Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complicated subject. A comprehensive strategy needs keyword research, content optimization, technical SEO, and various other elements.
Link building is a crucial part of this mix but is often considered one of the toughest tasks of an SEO strategist’s job. Minute details can make or break your link-building efforts.
Often, businesses choose to outsource link building due to its complexity and the significant amount of time and effort it requires.
To help, we’ll explore the importance of link building, reasons to outsource it, and seven simple steps to do it effectively.
What Is Link Building and Why Is It Important?
Link building is a fundamental aspect of SEO because it is one of the primary ways that Google discovers new pages. When one website links to another, it creates a path for Google’s bots (also known as crawlers) to follow.
These bots constantly scan the web, jumping from page to page via links to index new content and update their understanding of how pages are related. Links serve as bridges between web pages, helping search engines understand the structure of the web and discover new content to add to their idexes.
In Google’s eyes, links are more than just pathways—they also act as endorsements. When a website links to another, Google interprets this as an indication that the linking site finds the content on the other site valuable and trustworthy. This concept is sometimes referred to in the SEO community as “link juice.”
Google’s SEO starter guide confirms this concept and states, “You can confer some of your site’s reputation to another site when your site links to it.” This means that if an authoritative website links to your site, a portion of its “link juice” or reputation is passed on.
The more high-quality, relevant sites that link to your website, the more likely it is that Google will consider your content authoritative and deserving of a higher ranking.
This process is a key reason link building is important for SEO success. It’s not just about creating a network of crawler pathways; it’s also about cultivating a web of digital relationships that signify the value and credibility of your site’s content.
What Is Link-Building Outsourcing?
Link-building outsourcing is contracting a third party—usually an individual freelancer or SEO agency—to acquire links to your website from reputable sources.
This external provider specializes in creating and implementing link-building strategies to enhance your website’s authority and reputation in search engines. These strategies use various approaches, such as:
- Content marketing
- Guest blogging
- Broken link building
- Reaching out to influencers or website owners to request links
These link-building experts leverage their expertise, industry connections, and specialized tools to effectively increase the number and quality of inbound links.
Why Should You Outsource Link Building
Outsourcing link building has several advantages, particularly for businesses that may not have the in-house expertise or resources necessary for an effective campaign.
Here are a few reasons to consider outsourcing this crucial aspect of SEO:
You want to save time, effort, and resources
Link building is a labor-intensive process. It requires:
- Identifying opportunities
- Developing relationships with website owners
- Creating valuable content
- Following up on link placement
Outsourcing to a specialized link-building company or agency or a freelancer can save you and your team countless hours that could be better spent on other aspects of your business or marketing efforts.
You’re not an expert in link building
Link building is not just about getting links—it’s about getting the right ones. It involves understanding the intricacies of search engine algorithms, the implications of nofollow versus dofollow links, anchor text relevance, and the quality assessment of potential link sources.
If you or your team isn’t familiar with these concepts (or how to execute them effectively), it’s wise to outsource to experts who specialize in link building. These experts are up to date with best practices and can navigate the complexities to secure valuable links that improve your website’s SEO.
You want access to specialized expertise
Even organizations with some SEO and link-building experience might find that their strategies are not yielding the desired results. This can occur due to the constantly evolving landscape of SEO, where search engines frequently update their algorithms. What worked yesterday may not work today.
By outsourcing link building, you gain access to professionals dedicated to staying on top of these changes and can pivot strategies effectively.
Link-building specialists have a nuanced understanding of link profiles, can identify high-authority domains within specific industries, and have honed their outreach tactics to secure links that significantly impact search engine rankings.
They bring a wealth of specialized knowledge and experience, drawing on a broader range of techniques and industry-specific insights that might not be readily available in-house.
This expertise is invaluable, especially when a company’s link-building efforts stagnate and need a fresh, professional perspective to revitalize the campaign and drive tangible results.
How Much Does It Cost To Outsource Link Building?
The costs of outsourcing link building can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month. Here are a few elements that can influence the overall cost of outsourcing link building:
Quality and authority of the link targets
High-quality, high-authority links typically cost more. Expect to pay a premium if you want links from sites with high domain authority (DA). These are seen as more valuable and can significantly impact your SEO, thus reflecting a higher price tag.
Linkbuilder.io lists their pricing:
- $250–$350 per link for “easy industries like charities or gaming”
- $350–$600 per link for “more competitive industries like tech, legal, and real estate”
- $600–$1,500+ per link for “tough industries like finance, casino, and healthcare”
It’s easy to see how this can quickly add up, which is why you have to carefully decide whether it is more effective for your company to outsource through a link-building agency or insource by hiring an SEO specialist or in-house link builder.
