Every business has one challenge in 2024: to gain authority and relevance in search engines and trust in their customers. This means that every business that has a website, is inevitably in competition with others for top positions on Google.
In fact, according to Backlinko, the number 1 SERP result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions from 2-10.
Inevitably, link-building extends its value to businesses in the digital sphere, and a link building expert becomes irreplaceable in their role. But what exactly does a link building specialist do, and what does it take to thrive in this role?
A linkbuilder has a key responsibility in building a reasonable backlink profile for websites. Their role involves several technical responsibilities, as well as those that require nuanced soft skills.
The human aspect in this profession is huge, and in this article, we talk about everything you need to know about the role of a link building expert. We discuss the key qualities of link-builders and how you can become one in this age.
What Does a Link Building Specialist Do?
Link builders specialize in building high-quality backlink profiles for the websites they work with.
A link building expert plays a major role in contributing to a company’s SEO efforts, and not only. That’s because link building remains one of the most effective strategies for building authority for your website according to Google. It’s also extremely beneficial for increasing a website’s traffic, building a brand, and simply, ranking higher on Google.
Link building specialist’s responsibilities may range from creating campaigns and strategies to conducting outreach, depending on the company’s requirements. Before starting to think about building links, a link-building expert first evaluates a business’s needs and does a competitive analysis.
Main Responsibilities of a Link Building Specialist
A link building expert follows a clear strategy and constantly monitors their efforts.
The roadmap of backlink building involves the following key responsibilities:
- Establishing and maintaining clear and effective communication with contacts/partners,
- Researching and assessing the quality and relevance of potential websites for building backlinks,
- Crafting extra-personalized link building outreach emails and sending requests,
- Finding the most suitable placements for clients and partners so that the link exchange goes smoothly,
- Creating partnership spreadsheets to track requests,
- Auditing contact lists,
- Finding new link-building opportunities,
- Maintaining activity on several online channels that are great for link-building opportunities, namely, Slack, LinkedIn, and Email.
Although there are no shortcuts to becoming a link building expert, below we compiled a list of skills that you should consider non-negotiable for this position. Thus, let us discuss what it takes for a link building expert to thrive in their role and build amazing links in the next section of this article.
7 Essential Link Building Specialist Skills
So as long as there’s Google and as long as businesses want Google to find and rank their website, they’re going to need link-builders.
But what do you need to succeed as a link building specialist?
Let’s find it out below!
Ability to Build Relationships Before Links
Being a link-building specialist means being an excellent communicator first. That one requires a lot of resources from you – time and energy, to be precise. But you have to have innate interpersonal skills for this role, or you have to diligently work on them. You must be able to make friends easily and establish meaningful connections.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that building lasting relationships is crucial for building quality links. On a typical day, a linkbuilder communicates with more than 50 people. They communicate with partner link-builders, copywriters, SEO specialists, and others.
With each of these people, especially with partners, a link building expert should manage to keep the communication going smoothly and flawlessly.
So how does one do that?
Know the ins and outs of conveying a message with the right words. The other side must get your point. The latter is the formula for being considered a reliable partner. You should never speak in complex terms or manipulate your partners in any shape or form.
Treat your partner like a human. Over the years, link-builders can maintain partnerships for more than 2 years. Apart from building links, they always know that they’re working with humans. Your policy should never be to ghost partners or rush them. You should prioritize learning about their deadlines as well.
Look at your collaboration as a long-term game. Make sure to stay in touch with your partners in the most genuine and transparent ways. Empathy plays a huge role in a link-builder’s job.
You should prioritize keeping up with them constantly to be aware of delays or possible difficulties. As a result, over time, you’ll learn how to prioritize building relationships before building links since link building is all about mutual benefit and building trust in your contacts. Partnerships should be win-win, benefiting all parties involved. You must show interest, and offer your partner help first before demanding help yourself.
You Should Have a Basic Understanding of SEO
The process of building links falls under the scope of search engine optimization (SEO.) Thus, understanding foundational concepts in this domain is a must for every link building specialist.
It’s great to be able to look at your job and analyze its potential issues from a bird’s eye view. And link building experts are excellent at this. They know what works best to improve your website’s performance and domain rating.
For example, below you can use Ahref’s free extension to check metrics such as DR (domain rating), number of backlinks – do follow and no follow percentages, and linking websites by:
- Inserting a certain domain name in the empty field.
- Pressing the “Check Authority” button.
- Exploring the results.
Aside from the Domain Rating (DR), you should also analyze traffic using Ahrefs when checking the health and toxicity of a website.
In order to assess the quality of a website, you cannot rely only on DR. Make sure the website’s traffic is stable and doesn’t show major fluctuations to determine whether it is reliable.
The knowledge of keyword research and on-page optimization helps link builders pick the right and relevant keywords for targeting. These days, relevancy is one of the key focuses of search engines without which chances of ranking higher are pretty low.
The knowledge of site structure, on the other hand, helps a link building specialist ensure that websites are properly crawlable.
As a link building expert, you should also master the perception of nofollow-do-follow attributes of links, web domains, how to identify the quality of links and webpages, Google link scheme guidelines, and so on.
Your Ability to Manage Time Should Stand out
Time management is one of the most important skills to have in every aspect of life, as well as in link building. Time is an extremely valuable resource in link-building, and managing time effectively is crucial.
