Whether you’re an SEO pro or just beginning, you probably know that backlinks have remained one of the biggest ranking factors for the past decade. And there is no sign that is going to change any time soon.
However, earning links is rarely quick and easy. Especially if you’ve got a business to run or a lot of sites to manage. That’s why link building is one of the most common tasks to outsource. But outsourcing your backlinks can also be risky. You could be wasting your money on valueless links, or worse—you might actually hurt your rankings.
So let’s look at some straightforward tips for how to hire a freelance link builder.
Know the Types of Links You Can Build
When you’re browsing the backlinks category on Legiit, you are going to see a lot of different types of links. If you’re new to the SEO game, it can get pretty confusing. So here is a quick crash course to let you know exactly what you are buying.
Guest Post Links
A guest post is when you get an article published on a real blog that generally has some decent traffic. Usually, your freelance link builder either has a network of bloggers who have already agreed to accept guest posts, or they will do manual outreach to find you guest post opportunities after you place an order.
Guest posts are generally perceived to be the safest sort of link because they are placed on real websites that have a reputation to uphold and aren’t built simply for the purposes of link building. Because a guest post requires a fresh piece of high quality content, these are usually the most expensive type of backlink.
Niche edits are sort of like guest posts, in that they are links from real blogs. However, instead of being built on a new piece of content, your link will be inserted into an already existing piece of content that is relevant to your niche.
These are generally just as safe as guest posts. Some SEOs hold that they can even be more powerful or reliable than guest posts because the link insertion may be placed on a page that is known to get traffic already.
PBN is short for “private blog network”. These links are placed on websites that are built solely for the purposes of link building. PBNs can be just as powerful as guest posts and niche edits, and they are usually more affordable as well.
However, PBN links can also be more risky. A PBN that is poorly created or haphazardly managed can be a major footprint to Google. Google doesn’t like manual link building (even most guest posts are technically against their terms!). But at the end of the day, a PBN is still just a website like any other. And if they are built well there is no more risk than any other type of link.
Just because PBNs can be risky doesn’t mean you can’t use them. It just means you have to be more judicious about the freelance link builder that you hire (more on this later in the post).
Other Types of Backlinks
There are more varieties of backlinks than we have room to go into detail about, and we want this guide to mostly focus on what are generally considered to be the most powerful types of links.
But two other types that are worth a quick mention are web 2.0s and citations.
Web 2.0 backlinks are placed on subdomains of sites like Tumblr or Weebly. They are often used as foundation links to help diversify your anchor text ratio. Web 2.0s have a reputation of being spammy, but they can be powerful, so choose your provider wisely.
Citations are business listings on sites like Yelp and Foursquare. These are a must for local websites (such as a plumber or roofer) that are trying to rank in the Google Map Pack. Citations are generally a completely safe type of link to build.
Make Sure You Know What You Need
Before you hit that order button, it’s a good idea to make sure you know exactly what you need. For example, if you are ordering 10 PBN backlinks, do you know what urls you want them sent to and what you want the anchor texts to be?
Sometimes, your freelancer can help you decide these things, but it’s not generally an expectation. Think of it like going to the hardware store to buy lumber for a DIY project. The sales attendant can offer you some advice, but you are the one who is going to be using the lumber.
The same goes for buying links. It’s your responsibility to understand what to do with the links. It’s the freelancer’s job to provide them.
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Understand That Backlinks Are Just One Part of the Equation
Backlinks are one of the biggest ranking factors, but they aren’t the only factor. For this reason, don’t expect miracles just from purchasing a bunch of links.
Even high quality links will not give you movement if your on-page SEO is not optimized, or if your content doesn’t account for search intent.
So resist the urge to blast a freelance link builder with a bad review just because you don’t see immediate results.
Questions to Ask a Freelance Link Builder
To end our guide, here are several questions that a good link building freelancer should be able to answer. If this information doesn’t appear in their service description, don’t hesitate to send them a message to see if they can answer it for you.
How do you choose your links?
Some link builders focus on metrics, such as Moz Domain Authority or Majestic Trust Flow. Others ignore metrics and just examine the backlink profile of the sites they are using.
How do you avoid footprints?
For PBN links especially, you want to make sure that you aren’t putting your website in a bad neighborhood.
You should ensure that the link provider has some way of tracking which links they send to which sites. Sending multiple links from the same PBN to the same target site is a major footprint.
Another thing to make sure is that the freelancer uses a wide range of hosts and IPs, so that there are no obvious signs of the entire network being connected.
Do you provide a report?
This is an area with two main schools of thought. You’ll have to decide where you stand.
If a freelancer provides no report for your order, that means they keep their link networks very locked down and secure. This is great for minimizing risk, but it also means you have to trust them at their word.
On the other hand, you can get peace of mind that you are actually receiving the link you order from a freelancer who will reveal the site to you in a report, but that does mean their network is more open to the public.
Find Quality Freelance Link Builders at Legiit
When you are ready to start your next link building campaign, take a look at what the freelancers on Legiit have to offer. Legiit provides a secure marketplace where some of the best SEO talent in the world is waiting to be hired by people like you.
Here are some of the backlink categories you may want to check out: