What's good value for money when it comes to link building? What's a fair deal when it comes to link building pricing? As one of the World's leading link building services, we're in a good position to help break down the different factors and reveal what a good price point is for link building.
The price of link building varies greatly between $100 - $20,000 per month depending on quality and volume. You'll be better off trying to figure out a price point per link in long term when judging your costs for link building.
Here's a pretty typical pricing scale for overall link building costs if you're considering an outsourced link building campaign.
DR and DA dependent pricing model
Another popular pricing system setup by link building vendors and agencies is a price dependent on DR (domain rating) or DA (domain authority). It's an imperfect system, because these are 3rd party metric scores which do not always reflect the true quality of a website. However, it's a well known fact that people across the industry use these scores as a benchmark system to gauge the quality of website, along with other factors such as organic traffic.
The prices might range from anywhere between $100 - $600 + depending on quality.
Below is a rough idea of how those average price points might look.
Please bear in mind this is a very broad average, and in reality these prices will overlap at all ends of the spectrum.
Many vendors selling single links such as guest posts on a payment structure like this are selling crappy links on websites which pretty much only exist to publish these types of paid posts.
So if you go down this route, be sure to try and vet check those websites in advance to make sure they’re genuine and get reasonable organic traffic, whilst using a reputable vendor.
Studies on Link Costs
Since we're a link building agency who earns money for this type of work, I think it's only fair to reference other investigations and studies into what constitutes fair and average pricing in the link building game.
- Ahrefs finds the average cost of buying a backlink from a website is $361.44 (excluding labor and outreach costs) - See here.
- Siege Media, one of the most renowned content marketing agencies around, suggest a reasonable long term price per link of around $500 - See here.
- Authority hacker ran a field test on 5 different services, with guest post price points ranging between $150 on the low end to $1,000 on the high end - See here.
What Factors Impact Link Cost?
If you have incredible content on your website, then people are going to be much more likely to want to link to it. We've worked with clients with absolutely incredible content teams, churning out rich visual data-based content with impeccable design and genuinely unique insights. When we launch outreach campaigns and show people the content, the feedback is positive, recipients are impressed and our 'win rate' (the number of emails we need to send to earn a link) skyrockets.
Conversely, we've worked with clients who don't really create much content at all. They rely on sales pages or landing pages which are very commercial. It's far more challenging to find websites who want to link to them at all, and it takes much longer to earn each and every link, thus increasing the price of links.
Some brands have extremely strict guidelines when it comes to how they want their company to be perceived, and that can filter through to impact link building. They don't want to create opinionated content, and they only want their company spoken about in a certain way, around certain topics.
Other brands are happy to get creative with outreach emails, and to really put themselves out there. For example, on some client projects we'll use cheeky and humorous emails or a controversial angle to elicit a response. Many brands prefer to play safe.
Having these limitations inevitably create an increase in link cost, because you're limiting the people you can reach out to, the content you're showing them and the creative angle you're taking to convince them to link to you.
It's an often overlooked area that can seriously impact the ability to build a high volume of links.
Whenever we're running link building campaigns on behalf of clients with household brand names, the response rate dramatically increases. People see a well respected organization and naturally want to respond, as they know we're legitimate and trustworthy. Link building pricing falls on the whole, because we're able to convince far more people to link to us.
There can occasionally be instances of a double-edged sword here however. Savvy bloggers recognize they're being pitched by a well known brand, and will sometimes request inflated sums of money in exchange for a backlink based on the assumption that we'll be standing over obscene budgets with sums of cash to throw at the situation.
If you are actively looking to buy backlinks, you should take some important considerations before doing so.
As we touched upon earlier, the quality of link is a major factor which impacts price.
The simple fact is that larger publications which have been around for years are much harder to earn links from. Trying to convince a journalist at the BBC or TechCrunch to link to your website is a very daunting and challenging task. We're talking about hardened, internet savvy people who get pitched every day. Contrast that with a writer/owner of a small, independent blog about learning the piano - they're going to be much more approachable and easy to earn a link from, and although hardworking and honest bloggers like this are a fantastic source of links, they're going to be less valuable than a TechCrunch link in the eyes of Google.
This is something we touched upon earlier. The average price of link building can depend greatly on the industry we're working in. There are certain industries like personal finance where bloggers will rarely link off their own back, and will always demand an inflated fee to place a link to those websites. On the flip side, there are industries where bloggers will are extremely free and easy about sharing links to anyone else who shares their passion.
If you're in an industry where most websites struggle to building any links organically (like payday loans or gambling), and other websites generally don't like linking to you, then it might be good value for money to pay $500 for every high quality link coming to your website. However if you're in an industry where bloggers, writers and editors tend to link out quite easily (like gaming or cars) then you'll likely want a cost closer to $200 per link.
