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Good day! I hope all of my SEO comrades are doing fine! When I’m teaching SEO for Search Engine Academy, I often get asked about link building services that are for hire.

What I have to say to that is, “buyer beware.” I am sorry to say this, but there are a fair number of SEO link building companies that are gray hat, if not just outright black hat link builders. Let’s explore this topic a little bit today, shall we?

Unfortunately, some of these companies or individuals employ link building strategies that are no longer valid and trigger the Google Penguin penalty. These businesses (I use that term loosely) have a modus operandi of promising you the sun, the moon and the stars to rank your web pages higher. They collect your money, start a link building campaign and all seems right with the world as you watch your pages climb higher in the SERPs and you get more visitors and higher conversions in just a few short weeks.

What could possibly go wrong? Oh, just everything.

You see, these types of shysters (there, I feel better – getting some of the poison out of my system) typically build links using one or two preferred keyword phrases you want to rank for in hundreds, if not thousands, of text links of hundreds of websites.

This strategy causes Google Penguin to notice your site in a not good way at all, or you get a message in your Google Webmaster Tools notifying you of a manual penalty that’s been levied against your site because you’ve engaged in what appears to be unnatural link building.

Then the bottom drops out of your link building floor, and your pages go into a free fall in the SERPs, dropping double digit pages down. And you lose visitors. And you’re not making as much money as you used to.

Oh, and that link building service? They’re gone. Long gone. Tough bananas. Too bad, so sad.

link building strategiesNow what do you do?

First, you do an inbound backlink profile analysis and identify the links that are using only keyword phrases in the anchor text. You either get those changed, or get them removed. That’s a different post.

Next, you make a promise to your site and wallet to do things differently.

SEO Monthly Maintenance For Your Link Building Strategies

Maybe this next time, you’re going to outsource link building again. But now you’ll be smarter. However, that’s still not enough. You need to stay on top of them. You need to implement a monthly SEO maintenance check where you run an inbound link analysis and review what they’re doing.

There are a ton of tools out there to analyze links. Some are free, some are paid. You should try out several and see which one you like, as well as picking one that fits your budget.

You want to gather all the links and see the anchor text for each link, as well as the number of linking domains. If you have a large number of links that contain the same keyword phrase, or a variation, that’s trouble. You want to use your business/company name in the majority of the text link nowadays, as well as have a pretty good domain diversity. In other words, you don’t want to see 1000 links on 10 domains.

This accomplishes two things:

  • You catch any questionable links quickly and get them reconciled.
  • You see if the firm is white hat or not.

Put this practice into effect and get back control of your external linking strategy. After all, it’s not the shady link building service that suffers. It’s you.

Until next time, stay between the ditches my SEO friends!