18.05.2021, Владислава

SEO Linkbuilding Service

What Is Link Building?

Link building is the practice of acquiring links from other websites to your page. It is an integral part of search marketing that drives web traffic, establishes authority, exposes your content to new audiences, and, at the end of the day, improves ranking. 

So, hopefully, we’re not debating the value of this approach. But the biggest question is how to acquire these precious natural links. 

You may think that a link is a link, and it doesn’t matter whether you do it yourself, seek help from link building services, or take a whole other alternative round. But let us assure you that there is a difference; we’ll compare all the routes you can take. 

What Is a Link Building Service?

Link building services refer to the digital marketing efforts to secure backlinks from high-authority referring domains, which are performed by a specialist or a group of specialists. 

It’s a gradual process that requires patience and expertise. But with a good partnership established between the website owner and a link building specialist, it can bring great long-term results.

Before we go on, let’s establish the two main reasons why link building companies focus on backlinks:

  • Navigation. Backlinks allow people from a certain page to discover another site. It’s a natural way to attract users based on authority, trust, and relevance. 
  • Search engines. High-quality link building - i.e., when a website holds a trust vote from a reputable website - helps search engines identify which websites should appear higher in their results. 

Having established the basics, we can start assessing all the different methods of DIY and professional link building.

Prefer the DIY Method? There Is A Tactic That Works

In theory, you can use the tactics that link building services implement in their campaigns. There aren’t special SEO techniques that help build or earn backlinks that are kept secret. If you do everything yourself, you’ll need to do the same - reach out to other websites to get featured, write forum comments, submit guest articles, etc.

The difference from working with an SEO agency is that you’ll be responsible for every step of the process, sometimes including publication. To find new ideas, you can spy on your competitors and seek out all outside links that they earn. 

That said, we wanted to share one expert tip that often gets overlooked in backlink campaigns - podcasts.

Podcast Guesting: High DA Links With Great ROI

Podcasts have unprecedentedly become some of the fastest-growing marketing channels available today. So, why wouldn’t you use this opportunity and use them as link building services? 

There are two options:

  • Host your own podcast
  • Become a guest on a podcast

The first link building option may sound intimidating, which is reasonable. In the beginning, you’ll need to take care of equipment, audio recording & editing, intro & outro music, cover art, and maybe guests. But you don’t need to take this route.

Appearing as a guest on another person’s podcast is more cost-effective. In fact, it is essentially free. The recording process takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and you’ll only need to take care of travel expenses if the podcast is recorded in a studio.

Podcast guesting builds trust and authority while providing powerful contextual link building services. Just be prepared to talk about your topic but tweak the conversation to meet the level of the audience.

The biggest challenge is finding the right podcast and persuading them to get a feature. This will take master negotiating skills, but the effect of doing link building is worth it.

What to Avoid When Working on Backlinks Yourself

Search engine optimization is a sensitive issue. If you do link building the wrong way, not only do you make your campaigns ineffective, but you can also make your website’s rating sink. We can all agree that that’s the last thing any website owner wants. 

Below are the top 5 worst things you can do during the backlink building process.

1. Anything on Fiverr

Fiverr puts quantity over quality; link building services are no exception. You might come across people that promise first-page Google rankings or link building. But there is a high chance that they make up for low prices with black hat tactics. You might even get short-term results, but they are going to cost you more money. Ultimately, you’ll be paying much more than $5 in the long term.

The highest-rated freelancers on Fiverr are chosen the most. But many of them use one trick - paid reviews. So, not only do the results not match expectations, but you might not even find remotely qualified people. 

2. Cheap Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Once, some link building services came up with a method to build a massive amount of backlinks from high domain authority websites. They started buying multiple expired domain names and posting basic content on each site. Then, they included a backlink to their primary website in all of the content.

But cheap PBNs operate with such little effort that it’s a penalty waiting to happen. They try to maximize whatever loophole they have discovered in Google’s algorithm. But at the end of the day, a cheap link building service will result in Google finding and intentionally penalizing websites that use them.

3. Cheap Paid Guest Posts

You essentially get what you pay for - low-quality websites that agree to post everyone’s content. But all marketers know that bad links will only make your business shrink, not grow. 

The main drawbacks of cheap guest posts are that these platforms don’t usually cater to any specific audience and have a low entrance bar. As a result, your link is placed on a website that users don’t find trustworthy, and this affects you negatively by extension. 

4. Press Releases

A long time ago, press releases were some of the best link building services. But these days, press releases are seen as constant sources of spam, and people have practically stopped reading them. But it’s not the biggest issue. 

Newswire sites now use no-follow links. This means that you can potentially generate links from press releases, but no-follow links don’t do anything to boost your SEO.

