9 Tips to Sourcing the Right Link-Building Company
7. The pricing structure: I like partners who propose a pricing structure with a “skin in the game” mind-set. This will be reflected in their pricing structure, as they'll have either a performance-based or revenue-sharing price structure. I'm not suggesting this should be the case every time, but I'd be inclined to award my business to the company who comes in with a revenue-sharing price structure as opposed to a straight monthly fee proposal.
8. What's its stance on paid links?: Honestly, after the J.C. Penney fiasco, most link builders will tell you that they won’t do that to you. They might also tell you how paid link building is bad and they're against it. Be careful. Do your own probing as to why it's bad. Play devil’s advocate. Slowly you'll find which way they're leaning towards. Paid links can be an easy acquisition, but are you looking at your business with a short-term or long-term approach? Your answer may dictate your actions here.
9. How does their client link portfolio look?: The best way to qualify a company is to look at its current and past clients. Review testimonials and references, too. Pick one of its current clients to see the work they've done with them. Use tools like majesticseo.com, opensiteexplorer.org, Bad Neighborhood or the free Yahoo Site Explorer. Look at the diversity of links, neighborhood link reports and anchor text distribution. These reports will tell you a company’s link-building approach. Picking out one of its client’s sites and visiting it will tell you if the link was free or paid and if you were provided accurate information.
Be sure to check out the May 5 issue of eM+C Weekly where I'll discuss link-building best practices.