For some brands, “outsourcing” is a word to avoid.
It’s not really hard to see why, especially in the world of marketers.
Once outsourcing is mentioned, some companies may immediately think of cheap, uninspired work engaged to cut corners. It may involve freelance copywriters who work for $5 an article, thousands of backlinks acquired as a bundle, rushed graphics that are heavily template-based — you name it.
With such a prejudiced impression in your head, the idea of outsourcing something as important as link building may sound ludicrous.
After all, a link building campaign has keyword research, content writing, and outreach components. These are all branches of marketing that you’d understandably want to handle by yourself.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that outsourcing link building campaigns can be hugely successful.
Granted, an SEO agency is involved in a lot of narratives and case studies. But if you know what you’re doing, you can forego an expensive agency and outsource SEO link building for much less.
Why Outsource SEO Link Building?
Link building is something you often encounter in SEO guides.
Put simply, the more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your chances of reaching Google’s first page.
Here’s a chart that shows the average number of backlinks for the top ten Google positions:
Now, you’ve probably read multiple times that, in link building, it’s all about the quality and not the quantity of backlinks. The data, however, undeniably shows that it’s not always the case.
Just look at that huge gap between the first and third positions in search engine results.
That said, you only really have three choices at this point: hire an SEO agency, put together an in-house team, or outsource your SEO link building team.
We all know you’re here for the third option, so let’s get started.
1. Start with an SEO Specialist
If you don’t have much time to dispense for link building, you can hire a single, freelance SEO specialist who can do most of the heavy lifting.
This is a preferable approach if you also have little to no knowledge in SEO.
A good SEO specialist can look into your website’s specific needs, do keyword research, and hire the other freelancers for certain activities — from SEO writing to outreach.
In which case, your only priority is to make sure you hire the right person, which is a lot harder than you think.
A good rule of thumb is to always request to look at their previous work. If a freelancer can show you at least one site that they’ve successfully ranked, that’s a good sign.
However, it’s not uncommon to find freelancers who can show you brilliant samples — but will fail to replicate similar results.
That said, you should also look for testimonials or reviews from previous clients. Fortunately, these are relatively easy to find if you’re hiring from freelancing marketplaces like Upwork.
The LinkedIn community also has a sizable number of freelancers who promote their services on the platform.
If I am to choose, I’d go with a freelancer from LinkedIn because it’s easier to determine their experience — thanks to the number of details it shows about the professional’s education, work history, connections, and recommendations.
Remember, Upwork users sometimes report complaints about fraudulent freelancers on the site’s message boards. As a piece of advice, check if you can find their LinkedIn account for validation.
2. Understand What You Need
One of the best defenses against incompetent freelancers is knowledge, even if you choose to work with an SEO specialist.
To put things into perspective, you should know that, apart from an SEO consultant, you’ll need SEO content writers and outreach professionals. But rather than relying solely on research, you should also have a clear idea of each individual’s role in a link building campaign.
SEO Content Writer
First off, an SEO content writer is the same as any other freelance writer — only more knowledgeable and experienced with SEO.
They should know how keywords can be seamlessly weaved into content pieces. More importantly, they must know how these target keywords can be obtained or expanded into variations that make sense.
Of course, with a tool like LongTailPro, you can just feed them your target keywords and assist with content outlines. Still, you’d be significantly better off with someone who can fulfill their job more independently.
Next up, an outreach specialist tackles the stressful job of building and maintaining relationships with other webmasters.
Without these relationships, there will be no one to supply your site with those much-needed quality backlinks.
As much as possible, look for an outreach specialist with experience in your niche. In doing so, it’s more likely that they already have a list of contacts for your link building campaign.
Here are some other responsibilities that an outreach specialist should handle:
●Look for new prospective webmasters who can provide valuable backlinks
●Reach out to these prospects via email and social media in an efficient manner
●Work with content writers to maximize the approval rate of links
Armed with knowledge on these freelancers’ responsibilities, you’ll be more than capable of vetting candidates yourself. This leads us to the third and final strategy you need to remember:
3. Introduce the Use of a Collaboration Tool
When considering freelancers for your link building team, it’s only natural to be skeptic of a candidate’s abilities, given that SEO campaigns could cost a fortune.
Although the aforementioned strategies should work in determining the competence of a candidate, the only way to be sure is to interview them yourself.
An online collaboration tool with built-in video and voice call features works wonders for this purpose. Not only is communicating face-to-face a better way to gauge whether or not freelancers know their stuff, but it would also be helpful in the long run when collaborating.
A tool like Brosix fits the bill perfectly because it allows you to reach your team on demand. Since it’s desktop-based, they don’t have to log into their email account or fire up your project management platform to receive updates or calls from you.
With online calls, you can cut the time it takes to talk about payments, project details, and so on.
Brosix is also equipped with all the other features you’d want when managing a remote link building team. This includes an unlimited file transfer, a virtual whiteboard, and an incredibly useful screen sharing tool with remote desktop control.
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a desktop-based messenger for remote teams, even when it comes to complex projects like link building. But once you experience its usefulness firsthand, you’d never revert back to using email as your primary communication channel.
Outsourcing link building is definitely a huge step for any brand — it’s only up to you to decide whether it’s a step forward or backward. To accomplish this, don’t forget the following:
●Link building isn’t something you can win without the manpower
●When in doubt, look for an SEO consultant who can lend you knowledge
●The more you know about SEO, the less likely you are to hire the wrong person
●Use an online collaboration tool to vet and collaborate with freelancers
With the tactics above, rest assured that you’ll be in good hands. Just remember to take your time and avoid making rash decisions in your hiring process.
Michael is the founder of Home Giraffe Digital Marketing. With over 12 years of experience in the SEO, AdWords & Marketing sector, he has built up a wealth of knowledge and skill in the industry over the years.