In the ever-evolving SEO landscape, one thing that hasn’t changed is the value high-quality backlinks add to your website’s authority. Experts rank link building as one of the most important search ranking factors.
However, not all business or website owners have the team or expertise to build valuable links, which is why 65% of businesses outsource their link building activities.
It allows you to work with experts specializing in building high-quality links at scale, helping you gain an edge over competitors.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key steps to outsource your SEO link building project.
What is Outsourced Link Building?
Outsourced link building refers to hiring an external agency or freelancer to build backlinks for your website, rather than doing it with an in-house team.
The main distinction between outsourced and in-house link building is:
- Outsourced: You pay an external link builder or agency with the expertise and resources focused on boosting your website authority with high-quality link building. They easily scale up link acquisition to help you achieve a greater impact.
- In-house: You leverage your existing staff or hire new employees to build backlinks to your content, shifting their focus from other core business activities.
When is the Right Time to Outsource Link Building?
Outsourcing link building is a strategic decision, so the right timing is crucial for maximizing its benefits. Here are key indicators that signal when you should outsource link building:
1. You are done with optimizing your website for all technical SEO factors
Ensure that your website is 100% prepared for link building.
- Optimize your website for on-page SEO factors like meta tags, a mobile-friendly design, and fast loading speed.
- Ensure all web pages are indexed properly.
- Run a blog and publish high-quality, link-worthy content regularly. Remove or update any thin content on your website.
- Identify and fix any broken links on your website.
Once your website is technically sound, it’s time to shift focus to building your website’s authority and relevance through link building.
2. You lack a big in-house team that can focus on link building
Building and managing an in-house link building team demands significant time and resources. Outsourcing frees up these resources, allowing you to focus on core business activities.
3. You want to scale your link building efforts
A lack of resources can make scaling harder. However, having an agency focus on just building the right backlinks for your website can be a quick way to scale.
4. You’ve got a budget to invest in outsourcing SEO link building
Reinvesting part of your revenue into SEO, specifically link building, will lead to higher organic search visibility, more traffic, and ultimately, higher revenue.
How to Outsource Your SEO Link Building Efforts
Let’s see the step-by-step process of outsourcing link building for your business.
Step 1: Understand what link quality is and why it matters
Links can be high-quality or low-quality depending on the relevance and authority of the website they come from and the contextual relevance of anchor texts. You can learn more about this from our post on what a good link profile looks like.
The main risks of using low-quality link building are:
- Negative SEO ranking impacts
- Manual or algorithmic penalties from search engines
- Loss of trust and credibility
- Decline in organic traffic and visibility
It’s critical to avoid tactics like buying links or building bulk links to avoid these consequences. However, both types of links might look the same to you if you are new to SEO. So how will you differentiate it?
Let’s understand with the help of an example.
If you see a positive correlation between links acquired from a particular website and your keyword rankings and traffic, those are likely high-quality links.
One of our new clients (a SaaS company) witnessed a 40% drop in organic traffic after engaging with a low-cost link builder online. We helped them regain their traffic and increase their page and domain authority by 150% within six months.
Step 2: Set a budget for link building service
How much does it cost to build links in-house?
The average salary of a link builder in the U.S. costs about $66,331/year, according to Glassdoor.
You also need to hire content writers ($60K+ yearly) and invest in tools and tech ($3K+ yearly). If you establish an in-house link-building team and they generate about 10-15 backlinks each month, it would cost you about $400-$750 for every link.
You can get higher-quality links at scale by investing about 40% less in a competitive outsourced link-building service.
Here are some tips to decide on the budget:
- Your budget should be based on the scale of your operations, the competitiveness of your industry, and the quality of links you need.
- Research the average cost per high-quality link in your industry. A balanced budget would consider a mix of medium to high-quality links.
- The average monthly allocation for outsourcing link building is around $10,000, with affordable packages starting at $5,000 per month. It could be a good starting point, depending on your specific industry dynamics and competition levels.
Step 3: Choose the right link building partner – freelancer vs. agency
When outsourcing link building, you have two main options – hiring individual freelancers or partnering with an agency. Both routes have their own pros and cons.
The pros and cons of working with freelancers
- Cost-effective: Freelancers typically charge less per hour or project compared to agencies.
- Flexibility: It’s easy to switch between different freelancers as you are not locked into any long-term contracts.
- Specialized skills: Freelancers often specialize in specific skills like link building outreach, content creation, and link placements. You can cherry-pick skills as needed.
- Lack of accountability: Low-pay freelancers may lack accountability, occasionally miss deadlines, or deliver low-quality links. You may need to closely monitor their work.
- Limited scalability: It takes time to find, vet, and manage multiple freelancers, making it hard to scale your link building efforts beyond a point.
- Risk of spammy tactics: Some freelancers may use black hat tactics without your knowledge, harming your website’s reputation.
The pros and cons of working with an agency
- Established processes: Agencies invest in processes, teams, and project management practices. More organized and efficient.
- Accountability: You have a single point of contact and agencies are more keen on maintaining their reputation.
- Scalability: Their dedicated teams allow easy scaling up of link building projects.
- Industry knowledge: The collective expertise of professionals working in an agency can help you leverage the latest trends, tools, and approaches in link building.
- Higher costs: Agencies charge more for their overhead and team but you’ll get better ROI in the long run.
- Less flexibility: You may be locked into fixed fee or monthly contracts. Switching agencies can be challenging.
How to choose between a freelancer and an agency for outsourcing SEO link building
- Consider your budget, scale needs, and growth plans. Agencies work for larger scales and budgets.
- Vet capabilities and experience thoroughly, especially in your specific industry.
- Start with smaller test projects first before committing to any long-term partnerships.
- Weigh cost vs. expertise tradeoffs carefully based on your needs and constraints.
Step 4: Select the right agency with expertise in quality link building for SEO
As a SaaS business, you should partner with an agency with a proven track record in SaaS link building. Ensure they understand your market and can align with your business goals.
- Thoroughly vet potential agencies. Review their client testimonials, case studies, and the results they’ve achieved for similar businesses. For example, over 150 businesses trust our link building strategies
- Schedule an initial consultation with 3-5 potential agencies. Discuss your specific business goals, target audience, competitive landscape, and expectations for the link building campaign.
- Decide on a payment model. Common methods include paying per link, monthly retainers on defined deliverables, or performance-based pricing tied to defined KPIs.
- Set clear expectations upfront regarding reporting and results tracking. Insist on regular, detailed reporting on links acquired, including the quality, relevance, source, and anchor text used.
Step 5: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) of the SEO link building service
When outsourcing link building, it’s important to define key metrics to track the effectiveness of the campaign. Here are the main KPIs to monitor:
- Number of backlinks acquired
- Website traffic growth
- Improvement in search rankings of URLs they’ve built backlinks for
- Higher Domain Rating (DR)
- A greater number of referral domains
- Increase in leads and conversions
Step 6: Monitor the process of outsourcing link building service
Create a list of resources you want to build links for, including:
- Top landing pages
- Conversion-optimized blog posts
Ensure the agency is building links from websites you approve of. Ask them to get approvals on the links placed (and the anchor text used).
Ask the agency to deliver monthly/quarterly reports about the link-building metrics (discussed above) you care about most. This will help you track the ROI of your link building campaign.
Ready to Outsource Link Building to Experts?
Outsourcing link building in 2024 can be a game-changer for SaaS companies. With a strategic approach, appropriate budgeting, and the right outsourcing partner, your business can achieve significant growth in online visibility and customer acquisition.
We specialize in custom link-building strategies for SaaS businesses. Connect with us to get started.