Options for Acquiring Backlinks: Pros and Cons

Now is the time for the exciting part - deciding what are the best link building services out there. We’re going to compare the seven most common ones and figure out their strengths and weaknesses.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

HARO is a database service that matches journalists with authors. There are supposedly 1 million sources and more than 75,000 journalists and bloggers on the site. The media outlets include The New York Times, Time, WSJ, ABC, Reuters, and more. 

When you go to HARO’s website, you’re asked whether you’re a journalist or a source. For the purposes of link building, you need to register as a source and then do the following:

1. Subscribe to a plan - free or paid (Standard, Advanced, and Premium). 

2. Sign up for emails coming three times a day at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m. ET from Monday to Friday. These emails will list requests for content creation with a title and an outlet in brackets.

3. Respond to queries with a pitch. It’s crucial to follow the instructions and be persuasive as journalists receive dozens, if not hundreds, of replies to just one query.

4. If you’re chosen for publication, you then need to provide the content, and you’ll be featured as an author with a link to your website. 

All in all, it’s one of the most common services for finding quality resources and securing valuable media coverage.

Pros

  • Some of the strongest and most authoritative links
  • Very large pool of media outlets
  • Saves time on finding individual news sites and publications
  • Makes great contacts with journalists and bloggers

Cons

  • Low response rate and little feedback
  • Only links to your home page and social media profiles
  • Can be hard to find relevant queries
  • It’s hard to evaluate what’s not working

Content Marketing Agencies

Content marketing agencies provide all kinds of services with the end goal of increasing traffic to your website through content. Usually, they take over the task of writing, editing, revising, designing, and publishing. 

Creativity is at the top of the benefits of hiring a marketing agency. They can provide ideas for writing top-of-funnel content like a blog post or a how-to guide all the way to sales pitches. However, as you can probably tell, we haven’t talked about what these agencies do in terms of link building. 

This is because the agency’s goal is to create great content, not necessarily to get you links. Users don’t just magically find good content and link back to it. The challenge is to produce it and put it in a position where the right people can find it. Only then will content be helpful in your backlink building strategy. 

Backlinking and content strategies should go hand in hand. But at the end of the day, they are in different realms, and you can’t fully rely on relevant content to generate links. It definitely helps to have top-notch content to fall back on, but you also need additional measures specifically targeted at backlinks.

Pros

  • New insights and new ideas
  • One-stop shopping with marketing packages
  • High chance of receiving quality content from experienced authors
  • Content already optimized for SEO compatibility

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly
  • Doesn’t specialize and focus on link building
  • Not the best for forums and other niche link sources
  • Long turn-around for revisions

Blogger Outreach Services

Blogger outreach services leverage influencers who have established a substantial following, asking them to create genuine, authentic content and link to your page. Bloggers usually do it for a flat fee that depends on their reach and engagement. 

Let’s model a process of working with a blogger outreach service:

1. Prospecting. Once the agency receives your order, they take on the task of researching and vetting potential publishers. They need to find bloggers that best match your niche and have a good online presence. 

2. Reaching out. They contact the best bloggers and ask if they’re interested in writing or publishing content with the target link inside it. 

3. Creating content and publishing. The content needs to provide value and organically include the curated link. After publishing, you’ll have a brand new permanent backlink on a trusted resource. 

This sounds just like what a website owner would need. But it’s important to note that blogger outreach is a very time-consuming process, and the number of links, in the end, is minimal. While they are of good quality, you just have to hope that these few natural links will generate results. 

Plus, influencers are known to make paid advertisements, so their audience can definitely tell when the creator is doing a promotion. 

Pros

  • Online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing
  • High audience engagement
  • Capitalizes on blogger’s credibility
  • Fosters long-term relationships for future projects

Cons

  • Hard to scale
  • Little control over the link building process
  • Looks like a paid ad and is hard to disguise
  • Highly competitive niche

SEO Agencies

The goal of an SEO company is to optimize a website for better search results and online visibility through organic traffic. The process involves many stages and employs experts in different areas of SEO.

Here are the aspects that SEO agencies focus on:

  • On-page SEO - Includes optimizing your headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images.
  • Technical SEO - Proper use of header tags, redirects, page load speed, and mobile-friendliness.
  • Keyword research - Identifying popular words and phrases people enter in Google and other search engines. 
  • Link building and outreach - Gathering valuable links from off-site websites.
  • Competitor research - Researching the links, keywords, content, and more of similar websites in your niche. 

Have you noticed that link building and outreach are just one of the many services that SEO covers? It can be considered a benefit if your website needs full-on improvement and your budget allows for it.

On the other hand, if you want to focus on backlink building alone, this option will sway you in many different directions. There will be less attention paid to backlinks, as all other activities also require time and resources.