Volume of links
The number of links you want to acquire will influence the cost. Some services offer package deals, while others may charge per link. The more links you want, the more resources are required to acquire them.
Type of links
Different types of links come at different costs. For instance, a standard link in a blog post may cost less than a backlink from a highly targeted, high-traffic webpage or a link gained through an in-depth, original research piece.
Content creation requirements
If the link-building service also includes content creation, such as writing guest posts or creating infographics, this would increase the cost due to the additional effort and specialization required.
Customization and strategy
A one-size-fits-all approach usually costs less than a highly tailored backlink strategy. Custom strategies typically yield better results but require more in-depth analysis and bespoke outreach, pushing up costs.
Lifetime value of the link
The expected longevity of the link plays a crucial role in determining its value and, therefore, its cost. Some links offer value over a longer period, such as permanent placements on reputable sites, which are more expensive than temporary or short-term links.
Ross Hudgens of Siege Media broke down how his firm sets prices based on lifetime link value:
Acquiring links from websites within specific, narrow industries can be more challenging and expensive. Specialists may need to be consulted to ensure relevance and authority within the niche.
How To Outsource Link Building
Outsourcing link building can be a great way to boost your site’s SEO, provided you manage the process carefully and choose a credible partner. Here are the key steps to outsource your link building effectively:
1. Understand the basics of the link-building process
Ensure you have at least a fundamental understanding of link building before approaching outsourcing providers. Research basic concepts like:
- The different types of links (like guest posts, directories, editorial links)
- The concept of domain authority
- White hat (ethical) versus black hat (unethical) strategies
This basic understanding goes a long way when you have to evaluate the work done by the outsourced partner. It enables you to set realistic goals, understand the timeframes involved, and assess the quality and relevance of the links that are being built.
However, you don’t need to know every detail about link building. Your role is to ensure the strategy aligns with your company’s objectives. Leave the intricate, day-to-day tasks and specific tactics of link building to the experts you hire—that’s what they specialize in.
2. Set link-building goals
Set clear goals that align with your overall marketing and SEO strategy. Are you looking to:
- Increase domain authority
- Drive referral traffic
- Drive organic traffic
- Boost search engine rankings for specific keywords
- Enhance your site’s overall trust in the eyes of search engines
Your objectives will shape the tactics your outsourced partner will use.
By setting clear, SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, you can provide the SEO firm or freelancer with a benchmark against which to measure progress.
3. Set a realistic budget to achieve those goals
It is important to set a budget that enables the acquisition of quality links rather than just focusing on the quantity of low-cost, low-value links. Remember, in SEO—especially link building—you often get what you pay for.
High-quality backlinks from reputable websites may cost more, but they also offer more value in boosting your SEO performance.
A realistic budget accounts for the costs of achieving your goals while recognizing your business’s financial constraints.
4. Choose if you want to work with a contractor or agency
Whether to hire an SEO specialist (contractor) or an SEO agency depends on your specific needs, budget, and the scale of your link-building campaign. Here’s a comparison to help guide your decision:
Ultimately, the choice between a contractor or agency depends on who can best meet your goals within your budget and who you feel most confident will be a reliable partner in your SEO endeavors.
5. Evaluate 3+ link-building partners
When you’re ready to outsource, don’t settle on the first link-building service you come across. Evaluating multiple providers is crucial to ensure you find the one that best aligns with your goals, budget, and expectations.
Here’s a framework for evaluating potential link-building partners:
Compare pricing and services
Compare what each provider offers with their associated costs. Look for transparency and detail in their proposals—all services and fees should be clearly outlined. Be wary of services that promise extremely low prices as they may not deliver high-quality links, which can ultimately harm your site’s reputation.
Evaluate communication and transparency
Communication is key to any successful partnership. Gauge their level of responsiveness, willingness to answer questions, and ability to explain their strategies clearly. The right partner should be open about their methods and comfortable providing regular updates on their progress.
Ask for case studies, testimonials, and portfolios
Request evidence of past success. Established link-building partners should be able to show you examples of their work, including:
- Detailed case studies
- Testimonials from satisfied clients
- Portfolio of links they’ve built
This proof helps to showcase their expertise and the results they’ve delivered for other clients.
Discuss contracts and agreements
Before entering into any agreement, clarify the terms of service, deliverables, payment structure, timelines, and any guarantees or expectations set.
If working with a freelancer, are they under a contract agreement or a permanent or per-project arrangement?
