How to Outsource Link Building
and Get Links at Scale
Everybody knows that link building is one of the best strategies for increasing a websites rankings and traffic.
It’s been that way for years, and has no signs of slowing down.
But if it’s such a vital method for effectively growing your business, then why do so many website owners leave link building as an afterthought or completely neglect it all together?
Probably because link building is so damn time consuming – and not something that can be crushed out in one sitting.
It’s a process – a never ending one at that (if you’re really trying to grow your site). And it’s not exactly an easy one to run through – especially by yourself.
This is where systemizing and outsourced link building comes into play.
What if you could build links at scale, without having to do much of the tedious work?
Keep reading and I’ll lay it all out for you, so that once you’ve finished this guide you’ll know how to assemble a team to build links for your site or your clients site(s) at scale.
This guide isn’t about how to find a link building service to outsource to.
It’s for learning how to build your own remote (or local) link building team so that you can build links at scale, for much cheaper than you would if you were to buy links from a vendor – giving you more control, and saving you money.
Link Building Campaign Overview
Just so that you and I are on the same track in terms of how a link building campaign looks, let’s quickly run through an overview of the basic process of building a single link to your website.
Since there are tons of different tactics for building links we’ll use the most popular (and often most effective) method as our example.
Can you guess what it is?
Yup – guest posts…
Here’s a high level overview of what guest post link building looks like, assuming you already have at least one piece of quality content you can build links for (i.e. link bait).
- Find websites (i.e. link prospects) that publish content relevant to our link bait and pass our quality criteria.
- Find contact info of link prospects and send outreach pitch.
- Follow up with link prospects who don’t reply / continue the conversation with ones who do.
- Come up with and pitch content ideas for the guest post.
- Write the article based on which idea was chosen by the link prospect (making sure to include a contextual link to our website).
- Send article to link prospect – make edits if requested.
- Ensure article gets published, and our link is still included in the article.
Quite a bit of work, right? And that’s just for getting one link… ONE!
Hard to imagine building hundreds of those in order to compete in the search rankings.
Well with the proper system in place, and having a designated person for each step of the process it’s a little more achievable.
So let’s get into that then, shall we? Next we’ll go through each role you’ll need to have on your team in order to properly run a link building campaign.
Putting Together Your Link Building Team
For this part of the link building outsourcing guide we’ll go over:
- Identifying each role of the process
- What they do and what they’re responsible for
- Where to find them
- How to hire them
Let’s start from the order in which each role will typically come into play.
For most people reading this guide, you’ll likely be the SEO Manager in this set up. For my link building team this is the role I play.
The SEO Manager is the one who comes up with the link building strategy, prepares everything, and oversees each role of the process to make sure everything is running smoothly.
They’re Responsible For:
- Finding and hiring each role of the process (in most cases).
- Auditing content on the site we’re building links for to make sure there’s at least one link bait.
- Coming up with content strategy for link bait purposes.
- Identifying which page(s) of our site we’re going to be building links for.
- Coming up with the anchor text strategy for each link built.
- Coming up with keywords that are relevant to the page(s) we’re link building for, so our link prospector will have keywords to use when they start prospecting with search operators.
- Assigning tasks to Link Prospector and Outreach Manager.
- Coming up with email templates for outreach.
- Setting up outreach system.
- Creating outreach persona(s).
Where to Find
I’ve never actually hired an SEO Manager for my link building team, since I’ve always been that dude. And as I mentioned already I assume if you’re reading this guide, you’re probably going to be that dude (or dudette) as well.
BUT – if outsourcing this part and finding an SEO Manager for your team is something you do want to do, then here’s how I’d go about finding one.
If you’re not going to be hiring an SEO manager click here to skip to the next role – the Link Prospector
Start with UpWork
Back when I was actively looking for new clients on Upwork who needed SEO services I would do some competitive research to see how I stacked up against the other SEO’s that were also submitting proposals.
What I’d do was create a job listing myself, saying that I was looking for someone to do SEO for my “site”. I did this so I could see what types of proposals and skills/expertise these guys had.
There was a lot of junk, but definitely enough good ones to give you confidence that you’ll be able to find the right fit for your team here.
With the right job posting (which I’ll give you in a second) you should have no problems attracting the right talent.
Try Public Communities
I’m fairly confident you’ll be able to find an SEO Manager for your link building team on Upwork, but if you don’t then there are a bunch of Facebook groups and forums worth poaching from.
Here are some popular forums and Facebook groups to hunt for your SEO Manager:
When you’re in there, you can either create your own post saying what/who you’re looking for. Or if you read through a bunch of the threads/comments and see someone who seems to know what they’re talking about (in terms of SEO/Link building), then try private messaging them with your offer.
How to Hire
Here’s a job posting template you can use to hire your SEO Manager:
SEO Expert Needed for Managing My Link Building Team
Looking for someone who’s confident in their SEO/Link building skills to help manage my link building campaigns.
