There’s no getting around it: link building is an insanely time consuming process. And unlike a few years ago, outsourcing the whole shabang to India or another 3rd world country simply doesn’t work.
Today’s link building is a product of dozens of different efforts within and between organizations, including:
- Content production and marketing
- Relationships with industry leaders
- Online reputation management
And with Google rolling out update after update, you need to be very careful about every move you make.
Considering the complexity of today’s link building world, it’s not surprising that a lot of small businesses make mistakes when choosing an SEO firm. And those mistakes can be devastating if their site gets wiped out by a Google update.
Here are 5 mistakes that I see businesses make when choosing a provider for link building services:
#1: Using the Firm’s Own Rankings as an Indicator of Quality
My first SEO client came to me after getting ripped off by an SEO company. This company was charging him $1500 per month for “premium” links.
When he sent me one of their link reports I almost died from shock: they were building 10 article directory links and 5 web directory links per month.
No guest posts. No infographics. No outreach. Just some garbage you can get from Fiverr.com.
Not soon after, we had this little convo:
Me: Honestly, these links are pretty much worthless. In fact, they may hurt you.
Him: I had a feeling. The site has been stuck at position #8 for 6-months.
Me: That’s right. SEO takes time but it shouldn’t take that long to see results. Why did you choose this company in the first place?
Him: They rank #1 for “SEO company”, so I thought they must know what they’re doing.
Bottom line: don’t worry about where an SEO company’s site ranks. It’s more important that they spend their time optimizing their client’s sites…not their own.
(FYI: this SEO firm’s got HAMMERED after Penguin. Karma?).
#2: Not Understanding the Basics of Link Building
You’re obviously outsourcing your link building so that you don’t need to learn the ins and outs of the practice.
But a little but of knowledge can go a long way.
If my client set aside even an hour per month to learn about SEO, he wouldn’t have been taken advantage of. He’d know right away that the links weren’t effective.
So it pays to invest some time to learn about link building.
Here are some resources to check out:
#3: Not Demanding Results
Yes, SEO takes time. And depending on where your site currently is in Google, it may take months of intense work to see any traction.
But you should be seeing SOME signs of progress month over month. If you’ve been paying a provider for 4-months, and have no increase in traffic to show for it, it may be time to look elsewhere.
#4: Isolating the Link Building Process
As I mentioned above, you can’t really isolate link building from the rest of your business. For example, your site’s design affects how people perceive your site. And your brand’s awareness by others can influence whether or not other site owners see your site as “link worthy”.
Whenever possible, have your SEO firm meet and collaborate with the rest of your in-house team. That way you can fix issues that may prevent you from getting the links you need to for your site to rank.
If you rely on organic traffic as a large chunk of your business, choosing the right SEO provider is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Avoiding these mistakes should help you find a good fit for your business.