In today’s age, when digital marketing has taken center stage in a brand or business’ marketing efforts, off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or off-site SEO has become an important tool to improve SEO results.
A common way digital marketers, advertisers, and businesses adopt and optimize off-page SEO is by using external links.
As more businesses use digital marketing to increase their website’s search rankings and conversions, external links—specifically backlinks—are a smart way to increase their credibility and authority. However, a staggering 94% of all blog posts do not have a single external link.
Why? One reason could be that 41% of enterprises feel that link-building is the most difficult SEO tactic.
In this article, we’ll delve into the top SEO practices for building links and also provide you with actionable tips that you can use for outsource link-building to enhance your website’s credibility and visibility.
What Is Link Building, and Why Is It So Important?
Link-building is the process of linking one domain to another through hyperlinks. There are three main link-building types:
- Backlinks or inbound links
- Outbound links
- Internal links
Backlinks or inbound links are hyperlinks from a third-party or external website to your site. Outbound links are hyperlinks from your URL to an external site. In contrast, internal links are links on your web page that link to another web page from your website.
Getting backlinks is the most difficult and most important of these three link-building types. Getting other sites to link to your website’s content provides a way for visitors and readers of the external URL to find high-quality, authoritative, and relevant content on your site for further reading.
This provides them with additional value and enhances the user experience.
You may wonder: how does this help your specific site? The benefits of building links are several. For starters, if the external web page is relevant to your content and is also reputable, the Page Authority (PA), aka URL rating of that web page, is shared with your web page, too. PA is essentially a third-party metric that measures and analyzes a web page’s authority.
Getting a good backlink is basically like getting a recommendation from an expert about your site. This helps improve your SEO ranking.
According to a survey by digital marketing agency Aira, 62% of the respondents say that link-building impacts organic SEO ranking factors.
Higher organic SEO rankings mean more organic traffic to your site and potentially more conversions. So quality link-building is a must-have tool in your SEO arsenal to build a competitive edge over other brands and businesses and appear on the top of your audience’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
How to Get Good Backlinks
- Create authoritative, high-value quality content that other websites would love to link to.
- Search for high-authority trusted sites such as government entities, research bodies, and educational institutes and request them to link to your content if it’s relevant.
- Check your competitors’ backlink sources and ask those sources to link to your web page.
- Aim to get backlinks from reputable URLs to ensure link diversity instead of getting inbound links from only one source.
- Remove low-quality links from URLs that are not credible or reliable.
Doing all of these tasks for getting high-value incoming links can be time-consuming and even frustrating for many business owners. That is why many hire outsourced link-building consultants or services companies for these tasks. Not only does it cut down on their work, but it also allows them to reap the many link acquisition benefits faster.
We’ll take an in-depth look at outsourced link-building below. But first, let us delve into whether it is illegal or not.
Is Link Building Illegal?
Link-building is not illegal per se, as there are many ways you can build links organically and legally. The term for this is white hat link-building services.
What Is White Hat Link Building?
White hat link-building services include creating original and unique content that has high value and quality and then reaching out for quality backlinks to reputable external websites which have content that is relevant to your web page.
It helps you earn incoming links through high-volume cold outreach by requiring you to send out a ton of emails regularly or by using social media tools to contact site owners for backlinks.
You can also connect with and request reputed bloggers and site owners to allow you to submit high-quality, relevant content contributions through guest posting, blogs, and columns on their blogs or sites. This, in turn, can get you a credible backlink.
Apply other non-spammy link acquisition tactics to earn high-value one-way links includes getting reliable coverage from the media and press, using link analysis tools to scan your competitors’ links, and finding relevant articles, directories, and industry web pages.
White hat link-building involves the following steps:
- Research relevant content topics for which your URL can potentially rank.
- Planning, writing, scheduling, and publishing content with relevant data, images, and videos.
- Researching and analyzing relevant, high-quality pages that can link back to your website’s content.
- Contacting the URL owners for backlinks.
White hat link acquisition is a manual link-builder service that focuses on generating SEO results for the long term. It helps build a brand that creates high-value content with high-ranking organic keywords that match the search intent of its readers and users.
Relevant link acquisition also helps you earn incoming links that meet Google’s Webmaster guidelines. So you won’t be at risk of facing legal action.
