Assuming they already understand the importance of building back links to their websites, many site owners don’t have the time, don’t know how or couldn’t be bothered to make manual link building a part of their marketing campaign.

It’s perfectly okay [patting your back]. Even seasoned SEOs will admit to hating that aspect of a campaign. Manual link building can be a challenging, time consuming and down right frustrating experience. Unfortunately, it can also make or break your search engine presence, and therefore shouldn’t be neglected all together.

Since many site owners, will at some point, consider hiring the services of a professional link builder, here are some essential (but non-definitive) qualities to look for in the candidates you’re considering.

An Efficient Link Campaign is a Productive Link Campaign

Time management skills: The number one complaint I hear from people in the market for a link builder, is that they simply don’t have the time or energy to look for link prospects themselves. Since link building can be a very time consuming, on-going effort it’s good to know that the person you hire, can manage your campaign efficiently along with their other campaigns, so that yours isn’t neglected. It doesn’t hurt to ask how many other campaigns they’ll be working on and how much time will be devoted to yours.

Organization skills: Along with being time consuming, link building can also be data intensive because of the amount of research and tracking it requires. As a client, this is good for you because you’ll have a concrete report of the entire campaign and a record of all the new links your link builder obtained for you. Unless your link builder is unorganized and doesn’t keep track, in which case, how will you know what you paid for?

The Hardest Backlinks To Get, Often Result In The Best Payoffs

Creativity and resourcefulness: When contacting other websites on your behalf, the worst thing a link builder could do is to send the usual, boring, and generic email link request (which is basically considered highly annoying). Why would you pay someone good money to do this for you when you could just send these useless emails yourself? Exceptional link builders will not only think outside of the box when it comes to getting links for you, but they’ll personalize each and every email (or phone call) to suit the individual link prospect. They are super resourceful when they have to be because they know that the hardest links to get often result in the best payoffs. This comes from their extensive experience and goes hand-in-hand with their proven track record of success.

An understanding of quality over quantity: Exceptional link builders have a genuine understanding that 1 back link from a high quality page will do more good for a site than 100 low quality links ever could. They know this from experience and would never waste time pursuing a back link that didn’t have value (of some sort) for you and your campaign. As a site owner, the last thing you want is to pay top dollar for a bunch of worthless links from useless pages that aren’t even indexed in Google… and probably never will be.

Patience/tact: Often times a link builder must wait for a site to respond to their email request or phone message. Even if they eventually respond with a “yes”, it also takes time for them to actually get around to adding your link. There’s an art in knowing how long to wait before you reinitiate contact. Too soon, and you appear desperate or pushy… too late and it makes it easier for them to change their minds. Either way, you’ll definitely want a link builder who is able to deal with people in a sensitive manner.

Representing Your Business In The Best Possible Way

Communication and grammar skills: A good communicator is someone who can speak “with” people about their message, rather than “to” them. Knowing what to say is one thing though. Being able to convey that message effectively both vocally and textually is something else entirely. Even with the invention of spell check, the Internet isn’t exactly a wonderful place filled with grammatically correct sentences and words (shocking, I know). Remember that any link builder you hire will be contacting site owners and communicating with people on YOUR behalf. Look for someone who will represent you, and your business, in the best possible way.

Honesty and integrity: This should go without saying. After all, there are ways to get links… and there are ways to get links. You’ll want to make certain that the link builder you hire will do it honestly and with integrity. There’s no better way to research a link builder’s style than to contact some past clients and ask about their work. If the link builder can’t (or won’t) produce a list of past clients he/she has worked with, then definitely consider this a huge red flag. Link builders with integrity are proud of the work they do for their clients and as a result they have nothing to hide.

Last, but most certainly not least, an exceptional link builder will have a genuine love for what they do and it should be evident through their attitudes, their work and in their dealings with clients.

He Shoots, He Scores!

If you can find a link builder who possesses some, or better yet ALL, of the above qualities, then not only will your campaign already be off to a stellar start, but you’ll also feel more secure in knowing that your important investment has been spent wisely and has the potential to provide exceptional results. The bottom line is you'll have invested in a well-executed link building campaign today, to help ensure maximum success tomorrow.

Since this list is by no means definitive…. in your opinion, what are some other essential qualities that make a link builder exceptional?

Melanie Nathan offers custom SEO services at CanadianSEO. Follow Melanie on Twitter to learn more about her and the work she does.