What Is A Manual Link-Building Service & Is It A Worthwhile Strategy?

by Jason Smit

A comprehensive backlink profile filled with quality backlinks is essential to succeed in SEO. A manual link-building service is one of the best ways to achieve this. 

Effective SEO takes time, effort, and a hands-on approach. There are no shortcuts, and you need to use link-building methods that help you achieve your marketing goals. This is why doing things manually is so important.

Let’s explore what manual link-building is and how a manual link-building service can help you boost your rankings.

What Is Manual Link-Building?

Manual link-building refers to actively acquiring website backlinks through strategies that don’t rely on automated, pre-configured or robotic acquisition methods. Needless to say, it’s a big topic that can include many different types of link-building efforts.

A manual link-building service takes a hands-on approach to acquiring backlinks. It’s more time-consuming and involves more effort, but control over the process means it’s inherently safer and will result in better overall quality.

Manual Link Building Service

Manual Link-Building Tactics

To understand what manual link-building services include, it’s important to know the different tactics that link-builders use. 

Here are some of the main ones:

  • Outreach involves contacting website owners, bloggers, or influencers within your niche to request backlinks. It might include guest posting opportunities, asking for mentions, or proposing content collaborations.
  • Content promotion is sharing high-quality content across different platforms and social media channels to attract attention and encourage others to link back to your website naturally.
  • Directory submissions entail submitting website links to relevant directories or listings within your industry or locality to acquire backlinks.
  • Partnerships and relationships encourage building relationships with other businesses or websites in related fields, fostering collaborations, and exchanging links in a mutually beneficial manner.
  • Forum participation and comments are opportunities for engaging in meaningful conversations within forums or comment sections of relevant blogs or articles, providing valuable insights while subtly linking to your content when appropriate.

Manual link-building requires time, effort, and a strategic approach to make sure that the backlinks you get are from authoritative and reputable sources.

It's important to avoid black-hat techniques that violate search engine guidelines. Otherwise, it could lead to penalties and negatively impact your website's ranking.

What Is a Manual Link-Building Service?

A manual link-building service is offered by individuals or agencies specialising in acquiring website backlinks through deliberate, human-driven efforts. 

These services are designed to improve a website's search engine ranking by obtaining high-quality links from authoritative and relevant sources across the internet. These services focus on quality over quantity, emphasizing natural and organic link acquisition. 

A manual link-building service can include many different tactics for generating backlinks, including the following:

  • Strategy Development: Creating a customized plan tailored to the client's website, industry, and target audience. This may include identifying suitable websites for link acquisition and outlining outreach approaches.

  • Outreach and Relationship Building: Actively reaching out to website owners, bloggers, influencers, or other relevant people to request backlinks. This often involves personalized emails, guest post pitches, content collaboration proposals, or other forms of communication to establish mutually beneficial relationships.

  • Content Creation and Optimization: No link-building efforts are worth anything without great content. Creating compelling content, such as guest posts, articles, or infographics, that are valuable to the target audience and encourage other websites to link back to the client's site. This content is often optimized for search engines and tailored to fit the linking opportunities.

Reporting and Analysis: Providing regular reports detailing the acquired links, their quality, and the impact on the website's ranking. A good manual link-building service should carefully monitor the right metrics and adjust the strategy to achieve the best results.
Manual link building planning strategies

Manual Link-Building vs Automated Link-Building

When it comes to link-building, there are two very different approaches you can consider: manual link-building and automated link-building. Each approach uses different methods and techniques, and each one achieves different outcomes. 

Let’s break this down into more detail.

Manual Link-Building

Here are some of the key characteristics of a manual link-building service:

  • Human-driven efforts: Manual link-building involves deliberate, human-driven efforts to acquire backlinks for a website. This approach relies on personalized outreach, relationship building, and direct communication with website owners, bloggers, influencers, or other relevant entities to request backlinks.

  • Quality-focused: Emphasizes acquiring high-quality links from authoritative and relevant sources. Manual link-building involves creating valuable content, participating in industry-related discussions, guest posting, partnerships, and directory submissions, among other strategies. These efforts aim to build genuine connections and secure links from reputable websites.

