Most companies relegate link building as a secondary function. But the truth is it goes hand in hand with other aspects of SEO like onpage and technical. Optimizing your title tags and content can only take you so far in the search results, especially, for the most competitive terms and industries. So why do most companies avoid hiring link builders and outsource it to agencies or freelancers?
One of the reasons why most businesses don’t hire link builders internally is the not-so-visible impact of link building on a small scale. While Google has admitted that authority of a website and quantity and quality of links impact search rankings, it is still not easy to measure and the results take a while to show. But this doesn’t mean that outsourcing is always the right setup for every organization.
Canva is a great example of a company that benefited from bringing link building in-house. They produced a lot of linkable assets like free image libraries, design tools, templates, and guides among many others. While their SEO strategy is not unique, the scale that they went about it is so massive that they required a lot of SEO specialists and link builders to work full-time in doing outreach. As a result, they have gained more than 5 million backlinks in less than a decade and now hold the top positions in SERPs for the most competitive design-related searches. For more details about this, you can read this extensive case study written by Ross Simmonds.
Just like onpage SEO, not every company should create a team of link builders. Some companies are better off hiring an agency or a freelancer, but here are the instances when you should consider hiring link builders internally.
It is a no-brainer that if you want to replicate the success of Canva even on a smaller scale, using a few linkable assets, you will need a team or a couple of people that will focus on building links.
If you want your organization to be great at something, you can’t delegate it to an outsider. By bringing link building internally, you will have control over the level of expertise of your team. Typically, a linkbuilder working for an SEO agency is assigned multiple clients at once which means that they are not solely focused on you and your website.
The benefits of having an internal team are the reduced costs in training and improved familiarity with the target websites. If you are going to hire an agency to perform link building for your website, the agency has to invest in training every new person that comes in. With an internal link builder focused on only one website, the learning curve is much shorter. Scaling the process of hiring and training based on the number of resources to be promoted is much easier internally too.
If you are only behind a couple of hundred backlinks from your competitors, then hiring freelancers or an agency would make sense. But if you have a lot of catching up to do and your competitors are still aggressively building links to always be ahead in the rankings, then hiring a team to consistently build links and monitor the competition might be the best approach for you.
In relation to the previous point, most agencies apply the same strategies for their clients because these are the proven strategies that work for most clients. The danger in this approach is that these strategies have become overused and spammy that conversion rates have gone down. Aside from wasting precious hours, you could end up missing unique link opportunities that are outside of these tactics and could give stronger link juice.
An internal link building team brings a focused perspective in the industry after scouring so many similar websites and content. They will have a better idea of what tactics don’t work and when to move on to another strategy. Aligning trackers and templates will also be much easier.
With agencies, the focus is on reliability and consistency in getting links. With an internal team, you can create a culture of creativity and encourage experimentation that could lead to better results.
The SEO industry hates to admit it but we’re riddled with bad apples. A lot of agencies or freelancers that promise quality links simply rely on directories, social profiles, and Guest Posting. While these techniques still work, it doesn’t bring as much link value to your site. What’s worse is some resort to black and grey hat practices that could result in link scheme penalties which can cancel out all of your site’s progress.
Even if they earn links through white hat ways, some of them don’t care about the quality of links or the sources. Diversifying your site’s link sources is helpful if you already have a lot of referring domains. However, if you only have a few referring domains and most of them come from websites that are from unrelated industries, the backlink profile will look unnatural and won’t help in improving your site’s authority.
With the constant changes in Google’s policy, it’s better if you have a team that understands the importance of sticking to whitehat techniques.
While most agencies and freelancers boast of servicing multiple verticals, there are instances when this could be a disadvantage for a client. Sometimes, it is more ideal if the people handling your offpage SEO strategies have the expertise or a lot of familiarity with your industry, especially if it’s very technical.
If a person has limited knowledge about your niche, researching every time there’s a link opportunity adds up billable hours that could be spent on actual outreach. For instance, if your products are related to biotechnology, you can’t expect a link builder to respond to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) opportunities themself. It will most likely end up in your team’s responsibility to answer the questions.
Having an internal team shortens this process and ensures accuracy in anything that you contribute to other websites as long as you provide training and learning materials.
There are organizations that use news about their new products, or service feature updates, or new clients as a tool for brand promotions and link building.
If you are one of these companies, it’s much better if your team can establish a relationship with publishers or journalists who constantly write about your industry yourself. This will make pitching new stories easier and cheaper (if some of them require fees). If you rely on agencies to do this and you end up replacing them, you’ll have to start over again.
As in the case of any other business function, hiring SEO professionals and link builders should be based on the priorities of your business. If online presence, more specifically dominating search results, is one of those priorities, then you should consider hiring link builders internally.
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