Link building services: the good vs the bad ?

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Link building services: the good vs the bad ?

If you’re on a budget, then we will give you a ton of great ideas you can use to build links for free but what about if you have a little money to invest and you’d like some extra help. Should you use a link building service or not? If so, what kind? There are a number of businesses out there that promote themselves as link-building services, but the truth is many of them won’t do anything to help you get the kind of backlinks you want. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t employ a link-building specialist, as there are some great services out there who can aid you in your SEO quest. How you can avoid the bad guys and identify the good guys, there is one piece of advice you should always keep in mind.

The number one golden rule when looking for a link-building service is this: GO NICHE It’s important to work with niche specific link-builders as they will have the relevant experience in your sector. They will already have worked with clients just like you, so they already know how to get the kind of backlinks you will need. Another reason you should work with a niche link-builder is that they will have a network of relevant contacts already built up that they will be able to access when you become their client. They can reach out to these contacts and score you a handy link that Google will love. If you’d gone with a less-specific service, you wouldn’t get the SEO boost that scoring a relevant link like this will give you.

First - The BAD GUYS

  1. Fiverr: If you’re looking for an effective link-building service, you should definitely avoid Fiverr, as although it seems like you’re getting a bargain, you’ll likely only end up wasting your hard-earned cash.  Any type of SEO service listed on Fiverr is next to useless now, though it used to be okay, so save your budget and put it towards a link-building service that’s actually going to be effective.

  2. Private Blog Networks: Private Blog Networks used to be amazing for scoring links but now they don’t work well at all. This is because Google changed its algorithm back in 2017 and now it automatically filters out most of these types of backlinks. Not only that, Google also manually removes any Private Blog Networks it identifies from its index, so you should definitely avoid buying links on other people’s networks as they won’t do anything to help you.

  3. Paying for Guest Posting or Reviewing: Guest posting can certainly help you score backlinks - but not if you pay to do it. In fact, if you pay for a blog, you can get penalised by Google as this activity goes directly against their Webmaster Guidelines for link-building. As well as this, most sites that allow paid guest posts or provide paid reviews aren’t the types of places you really want your link to appear on, as they are typically not legit and many don’t even get much traffic. They usually don’t have great Domain or Site Authority, even if they are related to your niche, and a lot of them are simply never read by anyone, so they won’t help your traffic either. Legitimate blogs don’t charge for posts, so focus your efforts on crafting a great pitch and save your money for a link-building service that will actually boost your SEO.

  4. Sending out Press Releases: Hiring a press release distribution service to send out press releases used to give a big boost to your links but now it’s a dud approach that simply doesn’t work. This is because since Google changed its algorithm, most press release links are automatically no followed, which means they won’t do anything to help you.  Even worse, Google has even confirmed that it ignores press release links, so although plenty of unscrupulous sellers still advertise press release distribution as a link-building service, it’s not something you want to spend your cash on.


1. Help a Reporter Out (HARO): Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, is an awesome place to get backlinks, often on really high authority sites like the Wall Street Journal, as well as many other popular mainstream websites. It’s particularly great because normally it would be quite tricky to land a link on a site like this but with HARO journalists are looking for you, as they want you to be a source for their articles. If journalists use you as a source, you’ll usually get a link as well as a mention, so it’s definitely worth your while signing up to HARO and answering relevant queries.

How to use HARO to build AMAZING backlinks

  1. Register on the HARO website as a source and select what type of account you want - the basic one is free, and it allows you to apply for as many opportunities as you want.
  2. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive daily emails with queries from journalists looking for relevant sources that they can use in their stories. There’s something for everyone, as there are plenty of different queries in every category, from diet to insurance and computing.
  3. If you have specialist knowledge in any field, or have had a unique experience, so much the better, as often journalists seek an expert point of view on a subject, and if you have one, they will be extremely likely to choose you.
  4. To apply to be used as a source, simply identify the query you are interested in, then reply to it with something the journalist can use.  They’ll detail what they need from you in the query, whether that’s an opinion, or a quote, a tip, trick or technique - all you have to do is respond.

