How to Hire Quality Freelance Link Builders (And How to Avoid the Scammers)

Ultimate guide to finding, vetting and hiring freelancers that build links...
Published on 
April 24, 2024
Updated on 
April 24, 2024
Posted in 

Most people stumble upon an article like this after having realized at least one of the following things: a) that if you want to improve your search engine ranking, you need to do link building and/or b) putting together a successful link building campaign is quite an involved process that requires a lot of expertise and leg work. 

Maybe your company’s SEO manager or online marketing expert has indicated that now would be a good time to hire link builders and incorporate some serious link building into the company’s overall SEO strategy. 

Maybe you own a small business with a steadily growing online presence, have a solid SEO foundation, and know that link building is something you need to start doing, but are either not knowledgeable enough about it or don’t want to handle it on your own.

Whatever the reason, almost every website and business that relies on its organic search traffic will, at some point, have to think about hiring link builders. 

What is a freelance link builder? 

A freelance link builder is someone who specializes in building links, which means every part of the link building process. 

If someone is providing link building services to you, unless otherwise specified and negotiated, they are in charge of everything involved in building that link–prospecting, outreach, communicating with site owners and web masters and placement. 

The only thing a freelancers will not do, generally speaking, is make any kind of payment. 

Sometimes freelance link builders will specify that you need to provide some of the tools required to build the links–email software, perhaps even tools like Ahrefs. 

But if a freelancer is offering link building services, it is implied they are taking care of all of the leg work. 

There are a lot of different places online where freelance link builders and freelance digital marketers of all kinds (Google ads, social media marketing, off page SEO specialist) congregate , and in the below article, we are going to dive into where to find them, the pros and cons of hiring freelancers, how to hire them, and what to avoid. 

Where to find freelance link building experts

Usually, people and companies searching for freelance link building pros or freelance search engine optimization experts across specializations go to the big freelancing platforms. 

You can find quality freelancers there (you can also find a lot of scams), but there are also alternative ways of finding good quality freelance link building specialists. 

The freelancing platforms

Let’s start with the major platforms. 

If you’ve never had to hire digital marketing specialists before, link building freelancers are usually found on a handful of platforms: 

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Fiverr

As someone looking for freelance link building services, you either post a position and wait for people to respond, or you actively search for the kind of person/people you’re looking for. 


Upwork is the most popular platform for companies looking for link builders and it is where we have had the best success with freelancers. 

This tends to be where the most serious and the most talented people we have worked with were found. 


People do use Fiverr and you can find good quality freelance link builders on he platform, but Fiverr is not really all that useful for finding full-time, long-term link builders. 

If you are looking for someone for a one-off project, or even a one-off task (e.g., data entry or prospecting), then you might consider using a platform like Fiverr. 


Freelancer is similar to Upwork and if you read the reviews of it on places like G2, it is clear that there are a lot more serious people using platforms like Upwork and Freelancer than Fiverr. 

While you can definitely find good quality people on freelancing platforms, these aren’t the only way to hire freelance link builders. 

Alternatives to the freelancing platforms 

You don’t necessarily have to stick to freelancing platforms if you are looking for link builders. 

Linkedin and Facebook groups can also be great talent pools for companies and agencies looking for freelance link building professionals. 


Linkedin isn’t just the professional networking site that is started out as. It is also where young workers across industries congregate

A bunch of new features have been added to Linkedin to help freelancers, including things like the “open to work” feature that allows people to stand out more to recruiters and the algorithm. 

And, speaking of recruiters, Linkedin now plays a pivotal role in the recruitment process. 

You can absolutely work with recruiters to find link builders (both freelance and, depending on your needs, full-time).

By putting the recruiting process in the hands of experienced recruiters (ideally ones that have found digital marketers and link builders in the past), you are increasing the odds that you end up with serious people with serious skillsets. 

Facebook groups

Facebook groups can also be a great place to find link building experts. 

There are dedicated link builder groups, as well as more general digital marketing groups out there, as well as digital nomad groups where people regularly post and solicit jobs. 

Take our Facebook page, for instance.

Whether you wanted to hire us directly as a dedicated link building agency or you were trying to find freelancers, groups like these are frequented by link building and other digital marketing professionals who know what they’re doing. 

Pros and cons of freelance link builders

When you hire freelance digital marketing experts, there are a few things to keep in mind that might sway your decision towards a more permanent employee or link building agency over a freelancer.


People choose to go with link building freelancers for a couple different reasons: 

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Scalability


Link building freelancers tend to be less expensive than full-time digital marketing employees or full-service link building agencies. 

Very often they specialize in one specific link type (HARO or guest posts), which means you can pick and choose a la carte exactly what kind of link builder(s) you want. 

Freelancers also allow you to build a link building team piece by piece. You might know how to build the links, but you don’t want to handle the prospecting. 

You might want to take care of the prospecting, but not the outreach. 

There are both specialists and generalists on the freelancing platforms. 


The other major upside of going with link building freelancers is that there are no contacts, so you are free to scale the work up and down as you need. 

Building backlinks, like almost every part of digital marketing, is something that is usually organized by campaign. 

You dedicate time and money to off page SEO for a set period and then you rotate your attention to something else. 

You might find that you have the budget for serious digital marketing and off page SEO one month, but have to dial it down the following month.

Conversely, you may all of a sudden feel it is time to put a bunch of your capital into building backlinks. 

With contracts, you are stuck paying for a service that you might not need during certain periods. 

How to vet link building freelancers

The major downside when it comes to link building freelancers and using the freelancing platforms we’ve discussed is that you often have to spend quite a bit of time separating the good from the bad. 