  • Time-intensive: Manual link-building requires time, effort, and a strategic approach. It involves crafting individualized outreach messages, building relationships, and creating content tailored to specific opportunities. This can be labor-intensive but often results in higher-quality links.

Automated Link-Building

Here are some of the key characteristics of an automated link-building approach:

  • Software-driven: Automated link-building relies on software, tools, or scripts to generate and distribute backlinks across various websites or platforms. These tools can help you create links automatically without much human intervention.

  • Quantity-oriented: Focuses on generating a large volume of links quickly and easily, often without considering their quality or relevance. This method might involve tactics like link farms, blog comment spamming, or using automated link-building software to place links across numerous sites.

  • Risk of penalties: Automated link-building techniques often violate search engine guidelines and can result in penalties. Search engines penalize websites that engage in manipulative or spammy link-building practices. As a result, this can impact the site's ranking and credibility.

Key Differences

So, an automated and a manual link-building service takes a very different approach to generating backlinks. 

Beyond the methods used to acquire these links, here are the key differences to understand between these two services:

  • Quality vs. quantity: Manual link-building prioritizes quality, aiming for authoritative and relevant links. Automated link-building tends to focus on generating a large number of links without worrying about their quality.

  • Human involvement: Manual link-building involves personalized outreach and human interaction, creating genuine relationships. Automated link-building relies on tools or software to generate links without direct human involvement.

Compliance with guidelines: Manual link-building adheres to search engine guidelines and ethical practices. Automated approaches often violate these guidelines, risking penalties.
Automated link building has the potential for SEO penalties

Why Is Manual Link-Building Effective?

When you compare different link-building strategies, it’s clear that taking a manual approach is best. Here are some of the main reasons why.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to link-building, the quality, relevance, and authority of the backlinks you generate is by far the most important part. Manual link-building focuses on acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites within a specific niche or industry. 

Search engines value these quality links more, positively affecting a website's search ranking. 

Just one quality backlink will make a far greater impact than hundreds of spammy backlinks.

Authentic Relationships

A manual link-building service involves building genuine relationships with website owners. These relationships often result in more natural and organic backlinks that are more valuable and trusted by search engines.

It could also result in future collaborations and backlink opportunities.

Compliance with Guidelines

Manual link-building services stick to search engine guidelines, ensuring ethical practices and reducing the risk of penalties. 

Search engines penalize websites that engage in manipulative or spammy link-building tactics, making manual approaches a safer and more sustainable option.

Relevance and Context

An incredibly important detail of manual link-building services is their focus on acquiring relevant links. By taking a manual approach, you can be picky about which backlinks and anchor text you use.

This relevancy increases the link's value in search engines' eyes, contributing positively to SEO efforts. It also offers a better user experience.

Control and Customization

Manual link-building provides more control and customization over the backlinks you acquire. 

It allows website owners or SEO professionals to target specific websites, create tailored content, and optimize anchor text for maximum impact. This lets you be far more strategic in your link-building approach.

Long-Term Benefits

While manual link-building may take more time and effort, the acquired links tend to be far more valuable and stable. Building a network of quality backlinks gradually improves a website's authority and credibility over time. This leads to sustained improvements in search engine rankings.

If you automate link building you might generate a lot of links fast. But, these links probably won’t have any real impact on your site, and could even cause negative effects over the long run.

More Diverse Link Sources

Manual link-building lets you obtain links from various types of websites, such as blogs, industry directories, forums, and authoritative publications. This diversity signals to search engines that the website is valuable and relevant across different platforms.

It’s a more natural approach, which is important for generating sustainable SEO results.

quality and control with long-term beneficial results

Best Practices For Manual Link-Building

Link-building can be a tricky process. It’s incredibly important that you’re careful when choosing a manual link-building service, and that you only focus on link-building tactics that offer sustainable results. 

Here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind.

Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Prioritize acquiring backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites within your niche or industry. A few high-quality links from reputable sources can be far more beneficial than hundreds of low-quality links.

Create Valuable and Shareable Content

Link-building is only effective when you have great content. So, before you start to outsource your link building, make sure that you have a solid content strategy in place.

Develop high-quality content that is informative, engaging, and valuable to your target audience. Compelling content naturally attracts links from other websites. Having great content also makes your backlinks seem more organic. 

