How To Build and Manage a Link Building Team Remotely
The only thing harder than hiring a great link building team is attracting, onboarding, and managing a remote one. However, a remote team is necessary for digital agencies and startups. If you want to build a successful remote link building team, follow this guide.
How to Hire Remote Link Building Staff
Look at your current team, if you have one, and consider whether you need to hire new people or adopt a better management strategy with your existing resources. If you need to hire a new team, you’ll have to tackle the challenge of finding, evaluating, and onboarding remote workers.
Link building teams are typically formed as agencies and startups. Although both terms are used as synonyms, they’re very different from each other. For example:
- Agencies work for people with immediate needs. Startups work on long-term projects.
- Agencies jump between multiple projects. Startups stick with one or two projects.
- Agencies value freelancers and generalists. Startups value specialists and employees.
Both agencies and startups are valuable; that’s not in contention. However, the business type you choose will determine whether hiring full-time employees or freelancers is more appropriate.
If You’re an Agency…
Freelancers are the bread and butter of link building agencies. In fact, 80% of agencies exclusively hire freelancers or hire them regularly. Hiring a freelancer makes sense if you:
- Require a specialist for a one-off project
- Don’t have enough work to justify a full-time position
- Need quick access to talent
- Need flexible availability
- Need to hire for a simple, repetitive task
goLance specifically connects freelancers to clients for hourly or fixed-bid projects on a comprehensive dashboard. This makes it easy for agencies to find the right talent quicker.
However, if you’re using freelancer’s services for more than 20-30 hours a week or regularly, consider bumping them up to full time. If it takes hours, even days, to train a freelancer, that investment is wasted if they work on long-term projects, so hire an employee instead.
If You’re a Startup…
While there will be situations when you need one-off talent, most startups need full-time employees. That’s because startups want to expand at a rapid rate. If a startup owner has to reach out to a freelancer every time they have a new idea, it’ll reduce their ability to scale.
However, there are times when hiring freelancers is appropriate:
- When you need to complete a repetitive task at a reduced cost.
- When you don’t have the budget or volume to justify full-time.
- When you need top-tier talent to complete a task without hiring.
In most cases, hiring someone full-time is ideal, especially for key positions or job titles.
If You’re a Startup or Agency…
Whether you choose to hire freelancers or full-time employees, both workers need to have great communication skills, self-manage themselves, and stay motivated. You should look for workers who have independent working experience and a support system outside of work.
It’s also important to find employees who align with your company's values. For example, link building agency Linkbuilder prides itself on having a diverse team from around the world. After taking a look at their “Our Team” page, you can tell they take diversity seriously.
Your company can use remote job boards, freelancing platforms like goLance, social media hiring threads, or remote work newsletters to find quality, remote workers. It’s also a good idea to advertise your hiring plans on your website, blog, and email newsletters.
How to Attract, Interview, and Onboard Remote Link Building Teams
Now that you know who and what you’re looking for, you can start the process of attracting, interviewing, and onboarding your talent. Here’s what you need to find quality link builders.
Write Incredible Job Ad Copy
Before you even start writing your job description, you have to understand what the position involves. A generic job ad won’t attract the prospects you want, which defeats the purpose of your job search in the first place. It’s better to get 1 relevant application than 100 irrelevant ones.
When a candidate looks at a job ad, they’re looking at three things: what the job requires, what it pays, and if they fit the job description. If a candidate is missing a skill or requirement on the job posting, they may not apply, so only write what’s necessary for the position and nothing more.
To attract the right hire, outline the candidate’s key responsibilities, skills and qualities, schedule, education, experience, preferred language, and whether the job is fully remote.
For example, most link building professionals will have duties that include:
- Backlink construction in line with SEO
- Website maintenance and optimization
- SEO supervisions and optimization using tools
- Quality improvements to website content
- Free promotion of on and off-site SEO
- Track and analyze incoming SEO traffic
Of course, that’s if you’re looking for a link building specialist. If you’re searching for a marketing manager or project manager, your job description will look different. Either way, a standard application process will include a job ad on a job board, a landing page, and an application.
The job’s landing page should contain information on your company’s culture, your employees, and an application form. Be descriptive when discussing how their job will impact the company.
Select and Interview Candidates
With applications pouring in, you’ll need a way to sort through them. It’s a good idea to develop a system that manages and evaluates candidates quickly so you don’t get overwhelmed. ATS software, Google Forms, Zapier, and Trello boards can make selecting candidates easier.
Once a candidate’s resume and portfolio passes the initial screening, start the initial interview. You can use video conferencing software to see your candidates. Follow these intervening tips:
- Focus on emotional intelligence because resilience is essential for remote teams.
- Lean into intimacy. Ask your candidates about their story and what makes them tick.
- Notice reactions to distractions. Were they flustered or able to handle them gracefully?
- Don’t do back-to-back interviews because it makes you scramble for time.
- Interview unconventional candidates from different industries. You may be surprised.
- Send your candidates a “how to prepare for a remote interview” sheet.
- Don’t forget you’re being judged too, so arrive on time and dress appropriately.
Candidates who pass this stage will move on to onboarding, which should be started right away.
Onboarding Remote Workers
The minute you’ve found your link building team, add them to your group chat. This likely involves Slack or Zoom. Either way, send your team information about your company culture and projects they’ll work on. Start orientation with IT and the tools and software they’ll use.
Make an effort to digitize your employee handbook. Many companies will use an internal wiki or intranet to maintain digital documentation of projects. After you’ve done the legal stuff:
- Create a sense of belonging by introducing everyone to your new team members.
- Make sure your new hires know how to contact individual team members.
- Provide an individual role-based onboarding plan with video check-ins.
- Don’t end support after the first week. Create milestones to facilitate growth.
- Ask for feedback during the onboarding process, so you can improve your policies.
Over half of employees report experiencing a mishap in the onboarding process due to a technology mishap, missing coworker introductions, or a lack of a company overview. You can help your new hires feel comfortable by helping them feel included and looked after.
How to Manage Remote Link Building Teams
Hiring and onboarding correctly is the hardest part of managing a team. If you already have all the key players involved, maintaining productivity is much easier. However, that doesn’t mean you can train your new hires and call it a day; you have to stay organized and prepared.
Establish Workflows and Guidelines
If you already have an internal wiki, create documents that map out the process for meaning a new project, what their workflow entails, and who they can contact in case of a problem. If you have these documents by the onboarding stage, your new hires will know where to find them.
Hire an Incredible Project Manager
A project manager is 100% needed in a remote link building team because they need to create and maintain a planned schedule. Project managers can identify roadblocks, communicate with their team effectively, and ensure the smooth running of daily operations for your business.
Set Up a Centralized Communication Channel
Digital communication is hard to get right, but you can make remote conversations easier by establishing a centralized channel. For example, Slack for internal communications or Zoom for virtual meetings. This ensures that information is passed through the company successfully.
Establish Healthy Remote Work Habits
When managing your team, pay attention to what you say. While you may feel it’s harmless to congratulate a team member for working weekends or long hours, it sets a precedent. Instead, explain that taking time off or establishing a work schedule makes the team more productive.
Keep Your Remote Team Motivated
Morale can often suffer in remote teams because employees are less likely to communicate with each other. To keep your team motivated, schedule weekly meetings to keep everyone updated. Encourage social sessions and annual vacations. Avoid micromanagement at all costs.