These platforms are filled with unserious people (both employers and freelancers) and wasted time is a common occurrence. 

Below we will discuss some of the ways you can vet your link building freelancers to make sure you are hiring the right people for the job.

How do they communicate

One of the first things you will notice when looking for and corresponding with potential candidates on freelancing platforms and social media is that different people have wildly different communication standards. 

You need to determine what kind of communication you expect from someone before deciding to work with them. 

Do you expect to be in constant contact with the person you are working with or are you comfortable with having people get back to you whenever? 

Very often you will be working with people that are far outside of your time zone, so there can be very lengthy communication lag. 

Do people stick around to finish conversations and get the correct instructions? Do they listen well? To they respond with clarifying questions to avoid frustration and miscommunication? 

These are all things you want when you have a digital working relationship with someone. 

What’s their social proof like?

This is probably the most obvious way you would start to vet a link builder.

The big freelancing platforms work using rating systems, so you can see what past clients have to say about the person you are thinking about hiring. 

It’s pretty straightforward. If there are a lot of good things being said about how they work and the kind of results they produce, they are probably a safe bet. 

If they have no ratings (they are likely brand new), or bad ratings, proceed with caution. 

A caveat

If you find a freelance link builder you are interested in working with but are put off by some of their social proof, bear in mind that clients aren’t always fair to their freelancers. 

You can also talk to the link builder about a particular concern and have them explain a rating or comment regarding previous work. 

Questions to ask freelance link builders

The search engine optimization industry is full of false promises and scams–perhaps nowhere more so than link building. 

You need to know what kind of questions to ask a link builder before deciding to work with them. 

Below are some of the ways to separate a scammer from a serious link builder. 

Do you have any case studies?

The best freelancers (and this goes for a link building company as well) will probably have case studies backing up their successful work. 

Here is a case study based on work we did for an HR Software client we worked with: 

It shows quite conclusively that the links we built for them had a marked impact on their organic traffic and conversions. 

We did quality work for them and it showed in their SEO. 

This is the kind of thing you want to see when you’re hiring link building freelancers or a full-service agency. 

A link builder can talk a big game, but the proof is in the pudding when it comes to backlinks and link building. 

Are they ok with black hat link building?

Black hat link building involves techniques whose purpose is to manipulate Google search. 

It often involves paying for spammy links from places like link farms: 

Google is expressly against using these tactics and these types of links could end up seriously harming your SEO

It’s always good to know where a link building freelancer stands with respect to black hat link building tactics. 

If the answer is not an unequivocal “I’m against them,” it’s best you keep looking. 

Questions that test how current their link building knowledge is

A lot has changed in the world of search engine optimization, and especially link building, over the last several years. 

Google has made major changes to its algorithm with respect to what it considers spam and low quality content, which includes the inbound and outbound links to and from that content. 

This has major implications for how and where you build good quality links, anchor text selection and how things like guest posts are written. 

Ask specific questions about how a link builder prospects for link building opportunities and what their editorial process is like? 

Do they understand things like page and domain relevancy? What is their philosophy on anchor text selection? 

Link building has to be a lot more strategic and deliberate in this new era. 

What to avoid

If you run an online business or spend enough time in the SEO world, you will eventually encounter spam link builders. 

In addition to asking the right questions, you should also be able to spot the link building red flags. 

Because high authority backlinks are such an important part of ranking well in search engines, everybody and their dog claims to offer link building services. 

Very often, what scammy link builders are selling you is an illusion, if not outright dangerous to your website. 

Below are some warning signs you should look out for when looking for freelancers. 

Impossibly low prices

Good quality backlinks can help you rank higher, but they require time and effort to build. 

Of course, link builders charge for this time and effort and the price per link can range anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on the domain metrics. 

If someone is offering you high domain authority backlinks for far less money that you have seen anywhere else, the odds are these links are not what they seem. 

They might be from link farms that have been built using expired domains with residual high DA or DR, but no real SEO value to offer. 

Google is either going to neutralize the SEO value of these links, or perhaps even punish you if it finds enough of them in your backlink profile. 

You should expect to spend a significant amount of good quality link building services. 

You are offered a huge database of links

Another common tactic used by spammy link builders is to tantalize you with access to their huge repository of links. 

Take a look at the below email. 

They claim to have access to thousands of websites. 

Very likely, a great many of these are websites that other lazy link builders also have access to and use to buy cheap, worthless links that they then sell to their unwitting clients. 

All link builders are going to maintain a database of their relationships and contacts, but quality link builders will only place your links on reputable sites that help your search engine optimization. 

Overly fast turnaround times

It can take weeks, if not months to build a backlink.

From prospecting to outreach to negotiation to content creation to placement to payment. 

The biggest bottleneck in link building is that you have to rely on others to complete parts of the job (i.e., placing your content and link on their website). 

This doens’t always happen as fast as you want.

Link builders that promise to have a ton of links built, at a fixed price, in the span of a couple of days, are probably blowing smoke. 

Search engine optimization SEO and link building

Link building, along with content, is a fundamental part of your off site SEO. 

The ideal link builder knows this and understands what search engines like Google expect from a backlink profile in order to rank it highly. 

If you’re running an online business you will very likely have to work with link builders at some point, unless you want to undertake the process yourself. 

If you’re hiring freelancers, keep the above tips and considerations in mind. 

If you have the budget for it and are interested in something more hands-off and full-service, get in touch with dofollow and find out more about our transparent, contract-free, performance-based link building. 

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

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