An Overview of Black Hat Link Building
On the other hand, many brands, businesses, and bloggers engage in black hat link-building, which goes against Google’s guidelines.
This practice uses techniques and tactics to drive site traffic by gaming the system and exploiting site loopholes.
This helps websites rank higher on Google than they can through whitehat link-building.
Let us look at some of the black hat link acquisition tactics that digital marketers and entrepreneurs must steer clear of.
Black hat link-builder companies often build or buy a bank of sites that they then use as a site pool for their clients. The backlink building service companies link web pages from this pool to the web pages of their clients’ websites to help the URLs rank higher on a search engine’s results.
Search engines like Google can spot this black hat practice quickly as they can detect these large volumes of new hyperlinks added to a site from another non-relevant site.
Some black hat link-acquisition agencies also provide a link directory to their clients to add to their site. This enables their clients to join the directory on all URLs in the agency’s network.
This is also a black hat tactic as the client ends up adding thousands of links to their site that have no relevance for the site’s users, nor do they improve the quality or credibility of the site.
Private Blog Network
Similar to a link farm, a Private Blog Network (PBN) is a network of blogs owned by a black hat SEO backlinking service company that aims to improve a primary website’s SEO ranking. However, unlike link farms that consist of low-quality URLs, PBN’s sites are high-quality and authoritative, although they lack relevance to the main URL’s content.
Many companies that engage in black hat tactics often buy old or expired authoritative domains and create content that fits in with the domain’s original content.
But in recent years, Google’s algorithm has adapted to identify and isolate such websites that rely on PBNs with unrelated sites for backlinking. Once detected, Google will devalue the website and penalize it by lowering its rankings.
Many black hat link-building companies and site owners tend to resort to link buying SEO tactics to improve their search rankings. To do this, they buy links for SEO results from URLs that have a high Domain Authority (DA) aka domain rating.
If you didn’t know, DA is a third-party metric that measures a website’s authority.
Earlier many URLs were dedicated to selling inbound links. Sites with different PageRank scores also had established market prices, and you would even find auction sites that people would bid on for getting reputable links.
In the past many years, Google has developed and put in place smart systems and tools to identify and punish purchased links.
If you do buy a backlink on a website, make sure that the purchased link has a “nofollow” meta tag. This tag informs Google that you’re not increasing your search rankings from the link.
The result? Google won’t devalue or penalize your site.
Automated Blog Comments and Forums
Many black hat link-building agencies have developed software programs that automatically post their clients’ content and incoming links in blog comment boxes, forums, and different online portals that allow and accept user-generated content.
This creates a problem for owners of those sites and blogs as they need to scroll through an endless number of spam comments searching for real user comments.
Nowadays, though, URL plugins can pick out and even block spam from popular blogging platforms. Modern captcha technology, too, helps to ensure that only real people can post comments on forums and blogs.
Hacking Websites and Website Hosting Servers
Some people also resort to hacking a vulnerable website or site hosting server to plant inbound links or entire link directories to their site. Often this practice is easy to spot as it may coincide with other hacking techniques like adding malware or spyware to a URL.
Sometimes, however, it can be more difficult to detect, particularly if the hacker does it stealthily by not modifying anything on the URL. In such a case, the site owner will not be notified about the hack and will therefore be unaware of such malpractices on their site.
Gray Hat Link Building Practices
As an entrepreneur, digital marketer, or backlink builder service company, you must preferably avoid gray hat link-building practices while generating one-way links.
Gray hat link-building tactics, as the name suggests, fall between black hat and white tactics. They are not yet frowned upon by Google, but they can potentially harm your website’s search rankings.
Gray hat tactics include:
- Buying social media followers
- Auto-following and auto-unfollowing thousands of social media profiles
- Building a network of sites with related content specifically for interlinking
- Using reciprocal link-building and link triangulation between unrelated web pages
- Adding sitewide footer links on external owned or partner websites
- Using paid services to get hundreds and thousands of inbound links through online content distribution sites and networks
What Is Outsource Link Building?
Outsource link-building means handing over the function of building incoming links to an SEO link-building agency.
Yes. Just as you outsource website building to a specialist agency, you can also outsource link-building for backlinking purposes.
