Should You Outsource Link Development in SEO?

Apr 3, 2007 • 10:58 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

If you have ever outsourced your link development then you probably have an answer to this question, and the good answer is probably NO. Additionally, you might know as well that this particular area is ripe with link abuse from those who either don't know what they are doing or wish to scam you only for your money. Make no mistake, the links you get are hardly the concern. So the talk these days is all about quality. What constitutes quality in a link and how can you ultimately measure it and be so good that you could tell a link development firm what you need?

This can be a difficult road for the regular website owner. There are a million questions that you might need to ask. In my experience I have rarely seen the value returned from outsourcing a link building campaign to be the same or more than the money I paid for it. There are a lot of metrics involved and ways to determine success but I am specifically talking about the low hanging fruit. One of the most successful link building campaigns I have seen recently was not done by an SEO, link builder, link baiter, or anyone of the sort but a single PR person who just knew who to talk to. So again the talk today is... who do I talk to and how can I get better quality links? Its like buying jewelry right, give me the best for the least amount of money!!

So what should you be concerned about when your outsource a link building campaing? There is an excellent thread on Webmasterworld discussing this very topic. The thread starter starts about explaining his experience of hiring an Indian link building firm and his dismay at what resulted and the resulting things he did afterward.

He says about defining quality:

I defined very clearly my parameters in order to avoid directory spamming. Things like "no pages named links", "no pages with more than 25 links", "on topic sites only", "no reciprocal links will be given", "no bad neighbourhoods", "PR4 or higher sites only", etc. etc. My hope was to find someone who would go out there and truly "sell" the virtues of our site to real sites in order to have them link to us.

Some great comments from Martinibuster who said on the topic of quality:

First off, the above are poor metrics for quality. All of your above metrics have zero, absolutely nothing to do with quality. So your project was doomed from the beginning.

I feel like he just blew up my battleship after reading that, but he is 100% correct. Those metrics are extremely dated and ineffective at measuring the success or quality of a campaign. They mean nothing. He goes on to say "The requirement for PR 4 is a totally random metric, also with zero relevance to what constitutes a quality link. You mean to say that you won't accept a PR 3link from a .gov resource page called links that lists quality sites in your industry? Do you see how your metrics have nothing to do with metrics of quality?"

Some other people chime in an voice some opinions on outsourcing link development. I will summarize:

On the topic of Indian link building firms:

I would only recommend something like this to a competitor who had pissed me off at some point. In fact, I have a competitor who used an outfit from India. They wreaked havoc with the reputation of his site.

On the topic of PR:

One of the biggest mistake outsourcers make while defining Quality website is put up a minimum qualifying PR for linking to other website.

Continued discussion on WebmasterWorld

Previous story: Does "Freshness" Mean More in Google?


Michael Martinez

04/03/2007 04:57 pm

That thread offers some very valuable, insightful experience and followup comments. Thanks.

Chris Beasley

04/03/2007 09:14 pm

I wish I could find a reputable place to outsource link building to, but I cannot, so I do not. Most places doing it are going for volume, not quality, and you cannot trust them to guard your reputation. I do think this is a niche ripe for someone to start a business in.

Eric Itzkowitz

04/03/2007 09:32 pm

In my opinion, outsourcing link acquisition efforts can be a frightening endeavor. As such, I'd like to offer a few pointers for your consideration. 1) Before selecting a provider/partner, consult with one or more well-known consultants or companies in this field. They'll help you to better assess your real needs, as well as provide you with invaluable insight. This is money well spent! 2) CHOOSE YOUR OUTSOURCE PARTNER WISELY! You'll need to trust this person/company with representing your brand. 3) YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! With link acquisition, it's especially true that you get what you pay for. Don't make "saving a few bucks" the core reason to outsource your link building efforts. Your brand is far to valuable!

David Eaves

04/04/2007 02:07 am

Excellent post, I would never put the hands of my clients sites in anybody elses hands, I don't even want to take anyone on because I simply cannot trust anybody else to do a proper job, when I am doing directory submissions I write a unique description for every one to avoid duplicate content issues so that my clients get maximum benefit.


04/04/2007 12:16 pm

The people responsible must be the same as your link builder. Otherwise you will always get junk links from directories from PR2+ pages, no more 30 links etc but them will be not working at all. We never outsource link building for our clients .


04/06/2007 03:11 pm

I think one needs to understand a client's business and get links accordingly. Outsource or not, is not the issue.

Steven Wiideman

07/26/2007 02:57 am

In response to "All of your above metrics have zero, absolutely nothing to do with quality". I disagree. All of these factors have proven themselves to be significant pieces of the off-page SEM equation in every project I've worked with. I agree about the skew in the Google TB and in the potential of lower PR websites. However, SE algorithms are built specifically for RELEVANCE. So to say that a website with a higher Relevancy score, few outbound links, and related content means less than a PR3 .gov website seems extremely misguided. There are several PR calculators on the web with proven case studies (despite skew). The problem lies with finding an ethical vendor who can post to high traffic, highly relevant web pages with keyword-rich links. All the good ones charge upwards of $100 per hour with no guarantee of permanent linkage. I say find several vendors who specialize in specific verticals such as free directories, paid directory inclusion, specific social networks, specific bookmark networks, and possibly eBay and Craig's List-type destinations. We have, and now all our link dev strategy is not only hands-off, but the results are fed to us via XML so we actually show our clients the fruits of our vendors' labors. It's finding the vendors that's the tough part - good luck.

denzal wellington

07/12/2011 06:32 pm

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08/25/2013 04:26 am

Thanks! That was a interesting read for those of us who have not tried outsourcing. I'd be interested to hear of any further developments.

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