As a linkbuilder, you have several types of responsibilities and deliverables each day. You also have a lot of waiting involved in your daily activities. Thus, depending on the priority of those tasks, you have to learn how to allocate your time to each of them.
To master time management as a link building expert, try incorporating the following actionable tips:
Keep a physical journal or a digital planner for your tasks. Write down your assignments and daily priorities in it, and keep them in sight to avoid procrastination. Sometimes it can be hard to memorize all the small details related to your tasks due to their complexity.
Split the day into a few parts and dedicate each part to a certain type of task. Consider when it is during the day that you’re more productive and work on the most prioritized tasks at those productive hours.
Link-building involves communication via multiple channels. Therefore, always set time limits for each channel so that you don’t spend too much time on one channel. As a link builder, you should know – your inboxes tend to always be full which can result in focusing on one channel and neglecting other channels. Depending on their priority, devote time to each channel.
You Must Have an Analytical Mind
Implementing a strategy and measuring its effectiveness requires a distinctive mindset. Link builders are data-driven and rely heavily on data to implement the right tactics in their campaigns.
Link-building specialists also create frequent reports and checks that demonstrate their link-building efforts, their progress, impact, and return on investment. Thus, they master analytical tasks with great commitment.
A link building specialist must be able to view analytics and identify areas of improvement, competitive advantages, or gaps in certain areas for future planning.
You Should Know How to be Patient and Persistent
Link building requires patience and persistence in a lot of areas. It’s a necessary skill for those specialists who face the reality of not seeing immediate results. You simply can’t be impatient or anxious in this job. Partners may not respond to your messages, making you wait for hours and even days.
They may ignore and later reconnect, and they may also stop the partnership for an uncertain period of time, then come back to the partnership again. Another time you may put a lot of effort into your message to a potential client and be rejected immediately due to certain reasons such as a new competitor in the market.
But you shouldn’t get impatient or panic in these situations. There are a lot of unpredictable scenarios in link building and a lot of things outside of a link building expert’s control. That’s simply because there are several people involved in most of the processes.
Some things may take longer than expected in time. That’s exactly why approaching these situations with patience is a must so that everything goes well and great links can be built.
Persistence also comes in very handy when you have to follow up on your partners. You can’t predict what may happen in their life and when they will respond. Thus, naturally, you have to check up on them and keep the conversation going until you get what you must.
Following up on time and contributing to a positive conversation is a must for successful link-building.
You Should Work on Your Creativity and Adaptability
In order to succeed as a link building specialist, you must adapt to new trends and approaches. It’s what can help you become more creative in your job. The two skills go hand in hand.
Creativity and adaptability are necessary for a link building expert on many occasions:
- Managing client requirements for objective results
- Communicating with potential clients
- Writing creative outreach emails
- Nurturing existing relationships
- Negotiating partnerships for mutual benefit
- Shifting strategies when something goes wrong
- Coming up with a new plan of action
The list goes on and on!
Aside from what we discussed above, there are other areas that require creativity and adaptability. For example, if you consider manual tasks daunting and soul-crushing, automation can come in handy. Coming up with certain automation or outsourcing it to those who know how to do it is a creative solution and something we definitely recommend doing.
Your Teammates Must Be Able to Rely on You and Vice Versa
Link building specialists know well that link-building is not a solitary activity: it largely depends on teamwork and collaboration. Team effort is necessary when there are multiple partners working in different time zones, schedules, and mentalities.
Aiming to earn links as a team can grow your chances of working with better and more trustworthy clients, guaranteeing long-term and consistent output over time.
The following tips can help you enhance communications within teams and among team members, as well as build better partnerships.
- If you’re working in teams, make a monthly plan and distribute the deliverable links between teams.
- Within each team, make a spreadsheet for organizing pending requests for clients so that you can keep them on track. Besides, every team member can clearly see the monthly and weekly plan and organize their workload effectively.
- Based on all of this planning, come up with approximate estimations for link deliverables for every client.
- Organize weekly expectations/reality checks for each team member so that you all know whether you’ll be able to meet all the monthly deadlines.
Everyone in the team needs to know their goals and work towards those goals. As a result, the team productivity will be high, and each member will have the sense that their contribution leaves a greater impact.
To sum up, the position of a link building expert is not just a job but a blend of technical expertise and essential human skills. We’ve explored the complex world of link building by presenting the key qualities that make these experts indispensable.
First and foremost, link builders are master communicators. Building relationships is their foundation; they connect with partners, and various professionals, fostering trust and reliability. Patience and persistence are their virtues, allowing them to navigate the unpredictable nature of the industry. Time management is crucial in their world, knowing how to allocate their resources wisely.
As mentioned above, to become a link builder, there are no shortcuts; it’s a journey of continuous self-development. As a link building expert, you must embrace change, stay informed, and improve your skills.
FAQ about becoming a link building expert
Is Link building easy?
Like every other profession, it requires continuous learning and dedication, which is usually not easy, but it’s definitely doable.
How do I build a personal brand as a link building professional?
Sharing your expertise and new learnings with your network and forming a community of like-minded people is a great option. As a link-builder, a great option for that can be LinkedIn.
How long does it take to become a proficient link builder?
It depends on how long you dedicate time to developing your knowledge and skills in link-building, and how capable you are in general. On average, it takes from 6 months to a year.
How can I gain experience in link building?
Only by trying and finding opportunities where you can learn on the job. Practice is key in this profession. The more you do the more you learn.