According to SEO Tribunal, 65% of marketers think that link building is the single most challenging search engine optimization practice.
Hence, outsourcing link building to either an agency or a freelancer is a popular option.
However, before you invest your money into outsourcing link building, there are a few things to keep top of mind.
In this article, we’ll be discussing:
- The advantages and risks of link building outsourcing
- Whether you should outsource to an agency, a freelancer, or should hire a remote employee from another country
- The price of outsourcing link building to each
But first, let’s look at some of the reasons why you may be considering to outsource link building.
Link building cheat sheet
Reasons to Outsource Link Building
In Layman’s terms, good link building takes a lot of time, manpower, and knowledge of what you’re doing.
But let’s elaborate a little bit more.
You Don’t Have the In-House Capacity
For best efficiency, managing link building in-house requires at least one full-time outreach specialist.
The responsibilities of this specialist are:
- Launching link building outreach campaigns
- Checking emails and managing partnerships
- Writing guest posts
If you run a tight ship, this, of course, can be delegated to other team members.
For example, the content manager can double as the link builder (as is the case in our team).
One week they may produce content, the other – build backlinks to it.
This may help you save some on outsourcing link building – for the price of efficiency of both your quality content production and link building.
But still, it’s best to have both a content manager and a link builder to ensure both jobs are done to the best of their abilities.
You Lack Experience
On top of the time it takes to set up and launch link building campaigns from start to finish, you also need to have at least a decent idea of what you’re doing to get any kind of results.
By that, I mean:
- How to find prospects and their contact information
- How to structure your pitch and manage conversations efficiently
- The technical aspect of email outreach
- The specifics of using each link building and SEO tool in your tech stack
- How to leverage each link building strategy effectively
All of this may seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’re a solopreneur.
Not necessarily because all of these things are difficult but because of the sheer amount of things to learn.
For example, Ahrefs’ link building course takes as long to watch as a full-length movie:
And you have to do it in multiple smaller sittings just to be able to properly soak in that knowledge.
Considering that you also have a full-time job and most likely a family to take care of, that can seem like an intimidating task.
So, it’s another solid reason to outsource your link building to someone else.
You’re Not Ranking
Link building can make the difference between outranking your competition and eternally trailing them on search result pages, even if your product and website are nearly identical.
If you’ve seemingly tried everything but your content is still not ranking, link building might just be your golden ticket.
According to Backlinko’s study of almost 12 million pages, top ranking pages have more backlinks than lower-ranking ones.
So, until you have the same number of backlinks (or more) as your competitors, it will be immensely difficult to rank higher than them.
Benefits of Outsourced Link Building
Now, let’s take a look at the specific benefits that make outsourcing link building a popular choice amongst business owners and webmasters alike.
You’re Free to Focus on the Business
First things first, you don’t have to trouble yourself with any of the tedium that comes with link building outreach.
This means you’re free to focus on other important aspects of your business – whether it’s your product, relevant website content, or other aspects of on-page and technical SEO.
Quick, High Quality Links
Link building is slow to get off the ground.
For example, it takes us 350-500 emails to generate 15 quality backlinks per week, with a single link builder.
In the grand scheme of things, 15 backlinks is not a lot, but having a steady stream of them certainly helps.
Outsourcing the process to an SEO agency is a good way to speed up the process.
Some even serve bundles of links that you pay for and receive almost immediately.
Experienced Link Builders, Established Processes
The final point again appeals to the hands-off nature of outsourced link building.
By choosing a link building expert freelancer or an agency, you receive instant access to an SEO expert team with years of experience in the field, most of which already have established link building networks.
This enables you to skip the slow windup of running your own campaigns and start getting backlinks from day one rather than waiting for your link pitch emails to reach your recipients, then for them to get back to you, and so on.
Risks of Outsourcing Link Building
But, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.
You may have already heard about shady Fiverr deals or agencies being less than honest in their approaches.
A solid screening process is essential to getting the most out of outsourcing link building, so there are a few things to remember when picking your agency/freelancer.