**I’m NOT looking for link building services.**
Some of the core skill sets you should have:
– Link building
– Keyword research
– Content strategy
– Organization and time management
– Managing and communicating with a small team (2-4 people)
Your job will be to plan out and manage monthly link building campaigns for my clients websites.
– Deciding which page(s) of each client site should get links for the current month.
– What anchor text the links should be.
– Coming up with keywords that are relevant to the content we’re link building for, to give to our Link Prospector for search operator purposes.
– Tracking campaigns in Google Sheets.
– Assigning tasks to our Link Prospector and Outreach Manager to ensure our link quotas are being hit each month.
I’ll provide the training to catch you up to speed on our link building process.
In your proposal please provide any details that help me understand your current SEO/Link building experience. The more reassurance you can give me about your ability to handle this job, the more likely I am to hire you.
Copy and paste this job posting into Upwork and you’ll soon have a bunch of proposals to look through to find your SEO Manager.
Like any hiring process, pick out which proposals look the most promising, then reach out to them to get a better feel for them based on how they communicate with you.
From there, trial the candidates you think are the best fit, and then make your final decision based on how they performed during the trial.
While the cheapest (in terms of how much you pay them), Link Prospectors play a major role in optimizing your link building campaigns ability to perform more efficiently.
The Link Prospector is the member of your team who will be looking for quality websites worth reaching out to for all our link building methods.
They do this by inputting certain search queries into search engines, then weeding through the list of sites that show up in the SERPs, picking out the sites that meet our criteria then adding them to our Link Tracker Sheet.
They’re Responsible For:
- Searching for websites that match our criteria for the specific link building method we’re utilizing.
- Finding the contact info of these websites.
- Inputting the website info (contact info included) into the Link Tracker Sheet.
Where to Find
For finding a good Link Prospector for your team you can’t go wrong with Upwork.
I actually just recently went through this hiring process again myself since I needed another guest post link prospector to handle some extra work.
There were more than a handful of solid proposals that I was impressed with, so you should have no trouble finding the right fit on Upwork.
How to Hire
With Link Prospecting being a fairly entry level job, you’re going to get a lot of proposals when you put up your job posting on Upwork.
The better your posting, the easier it will be for you to quickly figure out which proposals are worth considering.
Here’s an exact copy of the job posting I used recently to find another prospector:
Are You an Expert Link Prospector?
Looking for an experienced link prospector to join my team and help find link opportunities for multiple different websites/niches.
Opportunity for long term work if you do a good job.
You will be given a Google Doc with detailed instructions on how to do the link prospecting – so you must be able to read and understand English so you can follow the instructions.
You will be mainly link prospecting for Guest Post opportunities, but you should have knowledge in prospecting for other link types like:
– resource pages
– broken links
– sponsored posts
Preference to someone who can speak good English, and is creative in finding link opportunities.
In your proposal please tell me a little bit about your knowledge and experience with link prospecting so that I can feel confident in hiring you.
No copy and paste templates please. I want to see your personality 🙂
Here are a few screening questions you can add to your job listing as well that’ll help get more info out of the proposals:
- What link types do you have experience link prospecting for?
- What’s your strategy for finding a link prospects email address if they don’t have it displayed on their website?
- On average, how many hours would you estimate to find 50 guest post link prospects?
For question two – you’re looking for answers like “checking their social media accounts” or “using software/chrome extension like Hunter.io” or any other creative methods.
For the third question – this will help you estimate your costs for this specific link prospector (multiplying their hourly rate with how many hours they put down here).
It’ll also help you gauge how fast/slow the prospector might be. A good prospector on average will take between 2-3 hours to find 50 prospects. Of course there are other variables that could increase/decrease the time, like difficulty of the niche, but anything around that range is good.
Once you pick out the best proposal(s), run them through a trial of finding 10-20 prospects and make your decision based off their performance.
Your Outreach Manager is going to be the one who handles all the email pitches/replies when reaching out to the websites our Link Prospector found.
They’re Responsible For:
- Double checking that the link prospect is worth reaching out to.
- Managing every outreach email.
- Negotiating with prospects when they ask for money.
- Corresponding with content creators to fulfill content needs.
- Proofreading and editing content.
- Tracking each link prospects stage of the outreach process.
Where to Find
If you haven’t already caught on, Upwork is a good place to start when looking for an outreach manager for your team.
You can also try hiring locally (my girlfriend is my outreach manager), using sites like Craigslist/Kijiji. Since you’ll typically want someone who speaks perfect English and can work during the same timezone as you.
Another good method for finding an outreach manager is to search for small to medium sized bloggers in your niche(s), and propose your job offer to the writers of these blogs.
They’re usually already familiar with how outreach works, and possess the necessary writing and communication skills.
How to Hire
For posting a job offer on sites like Upwork, use this:
Outreach Manager for SEO Link Building Wanted
Looking for someone who’s able to manage the outreach process of our link building
At its core you will be sending and replying to emails daily with the end goal of getting a link on the websites you are in contact with.
