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Ep. 15 Hiring an SEO Company

Create The Movement Podcast #15

Brad Post, Create the Movement: Hello. This is Brad Post, and I am with my co-host, Josh Rich.

Josh Rich, Create the Movement: Good morning everyone.

B: We are continuing our Tuesday Marketing Tips. Right?

J: Yes, sir.

B: So, how are you doing, Josh?

J: Doing well, Brad. How are you?

B: I’m doing well.

J: Excellent. So, today, we’re going to be talking about, really, two main topics. Using link-building software. And, then, we’re going to talk about, kind of, what to do if you’re going to hire a company to build links for you. It’s a little different.

So, the first one is kind of the DIY version. It’s just buying some software, and paying for links yourself. Versus, just paying someone else to do it.

B: Okay.

J: So, there’s a couple of things, if you’re going to do it yourself, there’s some really good tools you can use. For one, whenever you start, you need to have some sort of a link management system.

B: Okay.

J: Because if you’re going to be emailing bloggers and signing up for directory listings you need to make sure that you stay organized. Otherwise, you’re just going to be all over the place, and you’re not going to figure out what you have already done, and you’ll end up doing double work.

B: Just like an Excel spreadsheet?

J: Yeah. That’s kind of like the basic version. You use an excel spreadsheet. Or, you can just actually sign up for some paid-link building software. That’s a little bit better because it will give some analytics on it.

So, the first one you can use is, is what we use, is Raven Tools.

B: Okay.

J: That will tell you, kind of like, what status you’re at. And it will give you some analytics, like I said, on the link, to let you know what the domain authority is. To just let you know if it’s worth pursuing, or not.

B: Okay, perfect.

J: Another site you can use, it won’t necessarily manage link, but if you’re just curious if it’s a good link worth pursuing or not, is SpyFu. And it will just give you some readouts on how much traffic they get, what the domain authority is, and how much people trust that link.

B: Okay.

J: And then there’s another software you can use to kind of just check for new prospects. To just kind of give you some ideas. And it’s called Ontolo. O-N-T-O-L-O. Not sure if I’m saying that right, or not. Like I said, that will just kind of give you some ideas where to look for links.

And, then, once you kind of figured out what you want to do. You can use a software called Word Tracker. And that

B: Word Tracker?

J: Yeah, Word Tracker. And that will just kind of give you ideas on how to proposition the websites. On how to go about, like just, sending the initial email to try to get your link on their site. How to just make the “ask” basically.

B: Okay.

J: So, those are all, you know, really good softwares you can use. And, so, another way to do this too, is just flat-out buying links. And, today, that’s probably something you’re just going to have to do if you’re going to do backlinking. Unfortunately, just people know about SEO now, so they’re going to charge you for it. So, there’s a couple of things you should be aware of. A couple of ways you should go about that. First, of all, one good idea to do, is to look up to see if your competitors are using paid links. And again, you can use SpyFu for that. And if you’re paid links, then you can probably get away with not doing it too. Especially, if you’re already ranking higher than them. But, you know, if you have competitors that are just 10 links ahead of you, and they’ve got tons of paid links, that’s probably why they’re ahead of you.

B: And you use SpyFu, and also, Open Site Explorer?

J: Yep. Yeah. You can use both of those to figure out kind of what your competition is doing. And that’s really a good place to start. So, that way you can at least know if you’re keeping up with the “Jonses.”

B: Okay. The paid links, for example, we work with a lot of attorneys. And so, the FindLaw directory is a paid link. is a paid link. And some of them are kind of expensive.

J: They are expensive. And so again, I think I said this last week, too. But If you’re going to pay for a link, you need to make sure there’s some sort of analytics on that. Just make sure you’re tracking it so you know if it’s worth your investment, or not. If you’re not getting any traffic off of that, then it’s probably not the best link. Even there is giving you somewhat of a boost, you’re paying , you know, $500 a month, just to get that link on there without any traffic to your site. Then it’s probably not worth it.

B: Yeah, that’s what we look at when a lot of clients will say, “Hey, I’m looking at renewing my FindLaw or, we’ll look at Google Analytics, and look under, the you know

J: The referrals.

B: The instant referrals. This is how many in the past year you’ve gotten. You know?

J: Right.

B: Okay, good.

B: Yeah. That’s something you want to look at – whether they’re paying for that, or not.  And so, there’s some debate, you know, we talked about paid links vs. free links, or organic links, if you will. Because some will tell you that a paid link is not weighted as much as an organic link. And there is some truths to that. But overall, a search engine can’t really tell if it’s paid, or not, most of the time if it’s done properly. And I’m not referring to what are called, like. ‘link farms’ where you just sign, you pay $20, and they give you a 100 links.

B: Yeah…those are scary.

J: Those are scary because those could potentially penalize you. And there’s some debate on that, too. On whether or not it actually does penalize you, or it’s just ignored. But at the very least, they are ignored.

B: Okay.

