OntoloWhile browsing my common list of link building & other SEO resources yesterday, I stumbled upon a post by Garrett French of Ontolo, seeking responses to a link building survey for search engine optimization agencies. Since I missed the last survey Garrett posted, I wanted to be one of the first Arizona SEO agencies to provide a response. The questions are below and my responses are in blue.

Getting to Know You

How long has your agency offered link building services?

We have been offering link building services for 10+ years in combination with our comprehensive SEO packages.

What does your agency do to build links ie: what’s the range of your agency’s link building offerings?

We try to take a broad approach at link building & attacking the weak areas of our client’s existing link profile. Throughout the years, we’ve acquired links for clients thru many channels.

How have your link building services changed since you began offering them? Since Panda?

The resulting changes from the Panda update require a higher focus on site quality, authority & overall effectiveness. Everything is reviewed & scrutinized to a higher degree.

Do you offer link building as a stand alone service? Why/why not?

Generally, we prefer offering link building as a component of a larger SEO plan, but this varies based on the individual client’s content strategies. If a client already has a strong content strategy and other SEO best-practices in place, then we may suggest a stand-alone linking service, but this is rare for us.

    Link Building Campaign Design + Execution

    How do you determine what link building techniques/efforts/campaigns to use for a given client?

    The techniques and efforts are most often tied to previously successful campaigns; however, we brainstorm new ideas and link building strategies for each new client that we acquire. Often times, there are slight nuances of their business that can be utilized for a specific link building tactic, while other clients do not necessarily have that feature (advantage).

    Can you share how you structure your teams to execute these tactics?

    Everything starts with the initial research and a comprehensive understanding of what the client offers and brings to the table. Once we have established our targets, the strategies are scheduled amongst our team and executed in an effort to achieve effectiveness.

    How do you find link prospects (sites/pages you engage with) for your clients? How does this change from client to client?

    Again, it starts with the research and thorough understanding of the client. Some clients are just easier to get links for via standard methods, while others require a lot more leg work (& frustration). For instance, we had an LDS-owned business and were able to locate and submit to an entire network of LDS-only websites.

    What link building processes do you use for SERP impact? What have you done to make these processes more scalable or repeatable?

    Politically correct answer… None of our link building processes are focused on SERP impact. We acquire links that help drive traffic to the client’s website. ;)  These processes are made easier by repetition and continued training of our staff.

      Effective Client Management

      What questions do you ask to qualify a prospective client for your link building (or SEO/marketing) services?

      We generally ask them to think about their business within the community and/or their industry. Who do they know? Who can they leverage for a  potential backlink?

      Aside from that, there aren’t a lot of questions – mostly suggestions and teaching them about the need for continually seeking and increasing their backlinks.

      How do you get clients to perform tasks related to link building?

      Pretty much anything we can… It’s so difficult to get them to participate or to contribute that when we do finally get their attention, we get as much from them as possible.

      What are your actual, tangible link building deliverables? How have these changed since you began offering services?

      Tangible deliverables… We can submit link reports all day, but in the end that really means nothing to the (revenue driven) client. Our results are generally showcased by the increases in organic traffic and the sales/leads resulting from (the traffic).

        Link Building Tools

        What tools does your organization use the most for link building (project management, discovery, etc…)?

        Google, Excel, Whitespark Local Citation Tool, Ontolo toolset, MajesticSEO, SEOmoz

        What link building tools – or tool features – don’t exist yet, that should?

        A magic genie that enables any link we want…

          Service Design

          If you were advising a new agency on developing a link building offering, what questions would you ask them? What advice would you give them?

          In terms of questions I would ask… Why are you doing this? What makes you think you build links more effectively than any other SEO agency? How are your linking efforts going to produce results? Do you have the complimentary skill-sets to be more than a one-trick pony? – Do you know anything about website conversion? CSS? Design? Local Search? Metadata? Content marketing (inbound marketing)?

          My advice… don’t take too many shortcuts. Setup your own website/blog and try building links on your own to get started. Once you know how the whole process works, including the pitfalls, then you can start getting a bit more advanced in your strategies and efforts. Taking shortcuts, e.g. hiring people from India, Philippines, etc. is a one-way ticket to Google’s basement.

          How do you learn/find/discover new link building techniques?

          Through experience, research and testing. A good network of SEO professionals doesn’t hurt either – thanks to all those that have shared their experiences and results over the years.

          How do you arrive at pricing for your link building campaigns?

          Costs + Labor + Profit = Pricing

          Seriously, we’re not here to gouge our customers eyes out by charging insane amounts for each link. We provide an honest service that we believe will be reflected through our results.