The types of link building we primarily focus on are:
– Guest Posts
– Sponsored Posts
– Resource Pages
– Broken Link Building
– Link Reclamation
The ideal candidate:
– Has a basic understanding of SEO and how link building plays its role
– Can read and speak perfect English
– Is available to work during regular North American business hours
– Can create positive relationships through email
– Has experience with Google Sheets
– Has some level of sales/persuasion/negotiation skills
– Can proofread and handle small content edits
– Is proactive and works well independently
– Can handle managing dozens of email conversations at the same time
– Can manage and communicate with our content creators when content is needed
At a high level this is what you will be doing:
– Analyzing and vetting websites from a list in order to make sure they meet our criteria
– Sites that meet our criteria you will send the appropriate outreach email template (with minor customizations you come up with if necessary)
– Manage replies and follow up emails
– Communicate content needs with our content creators
– Track and record the status of each site we’re in contact with in Google Sheets
There are a few other tasks that fit within the process that we’ll bring you up to speed on when hired. Everything you’ll be doing we have training documents for.
If this sounds like something you’d be great at, then please apply!
In your proposal let us know of any experience you have that’s related to this job.
Once the proposals start rolling in, pick out the top candidate(s) and get them familiar with the Outreach Manager process before giving them a trial.
Rates: $20-$200+ (per content)
For the most part, Content Creators are going to be the writers you use for link building methods like guest posts.
If you ever utilize infographics for link building, then a graphic designer would fall under the content creator category as well.
But since writers are used much more frequently than a graphic designer, we’ll be focusing on the writers for this section.
The Writers Are Responsible For:
- Coming up with topic ideas for each link prospect that wants an article submitted.
- Writing the articles that get chosen based off those ideas they came up with.
- Making any edits requested for the articles.
- Knowing how to include contextual links within the content they write.
Where to Find
You can find writers everywhere. If you’re already using Upwork to hire the other members of your link building team, then I’d recommend sticking to Upwork for this as well for familiarity sake.
You can also use a similar method that was recommended for finding your Outreach Manager – which was searching for blogs in your niche(s), finding quality content, then contacting the writers of that content with your proposal.
How to Hire
The hiring process is a little different for a writer for a few reasons…
You’re hiring for an as-needed basis
The only time you’re in contact with and paying for writers is when we need content written for our link building purposes.
You’re hiring multiple writers
Depending on how many different industries you’re working in, you’ll need a set of separate writers who specialize in those fields.
You’re hiring writers ranging from low-to-high quality of work
Not all link prospect websites are of equal quality, meaning some websites will require more generic lower quality content and others will need well researched top quality content. You’ll be assigning writers based on a 3 tier system.
3 Tier System?
Unless you’re only targeting higher authority websites for your link building campaign, your Link Prospector is going to find a wide variety of sites that range in quality (in terms of the content published on their blog).
You’ll have sites that publish lower quality, good quality, and higher quality content – labelled tier 1 through 3 respectively.
So, to make sure we’re writing the appropriate quality of content for each of those three quality types, we have at least one writer for each tier.
This helps us save money by not overspending on content that’s higher quality than necessary, and gives us confidence in being able to get published on higher authority sites.
When I say “lower quality” this doesn’t mean that the site is spammy or a bad site to get a link from. It’s just the lowest acceptable quality of content that we’re comfortable getting our link associated with.
Writer Tier Rates
The writers rates will vary between industries and content length but below is a good guideline based on my experiences.
- Tier 1 – average from $20-$40
- Tier 2 – average from $40-$80
- Tier 3 – average from $80-$200+
Job Post Template
Use this template to find content writers for your link building team:
Writers wanted who can write on the topic of [your niche]
Looking for writers who have experience writing content related to the [your niche] industry.
Primarily content related to [subtopics of your niche that are related to your link bait].
Here’s more specifically what I’m looking for:
1. I have sites that I’m in contact with that want articles published on their blog
2. They want to be pitched 1-3 topic ideas before deciding on which one they like best
3. Whichever topic they choose I need to get written
I’m looking for someone who can help out with points 2 and 3.
I’ll send you the URL of the site I need topic ideas for -> You quickly check out their existing content and come up with ideas -> I pitch the ideas -> Whichever idea gets picked you’ll write (ghost written).
Every topic idea will need to be thematically relevant to the [your niche] industry.
This will be ongoing work, and I have sites right now ready to go, so please apply if this is something you’re interested in.
Get samples of each writers quality of writing, along with their rates, then make sure to choose at least one writer that falls within each of the 3 tiers.
Your Outsourced Link Building Team is Ready to Go!
Now that you’ve figured out how to put together an outsourced link building team, the next step is to get them trained on individual link building methods.
It’s best to focus on one or two methods first when training your team. Realistically, you can usually get away with just mastering guest posts to get the type of ranking results you’re gunning for.
So that’s what I’d recommend; get your guest post link strategy down and you’ll find yourself with an endless amount of link building opportunities, no matter how many sites you’re building links for.
If you need help with the guest post strategy, then stay tuned. My next post will be a complete guide on how to manage your team to build guest post links for you.
Thanks for dropping by! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.