Why SEO’s Dont Report on Backlinks

Another question I regularly get asked is why SEO‘s don’t report on backlinks! To be fair there are people who do report on backlinks, but they’re not the sort of people you want to be getting backlinks from for your site. Anyone can switch on any of the automated backlink tools there are on the market today, get tons of backlinks to your website and then send you a list that is exported from the software. Job done, everyone’s happy and the client has the report on the backlinks that they want to see.

Now that’s still getting backlinks and this sort of tactic worked 4 or 5 years ago. People would have no issue in providing you the list as there wasn’t much to it, all they done was start up a bit of software, exported all the links the software got you and it all worked fine. That is an unethical way of getting backlinks and not ideal for your website at present.

Previously any link would do whether it was some Chinese directory or some useless comment on a blog somewhere, it didn’t matter, it was the sheer volume of links that you got that helped you rank well.

With Google changing the algorithm to try and get rid of this type of software, backlinks are becoming more difficult to get for the average SEO. The requirement is to get good quality, relevant links rather than thousands of any old type of link. An SEO will use client sites, resources they have had for years, use contacts they have built up over years, friends sites and even private blog networks. Regardless of whether it’s clients sites, resources they have, or a private blog network, an SEO won’t want you or anyone else knowing what those links are.

Why would they? Say for example, you sell t-shirts and someone said tell me how they were made, where they were made and how much they cost you, you would quickly tell them where to go, as you are offering a product or service. SEO is a service so no matter how long it takes, how many links it takes to get you there, or how those links are gained it doesn’t really matter as such. An SEO is always judged on rankings that they get, you don’t hear anyone moaning when they have page 1 rankings.


Now I’ve often asked myself when learning about SEO why certain websites rank really well but don’t appear to have any real backlinks according to some of the competitor analysis tools that I use such as Serpstat.  I’ve recently done a post on how to hide your backlinks from your competitors and that’s just one of the reasons these tools don’t show you much and makes it hard to monitor your competitors.

It’s not sensible in a lot of instances to report on backlinks as a lot of clients have unrealistic expectations and it can be dangerous with a little bit of knowledge or can start basing judgement on your SEO on the volume of backlinks that you are getting.

What the clients don’t understand is that when doing SEO there are costs to the SEO provider such as tools that need paid monthly, time spent using these tools, onsite tweaks, content creation, outreach software to get links and there are people who manually seek out link building requests. All of that type of thing is part of the service but the overall goal of SEO is rankings, traffic and conversions.

For example the overall goal for advertising in a newspaper is, seeing your ad on whatever position you have paid for, you don’t need to know how many people were emailed to get that ad live, how much the ink cost to print all the papers or the other processes that go on in the background.

I know the SEO industry has a bad reputation and clients want to know a lot more about SEO, but there aren’t any SEO companies who report on what backlinks they are getting not because they are hiding anything from you as such, purely just so they can retain the clients business.

It is ideal to base your opinion on your SEO on previous results and rankings they achieve for you and I’m very transparent with clients but some things you simply don’t tell clients otherwise as an SEO you would no longer have a client, you would have a rival. SEO provides you with rankings which in turn 99% of SEO‘s will report on. Not many tie you into contracts so if they don’t perform they don’t get paid.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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