How To Outsource Link Building [3-Step Guide + Do’s & Don’ts]

If you’re wondering how to outsource link building, you’re not alone. Over 60% of businesses outsource link building to professional agencies and contractors (Search Logistics).

It’s one of the best things you can do for your business, no matter if you’re a business owner or a marketing agency swamped with other client work. 

But how do you actually outsource link building, find great agencies or contractors to work with, and measure your results? Find the answers below.

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What Is “Link Building Outsourcing”?

Link building outsourcing refers to hiring external agencies or contractors to manage your link building campaigns. It can include tasks such as creating content, reaching out to relevant sites, and ensuring that the links are placed naturally and ethically. 

How To Outsource Link Building

Here are a few things to keep in mind when outsourcing link building:

  • First, make sure you're outsourcing to a reputable agency or contractor. There are a lot of fly-by-night operations out there, and you don't want to end up working with one of them.
  • Second, your link building partner should have the necessary experience.
  • Finally, they should be transparent about their processes. I.e., they should be up-front about how they'll build you links, plus show you results from previous clients.

If your prospective partner can't meet these criteria, then perhaps keep looking.

However, outsourcing link building doesn't just come down to finding the right partner. It also involves some prep and analysis on your behalf—although much less than if you were building links yourself.

Here's a step-by-step process you can follow:

1. Set Expectations And Goals

Before outsourcing link building, you should know what you expect from it and how much you’re willing to pay for it.

a) Define Objectives And Set Measurable Goals

First, clearly define what objectives you want to achieve. For example, you may want to:

  • Improve rankings, 
  • Increase traffic, 
  • Boost domain authority,
  • Or all of the above!

Make sure to clearly define this and communicate it to your chosen link building agency or contractor later.

Additionally, try to establish more specific targets, such as:

  • The number of backlinks you want to build, 
  • The types of sites you want to build your backlinks on, and/or
  • Your expected improvements in metrics.

On that note, you should also identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your link building campaigns. Some commonly used KPIs include referral traffic, domain authority, and keyword rankings.

b) Understand The Costs

Before you outsource link building, it’d be wise to determine how much you're willing to pay per link. 

👉 It may help to know that the cost of a single link averages around $300 in 2024.

Keep in mind that the cost of backlinks highly depends on their quality. For example, our prices depend on the DA scores of the target sites:

Our three link placement packages

Prices may also vary depending on how many backlinks you order at once. Many agencies and contractors offer bulk discounts.

2. Find The Right Link Building Agency Or Contractor To Outsource To

Now’s the time to find the partner you’ll outsource link building to.

First, you should probably decide if you want to hire an agency or a contractor. You can also do this after researching your options.

Either way, it’s good to know the pros and cons of each option in advance:

  • Agencies typically offer a comprehensive range of services, access to a larger network of high-authority sites, and a team with diverse skills, making them ideal for businesses seeking robust, scalable link building solutions. However, they often come at a higher cost. 
  • Contractors, on the other hand, can provide personalized attention and flexibility, often at a lower price, but may lack the resources and breadth of an agency. 

No matter which option you choose, here’s how to ensure you work with someone you can trust:

a) Research The Agency's Or Contractor’s Backlinks And Off-Page SEO

As mentioned, if you're considering outsourcing your backlink acquisition, you want to make sure you hire a reputable partner.

A good way to gauge their competence is to look at their own backlinks and off-page SEO. 

If they are really good at what they do, they should have the results on their own site to prove it.

👉 You can use Ahrefs’ free Backlink Checker to check any domain’s domain rating (DR), total number of backlinks, and some basic backlink metrics. 

Keep in mind, however, that Ahrefs can be slightly off, like any third-party tool. As our account manager Rob says:

“Moz, Semrush, Ahrefs… they’re all just guessing what Google is thinking. They are not canon.”

A strong backlink profile indicates that the agency knows how to get high-quality links, and a well-optimized off-page SEO campaign shows that they know how to drive traffic and engagement.

So before you sign on the dotted line, take a look at the agency's website and see if they practice what they preach. If not, you might want to keep looking.

P. S. As you can see, we’ve got some impressive links pointing to our site :) - including those from highly valuable .edu domains:

Backlinks pointing to our site, including links from .edu domains

b) Ask For Reviews And Case Studies

Another important step to take is to ask for case studies and customer reviews or testimonials. This will give you a sense of the quality of work the agency is capable of, as well as whether their clients are happy with the results.

