the option to outsource link building for your company’s online presence.
The Process of Link Building
Link building refers to the practice of getting other sites (preferably authoritative ones) to link back to your site as a source of information.
It is possible to offer money to people in exchange for backlinks but reputable operators will not indulge in this kind of practices. There are other, direct and indirect ways to earn links.
Firstly, your content needs to be good enough. Secondly, they may return the favor if you link, mention them or comment on their blogs first. Establishing a relationship with influencers, bloggers, and other highly-regarded sources are key to link building. This is a time consuming and long-term process.
Significant interactions with other web entities can work wonders for your SEO and is an important part of your overall strategy.
If you have no idea where to start or lack the time and resources to engage in this lengthy process, it is a good idea to outsource link building to someone who does.
Strategy and Link Building
We’ve all heard SEO terms such as the careful use of anchor text, content, links and keywords to drive organic search queries to your site.
Are you familiar enough with the latest marketing trends and search engine algorithms to figure out how these all fit together to work for you? Reading a few articles on the topics won’t cut it.
Unless you forget the concept of link building and follow the route of content marketing, which is not always within your reach, you are bound to have to take into account the following types of anchors:
- Page Post Title: page title anchor text refers to the meta title of the page and occurs more typically in blog posts
- Keywords: it contains the precise key phrase you want to rank for. Ideally, no more than 1 or 2 are needed.
- Keyword plus or Conversational keyphrases: it contains a key phrase you want to rank for with other words that make the anchor look natural.
- Partial Keyword: anchor text that contains part of a key phrase that you are targeting.
- Home URL or Website name: https://www.heresmysite.com OR heresmysite.com OR www.heresmysite.com
- Full URL: The Full URL refers to the full deep url, perhaps more suitable for links coming from forums
- URL with www’s: Some website owners simply leave off the “http:// or replace it with www. It’s quite common
- Brand: A link with an anchor using your brand name, eg: HeresMysite
- Brand Plus Keyword: Brand plus keyword you are trying to rank for in the anchor text.
- No Text: no anchor text at all. Typically from images that link to a site but without title or alt tag
- Natural: no reference to any key phrase whatsoever. Examples: “here”, “website”, “this site explains”, “find more here”.
The above applies to every single page or url that you wish to rank as part of your website and assumes that you have done your keyword research. Yes, it’s hard work to keep up with this such system. You need specialised tools that help you stay organized and methodic.
It also takes time and know-how to stay on top of all rapidly-changing developments in link building and search engine algorithms that consider backlinks to rank web pages. It takes years of experience to interpret all of this correctly.
What About Paid Search to Get Results?
Paid search is just that – paying search engines to push your website to the top of search results. The amount varies according to the competition for these keywords.
Organic results do not cost you anything unless you consider the amount of time and money you have invested in getting them to the top of the pile.
While paid search is a legitimate way to get clicks, it only lasts as long as your budget does. Diligent SEO marketing may take time but it also has longer lasting effects.
After you have reached a certain level you may be able to continue on your own thanks to the benefits of natural links i.e. sites that link to you because they think your content is worthy of it.
Effective link building goes a long way towards achieving this status.
Many companies make use of both tactics to cover all their bases, as it is very costly to utilize paid search for all your keywords.
Does it pay to outsource link building though?
Benefits of outsourcing Link Building
Many businesses that outsource link building enjoy fantastic results over time. The benefits go far beyond the fact that it works though. These are some of them:
Not having to worry about this dull and tedious part of SEO
Link building is tiring, ongoing and can be tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. If you delegate it to one of your employees you are taking them away from what they were originally hired for.
Hiring someone new to engage in link building is expensive and you have no guarantee of their skills when you get them on board.
Leaving it to a professional saves you time and stress.
It’s Not Your Problem
If anything goes wrong with your link building strategy or causes you to earn penalties from Google, you can take it up with your service provider. While they often cannot guarantee results due to the ever-changing nature of search engine algorithms, it is kind of their responsibility to fix it.
If you were you doing link building yourself, you may not know where you went wrong or how to fix it.
Save Money Down the Line
I agree that link building services are expensive. How do the costs compare to the amount of time you would spend doing it yourself, though?
Professionals will be able to accomplish a lot more a lot faster due to their knowledge, experience, and networks. When you outsource link building it frees you up to focus on what you are really good at.
The Downside of Outsourcing Link Building
However, there are a few aspects of outsourcing your link building that may not sit well with you due to the associated risks:
Giving up some of the input you have in marketing your business online may seem like relinquishing control. If you do not have the ‘know-how’ to do it yourself, you may not see this as a bad thing.
You should always have the final say even though you are not involved in the daily grind. Direction and goals are still your domain.
Even if you outsource link building you may still want to audit the work that’s to be done: the anchor text, the target urls, the types of websites being approached.
The Fine Print
Avoid being bound by a lengthy and expensive contract. If you are unhappy with the services provided you may be stuck paying out large amounts of money for poor results.
When you outsource link building, make sure you have the option to cancel or make use of a trial period to see if you are happy with the service.
Keep in mind that you cannot expect instant results from link-building and should give it time to work before canceling your contract.
Just as in any industry, there are unscrupulous operators out there who will take your money and run or who simply don’t have the ‘know-how’ to help you with effective link building. The damage they can cause on your site’s ability to rank may be bigger than not doing link building at all and not ranking right high.
So how do you Choose the right agency or professional?
Be wary of link building services that promise a first place ranking right away. This is simply not possible.
A good provider will work with you towards achieving specific goals in realistic time frames. Check online reviews to see what their other customers have to say and how they respond to any complaints.
Find out about Black Hat SEO tactics and steer clear of anyone associated with them. Search engines will likely catch up with you and it may take a lot longer to lift a penalty (even in Penguin 4’s era) than it does to build up your site with tried and tested tactics, even in Penguin.
While the initial cost of link building is high, the cost of your contract should taper off over time as the number of effort decreases.
Look for analytics and facts. The best link building companies will be able to show you the logic behind their processes and provide you with figures relating to your site regularly
It is your job to provide the best products and services in your niche, leave link building an expert 3rd party.
If however, you are up for the challenge, want to learn and understand more the ins and outs of link building, and keep your campaign and brand fully under control in-house, then pull up your sleeves and start reading, learning and testing. Pick up a small project and build a strategic plan around it and carefully start executing. It’s the best way to learn.