Are you thinking about hiring an agency to help you handle one of the most difficult aspect of SEO? Perhaps you worry that you might not get a company with the right criteria to help you deliver high quality links that will have an impact on your website rankings? This is a situation most companies are usually caught up in. Owing to little to no check systems in place for business owners to know when a link building agency is just not a good fit for them, many end up hiring the wrong agencies for their businesses.
To help you avoid the headache that usually follows hiring the wrong link building agency for your business, this blog post will share some of the traits you should look out for in a link building agency. If the qualities you find in a current or potential link building partner negates some or all of the traits listed below, then you should start looking elsewhere for your link building partner.
#1. What is their Link Acquisition Process?
What is their link building acquisition process? Are they transparent about it?
Many businesses don’t usually concern themselves with this very essential aspect of link building. Some will even tell their agency partners that they don’t care how they go about getting them links, all they want to see is results. While getting results is very important, have you given much thought into why your link building partner always tries to avoid the question when it comes to how they acquire their links?
Link building should always involve a process that is transparent, editorial and can be documented and measured. Brian Dean is one of the best link building experts in the world today, and he shares his link acquisition methods on his blog for everyone to follow. At Effective Inbound Marketing, our guest blogging service page shows how we help our clients get links on high authority websites like TheNextWeb and similar sites.
If an agency keeps telling you that their link building process is “propriety secret”, “patent protected”, or use some other hideous shitty words to keep you from further finding out how they build their links, quickly call their bullshit and do some investigation.
You might just end up finding out you need a link profile cleanup!
#2. Fast Response Time
How quickly are they responding to your queries?
Typically clients should get a response within hours. If your link building agency takes days before returning your calls or sending a reply to those emails, you need to find out what is going on. Run-in-the-mill link building agencies will typically promise 100 links in one hour but are usually run by inexperienced kids who don’t even have total access to their computers. Or worst still, your link building agency could actually be 80% robot!
At Effective Inbound Marketing, we usually respond to our existing clients withing hours and get back to new clients in less than 24 hours. Anything short of this shows inefficiency that a link building agency should not be caught up in.
#3. Willingness to Share Prior Work Portfolio
How much details are your link building partners sharing with you? If you end up hiring a link building agency without checking their prior work portfolio, you might be making a big mistake. In the link building world, your only way of vetting the quality of a company’s job is through their work portfolio.
A link building agency should be willing to show you samples of what they’ve done for others before and give you the confidence that they are the right partner for your business. If they are not willing to show you samples of works they’ve done before, you should look elsewhere for your link building partner.
If your a link building agency shares their work portfolio with you, check it out to see if the properties are what you want to be associated with.
#4. Good Communication Skills
Another trait to look out for in a link building agency is their communication skills. How articulate are their representatives in expressing themselves. If you have to explain the same thing to your link building agency in several different ways, or have to go over yourself multiple times then you’re dealing with a quack.
Consider this, if they’re finding it difficult to understand you or hardly express themselves very well, how are they going to convince the editors to link to your website? Unless there are bots doing the link building job for you, your link building partner should be a little bit proficient in communicating.
#5. Excellent Reporting
You should also seek to know how a link building agency handles reporting before hiring them. An excellent reporting process will give you a good hands on knowledge of how well your partners are progressing.
This is especially important if your link building campaign will involve building links to large assets like an e-commerce site.
Back when Google used to share keyword data with webmasters; keywords, link profile, website, “final post URL” and a handful of other relevant data will make up the report you get from your link building partner. Today, the data should be sufficient enough to help you understand how you’re progressing and give you opportunity to know when you want to make adjustments or corrections where necessary.
If you think the reporting is not standard enough, ask them if they can improve on it. This might be the only evidence that they’re actually doing something for you.
#6. High Quality Properties
What kind of properties do they have? Are they using sites and publications that have been pronounced dead or are they just posting your links on some private blog networks?
To give you an idea of what high quality properties are like: high quality assets are editorial, not easy to get placed on and vet your content through a rigorous quality and relevance-check process before approving it. In the end, links from such assets yield quality SEO returns and increase traffic to your website.
High quality properties also tend not to link out to non-related websites. So if your link building agency has assured you that your weight loss link will go live on a marketing or finance blog, you should ask how the magic is going to be done!
#7. Handles Constructive Criticisms Perfectly
How does your link building partner handle constructive criticism?
Do they show a healthy sign to improve or any sign of responsibility when you politely tell them what they’re doing is not working, or do they make you feel guilty for pointing out their errors? These are simple tell-tale signs to look out for when doing business with a link building firm.
When working with a link building agency, you should be able to exercise control over how you want your project to be done.
What experiences do you have working with link building agencies? Can you share them with us in the comment section?
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Image Credit: (Chain Pic Flickr Astro)