When people say they need help with their SEO, there’s really 3 things they need help with:
- Keyword selection
- Onpage SEO
- Link building
Onpage SEO and keyword research are probably the easiest to take care of. You need to learn them of course, but you can do them by yourself over the course of a weekend.
Link building on the other hand, at the very minimum requires a third party.
Either you need that third party to build links for you, or you need someone to give you a link!
That’s why link building is a huge industry, and the majority of SEO agencies are essentially just working on links as well. Once you’ve optimized a client’s site, all you really need to do is keep on building quality links until they rank.
There are lots of different types of link building services.
You have ones that offer blogger outreach, ones that simply pay for guest posts and mark up the pricing to you, ones that offer something like a skyscraper post service, and of course many that are more of a full-service SEO company (but still with an emphasis on link building).
Among those services, some offer a la carte options, while others are more like a monthly retainer. You pay them, and they go out and do their thing.
Depending on your own sophistication, budget, and the reputation of the company, you may prefer to be more hands off, or you may want the a la carte option. Many people who use the latter are just looking to supplement their own seo efforts.
Are These Companies Any Good?
The success of these companies really depends on a few things:
- How good they are at link building
- How good they are at marketing
- How honest they are
- How up to date their methodologies are
As such, most people who have outsourced link building (or seo in general), will have had one of three results:
- They got ripped off my some shady seo agency that wasn’t worth its salt
- The agency was honest, but the results were poor
- They had a good experience and their site grew in traffic.
As you can see, more often than not, the odds are against you unless you find a legit company.
It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but there are link builders out there using methods that haven’t worked since 2010 (and those people probably weren’t even doing link building back then). You can find them in places like fiverr or other marketplaces.
Even companies that are honest might not be using methods that work all that well, and in their defense, sometimes their methods work, and sometimes they don’t.
What’s more, with link building, you really do get what you pay for.
So Is It Worth Outsourcing?
You might think I don’t recommend outsourcing your link building, or any of your SEO for that matter.
Actually, that’s not the case. SEO is one of the highest ROI activities out there, once you are ranking well. There’s initially a huge inverse correlation between how much you spend and how much that brings in, but this flips over time.
Once you’re ranking in position 1 for a lucrative keyword, money can come pouring in, much more than you spend.
You just need to make sure you are performing or delegating SEO effectively. For most website buyers, you have so many other moving parts to take care of, you may prefer to just let someone else handle the SEO.
Therefore, I do indeed recommend that, budget permitting, you outsource your SEO.
How To Outsource SEO Effectively
I don’t want this post to turn into a directory of good or bad agencies to use, but I will list a few at the end of the post. I really want to cover everything you need to know about outsourcing link building so you can judge for yourself, and not get burned.
In my experience, most of the issues people encounter come from putting blind faith in an SEO agency and hoping for the best.
You can’t exactly be blamed for doing that though. If you knew what you were doing, you might not need help, and what’s the point of an agency if you can’t trust them to do their work?
However, with link building in particular, it’s not the only thing that is going to move the needle on your rankings, which is why blind faith is an issue. You need to go into the process with eyes open, aware that as well as good links, you also need good onpage seo, good speed, and first and foremost, quality content.
Without any of the above, you’ll have bad user metrics, and then all the links in the world might not make much of a difference.
What About Hiring Individuals?
Up until this point, I’ve only talked about working with an SEO agency. What some people do, is look on upwork or similar job board, and hire an actual link builder instead. While this can work, I don’t recommend it unless you know your way around the strategies being performed by the link builder.
There are certainly some advantages to this option. You don’t have to pay massively marked up prices, and you can have the link builder perform outreach for you, which usually scores higher quality, and more unique links.
The downside is that the link builder is unlikely to be working full time for just you, and will be busy trying to get new clients half of the time. Plus, most of them are inauthentic with the work they are doing. They’re mostly just buying links from a reseller list. If you know how to spot that, then it’s easier to vet. If you don’t, it’s easier to get burned.
Agencies can still do shady stuff like that as well, but they generally have a reputation to care about.
What A Working Plan Might Look Like
Up until this point, I’ve talked a lot of theory, but not shown you what it might look like to actually use an agency.
Part of that is because everyone uses them differently!
That being said, I can explain how I used them when I was working solo on 1 or 2 of my own sites. This was back in 2015, but things haven’t changed much recently (except the volume of links required is higher).
I always used to work on my own link building campaigns. Something white-hat like Skyscraper posts, broken link building, or networking for guest posts.
However, I also wanted to send some more powerful links to specific pages, and wanted to make sure I kept getting new links every month.
In order to supplement my efforts, I would visit some link vendors (I won’t name them, since I don’t recommend them anymore) to buy 5-10 extra links every month or two. This would work well in tandem with all my other link efforts.
These days, I would do things more or less the same, but the volume of links would be higher. There’s also better agencies now that do more hands on campaigns for you, such as Authority Builders, OutreachMama, and a few others that I’ve not tested.
The main thing for me, is that I know what pages I want to build links to, and the rough volume of links I want, so I can mix in my own efforts with those of an agency. If I didn’t know what I was doing, then as mentioned throughout this article, I’d work with one of the above agencies and let them tell me the best strategies.
It’s tough for me to give you an exact recommendation, because it really depends on your own situation. If you use this post as a guideline, it should at least let you follow your nose to the right strategy.