Examples of industries where the price of link building is high
- Casino & Gambling – The only people who might link to you for free are other casino and poker blogs, and even then it’ll only be when they’ve established a financial partnership with you (e.g. affiliates). Otherwise, you’re going to have to pay a premium for links.
- Loans – The internet loan industry has exploded, and unless you’ve got incredible content assets, it’s going to be very tough to build links on the cheap.
- Finance – bloggers in this space are inundated with proposals from budget-rich companies in finance space. Think credit cards, loan services, insurance companies.
- Real Estate – This is a pretty competitive and challenging space, especially if you’re a locally based real estate company without much content. Generally speaking, you’re going to have to stump up cash for links, perhaps in the form of sponsorship deals.
Examples of industries where the price of link building is middling
- SaaS – Many SaaS companies create some of the best content out there, so the opportunity is certainly there to build a high number of links. On top of that, people working in this area will generally be open to receiving email pitches related to link building. The problem is that it’s a saturated area, often with a lot of talented people competing against you for backlinks.
- Technology – An incredibly broad industry, which includes hundreds of sub niches. Anything from cyber security to web hosting or VPN services would fall under this category. It’s an area where content is in high demand and the volume of link opportunities is massive. However it’s also an area with a ton of intelligent people and bloggers working within, who are aware of the cash they can earn from partnerships with your brand.
- Nutrition & Food – If you consider the explosion of Instagram influencers, you’ll understand why reasonable pricing can be hard to come by in this space. There are thousands of brands in the space doing extremely well, selling everything from protein powders to fat loss regimes. Brands with exceptional products and content can achieve a decent cost per link, but ultimately linking into commercial pages is often going to cost money and effort, because you’re also competing with hundreds of other companies pitching the same types of people.
- Legal – There’s definitely a demand for great legal knowledge and content on the internet, but it’s also seen (rightfully so) as a high-brow industry which is expensive for consumers.
Examples of industries where the price of link building is lower
- Hobbyist type sites (e.g. films) – These sites do well, especially when the website has a strong focus on content and education.
- Video Games – There’s such a huge demand for video game content and it’s very much part of the sharing culture with Reddit and social media. Links can be easy to earn.
- Charities – People like to feel a sense of helping society and those in need.
- Education – Informative content has always been a major backbone of link building, so companies in the education space have an opportunity to do well and build links at scale.
- Anything associated with childcare or helping those in need – Pretty self explanatory. Even in this internet-savvy age, people generally have a heart and will link to guides, articles or movements that they can see are genuinely there to help society.
In-House vs Agency Pricing
If you're serious about link building and want to train and manage a dedicated person in-house, then it's a full time job. The time it takes to develop prospect lists, hit them with targeted outreach and nurture every opportunity absolutely warrants this.
In major USA or UK cities like San Francisco and London, for an experienced SEO professional you're looking at a cost of around $50,000/year, or $4,000 per month. On top of that, you'll likely have at least one manager overseeing the person doing link building and spending a solid chunk of time doing so. Additionally, there's the cost of any paid links or sponsorship opportunities every month, along with the cost of creating content for link building in the form of guest posts (articles which are created to contribute on 3rd party websites). Another consideration is essential software - outreach tools like Pitchbox are required to do any kind of serious outreach, and Ahrefs will be essential for many link building tasks.
However, there are certainly a great deal of positives for bringing link building in-house. You have ultimate control of your own outreach team, and can co-ordinate your content efforts to perfectly align with your outreach and link building efforts. Certainly time is a factor, but if you're serious about
I've seen many examples of large companies with extremely large content teams who do this incredibly well. They know that a combination of content & link building is going to earn them incredibly valuable traffic, and they've built an in-house team which is fit for purpose, a well oiled machine?
It all depends who you hire....
We've already explored the range of costs when it comes to link building, so it all comes down to who you decide to hire.
Major content marketing agencies providing an end-to-end service might charge anywhere from $5,000 - $20,000 for a single campaign, especially top level companies in places like New York. The average link cost might fall anywhere between the $400 - $1500 mark.
Specialist link building agencies like us will charge far less, with the major price differences occurring when link volume increases. We also offer white label link building to other agencies at a slightly lower rate.
Of course, there are agencies who don't provide much insight or analysis on your website, but will rather work on a price per link basis, often providing guest posts for a set price. A quick search on Google for guest post services will reveal some major players in this space.
Return On Investment
Link building is an essential pillar of SEO, but it's also a major investment and can get expensive
Most successful brands with an SEO team who are generating online traffic will be actively engaging in link building activities, whether in-house or outsourced.
Before you dive in and start building links, I'd urge you strongly to plan ahead. Consider which types of pages and keywords you want link building to have an impact on, develop a prioritized list and carefully research your competitors to see just what it's going to take in terms of backlinks to compete and eventually surpass them.
Planning and budgeting is absolutely key when it comes to considering a link building project? and building your own framework with realistic goals and expectations is strongly recommend whatever you do.