If you are beyond just having a single site and have a full army of sites that you are ranking then it might be time to hire some link builders. Don’t listen to all the SEO circle jerkers around here lately.. link building is not dead. You need links if you want to have any chance at ranking. You aren’t going to find a link building pro willing to work for crumbs either.. so more times than none you will need to hire a rookie and turn them into a pro!

Use these 10 steps to get someone worthy…


1. Make sure they are a salesperson

We are talking about building links that are helpful.. links that require emailing webmasters and talking to bloggers and writers. Any monkey can fire up GSA or another link building tool and fire them away. Your link builder needs to be a sales person.. because they are going to need to convince other websites that they should publish your guest post or link to your content.. or they need to be able to sell a deal for a paid post and link.

No matter what the objective one thing is certain…it requires a salesperson mentality. I’m not going to talk about where to post ads to hire them.. you can use Craigslist, forums, freelancer sites.. you know the main sources. But I will give you this one tip.. make prior sales experience a requirement for applying. It doesn’t matter if they were selling cell phones, sneakers, cars.. anything. Hiring someone that understands how to sell is going to have a much easier time convincing sites to give them links.

2. Give them a test to make sure they are good communicators

You have to make sure that any potential link builder is going to be able to follow very specific instructions. One of the most frustrating parts of hiring link builders is they don’t listen and they fuck up and do it wrong. This can cause a ton of problems down the road so I make everyone do a test without even telling them it’s a test.

When I create my job advertisement I put very detailed instructions in it. They will usually require the person to apply following instructions similar to this:

1. Create your resume in Word and then convert it to a PDF and upload it to a file sharing website.

2. Create a 30 second video telling me why I should hire you and upload it to YouTube.

3. Create a simple about.me page and link to your resume and the video you created.

This is such easy shit, but it will automatically eliminate 90% of the retards that were going to apply because they won’t follow all of the instructions. Look at those requirements – they are so basic. Would you want to hire anyone that couldn’t even follow those simple steps!?

This tip alone probably saves me the most time during the hiring process. Also, if they can whip up a quick about.me page and upload their video and PDF then you know they have at least enough technical skill to turn them into a decent link builder!


3. Grill them over the phone to see how they communicate

You can learn a lot about someone when you speak to them over the phone. Take 5 minutes to talk to them on the phone. Don’t let them know it’s any sort of test. Just tell them you want to jump on a quick call to go over the job. Use this call to determine how aggressive they are and if they are shy and reserved.

People that have been around the forum for a bit know I don’t hold back. I work better with more outgoing types.. so I make sure that I hear confidence in their voice. Link building isn’t easy.. you need aggressive people if you expect decent results.


4. Test their grammar and make sure they won’t come off as a dumb ass

If they pass the first test and apply correctly and if you get a good feeling over the phone you need to see how well they can write. Give them a hard niche and tell them to write a 1,000 word article on a specific topic. This is a good way to determine if they can write content that will have any chance of being published on other websites.

Don’t worry about “SEO content” and all that crap now.. just make sure they can write. It’s simple to turn a good writer into a “SEO” writer.. but it’s impossible to take a shitty writer and convert them.. you have to have the basics down. Look for complete sentences, well put together paragraphs and grammar.

Don’t ask for samples.. too many people will steal content from the net and try to pass it off on their own. Give them some random topic that’s out there and see what they can put together.


5. Make sure they have strong skin

If you have ever tried to build any links manually you know it can be a complete pain in the ass. For every 50 bloggers and websites you talk to you might get one link. Not only does this require someone that doesn’t work at a snails pace, but they also have to have tough skin. They will get emails back telling them to fuck off, eat shit and just NO!

There are some people that can’t handle rejection well and all the no’s will slow their enthusiasm down. It’s important that you are honest with them in the beginning. Let them know 95% of their communication with websites and bloggers is going to be rejection. Make sure that doesn’t bother them. If someone says “I don’t give a shit” then you know they are right for it. Look for someone that sees it as a challenge and the denials will make them actually work harder. Some people just can’t stand to lose.. even at link building.. you want that attitude.