3. Inquire About The Process

It's also a good idea to ask about the agency's link building process to make sure it is in line with best practices.

👉 For example, one thing you really want to ensure is that the agency is not building you low-quality/spammy backlinks on PBNs or link farms.

To avoid this, you should inquire about and analyze their partner sites. The most trustworthy—and best—agencies will work with high-authority publications you’re probably already aware of and don’t even need to double-check.

As an example, some of our network of sites include Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Yahoo Finance; not unknown blogs with spammy content.

Our network includes sites like Yahoo Finance, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and others

Here are some other questions to ask:

  • How do you ensure the quality of the content? How do you make sure it is relevant to my industry?
  • Will you ensure that the links are natural and beneficial?
  • Will I receive any updates or reports from you once you build me links? 
  • Do you rely on manual outreach or automated tools for link building? Which approach do you find more effective and personalized?
  • What is the expected timeline for seeing results from your link building efforts?
  • Can my backlinks get taken down? Do you offer any guarantees?

c) Avoid Contractors and Agencies That Do Shady Black-Hat SEO

Whoever you outsource link building to should use white hat link building techniques to keep your site safe.

Unfortunately, there are still many link building agencies that use black hat techniques that can severely damage your business over time. For example, some agencies will buy spammy links from low-quality sites, or engage in link farms, which can get you penalized by Google.

In extreme cases, black hat techniques can even get your site deindexed from Google altogether. That's why it's so important to do your research and only work with an agency that uses safe, white hat link building techniques.

By taking this precaution, you can avoid any potential penalties or deindexing and ensure that your business thrives for years to come.

What's worse is you'll have paid thousands of dollars only to dig your own grave!

d) Avoid Agencies That Over-Promise

As anyone who has ever tried to build links knows, it's a process that requires a lot of time and effort.

There are a lot of variables involved, and it can be difficult to predict how many links can be built in a given period of time. That's why it's important to be wary of link building services that promise results that seem too good to be true.

The best way to ensure a successful campaign is to set realistic expectations and focus on building quality links rather than quantity.

3. Evaluate The Links

Even if you outsource link building, it's important to know how to determine if a link is good or bad.

That way, you can evaluate your results and make sure that your money is well spent.

a) Assess Backlink Quality

To assess the quality of your backlinks, we suggest looking at a few key aspects: 

  • The authority and relevance of the linking site.  Note that you’ll know this in advance if you’re working with a credible agency/contractor. 
  • The context. Ensure that the links are naturally integrated within relevant and high-quality content.
  • Link placement. Confirm that link placements maximize their SEO value. For example, links within the main body of content will have a bigger impact on your SEO than links in footers.

b) Track Performance Metrics

Finally, to determine if you got value for your money, you should check the KPIs you’ve already established in step #1. 

👉 However, note that, on average, it takes 10 weeks to see the full effect of a single backlink. 

This is a general rule of thumb, but it may be different in your situation. For example, if you get links in high-authority publications, you can expect them to take full effect sooner—and vice versa.

Mistakes To Avoid When Outsourcing Link Building

Now that you know what to do and expect when outsourcing link building, it's important to understand what not to do.

1. Don’t: Pick The Cheapest Link Building Service

You get what you pay for.

The cheapest providers out there are usually using shortcuts and black hat SEO techniques that will do more harm than good in the long run. Link building is an important part of any SEO strategy, but it's not something that you can just do overnight.

It takes time and effort to build up a strong link profile, so it's important to choose a provider who will take the time to do it right. Yes, you might have to pay a little bit more upfront, but it will be worth it in the end.

Cheaper providers tend to focus on quantity rather than quality. They may be able to offer you 100 bad links, but you’d probably be better off with just 10 great links. 

On that note…

2. Don’t: Choose Quantity Over Quality

What would you choose—one super-relevant backlink from the New York Times or 10 links from smaller, irrelevant sites?

A good link building agency understands that quality is more important than quantity. (At least in 99% of cases.)

A thousand poor links don't even stand up to one relevant, high quality link.

Even though Ahrefs DR (domain rating or domain authority) is not directly correlated with higher search engine rankings, the way they calculate it is a good way to understand quality vs quantity.

