How To Identify Bad Link Building Agencies In USA

Link building is one of the most important components of SEO and hence, is a must when you’re trying to improve online visibility and search page rankings. But the key question is with a massive number of SEO Service Providers USA available in the market, how would you be able to partner with the right link building agency, especially if your brand is in the USA? This becomes even more important when you consider the implications of having an adequate number of bad links. From having poor online visibility to getting penalized by the search engines – a lot could happen if you hire the wrong agency.

Since link building is a time-consuming and specialized task, you have to ensure that the link building agency you choose follows a robust link building strategy to help you earn high-quality links. Here are nine key factors that would help you identify the wrong agency. Just be sure to discuss these before hiring a particular one.

#1 The agency doesn’t have a keyword research strategy in place

If the Link Building Agency USA you shortlist asks you to provide it with a list of keywords, it’s a clear indication that the company isn’t interested in investing the time and effort to create a strategy specific to your business. Though you should be asked to offer your input, ultimately the agency should perform thorough keyword research depending on your target audience. It should also be able to identify the web pages to be targeted for link building based on their conversion rates.

#2 It focuses on earning press release links

Around a decade ago, submitting a press release to press release distribution websites was considered to be a popular link building technique. While its implementation can help you earn many links quickly, now Google doesn’t see any value in them. Therefore, no matter how many press release links your site has, it won’t get any SEO benefit, especially if the links come from press release services that depend on over-optimized anchor text that focuses on your main keyword. If you’ve got something actually newsworthy, your chosen agency should try to link the press release to popular news sites.

#3 Leveraging of private blog networks

If the link building agency you choose uses private blog networks or doesn’t use any tool to identify and avoid them, you should refrain from hiring it. While private blog networks have become widely available these days and they often seem to appear with high domain authority, in reality, linking to them won’t help you get any value. And in the worst scenario, this tactic may harm your site in the form of getting penalized. Ideally, the agency should use a variety of methods coupled with manual outreach to make sure your backlink profile remains natural. Additionally, it should employ tactics such as reviewing the domain’s history, verifying anchor texts, etc., to detect private blog networks.

#4 The agency doesn’t have a content marketing strategy

As you already know, creating and publishing valuable content along with implementing an effective link building strategy can not only help you earn high-quality links but give a boost to your online visibility as well. However, the key to success is following a strategy to publish the content regularly on different platforms instead of doing it occasionally to drive the interest of your target audience. Considering the high potential of effective content marketing in link building, it’s a must for your chosen link building agency to have experienced content marketing professionals who’ll be able to promote your product/service in the form of high-value, informative content.

#5 Guarantee of keyword rankings

Since search engine algorithms are changing constantly, it’s simply not possible for anyone to guarantee specific rankings for certain keywords. If the link building agency you’ve chosen emphasizes something like this, it should raise a red flag. Ideally, the agency should work toward achieving a set target depending on your target keywords, backlink profile, etc. It’d also be better if you receive regular reports on how the agency is progressing toward achieving the target. These reports should give you insights into the link building strategy and tweaks made to it.

#6 Low-quality directories for submissions

While it can be beneficial to use targeted and relevant directories to earn links, you should never hire an agency that does/uses mass or automated directory submissions/directory submission services. Though agencies that use these services will always tell you that you’ll get high-quality links, the reality is, it may lead your site to get penalized. The links won’t bring you any SEO benefit and hence, the money you’ll be paying the agency will simply go in vain.

#7 Helping you get a massive number of links from foreign guest books and discussion forums

If your shortlisted link building agency focuses on getting you links from high-quality sites and the links themselves aren’t spammy or manipulative, there may not be any harm to keep them. However, if your site continuously gets thousands of low-quality manipulative links appearing from foreign guest books and discussion forums, it won’t be of any help in terms of SEO. It may even lower the rankings of your site.

#8 Helps you buy links

First of all, link building is a time-consuming and consistent process. Therefore, if a link building agency offers you a short-term contract and promises to help you buy links, it’ll be a clear indication that it’s trying to make its own profit. And most importantly, selling or buying links are considered a violation of the WebMaster Guidelines of Google. If you try to manipulate PageRank using certain listed link schemes, you may end up having lower rankings in SERPs. Additionally, cases where cross-linking has been done only to get links are considered unnatural and bad links by Google.

#9 Not concerned about the relevance of links

You may have already heard that sites having low domain authority may be considered untrustworthy or spammy by Google. While it’s always good to have links coming from sites having high domain authority, the relevance of those links plays a crucial role as well. Simply put, even if you get links from sites with very high domain authority but the content on your web page isn’t relevant to the content of the page you’re linking to, its ranking might get punished by Google. You should always keep in mind that the fundamental purpose of links is making the journey of the users as smooth as possible. So, if your site has irrelevant links, they won’t be of any help for the users and thus, won’t be considered good backlinks. Therefore, make sure that the link building agency you choose focuses on the context and relevance of the links.


Experience matters a lot in implementing a successful link building strategy. From domain authority and content marketing to effective link building tactics – a lot of things are needed to be taken care of. Therefore, the link building agency you partner with in the USA must have built links for businesses operating in the industry similar to yours. 

It would also be great if it can show you some results or some link building case studies. While it’s common for any business to have some poor backlinks pointing to its site, the majority of the links must be high-quality and that’s exactly what a reputable link building agency must be able to do.