When it comes time to update your SEO, one important factor to consider is linkbuilding. Technically speaking, Google discourages developing a network of links for the sole purpose of improving your site’s SEO—but the good news is that there are white hat ways to do so that will not end up resulting in you being penalized. But before you choose an agency that claims to be able to accomplish this for you, it is important to know what to look for when making your choice.
White hat linkbuilding is pretty much a must-do when it comes to optimizing your site for search, and because it is so important, it is vital that you thoroughly vet any agency you are considering hiring. When considering any linkbuilding service, consider these five factors.
Generally speaking, white hate linkbuilders will be linking you to numerous unique domains. In other words, you don’t want all of your links to be to the same domain.
Does the agency personally reach out to the various sites they build links with?
Sadly, many agencies exploit the fact that their clients don’t know much about SEO. A lot of links that are built by these agencies look good, but when you dig deep, you realize that a relationship hasn’t been organically established with the other site. Purchasing links from sites rather than establishing real relationships can often result in red flags with Google, especially if the sites being linked to advertise the fact that they have links for sale. This can result in penalties, and make you appear as spammy as the sites you are linked to.
White hat linkbuilders will reach out manually to sites that they are establishing links to and from, establishing real relationships and indicating that their linkbuilding process is honest and organic.
Are the links the agency is building based on numerous unique referring domains?
Generally speaking, white hate linkbuilders will be linking you to numerous unique domains. In other words, you don’t want all of your links to be to the same domain. This will lead Google to devalue your links, since it is an indication that you are simply building lots of links to try to boost your SEO. A portfolio of organic links will include links to many different domains. For this reason, you want to work with an agency that has a large stable of unique domains to work with.
As with all SEO strategies, the goal is to improve your domain authority without raising any red flags that cause Google to penalize you. White hat linkbuilding does this organically and effectively.
Does the linkbuilding agency do a comprehensive analysis of your website’s backlinks?
Starting a linkbuilding campaign without first analyzing your existing backlink portfolio is like building a house without first assessing the foundation. You wouldn’t hire someone to build their house if they didn’t first analyze your foundation, and you shouldn’t hire someone to build your links if they don’t automatically start by analyzing your backlink portfolio. It’s as simple as that.
Does the agency control the anchor text on the backlinks being created?
Anchor text is a vital element of a backlink, and it is important that correct words and phrases are used. Thus, when an agency reaches out on your behalf to another site with the aim of establishing backlink relationships through guest posts and other links, it is important that they maintain control of the anchor text that is included in the backlinks.
If you (through your linkbuilding agency) don’t have control over the anchor text being included in backlinks, you will likely receive numerous guests posts that have generic or branded anchor text, which will result in less-than-ideal ratios between your generic, branded, and specific anchor texts. This can undermine the effectiveness of your backlink campaign, and even result in penalties.
Are their links effective?
All the links in the world aren’t going to help you if they aren’t effective. Far too often, SEO agencies make big promises, such as delivering large numbers of links for very little investment. But even if an agency does bring you hundreds of links, if they aren’t strong, effective links, they aren’t worth anything.
When considering different SEO agencies, look at their case studies and referrals from past clients. If they have had success boosting SEO for other companies, then they are more likely to have success doing the same for you.
You might also want to do your own analysis of the links an agency provides—especially if they offer one free link, as this will give you a chance to evaluate their services. Look at the content on the page, the URL’s referring domains, where your link is located, and what the domain authority of the linked URL is. As always, if your backlinks are low-quality, your website will feel the effects.
It can be difficult and even a little confusing to search out a quality linkbuilding service. But by taking these five factors into account, you can go a long way toward educating yourself about what a quality backlink looks like, and whether or not an agency will be able to provide you with a backlink portfolio that will help your website improve its search rankings.