6. Test their common sense

Common sense is one thing that many people lack. It doesn’t matter if you are hiring link builders for your own projects or for client SEO.. you need them to do the work correctly the first time. There are no do over when it comes to building links.. simple things like the correct anchor text and linking to the right page of a website might seem so basic to me and you but to someone else that lacks common sense it might puzzle them.

I have put together a simple link building guide that I give a possible new hire that explains things like how to identify niche specific link opportunities and how to determine if a website has enough authority to go after. This involves tools like Moz, and Ahrefs.. simple stuff. Someone needs to be able to read through it and then do what I ask.. I give them a simple task of identifying 3 good link opportunities for a specific niche.

This is where common sense comes into play. My guide explains that some sites are next to impossible to get on without paying them.. so if someone comes back with 3 suggestions that include Forbes, Inc and the New York Post they obviously didn’t pay attention. Someone that comes back with 3 websites that are DA50-60 and there is a good chance of securing a link then they get picked. They have demonstrated common sense without knowing I was testing them for it.


7. Make sure they have a good home office setup

I ask everyone to send me pictures of where they are going to be working. I do this for many reasons. I have gone through all the previous steps with people and then we get to here and they tell me they are going to be working from a coffee shop. They are done at that point. I’m not interested in anyone that is going to be setting up shop at a fucking café. It’s impossible to be totally organized when you are working in a space like that.

I require any person I hire to have a home office. That isn’t asking too much I don’t think. I know how much organization and concentration it takes to build links. No link builder is going to be productive in a coffee shop with all those distractions.

I also look at their work space setup to make sure I feel they are organized. If it’s a cluttered mess in the pictures they send me I assume that it’s even messier in real life. If someone can’t clean up their work area before they send me pictures they aren’t taking it seriously and I have no interest in hiring them.


8. Test their ability to make decisions on their own

Link building requires a lot of on the fly adjustments.. you find new opportunities, you make connections, etc.. all of this requires someone that is always on their toes and able to make quick decisions to help to get what we are after.. LINKS!

At this point you have people left that show serious promise. Get them back on the phone and run them through some scenarios that you have faced.. and see how they would react. This is entirely up to you to figure out.. personally, I just throw some nonsense out there and see how quickly they can spit back a solution to me. It isn’t about the actual situation.. it’s about how fast they can come up with a work around. You want someone that can adapt to anything.


9. Determine if they are the type to ask for help when needed

Let’s get real for a minute.. you aren’t going to get experienced link builders.. you are going to get people with potential to be groomed into link builders. They are going to have questions.. or at least they should.. they should actually have a ton of questions and you need to make sure they aren’t going to be too shy or scared to ask you.

When speaking to them through the process you should only want to hire those that asked questions. Think about it.. if someone has NO questions when interviewing isn’t that a red flag? That is going to cause problems down the road, I promise you. Someone that is asking a lot of questions is someone that is interested in learning and isn’t going to be afraid to ask you things.. with the intention of becoming a great link builder.


10. Sure you can deal with working with this person?

This is a big one. This isn’t a job that you can just oversee with little communication. You will be speaking to your link builders all the time.. every day. If you don’t get along with the person or if you have two different personalities you are going to be miserable. I always hire based on the fact that I like the employee as a person.. if I am going to have to deal with them daily you bet it is going to be someone I enjoy speaking with.

Remember…don’t be afraid to FIRE!

Never be afraid to fire someone.. you can replace them so don’t put up with bullshit. Some reasons I will fire a link builder quickly:

  • They miss days of work.. just because this is a online/work from home job it doesn’t mean attendance can slack. If an employee is going to be trouble you will see patterns quickly.. don’t be a sucker and give them many chances. You need them to understand this is a job and not a “work when I feel like it” opportunity.
  • You have to tell them shit 100 times before they get it. Some people will ace the interview with flying colors but then suck big time when it comes time to get to work. If you have to keep repeating yourself fire them and put someone in that role that will hear it once and get the job done. You don’t have time to babysit.
  • If they just suck at building links. Link building isn’t easy at all.. it is hard. You are going to hire people that just end up sucking at building links. It happens.. if you sense they aren’t going to get the hang of it just fire them. Don’t waste too much time and money on someone if they obviously suck.

Well there you have it amigos.. hopefully this can help some people. As always I hope you all enjoyed the read. Until next time..

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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