ImageMany companies find that link building is addicting. It works like a domino effect—you get one taste of it, then you need more and more and more. Your clients might want link building, you realize the possibilities for your link building, and we cannot forget that there are many different ways you can build links to a website including guest posting, website directories, press releases, and even social media. You have a plan, but it’s tough to execute because the work, is time consuming.

This is where a link building company comes into play. Because there is such a demand for link building in order to improve SEO, companies that specialize in link building are beginning to surface. Unfortunately, because there are so many black hat link building tactics, it’s easy to fall into a scam. This makes it incredibly important that you choose the right link building company so that you do not get yourself into an impossible SEO mess. You have to ask yourself: How do I know this company is for real?

What to Look for in a Link Building Company

It’s first important to understand a little bit about link building and some of the ways it can go right and wrong. If you know how link building works, you will know what to look for when it comes time to find a reputable company to help. In short, the company must use only white hat tactics. On that same note, they need to avoid black hat tactics such as comment spamming, link farms, and keyword stuffing. You can learn more in detail here.

Below are a few things to look for right off the bat when searching for a link building company:

  • Reputation. Check the company’s reputation the way you would any future employee. Talk with past clients and do a Google search and searches on social media to make sure the company looks good.
  • No Guarantees. When it comes to SEO, there are no guarantees. It’s easier to guarantee a certain number of links than other SEO markers, but even this can be tricky. Look for the company that explains that they work to earn you the highest quality links, and sometimes that means they won’t hit the mark (but will still be close!).

So how do you find good link building companies? Ask for referrals from people you trust in the industry, look for advice from blogs about SEO that you trust, and even just try a Google search. After all, if they’re at the top of a SERP they probably have some idea about successful link building.

Questions to Ask a Link Building Company

Once you have analyzed all of these different aspects of a company, you can move on to actually talking to the company. In other words, don’t even bother talking with a company unless you have really done your research. There are lots of choices out there, so be picky. Do not get on the phone with someone who can sway your decision or take advantage of your maybe not-so-great link building knowledge.

Consider asking them the following questions when you do speak with them:

1. What are the primary tactics you use to build links?

2. Do you specialize in link building through a particular tactic or for a particular company/subject?

3. Can we see samples of your work?

4.  Is it possible to have a trial period before signing any contracts?

5. Do you have a few clients we can speak with about your work?

Don’t forget to write down or record all of these answers and talk to several different companies. Compare your information and see what’s the best fit for your needs.

When to Bring Link Building Efforts In-House

There will come a time when you will want to bring all of your link building efforts in-house, but keep in mind that this will likely be a long process. Chances are if you are outsourcing your link building, you have a high demand. Whether it be because you have a domain with a huge number of pages and categories or you have clients you’re trying to provide SEO for, in-house will always give you more control.

The transition from outsource to in-house works best if you keep records of everything your outsourcing company is doing. See where they are sending guest posts and begin to send some of your own to that same website for a particular category or client. Find writers on LinkedIn and do your research the way you would for any new hire. Look for experience and slowly start to hire a team of writers and link builders to work in-house for specific subjects. Don’t get rid of your link building company until you are 100 percent sure you have a solid team (it’s not as easy as you might think!).