There’s no doubt that building high-quality links is essential for your website to compete online, but not every organization has the knowledge, time, or experience to execute a successful link building campaign. The process of acquiring links to your site can be tedious and the resources needed are not easily accessible. And if you don’t have the expertise required to build links for your organization, you may be wasting your time or potentially risk getting penalized.
How to Evaluate the Best Link Building Company
Despite the many advantages of hiring a link building agency, you won’t reap the benefits unless you hire the right company. Hiring an agency that takes part in manipulative link acquisition practices could harm your domain authority, lower your rankings, and penalize your organization.
The link building company you choose to hire will represent your brand online, so before you sign any contract. Make sure the organization is honest and dependable.
They start with a link development strategy
The first phase of any link building campaign should be to create a strategy. Crafting a strategy before execution allows the team to dig into the website and layout all information needed to earn high-quality links, while also looking for areas of opportunity for long-term linking success.
At Vertical Measures, the link development strategy identifies three major opportunities;
- Linkable assets currently living on the site.
- What the competition is doing to earn links.
- Potential content pieces that can earn links in the future.
The strategy establishes tactics that will be used in the first few months of link development and ensures that any time/resources used to research link opportunities is productive.
They’re a full-service digital marketing agency
Before starting any strategy, it’s ideal to assess the overall SEO friendliness of the website. This includes conducting an SEO audit, competitive keyword research, keyword map and backlink audit.
Additionally, the foundation of every successful link building strategy is content. When you hire a full-service digital marketing agency that has a “content-comes-first” mindset, collaboration between content creators and link specialists is habitual and linkable assets are published on a consistent basis (win-win). Furthermore, a full-service agency with an experienced paid media team can also promote the content and use it to move your audience through each stage of the customer’s journey.
For a holistic digital marketing strategy to be successful long-term, hire a full-service agency that has subject matter experts in all areas of digital marketing, including content, SEO, paid media, conversion rate optimization, link building, and lead nurture.
They involve their project management team
Most full-service agencies should also have their own project management team to streamline the many processes involved with link development. Typically, a project management team governs client deliverables and assures that projects are completed on time.
At Vertical Measures, our deliverables are organized and assigned through an internal project management tool called Workfront. The online platform tracks and provides insights into the effectiveness of projects, timeliness of tasks, and the accuracy of billing.
They use a diverse set of tools
I think we can all agree that link development is hard. Fortunately, there are tools to alleviate frustrations and improve the success of link building campaigns. While some tools require payment and others are free of cost, you may find that these tools are not in your budget for in-house link building.
Ask your link agency candidates what types of tools their team uses to acquire links. Some of the tools we use include advanced search commands, SEMrush, Majestic, BuzzStream, Moz, Ahrefs and Google Analytics.
Not all tools are essential to building high-quality links, but the more resources that a link development agency has at their disposal, the better the opportunity for building a diverse link profile – faster than your competition.
They consider themselves a partner to your brand
The company you hire for link building services should act as an extension to your in-house team. When narrowing down link building companies, take note on whether each agency takes the time to understand your company’s goals and needs as well as your audience’s goals and needs. The link development team you end up working with should customize their approach to produce results based on the metrics that align with your objectives.
And as with any relationship, communication is key. Communicating with the company once or twice a month is a huge red flag.
While there are still agencies who engage in spammy linking practices, even after Google’s strict Penguin Algorithm Update, it’s especially important to find a company that’s completely transparent with their backlink processes and tactics. A few important qualities you should look for in a link building partnership:
They produce results
When you’re ready to purchase a new car, the first thing you do is research through Google and read endless consumer reviews. You want to be confident that other people had a great experience with the car you’re interested in buying.
The process of hiring a link building company shouldn’t be much different. Look at client reviews and testimonials of your link building candidates. Does the company’s website include case studies or whitepapers of real link building campaigns? What kind of industries do they have experience working in?
While doing this research, don’t be afraid to ask the agency for link profiles they have built for other clients related to your industry. The team should be able to provide you with proof of work, success stories, and examples of actual results.
- What is the average domain authority and page authority of the links that this agency has built?
- What about trust flow?
- How many links are coming from .org, .gov, or .edu websites?
A few quantity-based metrics to look for include the average amount of links each specialist builds in a month and the response/success rate of outreach emails. Any great link building agency will willingly share these insights.
Take the time to pick your ideal agency
There’s no doubt links are imperative to your digital marketing success. Recognizing the obvious need to start a link development campaign is easy, but deciding which agency to choose may be a difficult decision. If you do find that your internal team does not have the resources or knowledge to build links, take the extra time to ensure that you hire a reputable, trustworthy, notable link building company that lets the results do the talking.
Oh, and, it’s a plus if the agency loves dogs, too!
How Much Should You Budget for Link Building This Year?
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