Link building is a contentious term in the SEO world. When most marketers and business owners think of link builders, they think of black hat SEO.
The world of SEO has changed over the years, and today link building isn’t about using PBNs and hiding links at the bottom of pages; there’s much more to it now.
Today there are many white hat link builders out there using white hat techniques to build high-quality links for their clients.
If you’re considering looking for a link building agency, then keep reading.
Today, we’ll explore why you need to be link building to achieve the rankings you need to boost your business and how to find a reliable, trustworthy link building agency.
Why Is Link Building Important?
For search engines, links are like votes. For every backlink you earn, you’re showing search engines that your website is a trusted source of information on your target topics.
While search engines, like Google, use many ranking factors, including the relevance of your webpage and its usability, they also explore the number of backlinks that your site has from a range of different sources.
However, the volume of links isn’t the only thing you need to think about; the quality of your links is also essential.
If the links are from poor quality or irrelevant sites, then Google will become suspicious and could overlook your site, or even issue you with a dreaded manual action.
That’s why you need to put the time, effort, and yes, money, into quality link building. Searching for reputable, relevant sites, then negotiating with them about a post, writing said guest post and then getting it published all takes a lot of time and effort.
That’s why quality link builders often cost a lot of money; but then, so do bad link builders. Often, it can be hard to tell the difference by price alone, which is why I’ve got some practical pointers for you.
Where To Start Looking For Link Builders
The first place to start looking for a quality link builder is on Google, or your search engine of choice. Any SEO agency that isn’t at the top of the results for its target keywords won’t be able to get you there either, so focus on the first page of search results.
While many of the top results will be paid adverts, explore the link building agencies that have ranked organically for link building agency and other related phrases.
This success suggests that these agencies have the skills and SEO knowledge to benefit your business.
Always make sure that you approach a selection of agencies, so that you can find out more about how they offer their services and their experience in the industry.
Link builders often cannot give you examples of past work, as many sign NDAs with clients, but they should have at least one example case study, even if it’s work they did for their own site.
You should also ask to see testimonials from their clients, even if they’re anonymous. These can give you an idea of what the agency is like to work with and help you to make an informed decision.
Avoid Anyone Offering Guaranteed Results
If you’ve ever been sent a cold email offering you link building services, then you’ll have seen the guarantees they make.
These outlandish claims range from being able to get you to a specific ranking- with no indication of what keywords they would target- through to assertions that they can get you one high-ranking link that will transform your site.
Don’t get me wrong – it is possible to rank for keywords in 90 days and this loophole is what makes this ‘guarantee’ total garbage.
These types of agencies can rank you for low competition, low volume keyphrases that don’t bring any organic traffic and claim they delivered their promise.
All of these promises are impossible for them to fulfil- any reliable, trustworthy link builder will be able to tell you that one link won’t make a lot of difference to your rankings, no matter how high-value.
Link building requires a lot of time and an ongoing strategy, like most of the principals of SEO. One link won’t make much of a difference to your rankings- it will, however, bolster your chances of ranking as part of a varied backlink profile.
If any of the link building agencies that you reach out to offer you results that seem too good to be true- they probably are!
Try to collaborate with a link building team that understands the limitations of their work and will do their best by you, but won’t promise you the world.
Look For Agencies Offering Bespoke Outreach Services
Many cheap, Black Hat link builders use Private Backlink Networks (PBNs) and other poor-quality sites that will benefit your short term SEO but can have long-term consequences if your site was to receive a manual penalty from Google.
There is no denying the effectiveness of PBN’s, but Google absolutely hates them.
PBN’s don’t allow for a level playing field for SEOs and undermines quality outreach and content publishing which is an integral part of any great SEO campaign.
PBN’s can rank your website quickly with their ability to manipulate anchor text and churn backlinks at a rate that looks almost unnatural and whilst this may be great for initial results, there is always the chance your site will be in the firing line of a manual penalty.
This is why we advise against agencies that use PBN’s.
It is a perfect way to push ‘guaranteed rankings’ because they can build backlinks so quickly, but it is equally immoral given PBN’s eliminate a level playing field for SEOs operating fairly and put your business at risk of losing its rankings which can take a long time to recover from.
While white hat link builders might have a database of sites that they work with, they usually also conduct regular outreach to find fresh sites that benefit specific clients and projects.
Even if you’re only looking to place a small link building order and don’t require bespoke outreach right now, always look for an agency that can conduct bespoke outreach if you need it.
Working with an agency with an in-house team of outreachers means that you’ll have scalability, as you’ll be able to provide them with larger projects in the future.
It also means that the agency’s database of sites is fresh and regularly updated, so you know you’ll be getting links that are sourced ethically and will bolster your SEO strategy.
An In-House Writing Team Is A Major Bonus
It’s easy to think that link building and content creation are separate services, but they’re actually intrinsically connected.
The content that your link appears in helps determine the value and relevance of the link. For example, if your link is on a website that doesn’t work in your sector, but the content connects the two topics, then search engines will mark the link as relevant.
So, you need to find an agency that has the capacity to write the guest post into which your link will be inserted.
Some link building agencies outsource all of their writing, which can lead to poor quality content. So, try to find an agency that has an in-house content team.
One way to tell if the link building agency you’re thinking of using has an in-house content team is to check if they offer content writing services, with different standards of writing. If they do, then they must have in-house staff who can produce content for them.
Having in-house writing skills will ensure that the backlinks you earn are not only placed on great sites but also inserted into engaging content that will drive traffic to your website.
Choosing the right link building service provider could be the difference between boosting your rankings and a Google penalty.
As such, you need to make sure that you choose the right agency. These tips should help you to understand what to look for when you’re searching for a link building company and help you to find a team that works well for you.
About The Author:
Hannah Stevenson is the Content Marketing Manager at UK Linkology, which is one of the UK’s highest-ranking and most respected link building agencies. She’s a former journalist, who now uses her skills to manage her company’s in-house writing team and content services.