Pros

  • Comprehensive approach to generating traffic
  • Implements a variety of white hat techniques 
  • Requires a big investment for competitive niche
  • Values quality over quantity

Cons 

  • Expensive pricing model
  • Focuses primarily on search engines
  • Link building services usually come as a packaged deal
  • Requires signing a long-term contract

Guest Posting Services

Guest posting is when a blog post is written by someone other than the main author of a website. The role of guest posting services is to find someone to publish a post from another contributor. There will be a link to the target page in this new content, of course. 

This method is similar to blogger outreach services. The main difference is that the focus isn’t on individual influencers but rather on news sites, industry-related publications, etc. 

To get high-quality like with guest posting services, it’s essential to:

  • Conduct thorough research. Services need to analyze the website’s writing and editing style, word count per blog, topics covered, etc. 
  • Choose the best professionals. You don’t want your link posted by some sketchy publication and affecting your own reputation negatively.
  • Analyze their linking pattern. Take notice if they sacrifice quality for keywords and links on other guest posts. If they do, you might not want to be associated. 
  • Set strict guidelines. Before you produce content and submit it for publishing, negotiate how much the source can change it and communicate everything they need to know about, including the main link. 

Pros

  • Possibility of being featured among trustworthy authors 
  • Networking opportunity
  • Stimulates social media shares
  • Offers feedback from the community

Cons

  • Publishing sites can make any changes they want
  • No publishing rights since you don’t own the content
  • No control over how the post will be promoted
  • Guest publication’s audience may not match yours

PR Agencies

PR agencies handle media coverage to improve brand awareness and reputation management. They usually work with you to create a newsworthy story, hoping that an outlet will pick it up and link back to your website or social media profile. 

The links are not a given with this method. But you can still get high-quality mentions if you:

  • Submit a story. You can do a piece about your launch, a major milestone, or a big event coming up. If it’s newsworthy, you might get featured and earn a link.
  • Get involved in local events. This will require offline methods like signing up as a speaker for an industry event or convention. Once again, you are hoping to get noticed and featured in a story.
  • Go viral. There is a concept called newsjacking. It leverages breaking stories to bolster your own presence before the buzz dies down. But this is a risky link building method. 

Just like with most methods mentioned, the duties of public relations and link building can overlap, but they serve different functions. The main goal of PR is to boost your brand’s reputation, while the main goal of link building services is to drive traffic to a specific page. 

Pros

  • Great white hat method
  • Possibility of getting links from household name sites
  • Existing contacts of a PR firm
  • Bonus benefits in the area of public relations

Cons

  • Higher monthly fee than SEO
  • Specialize in slightly different services 
  • Doesn’t get you links to specific web pages
  • Requires a lot of effort

Dedicated Link Building Companies

Finally, we’ve come to link building companies that specialize in exactly what we need. Some links come as a result of other activities where the main goal may not be to generate natural links. But in the highly saturated online space, it’s not enough. 

The service may come in two different forms:

  • Dedicated, stand-alone services - This is where the company builds links to your existing content and pages. It may include improvements but not drastic ones. 
  • Link building packages - This includes creating content where you intentionally use anchors as link targets to build links back to your blog.

Dedicated link building companies take on the massive task of earning, placing, and managing links. As a result, website owners also enjoy the secondary marketing benefits of those links.

The best link building services also look at certain characteristics:

  • Websites that search engines respect - moderated and non-spammy;
  • Pages don’t have ridiculous amounts of links compared to their text content;
  • Users follow the link.

So, if you (or the company on your behalf) take part in forum discussions sensibly, you can build up respect, and users might want to know more about you and, most importantly, your site.

Pros

  • One of the quickest methods of link building 
  • Budget-friendly
  • Scales at your own pace
  • Links are generated on diverse but relevant websites
  • No need to do your homework - the agency takes care of everything

Cons

  • Adverse effect from poorly ranking pages
  • Reciprocal links can take away your visitors
  • Punishable if overdone

What Makes a Great Link Building Company?

Every client’s needs are different, so there isn’t one specific checklist that will be suitable for everybody. But there are several factors that reveal whether you’re dealing with one of the good link building companies. 

A Holistic SEO Approach That Includes Link Building

We mentioned above that having a focus on link building is beneficial. But it does not mean that other aspects of SEO should be disregarded. The perfect option is holistic SEO from link building companies that improves all aspects of a website on-page and off-page.

Search engines give preference to knowledge-based sites with a great user experience and up-to-date security. Everything matters. Think of it this way - you don’t want to promote low-quality products or services. The same is true of the web pages that you want to promote.

If your link building strategy involves a variety of quality content, adding new postings or comments will do wonders for your ranking. Link building will also get easier if pages load quickly. 

An Impressive Client Portfolio

When you’re looking for the best link building services, you essentially interview potential business partners. And just like with a regular job interview, you need to know the company’s best work gathered and cultivated into a portfolio.

