7 Link Building Services That Actually Work [2019 Reviews]

7 Link Building Services That Actually Work

Need high quality backlinks… but you’re too busy to build them yourself?

If so, you’re in the right place.

Because in today’s post I’m going to show you 7 link building services that actually work in 2019.

That way, you can find the best option for you and your business.

Let’s jump right in…

First, 4 Link Building Services To Avoid At All Costs

Over the years I’ve tested 25+ different SEO service providers.

And most of them let me down.

(That’s why I decided to learn SEO on my own. But that’s another story 🙂 )

As it turns out, there are a handful of link building services that simply do NOT work.

So before I share my favorites, let me quickly show you what to avoid.

Anything on Fiverr

When it comes to SEO, Fiverr is a HUGE waste of money.

(As the old saying goes: “you get what you pay for”).

And I should know.

I’ve bought over 850 Fiverr gigs:

Brian – Fiverr gigs

To be fair:

Not all these gigs were for SEO stuff. But most were.

In fact, looking back, most of the gigs I bought looked like this:

Brian – SEO Fiverr gig

Some of these gigs worked OK back in the day.

But in 2019? They’re completely useless.

Moving right along…

Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

When I first got started with SEO, I loved private blog networks.

I even built my own PBN… and bought links from other people’s PBNs.

PBN seller

PBNs worked until 2017, when Google cracked down on them.

Google – PBN crackdown

Not only does the algorithm now filter out most PBN backlinks…

…but Google also manually deindexes any network that gets on their radar screen.

(Which means all of those links you just bought are now completely worthless)

Avoid.

Paid Guest Posts

There’s a place for guest posting in a white hat SEO campaign.

(More on that later)

But that doesn’t include paid guest post links.

Why?

Two reasons:

First, sites that demand payment for guest post placements are usually shady.

Do you think a legit site (like TechCrunch or Mashable) would ask you to pay 50 bucks to publish your post?

Of course not.

Second, paid links go against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines when it comes to link building.

Webmaster Guidelines – Link building

Which means that paying for guest post “placements” or “editorial review” can get your site penalized.

Which leads us to…

“Push Button” Backlinks

In other words:

  • Blog comments
  • Article directories
  • Web 2.0 sites
  • Directories

Basically: if you can buy 100+ backlinks with the push of a button, you’re buying spammy links.

(Spammy links that can do more harm than good)

That’s why I recommend steering clear of most “link building packages”.

Last up, we have…

Press Releases

Press releases used to work GREAT for link building.

But those days are long gone.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop people offering “press release distribution” as some sort of SEO service:

Press release distribution

Today, most links in press releases are nofollowed:

Milka press release

Plus, Google has even come out and said that they “ignore” links in press releases:

Google:

With that out of the way, it’s time for the good stuff:

The 7 best link building services for 2018.

1. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

What It Is:

HARO is a service that journalists use to find sources and quotes from experts.

HARO

And if you become a source for their story, you can get a backlink to your site.

How it works:

First, register as a source on the HARO website:

HARO – Sign up

When you do, you’ll get three emails per day with “Queries”.

HARO – Query emails

A query is a quote, statistic, strategy or case study that the journalist needs to finish their story.

All you need to do is reply to their query with something useable…

Brian – HARO reply

…and you have a good chance of getting featured.

Cost:

Plans range from free to $149/month.

HARO – Pricing

If you want to reply to the occasional query, go with the free plan.

But if you’re serious about getting placements, I recommend testing one of their paid plans.

Why?

Paid plans come with cool features… like early access to queries and keyword alerts.

Pros:

  • You can get AMAZING links from popular news sites and blogs.
    For example, I got this link from Entrepreneur (DA92) from a HARO query:

    Entrepreneur – HARO link
  • Compared to most other link building services, HARO is dirt cheap (or even free).
  • The vast majority of links that you get are from legit sites. So you don’t need to worry about black hat links or Google penalties.
  • You can get started FAST (literally today).

Cons:

  • Replying to HARO queries is a GRIND. If you want a chance to getting featured on a big site, you need to stay on top of queries and reply right away.
  • No “set it and forget it” option. You or someone from your team needs to do all the legwork.
  • Most of the links you get from HARO will point to your homepage, like this:
    Forbes – HARO link to homepage

    Which means this isn’t a great option for building links to internal pages (like services pages and blog posts).

2. Content Marketing Agencies

What It Is:

An agency that does one thing:

Produces content for your company blog.

How it works:

Content marketing agencies work one of two ways:

#1: Pay they agency a monthly fee… and they write a set number of articles per month.

This content can range from a handful of 500-word blog posts to a single piece of “WOW” content… like a 4,000-word definitive guide.

#2: Pay a set fee for a piece of content.

(For example, $2k for a single long-form blog post)

Cost:

Varies widely.

But most content marketing agencies charge at least $1k/month. Depending on scope, this figure can go all the way up to $10k+ per month.