A link-building agency will work with you to get high-quality, valuable links from external sites that you can use to boost your website and appear on the top of your customers’ search results.
Why Should You Look Into Outsourcing Link Building Services?
You may not think twice if you have to outsource content marketing to an agency specializing in this service. But when it comes to outsource link-building to an SEO outsourcing company, most people tend to be skeptical. This is because they are usually unsure about the benefits of outsource link-building.
If you, too, are hesitant, then it’s time to rethink by understanding the benefits of outsource link-building.
Outsourcing to backlink building services helps you cut down on learning time and enjoy the benefits of a shorter learning curve. When you don’t have to spend too much time learning about the intricacies and complexities of how to link build, you can divert your precious time and energy to other aspects of building and scaling your business.
It also helps you get a greater number of one-way links in a shorter time. SEO backlink service companies usually have established relationships with different website owners across different niches. So they can quickly reach out to them and get inbound links for your website in less time, possibly even in a day.
Outsourcing to SEO link-builder services or link-building agencies helps you save a good deal of money in the long run as you don’t have to buy costly software and tools for building links.
You also do not need to hire, train, manage, and pay salaries to an in-house link-building service that may only end up draining your money, resources, time, and energy.
This is especially useful if you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner who prefers to work solo and outsource link-building tasks that you can’t do alone rather than hiring professionals for everything. It can also help you save time and money on buying, renting, or leasing a larger office to accommodate the new team.
You can easily find cheap link-building services to help you cut costs further and improve your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Helps You Get Expert Services
If you’re new to backlinking, you may find it difficult to understand its various nuances and aspects, such as which pages to backlink to and which ones to avoid, how many incoming links to use, and so on.
A link-building service company has the required knowledge, skills, and expertise to do the job effectively and provide you with valuable referral traffic. It will help you get relevant links, remove spammy links from your website, and balance quality and quantity, among other functions, to help you achieve a more organic ranking and referral traffic.
Widens Your Pool of Backlinks
You may have all the right ideas for which inbound links to target for your website. But as a beginner in building links, you may not be able to bring those ideas to fruition if you lack the necessary contacts. Since a backlink building services firm has a large base of contacts, you may be able to get the required top-level incoming links without much effort.
Even if the firm doesn’t have the contacts you’re looking for, their reputation and arsenal of tools and link-building strategy options may help them reach those website owners quickly.
Whether you are well-versed with link-building campaigns or not, the chances are that you will spend a lot of time worrying about the details and outcome of your campaign. This may reduce your ability to focus on more important functions that require your attention and thereby hamper your power of making smart decisions.
Outsourcing to link building services will ease your worries and allow you to focus on other important business tasks that need your expertise.
How Do You Outsource A Link Building Campaign? | Best Practices
If you’re outsourcing link-building for the first time, you may find navigating this area a little tricky and difficult. Here are some handy tips for outsource your link-building to help ease the process:
Research is the key to understanding everything you need about outsource link-building. Do some research when you decide to hire an agency you’re planning to partner with for backlinking. Check its website and learn more about it and its way of functioning.
Dig up all the data you can on the agency. If there is not much information available on its website, contact its team or fix a meeting with them.
A reputable agency will be forthcoming while answering your questions related to building links, such as:
- Project schedules and timelines
- Link-building pricing plans and costs
- Testimonials and reviews
- Target audience, niche, and industries
Also, while you’re at it, research more about building links itself. Although you do not need to master all the jargon and technicalities, basic information about the process and its effect on your website traffic, sales conversions, and business profitability will help you set realistic goals.
You can also research the link-building methods of your competitors. This will help you pick up valuable tips from them and find and adopt better strategies and tools.
2. Outline Your Goals and Expectations
Before you can begin your outsource link-building project, you must set clear, realistic goals and expectations.
The goals you set at this stage will help you identify where you stand currently and where you wish to go. This will help the agency craft clever strategies and plans to help you achieve your goals in a time-based manner.
Your expectations also need to be communicated to the agency so that they can help you address any causes of concern and inform you about what to expect from the link-building campaign. Some of the points you may cover here are:
- How and how often you will communicate with each other
- What reporting tools the agency will use
- How often you will receive reports and updates on the link-building project
- What the link-building prices, schedules, and timelines will be
- Which sites to avoid for one-way links
Note that this step can be repeated during the campaign, as your goals and expectations may change throughout the project. So you both may have new points to address.
