When you’re in the day-to-day weeds of marketing, you and/or your team are likely juggling many different channels such as email, social media, PPC, and SEO.
But if you want to get even more granular within each category, you know that there are so many sub-specialties. For example, just within SEO there’s on-page content optimization, technical SEO, and link building!
If you’re convinced of the benefits of link building and want to allocate budget to it, you probably need to get buy-in from other stakeholders.
In this post, we’ll outline some key reasons why you need link building services and how an agency can make the process a painless experience.
What’s in it for you?
Before you meet up with your boss, it’s important to understand your “why”. Here are some of the top reasons you should hire a link building agency:
- A marketing channel that pays long-term dividends. Unlike PPC, SEO does not require continuous long-term investment (although it’s highly recommended). If you turn off the PPC faucet, traffic halts immediately. With SEO, once you’re showing up on page 1, it’s possible to stay there even without actively allocating budget to the upkeep of the page.
- A lighter load. Let an experienced team shoulder some of the burden–you already have your plate full.
- Your team’s trust. Once you’ve demonstrated success with a new initiative, you’ll have your team’s trust to pursue other ideas down the line.
And last but certainly not least,
- Recognition and promotions. Reap the monetary and professional benefits of leading your company to revenue-town.
Ok, so we’ve covered the reasons why you should make a push for link building. But what’s in it for your boss? Here are the top reasons why link building can help your company increase your conversions and earn more revenue.
1) Link building is a critical part of an effective SEO strategy
Maybe your boss has some familiarity with SEO or maybe it’s completely new territory.
Regardless, the simplest way to explain SEO and its parts is to liken it to a three-legged stool:
Technical SEO: Your site should be free of glaring technical errors so that search engines can easily access, crawl, and index it.
Link Building: Reputable external sites should link to your content to demonstrate to search engines that your content is trustworthy.
Your SEO strategy needs all three “legs” to be effective. Even if just one of the legs is broken, the whole stool is worthless. For example:
If your site is easily accessible and authoritative but the content is lackluster, users might be able to get to the page, but once they’re there, they’re highly likely to bounce.
If your site has well-written, helpful content and lots of links, but it’s not indexable, no one will find it.
If you have quality content, it can still rank without links…but usually somewhere at the bottom of the barrel–and since most people are not clicking past page 1 of the search results, very few potential customers, if any, will actually access it.
The bottom line is this: If you’re investing in technical SEO and content creation but NOT link building, you’re basically flushing money down the toilet. Even if your pages are ranking, once a big-budget competitor comes in with a link building gameplan, you can kiss your traffic goodbye.
2) Hiring in-house link builders is expensive
Let’s say you hire an overseas link builder and you’re paying them hourly for a commitment of 20-30 hours per week. This can cost as much as $35k per year.
In addition to labor costs, you’ll also need to allocate a budget for payments to webmasters for links. Truthfully, most people pay sites for links, even if it’s not a direct exchange of cash.
And don’t forget software–SEO tools can be incredibly helpful but also expensive.
3) An in-house link builder does not automatically equal links
Even if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, there’s no way to guarantee that they’ll hit your link targets each month. When hiring individuals to perform link building outreach, what you’re paying them for is time–the time it takes to research potential sites, develop a customized email outreach template, and communicate back and forth with site owners.
Many link building agencies have a large number of previously established partner relationships so much of the leg work has already been completed. Therefore, they’re usually able to guarantee that they can hit your link acquisition goals. For example, at Linkflow we don’t charge by the hour–what you’re paying for is results and we’ll spend as much time as it takes to get them.
4) Hiring experts ensures you will achieve maximum ROI
One of the most common issues we see with clients who tried DIY link building or a link order site is a lack of focused strategy. At a bare minimum, it’s important that you go into a link building campaign knowing the answers to these questions:
- Which pages should be receiving links and how many?
- What is the proper link building cadence to ensure your link profile looks natural?
- Which websites would be a good fit for a backlink?
- What are the appropriate ratios of exact match anchor text?
If you have little to no SEO experience, finding the answers to these questions takes time. Moreover, it can be difficult to know whose advice to trust–SEO advice on link building runs the gamut from shady black hat tactics to white hat tactics.
When you partner with an experienced agency that does this work day in and day out, you can rest assured that resources are being deployed in the most efficient and effective manner.
Link building ROI
Once you’ve delivered your pitch, we can almost guarantee you’ll get the question: “What is the expected ROI?” And this is totally reasonable!
The thing that makes this difficult with SEO, however, is the goalpost is always moving: competitors are entering/exiting the industry, some are ramping up or tapering their content/link building efforts, and changes to Google’s algorithm occur daily, often multiple times a day.
Some SEO firms are reluctant to provide ROI projections at all because there is so much variability in the inputs. However, we understand that it’s tricky to ask for thousands of dollars each month without even a rough estimate of the expected return. Therefore, we’ve incorporated an ROI calculator into our roadmap process to help you see what’s possible when you invest in link building.
OK, so you’ve convinced your boss that link building is worth a shot. How much budget should you allocate?
We recommend setting aside at least 6 months of budget for link building. The reason for this is it takes time to build a strong link profile.
If a page needs 50 links to rank on page 1, it’s better to build 10 links each month for 5 months than to build 50 links in just a few weeks. The latter approach is extremely risky and increases your chances of incurring a penalty since it’s abnormal for a page to acquire such a large number of links in a short period of time (exception: viral content).
While the monthly investment is dependent on the types of keywords you’d like to target (the more competitive, the more links needed), many agencies will start pricing for an entry-level offering at ~$3k. For major enterprise-level organizations, it’s not unusual to spend 5-figures each month.
SEO requires both a serious commitment and a significant budget, so it’s not for everyone. Testing out the waters with a few links here and there will lead to tepid results at best. On the other hand, those who are consistent and patient are usually rewarded with explosive growth.
Link building is hard. That’s why so many companies do it haphazardly or don’t do it at all.
The top 1% of companies who are successful with SEO understand the importance of this undertaking and the value that an agency partner can bring. By convincing your boss to hire a link building agency, you’ll be responsible for putting your company in a position to crush your competitors and win the SEO game.