A recent horror story from one the webmaster forums highlights the dangers of using unknown freelancers for link building.

One webmaster admitted that they asked a freelancer to create a link building strategy. The links were to be of a certain quality and using white hat tactics. For those that do not know the parlance of the SEO industry, white hat means legit methods, black hat means dodgy methods and if the search engines spot this, your dead in the water.

Anyway, the freelancer had been hired and produced a spreadsheet detailing his links. The webmaster checked them and found them of poor quality and over half of them were not actually there.

After a few strained emails, the annoyed webmaster said that they would settle the argument with half the fee and they would go their separate ways. The freelancer accepted the deal.

The money was paid, but then the freelancer started to get nasty, demanding the rest of the money and threatening that if not forthcoming, he would remove the links he had established and not only that, he would then swamp the website in question with more than 2,000 bad links.

The webmaster paid up, thinking that it was just not worth the risk.

Now, more than likely, the threat from the freelancer was over inflated, but it makes the point, when using freelancers, or agency people for that matter, to get to know them a bit first. Have a physical chat – either over a phone line, or Skype – and ask yourself a simple question, can I trust this guy to start link building for me?

A least then, you might not get caught out!