3. Adopt White Hat Link Building
Many black hat companies that offer link-building for agencies promise more than what white hat services can normally deliver. Adopting black hat building links SEO practices is a big no-no.
Yes, you may reach the top of Google’s search results in no time at all. But Google will quickly detect it and penalize your website. This will not only lead to low rankings but also loss of traffic, customers, sales, and even reputation.
Stick to companies that provide outreach link-building solutions and other ethical SEO practices. This way, you’ll build links organically, ethically, legally, and sustainably. To find them, go through reviews, testimonials, and work samples of companies that promise to deliver non-spammy SEO.
Avoid companies that use shady tactics and offer too low prices, super quick turnarounds, and backdoor links.
4. Be Patient
Once you decide on hiring an agency that provides a link-building process for SEO agencies, it is all too tempting to start expecting results. But remember, white hat SEO takes time as your rankings depend on other factors besides link-building efforts, such as your other SEO tactics, content, social media activities, brand awareness, etc.
Do not depend only on building links for SEO but widen your avenues to other SEO practices to optimize your content and website.
Also, communicate your concerns to the agency you’re working with. An experienced team will be able to address your worries and tell you exactly what you can expect realistically from link-building SEO.
5. Communicate Your Long-Term Goals and Plans
The link acquisition package you pay for should be worth your while and money. Link building will not only help you in the short term by taking you to the top of Google’s SERPs but also help you scale your digital marketing efforts in the long run.
So, discuss your goals and plans for the long term with the SEO link-building agency and make sure you both are on the same page. If you have any preferences for certain sites or where you’d like to place your links, let the agency know about it.
Take a look at their workflow to understand how they work on different projects.
How to Select the Best Link Building Agency
Selecting the best backlink service agency for your link-building campaigns can be a tough task. But with this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to zero in on the right agency that suits your needs:
1. Draw Up a List of Agencies
Make a list of the top agencies that offer white hat SEO link-building packages. You can also check out agency directories. Here you can find full-range digital marketing firms that offer a host of content marketing services for your marketing campaigns or a company that focuses only on link-building.
You may also find marketing agencies that enlist a white label link-building process. This means that they hire the services of another marketing agency for link-building. This can also be a good option as you’ll get the capabilities of the digital marketing agency that you plan to work with and the link-building expertise of the third-party firm.
You can also get agency recommendations from a trusted business associate. A person who has worked with an agency and has had a positive experience will be able to guide you better in your hunt for the right agency.
2. Review the Agencies
Set up a review process to screen the agencies on your list and chuck out those that don’t fit your requirements. Prepare a list of questions you need to ask the agency to understand if it is the right fit for you or not. Finally, meet with its team to guide your decision-making process better.
3. Ask for Work Samples
A reputable link-building agency should be able to provide you with samples of its past work projects. Even if it is new in business, it should have a portfolio on its website or from friends or associates in the field. An agency that can’t show you its work samples or portfolio can be shady. So be cautious.
Look out for agencies that have connections with high-quality, authoritative sites and have worked on top-level link-building projects.
4. Ask About the Workflow
Inquire about the agency’s work process so that you both are in tandem as to what to expect from the project. To get a better idea about its workflow, ask the agency the following questions:
- What is its work process?
- What is its reporting schedule and platform?
- Which aspects of the project need approval before the agency can proceed?
- How do you track the progress of the project?
You can also mention any other guidelines you’d like the agency to follow.
5. Discuss the Costs
Even if you’ve selected one of the best link builders that offers the best backlink services for your link-building campaign, you need to ensure that its pricing plans match your budget to ensure it’s the right fit. Ask the agency about its link-building prices and hidden fees such as those related to consultations.
Such costs will eat into your budget. So you need to have a fair idea about how much you’ll need to spend on a link-building project.
Conclusion: Find the Best Link Building Agency
Link-building can boost your SEO tactics and give you an edge over your competitors. It can take you to the top of your audience and customers’ SERPs and help you drive traffic to your website, leading to increased conversions, sales, and profits.
The only catch? It needs to be done right!
We hope our comprehensive guide helps you make an informed decision as to choosing one of the best link-building companies for your business. Thank you for reading!