You know you need them…inbound links. This part of your search engine marketing is the most important, but also one of your biggest time stealers. That is why many choose to outsource this essential SEO task. But if you want it done well and done right, make sure you ask potential outsourcing candidates the important questions and be sure to get the right answers.
Researching Link Builders
If you have ever hired a freelance professional or copywriting firm, you probably learned the hard way that you get what you pay for in Internet marketing. For this reason, your search for a vendor should save price for the final considerations. Instead of price, aim for talent.
You know that hiring the right talent is vital to growing and succeeding in business. Link building can backfire if done improperly. Links to your site from unscrupulous sites can damage your search engine ranking, rather than helping you climb in the SERPs. For this reason, you must investigate several Internet marketing firms or smaller independent vendors. Check forums and see what others say about the vendor you are considering. Look for customer testimonials that you can check out and verify.
Compare Processes and Methods
Individual professional link builders can do their work in vastly different ways. Questioning and understanding the methods your candidates intend to use will shed light on the quality, professionalism and experience of the individuals. This is the most important question you will ask: “What are the steps you will take to build links?” Drill down to the details such as,
- “How important are directories in your strategy?”
- “What kind of directories will my links appear in?”
- “How will you get me links in some of the more exclusive and useful directories?”
You should also find out how much of the link builder’s strategy depends on direct requests. Ask for and scrutinize a sample of the link builder’s link requests. Be sure it reflects the professionalism and quality of your business. The request should be clear, targeted and relevant, thereby being more effective. If the link builder does not grasp this basic concept, you need to move on to someone more experienced.
Press and Public Relations
The Press is an important part of acquiring inbound links, but hitting big with a press release is no easy task. Make sure you see a sample of past press releases to ensure the candidate understands the importance of finding a credible way to spin your site and services to make them newsworthy. A single well-placed news story can result in hundreds of inbound links.
Article marketing and blog posts are another part of link building that must be addressed. Will you be hiring a separate copywriter for this task or will you expect your link builder to accomplish this task? Be sure the candidate you choose has a strong foundation in copywriting for the Internet. Your message has only seconds to attract the attention of readers, so effective copywriting is a vital part of link building.
Finally, we have the emerging changes in social media that make micro-blogging and link sharing so vital to your strategy. Be sure your potential link builder has a good reputation, following and network. Not only does this serve to ease your mind about the professionalism of the individual, it also benefits your link building campaign.
When you pay for a service, you want to know what your return on investment has been. Ask for a sample of the link building report the vendor will provide. Make sure the report includes details about who was contacted for direct inquiries, what directories were used and when, and rates of success in link placement.
Once you have details on the methods the link builder will use, samples of inquiry emails, press releases, content and reports, you will be ready to compare apples for apples. Only then will you be ready to look at price and choose the one that best matches your budget.