Agency prices

That said, you definitely get what you pay for. If your budget is $500 for 5 blog posts, don’t expect anything special.

That’s why I recommend working with agencies that focus on quality over quantity. That way, you can get the most out of your monthly investment.

Pros:

  • Building links with content marketing can work REALLY well. In fact, most of the links that I’ve built to this blog (228K) have come directly from publishing great content.
    Backlinko – Backlinks
  • This is as white hat as it gets. There’s no need to worry about shady stuff that could get your site penalized in the long-term.
  • You get lots of “bonus” benefits from publishing awesome content… like traffic from social media and brand awareness.

Cons:

  • Content marketing services ≠ SEO services. So if you need someone to do keyword research or on-page SEO, you’re out of luck.
  • Some content marketing agencies deliver mediocre “me too” content. If you want your content to stand out and get links, it needs to be AMAZING. Despite that, most agencies still offer worthless “10 blog posts per month” packages.
  • Your fee may or may not include content promotion. If not, you’ll need to get the word out yourself.

3. Blogger Outreach Services

What It Is:

An individual or agency that promotes your content using manual link building and blogger outreach.

How it works:

The agency does the dirty work of identifying bloggers to reach out to, finding their email addresses, contacting them, and following up.

(Some agencies also let you tap into their existing rolodex of bloggers and editors)

Cost:

Most outreach-focused link building agencies charge a flat fee for every link that they build.

(Expect to pay around $200 for quality links)

Blogger outreach fees

That said, there are a handful of link builders that charge a monthly retainer or hourly fee.

Pros:

  • If you ONLY want backlinks, this is probably the service for you.
  • Email outreach is a super white hat approach to link building (assuming that you don’t spam people).
  • You tend to get quality, white hat links. Google wants to see contextual links on related websites. And blogger outreach is one of the best way to get these solid gold links.
  • You only pay for results. Sure, paying 200 bucks for a link may seem expensive. But at least you got SOMETHING for your effort. Most SEO companies and content agencies offer no such guarantee.

Cons:

  • Most link building companies (like FatJoe) don’t offer comprehensive SEO services. So if you need full-scale SEO help, this isn’t a great option for you.
  • Shady providers add your link to one of their PBN websites and pass it off as “outreach”. Closely inspect your links to make sure they some from REAL websites.
  • You need to publish your own content. Bloggers won’t link to crappy content (why would they?). Which means you’ll need high-quality content on your site BEFORE you start with outreach.

4. SEO Agency

What It Is:

A full-scale agency that handles all of your SEO needs… including link building.

How it works:

You hire the agency and they optimize your site for search engines. This usually includes some sort of link building component.

Cost:

All over the map.

You can find discount SEO agencies out there for $200/month.

$200/month agency

Or you can go with an agency that works with Fortune 500 companies… and pay $20-$50k/month.

That said, most SEO agencies charge anywhere from $1k ro $5k/month.

Pros:

  • They take care of everything. No need to write content. Or find keywords. Just write your check, give them your URL, and you’re done.
  • Agencies do their work with your SEO goals in mind. For example, they’ll produce a piece of content design to get links… AND make sure that it’s optimized around your target keyword.

Cons:

  • Most SEO agencies are useless (sad but true). They do some basic optimization… then charge you every month for mediocre content and links.
  • They’re not focused on links. Yup, most agencies build links. But they also do everything else required to rank in Google (mobile optimization, content, etc.). Which means: only a small % of your budget goes towards link building.

5. Guest Posting Services

What It Is:

You hire an agency to write and publish guest posts on your behalf.

(With a link back to your site)

How it works:

Guest post services take care of the MANY steps involved in guest posting: finding sites that accept guest posts, making a pitch, talking to editors, writing the post… and ultimately getting the post published.

It’s a time consuming process.

Cost:

Most guest post services charge a flat fee per guest post, usually between $100 and $500 (depending on the Domain Authority of the site). For example, The Hoth charges $200 for a single DA 30 link:

The Hoth – Guest post link

Pros:

  • You get legit links (kind of). Google doesn’t want you to build “large-scale” links from guest posts. However, in my experience, publishing a few guest posts on relevant sites is totally safe and can help give you a rankings boost.
  • A guest post on a big site in your niche can send you LOTS of referral traffic. For example, look at this spike in my site’s traffic after I published a guest post on the Buffer blog:
    Guest post traffic
  • Pay per link model. Just like with outreach services, you only pay when you get a guest post published.

Cons:

  • Fake guest posts are a real problem. Some guest blogging services write a crappy guest post and publish it on a site in their PBN.
  • Like I mentioned, Google doesn’t want you to see “large-scale” guest posting. So this approach isn’t scalable. If more than 5-10% of your link profile if made up of guest post links, you’re at risk of a penalty.

6. PR Agency

What It Is:

An agency focused on getting your company mentioned in the press.

