Agency and Freelancer Specific Questions

Those who described themselves as working for agencies or freelancers/contractors were shown the next series of questions. 45% of respondents fell into this section.

What size of agency do you work for?

Taking out freelancers and contractors, the most popular size of agency was 10-25 people in size at 24%

What the experts think…

2019 has been the rise of the freelancer/contractor when it comes to link building and digital PR

We've also seen a rise in SEOs, content strategists, link builders and digital PRs moving out to work on their own over the last year or so. Given the current trends around remote working, this isn't surprising and I think is generally a good thing for the industry as more companies can access a wider pool of talent outside of their core team.

At Aira, we've worked with some amazing freelancers who have helped support our team in a bunch of ways.

What kind of pricing model do you use for your
clients?

We wanted to find out what pricing models agencies and freelancers used when it came to charging for link building services. Multiple answers were allowed here to account for different pricing models for different projects.

The most popular answer was a retainer fee at 66% of responses. The least popular form of charging for link building services was cost per link at 15%.

What the experts think…

Cost-per-link pricing—while understandable—often incentivizes the wrong things. It's far better, in my opinion, to pay for time and expertise.

At 15%, the share of agencies/freelancers charging per link is worryingly high, considering it’s not something anyone can credibly guarantee.

Does your agency provide any services on an
incentive based model e.g. your client pays your
agency a bonus for hitting link building targets?

On the same theme of pricing models, we asked agencies and freelancers whether they used incentive or bonus models for link building. The vast majority said no with only 11% saying that they did work on an incentive model.

Do you often work alongside PR agencies?

With the ongoing convergence of digital PR and SEO/link building, we wanted to find out how many agencies and freelancers work alongside PR agencies. As you can see, the answers were split pretty much down the middle.

After this question, all respondents were taken back to the same set of questions, starting with link building techniques.

What the experts think…

When I worked in a traditional PR agency, SEO was a dark art and we never saw, met or spoke to client’s SEO agencies so I’m not surprised that 49% haven’t worked with a PR agency. For the 50% that have, that’s great - the closer we can work with PR agencies and build that relationship, the more we can collaborate and support each other’s work for the best results. The two disciplines are not mutually exclusive in marketing or business, so the more we work together, the better.

Alongside is aptly put, as client campaigns involving their traditional PR agencies remains common, yet very much a parallel, rather than a collaborative process, where both sides are working to achieve similar goals without necessarily talking to each other.

Half of all link builders work alongside PR folks to help with placement and outreach! I think this is the first time I've seen such clear, compelling data showing the fast-growing relationship between SEO and PR. Side note: I can't *believe* it's taken this long to get to half!