By Justin Davis, Chief Link Builder at Link Builders

Properly setting expectations is one of the most important aspects of a new backlink campaign. Differences in expectations can be so big that they can alter the entire experience for the client and the link builder, good or bad. It can be the difference between an ongoing monthly client or that same client threatening negative reviews and requesting a refund.

It took many years of running a backlinks company before I realized the importance of properly setting expectations. Especially when it comes to backlinks or anything SEO related. Here is a hypothetical example:

Robert wants backlinks for his roofing company. He meets Bob the Backlinks Wiz and discusses the project. Bob explains that they guarantee a certain number of backlinks for a certain price and that Robert can approve all of the sites and content before any links are built.

The minimum required metrics and possible niches are discussed, along with the mention of a 30-45 day turnaround time. Bob also agrees on which keyword phrases and pages are being targeted in each round of links.

Since Bob properly set expectations for what type of backlinks Robert was going to get, and Robert gets a chance to preview the websites and content that will go into creating his backlinks, the client won’t be surprised once the links go live. Without these precautions, it is possible clients will have many issues, including:

  1. The backlink comes from a website that they did not think was related enough to their industry
  2. They don’t like the article that was written for the purpose of placing the link. They may think their company should or shouldn’t have been mentioned, they didn’t like the style of the writer, they didn’t like the mention of some of their competitors, etc.
  3. They didn’t know their total cost of backlinks. They thought they would end up with a better average cost per link.
  4. They expected the work to be completed more quickly.

Layers Of Link-Building Transparency

Layers Of Link-Building Transparency

What Bob built into the sales process was layers of transparency that will result in a more positive experience for the client and service provider. The client feels confident that they know what they are going to get because they can pre-approve the sites. They know the metrics requirements will be met, and that they will also be able to approve the articles before publishing.

Some clients prefer to be hands-on, and others hands-off. Either way, it’s important to allow them to feel empowered and part of the success of the backlink project. If they were guaranteed 10 links from industry-related sites, and they review the sites and content and give the link builder a thumbs up, they know what to expect with the results they will get.

Explaining The Deliverable

After years of backlink experience, I firmly believe that one of the only expectations of a link builder is that they build the link according to the predefined criteria and that the website and content are approved. Once the link is built, we have to cross our fingers in hopes that Google will reward us to some extent for that link.

With all of my backlink projects, a deliverable is a certain number of gained links. That’s it.

I can’t ethically guarantee any improvements because of those links. Of course, we hope that the links will do a few main things:

Although we hope that the above happens as a result of the newly gained backlinks, guaranteeing any of those is a mistake – in my opinion.

Turnaround Time

The time it takes to run a backlink campaign and build a certain number of links depends on a few variables:

  • A number of links. The amount of links required is a major factor in determining turnaround time.
  • Client response time to review websites (backlink targets) and content
  • Webmaster response time. Some people move faster than others. If we are building 40 links to your site in one month, we are bound to come across a handful of webmasters that drag their feet and take longer than expected to publish our articles.
  • Amount of time required to create fresh articles for publishing.

Client Updates

Client Updates

Updating a client on a regular basis is good practice for many reasons. Link building can be a heft investment for a company, and they like to know progress is being made with their investment.

I try to update every client each week. These updates include information such as how many links are live, how many are in the works, if there are any sites or articles that the client needs to approve, and when I expect to have the remaining links live.

Purposes Of Links From A Link Builder’s Perspective

As a link builder, I build links for the sake of the link. I don’t expect organic traffic to come from the articles that I publish for my clients. It would be great if we could get organic traffic from that article, but it’s not the purpose of building the link.

The purpose of building the link is to increase authority in the eyes of Google, that’s it. As mentioned earlier, it should increase authority, rankings, and organic traffic – eventually and cumulatively after enough links.

The reason we look at the amount of organic search traffic to the domain we are attempting to get links from is not to gauge how much search traffic we will get from the article we want to publish. It’s so we can gauge site health, and qualify that link opportunity. The philosophy is that if Google likes the site, it will allow it to get organic search traffic. If they don’t like the site, they won’t.

Building Links For Other SEO And Marketing Agencies

A big part of my client roster includes other SEO and marketing agencies that hire me to build links for them. These are often my favorite type of clients because they know exactly what they want and what it takes to get there. I save time by having to explain various factors of the job, and often the expectations are more realistic (especially if they really know what it takes to execute a successful backlink campaign, month after month for the same client).

One of the best things about other agencies as clients is that they have multiple clients. Finding white-label link-building relationships like these can prove to be the most fruitful and a source of ongoing backlink projects.

How Many Links Do I Need?

How Many Links Do I Need?

One of the questions I hear on almost every call with a new prospective client is “How many links do I need to beat my competition?”

I wish I knew a better way to answer that question. But here is my approach:

The amount of links you need depends on various factors:

  • The current on and off-page SEO authority your site has
  • The current on and off-page SEO authority the sites have that are outranking you for your target keyword phrases
  • Number of links

I have often found that the number of links they can acquire is limited by their budget and what they are looking to invest in their backlink project. If budget is not an issue, I generally tell them that it is best to start with a block of links, say 10 or 20, and track a few keyword phrases and rankings. This way we can gauge progress with a few targets, and look for increases in rankings.

When the target is smaller, it’s easier to show results from the backlink efforts. You can track progress through KPIs like increases in organic search, rankings, authority, etc. But keep in mind this progress shouldn’t be guaranteed to any client. We can only build links from sites that we and the clients agree to look to be a good target for our backlinks.


When selling backlink services to companies, the more you can properly set expectations, the better the results will be and the chances of repeat business with that client will increase dramatically.

Clients should be involved with backlink projects by approving the backlink target sites, approving the copy, and setting minimum required metrics. This way they know what to expect.

The last thing you want to happen is to get to the end of a backlink project, with all links gained, and have the client start poking holes in the articles and websites you placed links on. Next comes bad reviews, and refund requests, and next month that client is going elsewhere. They say the most valuable clients are the ones that are leaving for a competitor.

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Abdul Aziz Mondal

Abdul Aziz Mondol is a professional blogger who is having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of his professional commitments, he loves to share content related to business, finance, technology, and the gaming niche.

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