Most importantly, the better your content is, the more likely it will rank well in search engines - regardless of what backlinks you generate.

Research and Target Relevant Websites

Identify websites, blogs, influencers, or relevant directories to your industry or content. Target websites that align with your niche and audience to ensure the acquired backlinks are contextually relevant.

This is a major difference between manual and automated link-building, as it allows you to avoid link farm-type websites and only acquire backlinks that make sense for your content.

Personalized Outreach

When reaching out for backlinks, personalize your communication. 

Create tailored and genuine outreach messages that explain why your content or website is relevant and valuable to its audience. Building relationships is key to successful link acquisition and long-term link-building success.

Guest Blogging and Content Collaboration

When doing manual link-building outreach, you need to clearly explain why people should provide you with backlinks. Offering guest posts is a great way to do this.

Offer to write guest posts or collaborate on content with other websites in your industry. This can provide opportunities to naturally include links back to your website within the content. When done properly, it should be a win-win situation.

Monitor and Maintain Links

Keep track of any acquired backlinks and regularly check their status. 

Replace broken or outdated links and ensure they continue to direct traffic to your site. Link-building tools can help you monitor this.

Avoid Manipulative Tactics

Possibly the most important thing to remember is to keep it clean. 

When you choose a manual link-building service, you need to make sure they only follow white-hat link-building tactics. Otherwise, your backlinks will cause your website more harm than good.

Avoid black-hat SEO tactics, such as buying links, participating in link schemes, or spamming comment sections with links. Search engines penalize websites engaged in such practices.

This is one of the main reasons why a hands-on, tailored link-building approach is so valuable.

Diversify Your Anchor Text

Use a variety of anchor texts (the visible, clickable part of a link) that are relevant and natural. Avoid over-optimizing by using the same anchor text, as it may raise red flags for search engines.

Again, this is a major advantage of taking a more manual approach in link-building, as you don't get control over your anchor text with automated methods.

Stay Updated with SEO Trends

SEO is always changing. If you want to keep your link-building efforts effective, then you need to remain up-to-date with all the latest trends.

Keep yourself informed about changes in search engine algorithms and best practices in link-building. SEO practices evolve, and staying current ensures your strategies remain effective and compliant

SEO trends

The Benefits Of Using a Manual Link-Building Service

Using a manual link-building service offers many SEO advantages to websites. Here are some of the main ones.

Quality Backlinks

Manual link-building services focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites. These quality links carry more weight with search engines and can significantly boost a website's search rankings.

Compliance with Guidelines

Professional manual link-building services adhere to search engine guidelines and ethical practices. This reduces the risk of penalties or negative impacts on a website's ranking that could result from using automated or spammy link-building methods.

Expertise and Experience

Link-building professionals have experience and expertise in identifying suitable link opportunities, crafting effective outreach strategies, and building relationships with other website owners or influencers. 

Their knowledge helps in acquiring valuable backlinks more efficiently. It also means you’ll always be up-to-date with the latest link-building best practices.

Tailored Strategies

A manual link-building service develops customized strategies tailored to the specific needs and goals of a website. This personalized approach ensures the acquired links align with the website's niche, target audience, and overall SEO strategy.

Measurable Results and Reporting

Professional link-building services provide regular reports and metrics showcasing the acquired links, their quality, and their impact on the website's ranking and traffic. 

This transparency helps in evaluating the effectiveness of the link-building campaign.

Long-Term Benefits

Acquiring quality backlinks through manual link-building services contributes to the website's long-term SEO success. These links tend to be more enduring and stable, continuously improving the website's authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines.


The Bottom Line

If you’re going to do link-building, do it properly. Use a manual link-building service with plenty of link-building experience that takes a tailored approach to your website. 

After all, the quality of backlinks you generate is far more valuable than anything else. High-quality backlinks can only be achieved with a strategic, hands-on process.

Jason Smit

Jason Smit is the CEO of Contentellect and believes that marketing success lies at the intersection of great content and quality links. With 15 years spent in agency environments, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Media and Performics, his experience is distilled into Contentellect's service offering. He holds a B.Com Marketing from the University of Cape Town and a PGDip. in Entrepreneurship.


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