There is quite a bit of competition but if you send a few queries out it’s highly likely you’ll get something back before too long.  The links you get on HARO are usually consistently high quality and won’t snare you any penalties from Google, so put in some time applying to queries, as it’s an awesome place to get great backlinks.

2. Content Marketing Agencies: Content Marketing Agencies focus on creating content for your brand, usually your blog or social media channels. With content marketing agencies you usually have two options: 1. You can hire them to create a pre-agreed number of articles for you per month OR 2. You can pay an agreed fee for a set amount of content, say 10 450 words blog posts, 5 300 words complete guides. Sometimes this fee will include content promotion, where the agency will market the articles they created, other times you’ll have to promote it yourself. Content Marketing Agencies can be a good route to take if you’re really time pressed, or you want to give your brand a boost with some professional content. Content is key when it comes to acquiring backlinks but be careful, as cost, like quality, can vary, so if you are going down this route, shop around and do your research. 

As well as getting lots of links, if you invest in professional content, you should also see a boost to your traffic, as well as increased buzz about your brand.  You can also repurpose the blog content they created for your social channels, by posting excerpts and snippets, along with links to the full piece on your blog. Another bonus is that when you use content marketing agencies, you won’t have to worry about getting penalised by Google, as you’ll be working with professionals who won’t be using shady techniques.  Remember, above all, you should be looking for an agency with the ability to produce stand out content, as this is the secret to scoring many links.

3. Blogger Outreach Services: Blogger outreach services can be extremely helpful in your quest to get more backlinks, as they will help you save a lot of time contacting relevant bloggers to promote your content. Instead of you having to search for, evaluate, and then reach out to bloggers to ask them for a link, a blogger outreach will do all the hard work for you.  No hunting down hard to find blogger contact details, and no chasing up email queries - sounds great right? The bonus is, often these kinds of services already have a built-up network of blogger and editor contacts, so they can more easily and quickly match you to blogs where you’re likely to get featured. Usually, blogger outreach agencies will charge you per link they create, but sometimes, they might offer link-building packages, where you pay a set fee to receive a certain amount of links.

Prices vary, but the average cost of a quality link is around $150-$200, but unlike with content marketing agencies, who just create the content, that’s a link you will definitely get.  So, while it’s not the cheapest service out there, hiring a blogger outreach service can be well worth doing if you’re struggling to get backlinks, have the cash, and want a few solid links to get started with. As this is a white hat way to acquire backlinks, you don’t have to worry about getting Google penalties, and as long as you work with a service that knows what they are doing, you are almost guaranteed to get relevant links on sites with good Page and Domain authority.

You will have to produce the content yourself and you’ll have to make it quality, or you’ll keep getting turned down from quality blogs.  It’s a good idea to have some great content ready to go before you turn to a blogger outreach service. The good thing is, if blogs don’t link to you, you don’t pay for a backlink. Remember, look for agencies with good feedback, as some suspect services may try to add your link to one of their own websites, then say they gave you a link.

4. SEO Agency: SEO agencies will cover everything needed to give a big boost to your search engine ranking - and that of course includes backlink building. Agencies will typically consult with you to define your goals, then charge you based on the amount of work you want them to do.  They don’t focus solely on backlink building, though as this is an important component of any SEO strategy, you are bound to acquire some good links, if you work with the right agency. Prices vary a lot,but some of the cheapest services start from around $200 a month.  Make sure they know their stuff though as there are A LOT of terrible services.  Remember, hiring an agency that won’t have any effect will just see you throwing your money away.

SEO Agencies cover:

  • Content Creation
  • Keyword optimisation
  • Mobile optimisation and Voice search optimisation
  • Content Promotion
  • Backlink Creation

An SEO agency is a solid choice if you want a professional to handle every aspect of your search ranking, as they’ll cover everything.  If you solely want to focus on getting backlinks though, this probably isn’t the service for you, as only a portion of your fee will go towards acquiring you links.