In these challenging times, businesses around the world are looking to streamline their operations and save themselves money.
At the same time, they are also being forced to review their online platforms and website, as many consumers are now seeking digital services as they are stuck at home in the lockdown.
As a result, many of these companies will be reviewing their website budget and its optimisation and trying to find ways to cut costs and boost their rankings at the same time.
For business leaders who are unfamiliar with SEO and link building, this vital service could be the ideal place to cut corners. After all, there is a vast disparity between many link building businesses in the market.
As you can see below, on freelancer platform Fiverr, the costs can vary from as little as less than £5 to more than £50.
That’s just one platform; there are so many companies out there offering this service, and the costs vary just as much.
Anyone who doesn’t understand SEO and the relationships between links and your search engine ranking, and why all these matters in the first place, might not realise that cheap links are incredibly dangerous.
At best, they’re just a waste of money. At worst, they can damage your website’s reputation and cost you time, effort, money and business.
Read on to find out more about why cheap backlinks are harmful and how you can find quality backlink suppliers that will boost your site and get it noticed by your target market.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of getting links to your website placed on other, relevant and high ranking websites.
By providing guest blog articles, or by offering your site as a reference to prove a point that a site creator is making in their own content, you can get links that show search engines such as Google that your site is trustworthy.
It takes a lot of time and effort to seek out these opportunities, find sites that will boost your rankings and then create content that they will want to publish. That’s why many businesses turn to SEO freelancer or agencies to help them.
Why Is Link Building Important?
Link building helps search engines to find your website and decide that it is relevant for a specific search relating to topic-relevant keywords.
Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving and updating, with the core aim being to find the best results to user queries.
As such, if you can show Google that your website is the best place to find what users want, then you will be the first thing they see when they search for your service or product offering, or when they ask questions around your niche.
However, with so many different businesses in each industry, most of which are online, ranking for your target keywords is probably highly competitive.
You’re working against not only your corporate competitors but also the algorithm, which is seeking to find content that is naturally relevant and will meet the needs of search engine users.
The algorithm is constantly searching the internet and checking each website for relevance, and as such SEO is an ongoing practice.
You can’t just get a few links, reach the top of a relevant Google search in two days, then stay there forever.
If you don’t continue to focus on growing your website and proving that it is of value to readers, then it will drop to the bottom of the search again.
Link building also offers a range of additional benefits for businesses. These include:
- Building brand authority: Just as Google’s algorithm will come to assume that your website is authoritative if it is linked by a number of trusted websites, so too will readers. They will come to trust your opinion and insight and remember the name of your business.
- Creating relationships within your niche: The relationships you have with media outlets, blogs and other organisations in your market could benefit your business both now and in the future. By providing quality content and the benefit of your opinion, support and insight, in return for a link back to your website, you will create and nurture relationships that could be useful going forward.
- Showing customers that your business is about more than just selling: Giving away your expertise and insight for free is a great way to make customers feel like you are giving them added value. Potential customers and readers won’t feel sold to and will come to view you as an experienced expert, rather than just a salesperson.
All of these benefits require a constant, vigilant and skilled approach to SEO.
How Can You Tell If A Website Is A Good Link Building Opportunity?
Choosing the correct website is crucial in link building.
First, you must find the keywords that you need to be ranking for.
Once you know what keywords you need to target, you can find websites that will rank for these keywords using Ahrefs, SEMrush or just by searching through Google for the top-ranking pages in your sector.
Then you need to check that the sites you have found will be useful for your website’s SEO strategy.
There are a variety of different ways to assess relevance for link building, including using metrics such as Moz’s Domain Authority, or Majestic’s Trust Flow. You could also combine a selection of these tools with the traffic for each site, to check that it is definitely the site that’s right for you.
In some cases, sites that don’t rank highly using these SEO metrics are still growing, so make sure that you review their traffic before you make a decision. If they are only young sites, but they have steady, consistent traffic, then they could still be a great choice for you.
All of this effort just to find the right links for your website is one of the main reasons why many companies choose to outsource their link building and SEO management.
Why Are Cheap Links Bad For Your Business?
I’ve explained why building links is a good thing, but not all links hold the same value.
Links to irrelevant websites, sites that use poor SEO practices, and sites that have been caught offering paid links can all have a detrimental effect on your website.
That’s because you could receive what is known as a Google Penalty for associating with these websites, or if Google thinks that you’ve been purchasing links.
These penalties come in the form of manual actions, where someone from Google sees that you have violated the firm’s webmaster guidelines.
They will stop your website being visible on Google searches, which will seriously affect your website traffic. Google has more than 91% of the global search engine market share, so being invisible on this search engine will make it almost impossible to get people who have never heard of your business to find you online.
Google’s algorithm could also overlook your site because of its association with a poor quality website, meaning that you might end up at the end of the search results or not appearing at all.
Poor quality backlinks also associate your website with substandard, spammy or irrelevant websites, meaning that anyone who notices your website on these sites might form a negative opinion of your site and brand.
In general, then, you need to find high-quality websites for link building. As I’ve already mentioned, many businesses choose to outsource their SEO to save themselves time, but you’ll only give yourself more work if you hire an incompetent company that builds you low-quality links.
What To Look Out For When Searching For A Quality Link Building Service?
Searching for a quality link builder means finding an SEO expert who will put effort into creating a long-term strategy that will help you grow your business and its online presence.
Some things to watch out for are:
- Price: As mentioned above, link building takes a lot of time and effort. If they’re charging very little, then they’re probably putting in very little work in and will provide a poor quality service.
- Approval: Search for an SEO agency that allows you full approval before they place links on a site for you. You should also ask for approval of the content that they will be including the link in. If they don’t offer you approval, then you won’t be able to check their work before the damage is done.
- Jargon: Avoid SEO companies that bombard you with jargon and don’t explain what they mean in a clear, concise way. If you don’t understand, ask, and if you are dismissed, then find someone who can explain the concept to you. Most SEO experts are more than happy to explain- if they aren’t, then they probably don’t know how to.
- Portfolio: Ask for examples of their previous work and any testimonials or reviews from clients. Some companies may be under NDAs, and unable to provide exact information, but they should have some evidence of past work.
- SEO Knowledge: An experienced SEO will never advise you to build low-quality links quickly, nor will they make outlandish promises about getting you to the top of searches for your keywords within hours or days. They will explain the ongoing nature of SEO and help you to understand how they can gradually grow your website’s rankings and visibility. If they try to sell you a quick-fix, then they aren’t a professional and should be avoided.
At the end of the day, you need to find someone who can make you understand their value and help you to grow your website in a sustainable, safe way. It might take some time to find the individual or company that’s right for you, but the results will be worth it.
As this article shows, link building can be a beneficial strategy that helps you to grow your online presence.
Done right, it can get you to the top of the search results for your target topics, but done poorly, it can do more harm than good.
This article should help you to find out the ways that links can boost your SEO and how you can find an outsourced link builder who will benefit your website.
I’m a UK based freelance SEO consultant and digital marketer and I provide results-driven online consulting and digital marketing services to SMEs. Are you ready to grow in 2020? Get in touch today!