Contracts should stipulate service level agreements (SLAs), confidentiality, and what happens in case of a disagreement or if the service does not meet the business objectives or expectations. This step is essential for protecting your business interests and ensuring a fair, professional working relationship.
6. Choose your provider and start collaborating
After you’ve evaluated at least three link-building partners, it’s time to make your choice. Select the partner that offers the best mix of price, service, communication, and proven results.
Once you’ve decided, it’s time to begin the collaboration process:
- Establish communication channels: Decide the preferred communication methods and frequency of updates and reports. Whether through email, messaging platforms, or regular calls, consistent communication will be crucial to the success of the collaboration.
- Set expectations and milestones: Convey your goals, expectations, and any brand guidelines the partner needs to follow. Also, define specific milestones that you can use to track the progress of your link-building campaign.
- Plan collaboratively: Work with your partner to develop a detailed link-building strategy and action plan. This should include target websites, content ideas, outreach strategies, and a timeline for execution.
- Establish a feedback loop: Set in place a system for providing and receiving feedback. This loop will help refine the link-building efforts and ensure the campaign is on track to meet your set goals.
Be prepared to adjust the strategy based on the outcomes and insights gained during the campaign. SEO and link building are dynamic, and the ability to pivot and adapt is key to long-term success.
7. Track deliverables and results
Ensure you and your link-building partner have established clear key performance indicators (KPIs) from the outset. Regular progress reports from your partner should detail the acquired links and any corresponding metrics, such as referral traffic or improvements in search rankings.
Use analytics tools to measure the impact of the links on your website’s performance, paying close attention to KPIs that offer insight into your goals, whether that’s increased domain authority, higher organic search visibility, or more conversions.
Conduct periodic reviews of the acquired links to assess their quality and relevance to your content, ensuring they align with the intended strategy.
Best Tips for Outsourcing Link Building
Outsourcing link building can significantly enhance your SEO efforts if done correctly. Here are a few tips to maximize the benefits:
Ask a lot of questions
Before working with a link-building partner, thoroughly vet them by asking detailed questions. Understand their methodologies, which links they prioritize, how they find and reach out to potential sites, and how they measure success.
Asking questions helps you understand their competence and gives insight into their transparency and willingness to share information.
Manage and pace your expectations
It’s important to approach link building with realistic expectations. Understand that quality link building is a long-term investment and takes time to see results.
High-quality links from reputable sources can’t be acquired overnight. Have patience with the process and look for incremental improvements rather than immediate transformations.
Don’t put all your efforts into one link-building strategy
Diversify your link-building strategies to minimize risk and maximize effectiveness. Different types of links serve different purposes and contribute to a robust backlink profile. Expand into areas like:
- News sites
- Industry-specific platforms
Relying too heavily on one tactic can make your link profile look unnatural and may limit your SEO gains.
Common Mistakes With Outsourcing Link Building
Because of the complicated nature of SEO and link building, it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are some pitfalls to avoid:
- Picking quantity over quality: Opting for many low-quality links over a few high-quality ones can damage your SEO rather than enhance it. Search engines prioritize the relevance and authority of links, not just the quantity.
- Overpromised results: Be cautious of link-building service providers that guarantee specific rankings or immediate results. SEO is a long-term game; genuine, lasting results take time to manifest.
- Black hat tactics: Avoid providers using black hat link-building tactics such as spammy links, cloaking, or keyword stuffing. These methods can lead to penalties from search engines, ultimately hurting your online presence.
- Micromanaging your provider: While oversight is important, micromanaging can hinder your partner’s ability to execute their strategies effectively. Trust their expertise, but keep informed about their tactics and progress.
- Not paying attention to red flags: If a provider is not transparent about their methods, is unwilling to provide reports and communication, or has poor reviews, these red flags shouldn’t be ignored.
- Picking the cheapest services: While budget constraints are real, remember that with SEO services, you often get what you pay for. Extremely cheap service providers may cut corners or engage in dubious tactics that could harm your SEO efforts in the long run.
It’s easy to fall into these common traps, but being aware of them can help you make wiser choices in outsourcing your link-building efforts.
Link building remains vital to a robust SEO strategy, significantly improving your website’s visibility and organic reach when executed properly.
For businesses looking to enhance their SEO efforts without incurring significant overhead costs, consider nearshore hiring from Latin America. This region is rich in skilled professionals who work in similar time zones, share cultural affinities, and provide cost-effective solutions without compromising quality.
To better understand the economics of building a link-building team with nearshoring, check out our comprehensive salary guide, which compares US and LatAm-based SEO specialist salary expectations along with many other roles.