Search engine marketing is a complex exercise, which requires an in depth understanding of how search engine works, and how people use search to find the products, services, and solutions. As an SEO professional, you may be well-aware of the algorithmic updates and the deployment of machine learning (i.e. RankBrain) by Google. This essentially means that modern SEOs have a lot to cover in order to acquire decent search visibility.
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An optimal visibility of your business or website will ensure that you attract the maximum sales and leads within the niche, and be the market leader, essentially. This is not merely a hypothetical assessment, but a fact endorsed by studies and rigorous research. Take a look at the following statics by Statista and WordStream.
Search engine marketing is a no-brainer. Every new year brings greater opportunities for search engine marketing (SEM). As the volume of search queries fielded by Google grows, the more chances you have to drive traffic to your website through the paid and organic results.
This is a million dollar question that every marketer and client ask – how do I get the best possible search ranking, and how to get it fast?
The answer to this question is not that simple since there are more than 200 search engine ranking factors. Precisely, this means that we have to consider over 200 factors in sight while planning and executing search engine marketing campaigns.
Isn’t this a tough call?
You have to have a lot of resources and people in order to take care of every tiny thing, if you wish to make things look perfect.
According to Search Engine Land, there are three factors that matter the most in search engine ranking, and it is easy to take care of them. If you are wondering what factors help you rank better on Google, the top three are:
In other words, if you are able to understand the link building process and get better links by publishing quality content, RankBrain will ultimately help you gain better organic visibility. While the trio has own uniqueness and advantages, we will stick to link building in this very post.
Backlink is a link one website gets from another website. This is a kind of reference or referral from or to a resource for something related to the text or context being linked. Links play a very important role in a website’s search ranking and performance.
Linked building practices have improved and evolved over the time period. There are a few different kinds of “link building,” and the definition depends upon your job description, role, and the way of looking at it.
As per the old school thought, link building was a typical spamming activity that aimed at garbage linking, striving to get as many backlinks as one can (dubbed as black hat). This type of cheating activities used to lead towards a definite penalty. Contrary to this, there is another school of thought that deals with quality backlinks that focuses on relationship and content syndication. This is pure whitehat and ethical practice, though many avoid this path due to the cost being involved.
While we will discuss in the later part as to why link building is expensive, let us first start by exploring the need for link building. If you wish to understand why your business or project needs to focus on links, the following points should give you enough reasons.
Link building is an important element of SEO and search rankings; however, many do not recognize their value. The following 7 points should give you enough reasons to believe the value of investing in links.
The foremost benefit is not something tangible, but it is equally important. Links are all about brand awareness and search visibility. Any business that obtains backlinks from quality websites like, it leads to more visibility and brand mentions. For example, if your business is mentioned by Forbes or Entrepreneur Magazine, the probability of being witnessed by thousands of people (or read prospects) increases.
This brand awareness, brand visibility, and brand mention is everything, if you ask any modern marketer. Why? Because I increases your potential pool of prospects and likelihood of their conversion favorable towards your brand. More importantly, the more a brand is visible, the more it is trusted by the market.
Probably the most visible and measurable element of link building is the referral traffic that you get as a result of link building campaigns. While links may sound technical stuff whose job is to help in search ranking; however, they may offer some business advantage too. For example, people visiting the links may click on those, landing on your website, and may end up being a customer. By calculating the conversion rates, you could ultimately measure the dollar value of every visiting customer – and ultimately the value of every link.
While search rankings are a matter of diversified skills and complexity, MoZ and other platforms have found out that links play the most important role in improving your search engine rankings.
As briefed at the beginning of this piece, Google has confirmed that links are one of the three most important ranking factors in search. As your search engine rankings improve, so does your organic traffic, and conversions. You could easily calculate the conversions and measure the dollar value of every visit and conversion.
Did you know that there is a dedicated discipline of ‘reputation management’ that is specifically tasked to take care of the business reputation. One of the best ways to improve your brand’s repute is to post quality content on reputed platforms, which, in turn, give more credibility and positive propagation to your business.
If you are a healthcare company, and you post health related feature in a reputed publication and how your company is adding value to the ecosystem, the ultimate beneficiary will be your business. The feature will help readers distinguish it from the rest and recognize your leadership in a certain spectrum. More, since the piece carries links to your site and cases, they will be able to visit the website and may convert into customers.
Did you know what makes organic marketing more valuable as compared to the paid one? Advertisements are temporary investments and bring short-term visibility, you vanish as soon as you stop spending. However, the organic visibility is quite the opposite. Your contents and links are permanent and stay live on the digital landscape, giving your business long-term value. As long as people will read those pieces, you will keep getting the links, referrals, and traffic. Hence, the long-term value of a backlink is much more than what it looks on paper.
If you have read Darren Hardy’s ‘The Compound Effect’, you do realize the value of compound effect. Unlike the general perception, links’ value does not reside in silos or restricted one particular niche – like SEO. As long as you keep it ethical and in line with best practices, link building increases your business value exponentially. Your search rankings are up, getting you a soaring number of organic traffic, converting more leads, and keep pushing referral traffic in the long term. And the value keeps on multiplying with link and posts’ popularity.
By now, you would have realized the value of link building exercise and why companies need to invest in links. However, one must remember that this value is only achieved if we are playing it right and as per the ethics
So what do we do then? The simplest answer is, hire professional link building and outreach service to help you get quality backlinks. If you can afford to have one in-house, well and good; however, never risk your credibility and long-term business advantage for the short term cost savings.
This leads us back to our second question, which we touched in the beginning. Why link building is expensive and why we still need to do it. In the following, we will try to understand the cost vs benefits of link building, and determine if they are a solid investment or not.
There are numerous reasons why link building exercise is expensive and many companies tend to avoid it. We are listing down a few of those.
Since we are talking about the white-hat and ethical SEO practices, the foremost and the most time-consuming activity is outreach. You need to have a good network of businesses willing to give you backlinks on their portals and to have a satisfying response and conversion rate, you also need to evaluate the website as well. This whole activity involves subscription to evaluation tools, investing time in research for sites and contact information, crafting email copies, and then using some automated or manual emailing tool for outreach. All of this requires investment of time, money and resources – that add up to the cost of link building.
To get published, you have to provide websites with quality articles and blogs. Now, writing high-quality content is itself a hectic, time-consuming and costly business. You have to invest anything between $20 to $300 for a good piece of content, coupled with editing and images and formatting costs. This cost of content production ultimately adds up to the total cost of search engine optimization and link building.
As mentioned before, tools subscription is another area that adds up to the cost of link building and marketing. Right from digging the websites to their evaluation and outreach, every step requires access/subscription to certain tools. You have to have data mining software, marketing intelligence tool, link building evaluation tool, email marketing tool, and content checking (grammar & plagiarism) tools. All of this is usually not FREE and requires some subscription to premium digital marketing tools.
While there is absolutely no doubt that link building and outreach is an expensive element, we still believe it is worth investment. As noted in the previous section (why you need to invest in link building) the long term cost of link building is not an expense, but an investment that brings in quite a positive return. Therefore, you must invest in link building.
However, if you do not have outreach resources or lack certain expertise, you can always hire outreach experts and rely on their expertise. These agencies offer a comprehensive set of solutions that are tailored to client’s needs and cost much lower as compared to what could be the cost in-house. Since these outreach agencies have dedicated teams and already a great network of publishing partners, their time and pace of execution is way better as compared to what you may do in-house.