Ideally, you want to find success stories that you want to mimic. For example, this company may have worked with a start-up that has just launched. And over the course of, let’s say, 6 months, they managed to improve traffic by n%. 

Thought Leadership

Your agency should be able to make you a thought leader, which means producing best-in-class content that conveys your leadership in its industry. There are three key aspects of thought leadership: expert insights, taking a stand, and personal brand. It also helps if link building companies can show these qualities as well.

Their SEO tactics should have the following:

  • Original research 
  • Deeper, more comprehensive articles
  • New/novel ideas that are opinion-forming
  • Strong assertions in your writing
  • Networking and collaboration with other experts

Real-Life Testimonials

Testimonials are social proof and an indication of a strong company reputation. Most users already search for online reviews before making a purchase. The same goes for the SEO link building company that you’ll be cooperating with for the next who-knows-how-many months.

Smart marketers understand the importance of showcasing testimonials on their site. If they don’t have any, they may not have the link building experience you need, or their previous clients weren’t satisfied. But you can also gather insight from negative or neutral reviews - perhaps some of the struggles can be prevented.

Then, use trusty Google to verify that you’re dealing with a white hat link building service. The more experiences and success stories you can learn from, the better.

A Diversified Marketing Team

The best link building services have experts in every aspect of SEO. For example, the team should be able to utilize paid and organic strategies, write new content and adjust existing texts, etc. Diversified strategies also vary depending on the industry, time, and place.

The same can be said about diversifying your workforce itself. The team that spans age, gender, culture, and any other major, industry-specific demographic can cater SEO tactics to target different audiences. 

What Should the Process Look Like?

Let’s say you’ve decided to work with link building companies. You might be interested to know in advance what the process will entail. 

Let us remind you once again that there is no one-fits-them-all approach when it comes to online marketing. But you can look at the steps below as a general guideline.

Discovery

The first thing an agency will do is research you. This is a multi-step process that helps them establish your current standing and determine where you want to be by the end of the campaign.

During the discovery phase, top link building services will: 

  • Define your goals. A SMART goal incorporates five criteria: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. If you don’t know what goals you’re after, the specialists should guide you toward the answer by asking questions.
  • Perform industry and competitive analysis. There is a lot of information to gather from your industry, competitors, the companies that are potential competitors, and the SEO tactics used by them.
  • Deep dive into data. Remember about the comprehensive SEO approach? This means getting data on metrics that indirectly affect the quality of your backlinks. So, all quantifiable metrics should be taken into account - visits, leads, subscribers, top sources of leads, conversion rates, keyword rankings, site performance, etc. 
  • Audit your marketing assets. Link building companies inventory your existing content for future repurposing and create a database of URLs for future campaigns. At the same time, the specialists will filter out unhelpful content that drags you down. 

Research & Strategic Recommendations

After analyzing the raw data collected at the previous stage, link building services will summarize it into meaningful findings. This helps them figure out what SEO strategies will make the most sense and get the optimal results.

Research and strategic findings also allow you to look back at the goals you’ve chosen. Before the project with the agency goes further, you can modify some of your goals.

Contract with Project Deliverables

Deliverables and timelines are established for each client individually, depending on the specifics of a campaign. The client’s link opportunities and SEO deliverables are discussed with link building companies after reviewing the site and before signing a contract. 

The majority of SEO deliverables are blog posts. They are conversational and pair well with keywords for potential customers in their research stage. But most importantly, for link building purposes, it will position you as the expert and provide a great page to link back to. 

There is also so-called “big picture” content. It is highly beneficial for branding and, once again, makes for multiple new pages that reputable sources will link to. This type of content includes:

  • White papers
  • E-books
  • Case studies
  • Research reports
  • Videos
  • Lead nurturing email campaigns
  • Webinars

At the stage of signing the link building contract, you need to know what exactly the agency will deliver and when.

Client Onboarding

The next and final step before clients and link building companies start working together is an onboarding process. This is where you complete negotiations for upcoming link acquisition and related activities. 

This onboarding process sets the tone for how you’re going to work together. For example, for large-scale projects, you may want to bring in in-house staff and share your website, blog, analytics, etc., with the agency. For smaller SEO activities, delegating the task to an outsourced team may be enough.

Link-Building Isn't a One-Time Activity

It’s important to establish two things about link building - it takes time for SEO to work, and you need to run your campaigns consistently. It’s best to create strategies that will work over an extended period of time. If you hope to get all the links you need in one go, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. 

This is where link building companies have an advantage - they have the knowledge and experience to earn links gradually. This is a reliable way to earn the trust of both audiences and search bots. 

You should work closely with link building specialists to plan these activities and determine the perfect timeline for your unique needs. But be prepared to make adjustments to start seeing results and grow them over time.