9 Tips to Sourcing the Right Link-Building Company
3. Industry associations: It sounds cliché, but we're known by the company we keep. In this case it's the association, and the search industry doesn't have many credible associations. But a few like SEMPO are reputable and have been at the forefront of search engine marketing from the beginning. There are no barriers to entry in terms of membership, but what you should check is if your would-be agency partners have the right kind of association.
4. Who ranks them?: Frankly, there's no industrywide ranking that can vouch for any one company’s superiority over another. I've seen companies look at Forrester Wave, eMarketer or MarketingSherpa reports for guidance in terms of top companies. If a company is coming to you saying that you should give them your business based on their top ranking in the industry, be cautious. I'd rather have you go over the other points described here and not award your business solely on the basis of ranking.
5. Is the package too good to be true?: We all know we get what we pay for, right? Quality link building is about creating the right kind of strategy that makes your business stand out in search rankings. It's not a cheap endeavor. I come across ads like “Get 10 PR 7 links for only $49.99.” Trust me, they're too good to be true. I've seen all kinds of link-building packages, and this is just one extreme example. Getting quality, solid links isn't easy; don’t fall prey to these too-good-to-be-true offers.
6. Can they build a financial model around link building?: Always ask your potential link-building partner if it can quantify the value of its work in terms of rankings, traffic or revenues. Revenues could be a bit of a stretch, but your goal here isn't on getting the numbers right, but to test its willingness to quantify. This step will weed out more than half of the prospective link-building companies. Others will give you reasons like "it's tough to measure" or "we don’t know your analytics." I'm pretty sure only about 5 percent to 10 percent of the companies on your list would be willing to do this exercise for you.