The first is the price.
We will discuss the exact averages you can expect from outsourcing link building a bit further down in the article.
For now, you should be aware that outsourcing isn’t the most cost-effective link building method.
Having a dedicated team member is.
Just look at the pricing pages of certain link building agencies and you’ll see what I mean:
Not all agencies and freelancers are the same.
Some sell PBN links, others claim they’re only involved in white label link building practices when in reality, they sell you backlinks from spammy link farms, while charging an arm and a leg.
The main things to look for in a link building service in terms of transparency are:
- Regular updates on how many emails were sent
- The exact tools and strategies used
- Open communication, the willingness to share screenshots or access to blogger outreach tools and email accounts they’re using
In short, you should always be able to log in to their account and see what exactly they are doing for yourself.
For example, if your freelancer is using Respona to run several sender emails, you can always log in and see all link building progress in the same place: each campaign they built, their specific messages and recipients, and, of course, their replies.
If your service is unwilling to provide this kind of information, chances are they are using some grey or even black-hat tactics (such as PBNs and link farms).
Managing your own expectations is as important as picking the right service provider.
Reading up on link building, it’s easy to fall under the impression that it’s the be-all-end-all SEO strategy.
And while it is still incredibly important, it’s not exactly the silver bullet ticket to #1 search engine ranking for all your target keywords.
Regardless of your approach (in-house or outsourced), link building can take from several months upwards to a year to start making tangible differences in organic and referral traffic and rankings.
Be realistic about your desired results – and don’t get carried away by the promise of quick, guaranteed rankings.
Not to say that those promises are always misleading, though.
Agency Vs Freelancer
Now that you’re aware of the pros and cons of outsourcing link building, who should you outsource to?
Both agencies and freelancers have disadvantages and shortcomings of their own.
Two main points make agencies a solid choice:
- Access to a team of experienced professionals who can develop efficient strategies in a blink of an eye.
- Agencies tend to be more efficient with their tools and resources and are better equipped to adapt to changing requirements.
However, they also cost more than hiring a freelancer or doing link building in-house (sometimes several times over).
In addition, agencies typically manage several clients at the same time, which can lead to lower-quality work.
Lastly relying on an agency to manage all of your link building needs may lead to a dependence on their services – and you never want to rely on third parties for business.
How do freelancers stack up against this?
- They are typically a cheaper option and offer more flexibility, making them an attractive choice for both short-term and long-term projects.
- Freelancers often specialize in specific areas of link building, (such as a pure guest posting service, link insertions, etc.) providing additional expertise on the latest trends and SEO tips.
- It’s also easier to message with a single freelancer than an entire agency team, leading to better communication and personalization of your link building strategy.
With that being said, there may be a need to pay for access to additional paid tools (such as Ahrefs and Respona) for freelancers to operate efficiently.
Like agencies, freelancers also sometimes take on several projects at once, so if you’re worried about performance, make sure to clearly communicate that you expect them to not take any additional clients for the duration of your project.
Because freelancers’ levels of experience can vary wildly from person to person, there is a higher risk of inconsistency and a greater chance of encountering those who lack specialized expertise or even potentially run scams.
Which option should you go for? Ultimately, it’s up to you.
However, we prefer a more personal approach to our link building projects.
Price to Outsource Link Building
Now, let’s take a look at some numbers you may expect to see on your monthly link building bills.
In our example, let’s take a look at four popular link building agencies:
- Stan Ventures
These represent each type of link building service: from the cheaper end to average, and premium.
LinkBuilder.io offers a $5999/month package which translates to $375 per quality link with additional services, while uSERP’s Startup plan, though expensive at $7,500/month for 6-8 backlinks, offers premium links from DR 60+ websites.
Stan Ventures has pricing options across a broad spectrum of backlink building services. The pricing of their professional backlink services starts from $105+ to $315+ per link based on organic traffic.
Editorial.Link offers the following backlink packages: Startup – $1750, suitable for small websites. The Pro package costs $3500, including 10 backlinks, and the Growth package, for $7000, where you’ll receive 20 backlinks. There’s also the option of Custom, which is suitable for enterprise websites.
