Why in the world would someone who earns a living building links write that you need to stop hiring other people to build your links and start doing it yourself?
Because that’s what’s in your best interest.
If you hope to survive this down economy, and thrive long term once things improve, now is a great time (while things are slow) to learn everything you can to become self-sufficient at the many aspects of link building. Stop thinking you have to pay a third party to build links for you. I can tell you with confidence that you can learn the linking skills that need to be learned for your particular situation and site.
There are almost as many link building tactics as there are companies selling them. Google lists over a million. On more than one occasion, I have pretended to be in need of link building services just to engage in an email dialogue with a firm selling linking services, just to see what they did (or didn’t) know. It’s truly scary. Companies selling useless services who don’t know those services are useless. Or maybe they do. When you can’t trust that the company you are hiring knows what they are doing, in many cases you end up with a worse inbound link profile than you would have if you’d done no link building at all.
Learning to do it yourself has the added benefit of making you more comfortable with the link building process as it evolves, and it will evolve. It’s easy to be confused by something like social bookmark links when you aren’t comfortable with more basic tactics yet. And who knows what new tactics will emerge in the coming years?
Link building and its counterpart, online publicity, must be seen as ongoing activity to be performed on a regular basis over time, not a one time fix. The more you learn about it, the more confident you become in deploying budgets and selecting strategies.
This is not to imply that you wont need some help along the way. Far from it. There are specialists in many areas of link building that can provide tremendous value to you as advisers, and there’s nothing wrong with paying certain third parties for specific services where there expertise is obvious and verifiable. The key is to involve yourself along the way. Watch while they work. Ask for rationale, etc. If a tactic is recommended, seek an explanation why.
To start or improve your in-house linking efforts, I suggest getting a little help from someone who can be trusted to tell you what you need to know, for your particular situation. A link building expert or consultant to guide you through the key parts of the process, from link analysis, competitive research, tactical and target site selection, tracking, etc.
I seek advice regularly on the specialized areas I know, but don’t know well enough. Don’t be too proud to admit you need advice. By doing so, we so-called “experts” stay sharp, and can help you create an in-house link building blueprint or plan, from strategy selection through execution.
This approach saves you thousands of dollars on useless generic link building services, and focuses on your site and your specific needs. I’ve noticed that most people I train end up getting it far faster than they’d expected, and don’t need me at all after very short time. That’s the best case scenario. Not for us professional link builders, but for you.
And that’s what matters.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.