Link building is arguably the most important piece of SEO. But it’s also been the most abused with unethical practices. Links built by breaking Google’s best practices will end up hurting your site tremendously rather than helping it. That’s why you need to make sure your link building agency has a solid process that checks out.
We’ll help you understand what you need to consider before you hire a link building agency.
Are they paying sites for links?
Links have always been a huge piece of SEO. The more links you have, the easier it is to rank. However, as people created link building strategies, they found a few unethical practices that could get them lots of links fast. Sites would sell links. You could pay a website for them to link back to your site, sometimes hundreds or thousands of times. This practice only worked until Google caught on.
Google has created link building guidelines to make sure that sites aren’t rewarded for unethical practices. These guidelines state that selling or purchasing links is not allowed. You may be wondering, How do they know whether links are purchased or not? So let me tell you: they know. If you pay sites to link back to you, your site could face penalties from Google including being banned from appearing in search results.
It’s easy to avoid this grim circumstance by making sure your link building agency is following best practices. A quality link building agency will have a network of partnerships with reputable sites to place links on. The sites will not be paid to link back to you, they will come from purely networking relationships.
It is crucial that the agency you hire follows these rules so that your site will see the positive results of link building.
Are they writing and publishing articles?
The format of link building content is a major indicator of the quality of the link building agency.
Many “link builders” will charge you for their services, and then just go post links to your site in comments on forums or in the comments section below articles. This method goes against Google’s link building policies.
Links in comments, directories, or bookmarking sites are not valid backlinks according to Google’s best practices.
If your link building agency is following best practices, they will be writing informational articles for their partner sites to publish that include a link back to your site. The articles will address subject matter broadly related to your content, so that it makes sense to link back to it. The article will also be related to the content regularly published on the partner site, so that they will happily publish the piece.
Are they using high quality sites?
Even if an agency is using partner sites and writing articles to publish, they could still be using low quality sites which diminishes the value you receive from links. There needs to be a vetting process in place that they use to determine the sites they will partner with.
For example, BASE has a vetting process which analyzes domain authority, spam, and organic traffic and keyword rankings.
Domain authority is a rating that represents a site’s power from the perspective of search engines. A site with a domain authority of 2 has very little reputation with Google, whereas a site with a DA of 60 is quite highly regarded by Google. Backlinks from the site with DA of 2 will not help your site to rank, since that has almost no authority. We recommend only building links from sites with a DA of 20 or above.
During the vetting process, we check to see if the site is associated with spam in any way. This could be that the site has backlinks of its own that are from spam sites, or the site could post spam content, etc. Associating yourself with a site associated with spam is a bad idea.
The third pillar of our vetting strategy is organic traffic and keyword rankings. Our goal is to help your site gain organic traffic. So, we want to link to your site from sites that receive substantial organic traffic themselves, in order to pass that ranking authority on to you. We also make sure the site is ranking for organic keywords that are relevant to our clients, because Google takes site relevancy into account when weighing link authority.
Many link building agencies skip these steps because it is easier to take whatever partner sites they can get, but we believe in making sacrifices in order to provide our clients with the highest quality of links.
See if your agency stacks up
If you already have a link building agency or are considering hiring one, ask them these questions. Their answers may surprise you.
Since link building is such a huge piece of an SEO strategy, you don’t want to mess it up. There are consequences and damage control associated with bad backlinks. Find an agency that checks all the boxes, so you won’t have to worry.