How it works:

PR agencies usually work with you to create a newsworthy story that they can pitch to media outlets. This can be your product (if it’s interesting enough) or something that you published on your site (like an industry study).

Cost:

Most PR agencies work with a monthly retainer model.

PR agencies that work with small businesses tend to charge between $2k-$15k/month.

That said, there are PR pros that sell one-off packages, like press kits:

Press kit PR package

Pros:

  • You can get some VERY high quality backlinks. A successful PR campaign can land you links from household name sites, like Forbes and Fast Company.
  • They do all of the grunt work. Pitching journalists is no fun. Most agencies get their hands dirty so you don’t have to.
  • You tap into an existing network. Most PR firms have contacts at big sites that they can leverage for coverage.

Cons:

  • Most PR firms don’t focus on links. So you might get a “mention” or “placement” on a big site… only to find that they didn’t link to you in the story:
    Mention without a link
  • PR comes with no guarantees. You might be the toast of the town… or find yourself with a single link from a second-tier site.
  • Public relations is an EXPENSIVE process. PR firms usually charge 2-3x more than SEO agencies.

7. Infographic Design Company

What It Is:

A company that creates infographics or other forms of visual content.

(With the goal of getting backlinks)

How it works:

Most infographic agencies take care of the entire process: coming up with a topic, finding data and designing the infographic.

Infographic agency services

But you can also hire a graphic designer to turn your content into an infographic.

Cost:

For a full-service infographic service, you’re looking at $2k-$4k.

If you just want your infographic designed, that’s around $1k-$2k.

Pros:

  • Infographics don’t work as well as they used to… but they’re still a GREAT way to build backlinks.
  • No monthly retainer or ongoing commitment. In most cases, you pay per infographic.
  • It’s very hands off. You don’t need to be super-involved in the process.

Cons:

  • Most infographic services don’t include promotion. So it’s on you to get the word out.
  • Infographics are very hit or miss. Some go viral. Others fall completely flat. Which means you may need to publish 2-3 infographics before your first big hit.

Conclusion

So those are the 7 link building services that I recommend.

As you saw, there are pros and cons of each.

That said:

These are definitely your best options.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

What’s your experience been with outsourcing link building?

Good? Bad? Somewhere in between?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

17 Comments

    1. Good call, Phil. I’ve been on a bunch of podcasts but haven’t tried a service. I might try one and update the post.

  1. Brian, I was reading this as both a customer and a provider of some of these services. You are right on the nose for what works and what doesn’t anymore (and I’ve tried them all) I need to use this as a guide! Thank you.

  2. Great Post Brian!

    I would suggest people to stay away from these “blogger outreach services”, all the 6 other options are fantastic suggestions though!

    The so-called “Blogger Outreach Services” don’t do Outreach by prospecting for pages on Google, finding their contact details and then reaching out.

    Instead, they have relationships with bloggers & Blogs (with little traffic) who they pay to insert a link in their existing posts. And if a blogger is willing to insert a link to whoever they ask for, you can guess how low the blog will be.

    Citation building services (for local business sites)is another good option!

  3. Love this post, Brian! That is why I started a company literally called Full Scale SEO to help with this exact process. Manual outreach is the only way to go. Finding broken links, outdated guides, promoting original skyscraper content, and making infographics have helped our clients a bunch.

  4. Really good post mate. My pet issue is when you work with these outreach services they are super expensive and at the end of the day it could still be a PBN. You don’t know. Do you have a set of rules you used to verify a good guest post link vs a BAD PBN?

  5. Hi Brian,
    Thank you very much for sharing such a valued article. I am not an SEO expert, but I love learning about SEO. I have learned most of it by reading your articles, and watching Videos.

    Would you please be able to let me know, other than guest posting, what is the best way to create high quality back links? As you have already mentioned above that creating a large scale of backlinks from guest posts isn’t too safe. So what other methods could we use. Looking forward to hear from you. Thank you

  6. Thanks Brian. I love your guides in general and backlink building has always been my weak spot when doing SEO. I have the on-site stuff down, but finding legit ways to build links without losing a ton of time has always been elusive to me. I’ve also tried various Fiverr gigs, even ones I carefully selected that looked for real, but only to temporary benefit. Luckily I mostly tested them on myself first and not clients, but ended up borking my rankings a bit doing it.

    I’ll give these suggestions a try.

  7. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for the valuable suggestions!
    I recently started with guest blogging outreach, however, even if the websites don’t mention about any service fee, it turns out they do when I email them. And yes, PBN site are a big big NO. Talking about HARO, I have started replying to niche markets and I haven’t had a luck, maybe because it is a free platform. What would be your take on e-commerce or fintech website, if I have to build links for them? Let’s say the website has more than 100,000 pages, where I have to build links for one of their product. What would be your recommendation on building links for a product?

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17 Comments