J: There is some debate because, you know, they reward you for having backlinks, but then they could penalize you for having bad backlinks. So, then, what if you just signed your competitor up? For bad links? That was somewhat of a halfway legitimate strategy a couple of years ago. But it’s definitely considered foul play, nowadays. And, so, that’s why people are kind of debating, “Does that really penalize you?” Because Google knows that people are doing this: they’re trying to get their competitors these bad links. So, it’s not really fair to penalize people. So, there is some debate on whether it’s just ignored, or penalizes your site.

B: Okay.

J: But, at the very least, it’s definitely ignored. So, don’t, anytime, really just anytime there’s some sort of a link farm that promises some sort of ‘magic bullet.’ You know? Get you a 1000 links, and you’ll go the top page in three days. It’s going to be scam.

B: You need to run. Don’t pay the money.

J: Yeah. Run away. Yeah exactly. Definitely.

B: It’ll hurt. Can you expand on organic links a little bit?

J: Yeah, so and organic link would be, say we work with lawyers. Say there’s someone that just writes like a criminal law blog, that kind of keeps up with different changes in criminal law in your state, or your town. So, we would email this blogger, and say, “Hey, we have a criminal defense lawyer in your area. Could be a really good resource for you. Would you mind us like, maybe writing a guest blog you? In exchange, all we want is to put our url below it as a site. That would be an organic link.

B: Okay.

J: It happens naturally. Or, it could even happen so organically that you don’t even have to ask. They just, you have such good content on your website that they go, find it, and link back to it naturally.

B: Oh, okay.

J: That’s like the Holy Grail of a backlink. Is just having what’s called clickbait. We kind of talked about last week, about having such good content that people can’t help but link back to it.

B: Okay.

J: So, that’s like the original idea of what a backlink should be. And kind of what Google was kind of going for when they started the backlink system. But it’s kind of evolved into this whole giant mess that we have to deal with now.

B: Right.

J: But, yes, ideally you want to make it really organic. That’s what the search engine is ultimately looking for.

B: Okay.

J: So, if you are going to pay for links, like we said, you make it look halfway organic. So, you know, like we said, we don’t want to get like a 1000 links a day. Because even if they are on credible websites, it’s going to look suspicious. That does not look organic. Google know you can’t possibly get that many links in a day. Especially, if it’s all from like the same IP address, the same type of urls, it’s going to be a problem. So, that’s kind of all there is really on link software, and buying links.

B: Okay.

J: But make sure you compare. Make sure you’re buying into some sort of snake-oil thing. Because there’s a lot of ways to do it wrong if you do it yourself.

B: Okay.

J: And so, then there’s so “do’s and don’ts” of hiring a backlink company to do it for you. And this really applies for all SEO, I would say. And there’s a couple things that people would do. For one, like, transparency is really big. Because there is a lot of snake oil tricks you can use if you wanted too. So, make sure the company, is like, telling you what they’re doing.

B: Like what links they’re building for you?

J: Right. Definitely. Definitely get a list of links. So, that way you can check to make sure they’re not on some, you know, shady site. They are relevant.

B: What do you suggest if the company says, “No, that’s proprietary. I can’t”

J: I would fire them immediately. Get your money back. Because odds are they’re either just not doing anything for you, or they’re doing the wrong thing for you.

B: Right. Okay.

J: If they can’t justify it, then it’s probably not a good thing to do.

B: And we at Create the Movement, we supply them with reports and links we’re building.

J: Yes, absolutely. We try to be as transparent as possible. Another thing too, is there’s a lot of ways that, like, SEO people can talk over your head, and use a lot of big terms. That, like, you probably don’t understand; you’re kind of lost in translation. And so, I actually wrote a couple of weeks ago just kind of defining some basic terms. So, I suggest either reading my blog, or just looking at some basic SEO terms to kind of familiarize yourself just so you know what they’re saying.

B: It’s

J: Terms. Yes. So, check that out. And, just familiar, like I said, I guess a good example would be if an electrician comes to your house to fix something. You know? And they just give you the bill. You’re not going to pay that. You don’t need to understand how they did it. But you need to know what they did. So, that way you prevent it from happening in the future. You can kind of just be aware of that.

I think it’s the same thing with SEO. You don’t need to understand everything that they’re doing for you. Or, how they’re doing it. The way they’re going about it. You at least need to know some sort of a progress report. So, definitely try to figure out, get some idea of what they’re doing. So, really, transparency is the biggest thing. And make sure they’re doing it the right way.

Another good thing to do is to try to get some of their work. Say, “All right. What clients do you have? And are they ranking well?” If they can’t supply you with that, then they’re probably not doing that good of a job for their clients.

B: Right.

J: So, ask for some screenshots, or do the searches yourself. Ask for the name of the client, and ask for the keyword the company’s try to get them to rank for, and do it yourself. Just give them a little test.

Anytime you pay for any links or SEO just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t just trust them to do it for you.

B: Good. Good stuff. Awesome. Anything else Josh?

J: I think that’s it for today Brad.

B: So, link-building software, and what to look for in hiring a backlink company. We don’t consider ourselves a backlink company. We build backlinks. Right?

J: It’s part of our services, but not something we do exclusively.

B: Right. If you want more information about us. Go to Thanks for listening.

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