There are sites in Ahrefs that have hundreds of domains linking to them but they still have a pretty low DR score:

medium DR with thousands of links

On the other hand, there are sites with far fewer domains linking to them but much higher DR scores:

high DR with fewer links

It makes sense, then, that acquiring one high-DR link takes more effort than acquiring a lower quality link.

So don't be disappointed if your outsourced link building agency is only providing you a few links a month as long as those links are high quality.

The way to think about quality is in terms of relevance to your pages' subject(s), and the overall authority and trustworthiness of the linking domain.

3. Don’t: Micromanage Your Provider

When you outsource link building, you're essentially giving up some control over your digital marketing strategy.

While this might not be a big deal for some businesses, others might prefer to keep things in-house so that they can have more control over what's happening with their campaign.

If you're the type who likes to keep a close eye on things, outsourcing might not be right for you.

The last thing you want to do is micromanage your link building provider. After all, the VERY reason you hired them was to free up your own time.

If you're constantly checking in on their progress or second-guessing their decisions, you're not going to get the results you want.

4. Don’t: Expect Link Building To Solve All Your Problems

Links are an important, but not the only ranking factor. Link building alone may not always automatically result in a surge of traffic to your website.

So while it's important to focus on building links, don't forget about the other factors that affect your ranking and traffic including site speed, mobile friendliness, and schema markup, to name a few.

By paying attention to all aspects of SEO, you can create a well-rounded strategy that will help you achieve your traffic goals.

Why Should You Outsource Link Building?

1. You Want To Save Time

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of outsourcing link building. By entrusting this task to a team of experts, you'll be able to free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business. And time is money!

2. You Want Quicker Link Building Results

A good link building agency will have a proven track record of helping their clients achieve results. They will know exactly which strategies work and which ones don't, and they'll be able to implement them quickly and efficiently.

This means you'll probably see an ROI sooner than if you were building links yourself. One of the most challenging things with SEO and link building is that it typically takes a lot of time for results to kick in.

If you can get a good agency to land you authoritative links and with volume, you should see much quicker growth.

3. You Want High-Quality Links

When you outsource link building to a reputable agency, you can rest assured that you're getting links from high-quality websites that will actually help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

4. You Want To Focus On Your Strengths

When you outsource link building, you're freeing up your time and energy to focus on your business rather than the technical aspects of outreach and link placements.

You can focus on developing new products, creating new content, or working on other areas of your business that need your attention.

And when you have a team of experts working on link building for you, you can be confident that your website will get the exposure it deserves.

5. You Don’t Have Link Building Expertise

If you're not an expert in link building, it can take hours or even days to research potential linking opportunities and land links.  When you're trying to build links on your own, it can be difficult to know where to start or who to contact.

Outsourcing link building also allows you to tap into a wider network of potential linking partners.

An experienced team of link builders should already have established relationships with high-quality websites in your industry—which means they can quickly secure links from relevant and authoritative sources.

6. You Don’t Have Extra Manpower Or Resources

Anyone who's tried to do their own link building knows that it can be a real pain.

It's hard enough to find good quality websites to pitch to, but then you have to actually craft a personalized email or message that stands out from the hundreds of other requests they get every day.

And even if you do manage to get someone to agree to link back to your site, you still have to create great content that will make them want to keep the link up.

It's a lot of work, and it's no wonder that so many people give up before they see any results.

If you're thinking about starting a link building campaign, make sure you have the manpower and link building tools in place beforehand to have an in-house link builder - otherwise, it's worth outsourcing your campaign to a reputable agency.

7. Your Current Efforts Aren’t Yielding Results

If you've been trying to build links on your own but haven't got the results you want, it might be time to outsource to an agency. A good link building agency will have a proven track record of getting results quickly.

They'll also be up-to-date on the latest link building trends and techniques. Link building is an important part of SEO, and it can be tough to keep up with the latest changes if you're not doing it full-time.

An agency can help take the burden off of your shoulders and get you the results you need.

If you're not sure where to start, take a look at some reviews of link building agencies to find one that's a good fit for your needs.

Outsource Link Building To An Agency With 9+ Years Of Experience

Ready to take the next step? Get in touch with us today or browse through our list of partner sites to ensure we have a high-quality portfolio.

We have almost a decade of experience in link building and offer a lifetime guarantee on all our links.

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