Modern link building requires a strategic and delicate balance. The days of manual link placement are over, and in their place is an era where link quality means far more than link quantity.
One good link is worth potentially more than hundreds of low-quality ones, and a pattern of bad links can actually set back your efforts. Accordingly, the more you invest in a link building strategy, the higher return you’re going to see (in general).
That being said, not all companies have access to unlimited resources; in fact, most companies aspiring for higher rankings and traffic through link building are working with a limited budget, and quite possibly limited expertise. There are plenty of cheap link building options for those who are looking, but the consequences of shoddy link building will leave you with more damages than benefits.
So how can you reduce the cost of your link building strategy while still getting access to the high-quality links you need?
1. Have a clear strategy
If you start out with the end goal of only “link building,” you’re going to end up wasting a ton of effort. Yes, link building is a specific strategy in itself, but there are several ways to go about it. If you try to do everything all at once, you’ll wind up doing everything inefficiently; instead, it’s better to do one thing at a time, with focus and precision.
Creating a clear strategy in advance will allow you to do this, and allocate your resources effectively. For example, you might start with a goal of getting two guest posts per week published; this provides you with clear direction and a good starting point, and you won’t waste any additional effort (or money) doing something that means nothing to your bottom line.
2. Come up with a repeatable process
Assembly lines are one of the greatest breakthroughs in manufacturing because of their segmentation of a complex process and the inherent repeatability of those processes. You need to treat your link building strategy the same way.
For example, you could start with a “kickoff” session every month to set the tone and directives for your strategy, have a top-of-week recap meeting to keep everyone in line, and have clearly designated responsibilities for different team members to execute at precise moments in time. Most companies will fall into such a process over time, but if you want to save time (and costs) early on, you need a formally documented strategy ahead of time.
3. Work with a professional agency
When most people see the word “agency,” they immediately think of costly plans with long-term contractual periods. However, there are many different agencies with many different cost structures and different service offerings. With a bit of research, you can find the right fit for your business.
A high-quality link building agency is almost always worth the cost of a monthly program because they already have the experts, processes, and relationships in place to build good links efficiently. They’ll be able to spend far fewer man-hours getting those links placed, and you’ll usually wind up paying far less than what it would cost to do it yourself.
4. Seek specialists
If you don’t feel like working with an agency, you can also seek out individual specialists to make your link building process more efficient. Your goal here is to find niche specialists with strong skillsets in one facet of the link building process. For example, you might hire a strong writer to draft your written guest posts, a strong relationship manager to seek out new publishers, and a strong SEO analyst to help guide your overall strategy and monitor results.
If you don’t have the budget to hire full-time team members, you can outsource the work to independent contractors, who are generally cheaper but often offer similar skills and experience. What you want to avoid are generalists who know only a little about everything, or newcomers who are learning the process for the first time; learning takes time, and will cost you money.
There are three viable ways to build good links. Within these three methods, seek out different sources, use different types of guest posts, and produce high-quality content that can earn links on its own. The more you diversify your strategy and approaches, the more links you’ll be able to earn.
While in the early stages of your strategic development, it’s better to focus on single, specific tactics, as you grow, the diversification factor is more viable for reducing your overall costs. It also serves a secondary purpose of making your link strategy safer; if you lose a viable link source, or if one of your specialists leaves, your strategy isn’t entirely sunk—this will also save you recovery costs.
These strategies aren’t perfect or foolproof, and won’t guarantee you a cheap-and-easy path to the top of Google’s search rankings, but they will help you get the external links you need without putting too much of a burden on your budget. As you continue to learn more about the link building process, you’ll become naturally more efficient, and you’ll probably end up with productivity tricks of your own. No to mention, as the results of your efforts bring in more revenue, you’ll have more opportunities to invest in your brand in bigger and better ways.
- Your Guide to Link Building for SEO in 2016
- How Much Should You Pay for Good Link Building Services?
- Modern Link Building Includes Only 3 Viable Tactics: Here They Are
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.