Link-building for SEO is an integral part of a successful marketing strategy. In short, link building is about connecting your site with others through links. All it takes is a hyperlink between sites to accomplish this. SEO link-building services work because they suggest to Google’s algorithms that your site should appear higher for the relevant keywords. The more links that direct to your site, the better it will perform on Google. But, not all links are positive, and some can even decrease your Google ranking. The ideal SEO agency will know the ins and outs of link building and handle it for your site carefully. These are the best questions you can ask to verify your link-building SEO agency can achieve quality results.
Why is Link Building Important?
This simple but effective SEO link-building question gives you intel on your agency’s priorities. Quality link building takes precision to master, and this character trait will be front and center when you ask this question. A good agency will likely respond with one of the following:
- Better Google rankings
- Google can find your new site pages sooner
- Boosted credibility as a business
- Higher site traffic
There may be some variation with answers, but these four concepts are the most important. Especially since the highest results in Google net roughly a third of all clicks. The more comprehensive the agency’s response the better. If they can’t name any of these, it’s a clear indicator the company is not well-versed in this area and should be avoided.
How Do You Find Backlink Opportunities?
- Build internal links: Help show Google that your content is connected to other pages on your site by utilizing internal links. In addition, an internal linking strategy can improve rankings by passing authority between pages.
- Write testimonials: Offer trust and authority in your reviews. Companies will appreciate a genuine testimonial of their product or service. To look for opportunities, check if their website has a dedicated form for submitting a review or head to a review site to leave your feedback.
- Help a Reporter Out (HARO): Once you register with HARO, you will receive daily queries for several categories. To find a quality backlink, monitor your inbox and respond to a HARO in your niche as soon as possible. Be sure to follow the reporter’s instructions and answer the queries in a unique way to stand out from the crowd.
What are the Keys to a Good Link for SEO?
You need to identify your target audience for SEO link-building opportunities. To learn more about the personas you are targeting, you can take a look at your target bloggers’ websites, social media profiles, etc. to see what they like and have been sharing.
Further, you should prioritize your links by determining the domain authority and the probability of the link. Additional questions to ask your agency include:
- What are your criteria for selecting backlinking opportunities?
- Do you have the network to get us into relevant publications/websites?
- What will you need from us in order to be effective in link building?
- What’s the best link you’ve ever built?
How Will You Update Me on Changes You’ll Make?
SEO link-building isn’t something that can be accomplished in one sitting. It requires comprehensive link placement all over your site, wherever possible. So, your agency is likely to make multiple small changes over time. If these aren’t directed to your attention, they can easily go unnoticed. The best SEO link-building services will send you regular reports of their progress. The most frequent notifications can be weekly, but the standard is a month between reports. More importantly, these reports should be thorough. Link building is precise work. Notes on it should be also. Ask if you can see the agency’s prior reports if possible, and make sure to steer clear of any sloppy note-takers.
How Long Will it Take for Link Building to Improve a Site’s Ranking?
The amount of time varies based upon the competitiveness of your niche and your keywords. Consider the types of links you’re building and quantify the links’ value by determining the:
- Domain authority
- Page authority
- Number of links
- Relevance of the linking page
- Position of the links
- Linking root domains
- Anchor text
By optimizing your SEO link-building efforts, you can improve your rankings in search engines and increase the chance of potential customers visiting your site.
What Work Have You Done for Past Clients?
Perusing SEO link-building companies should be approached no differently than shopping. You want to see the reviews and case studies of their prior clients. Bigger SEO companies will even have case studies openly available on their website. At a minimum, you should try to get examples of 2-3 past projects. And, make sure the agency throws in the results of their work. A campaign may look effective and still fall flat. Not having successful past projects is a bad sign and likely means the agency has failed in the past or lacks proper experience. You’d be wise to look for services elsewhere. Also, keep in mind that past success doesn’t always correlate with future endeavors, as link-building is an ever-changing practice. Google made 3,620 changes to search in 2018. Agencies should be following closely.
How Do You Approach Link Building as a Strategy?
A strategy may seem overkill, but SEO link-building tends to be much more complicated than it first appears. Links should never be made randomly. There are plenty of thorough approaches SEO link-building services approach, including these:
These are links that have the highest likelihood of being clicked, often based on relation to the current page. Google has specific tools to measure the value of these links which the SEO agency should be aware of.
Not all links are included within Google’s site rankings, such as sponsored or user-generated links. If a link is considered a “followed” link, it doesn’t fall under these categories and should be impacting search engine rankings.
Editorially Placed Links
This is outward-facing SEO link-building. Any link that is editorially placed connects from your site to another site. Don’t underestimate the power of outside links. Google itself can only do so much, with 91% of pages getting no traffic from them at all. However, they have to be natural under Google guidelines to be beneficial.
Strong Topical Relevance
This basically dictates that sites should be closely related in topic to be linked together. Links randomly thrown on pages are unlikely to be clicked or counted under search engine rankings.
In addition, Google has a suite of tools available for tracking SEO and links that companies should utilize. A company that doesn’t take advantage of these concepts or tools is not one that will be beneficial to work with.
What’s the Difference Between White Hat, Black Hat, and Grey Hat Link Building?
White hat, grey hat, and black hat are SEO link-building tactics based on ethical guidelines. White hat SEO link-building services use techniques that follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They play by the rules, with a fair approach that optimizes for human audiences and is the most sustainable in the long term. Black hat link-building, on the other hand, breaches these goals through manipulative decisions. Often these get quick results but fall off in the long run. Grey hat link-building falls between the two, with options that don’t strictly go against Google but are still seen as unethical. Considering Google has a dedicated division to unlisting black hat websites, you’ll want to make sure your agency knows the difference and goes for white hat tactics.
Can You Guarantee We’ll be the Number One Site?
This question for your SEO link-building agency may seem unnecessary, but it separates SEO salespeople from dedicated professionals. Anyone can say they’ll get you the number one spot on Google. The problem is, even if they mean it, Google is unpredictable, and you can’t be certain of any rankings. A trustworthy source will give you evidence of how strong their efforts are without overembellishing or promising anything. When it comes to SEO, promises mean nothing. You want an agency that’s reliable and open about SEO shortcomings.
Keep a Level Head
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when discussing all the facets of your SEO link-building strategy with your agency, but it doesn’t have to be. Ask the right questions and an ethical agency will give you a clear path on your journey without promising too much. They’ll let you look back on past projects for a frame of reference, and they’ll update you often. Most importantly, your SEO link-building service will know what it’s doing and stay on the white hat side of SEO ethics. All you have to do is ask the right questions, and the decision will make itself clear.