Or, in plain terms, they charge $350/link.
Let’s say your target weekly goal is 15 backlinks with high domain authority – the same as ours.
If we round up the price per link to an average of $250, hitting this goal with the help of an agency would cost you around $3,750/month, accounting for training, software, and time-saving benefits.
Whether this is a suitable option depends on your budget and preference; however, an in-house link building process is still recommended for more control and customization.
Prices can range from as low as $10/hr to as high as $150/hr on Upwork, while on Fiverr, one should be cautious of suspiciously low-priced, low-quality services.
Freelancers offer a much more moderate price range than agencies, typically starting at $5-$25/hr.
Freelancer platforms can be hit or miss when it comes to outsourcing link building.
To ensure success, always carefully review candidates and their profiles.
Alternatively, higher-end freelancers often run their own, personal websites – you can expect them to offer higher-quality services than your average Fiverr gig.
Keep in mind that experience and location can also impact pricing; outsourcing to certain countries may be more affordable than others.
A fair estimation for a seasoned link builder would be around $20-25/hr, with around 15 quality links per week, resulting in $3000-4000/month, provided they already have access to the tools they need for link building.
Overall, make certain that the freelancers you hire use white-hat strategies and provide genuine results, rather than resorting to black-hat tactics like PBN links.
Outsourcing To Another Country
Now, let’s discuss an approach that we personally took.
We hired a fully-remote, in-house link builder from Eastern Europe for a base salary of $1500/month.
They only use Respona and consistently build us 15 quality links each week. Their salary + the operating costs of our own tool are significantly lower than hiring agencies or freelancers.
If you look at Glassdoor, you’ll see that the average link builder salary in the United States starts at $55,000/year.
The cost of living in countries like Ukraine, the Philippines, Poland, India, etc. is much lower than in the United States, so, especially after the epidemic, outsourcing has become a go-to hiring strartegy for companies looking for link builders.
If you were to hire an in-house, fully remote link builder using Respona’s monthly Starter plan, you’d be looking at link building for under $2000/month, which is considerably less expensive than outsourcing to either an agency or a freelancer.
This way, you’re going to have much more control over your project, and generally an easier time communicating with them.
Which is why this is our preferred strategy of outsourcing link building.
Link building cheat sheet
Now Over to You
We are strong proponents of running an in-house link building effort.
However, if you’re choosing between outsourcing to a digital marketing agency or freelancer, we would recommend sticking to a trusted freelancer using an outreach tool like Respona or hiring a remote link builder from another country.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is outsourcing link building?
Outsourcing link building is the process of hiring a third-party company or individual to manage and execute link building strategies for your website. This can include creating and distributing content, establishing relationships with other websites, and acquiring high-quality backlinks to improve your site’s search engine rankings.
Why should I outsource link building?
Outsourcing link building can save you time and resources, as it allows you to focus on other important aspects of your business. It also ensures that you have access to experienced professionals who are up-to-date on the latest link building strategies and techniques, which can lead to improved search engine rankings and increased organic traffic for your site.
How do I choose the right link building agency?
When choosing a link building agency, look for one that has a proven track record of success in your industry or niche. Consider their expertise, client testimonials, and case studies to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge to meet your specific needs. Communication, transparency, and a clear reporting structure should also be key factors in your decision.
How much does outsourcing link building cost?
The cost of outsourcing link building depends on various factors, such as the complexity of your project, the number of high-quality links you need , and the agency’s experience and reputation. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars per month for basic link building services to thousands of dollars for comprehensive campaigns. Always compare different agencies and choose one that offers a good balance of quality, expertise, and cost.
How do I track the success of my outsourced backlink building campaign?
To track the success of your outsourced SEO link building campaign, establish clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of quality backlinks acquired, improvements in search engine rankings, and increases in organic traffic. Request regular reports from the agency to monitor these metrics and ensure your investment is yielding positive results.