The benefits of getting good links back to your site are well-known—more monthly visitors to your site, higher PageRank, better brand awareness, and increased sales result from investing in your off-page efforts no matter what vertical you’re in.
But when it comes to backlink building, many factors determine the cost, making it difficult to estimate pricing and costs accurately.
In 2023, link building prices are determined by several things, including the quality and quantity of links you acquire, your industry and competition level, and the type of link building services you use.
How Much Does Link Building Cost?
Hubspot found that 46% of marketers spend over $10,000 per month on link building. Another 22% spend $2,500 or less to build links.
Link building pricing can vary depending on the type of service you use and the goals you have in mind. Generally, one-time projects can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000, while monthly campaigns will range from $1,000 to over $20,000 per month.
A few things that go into the cost of backlink building:
Quality content that is relevant to a website’s industry is essential for successful link building. Content creators must have excellent writing skills and extensive knowledge of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to create content that will be effective for link building campaigns.
Whether you hire an agency or build backlinks on your own, you will need at least one person to manage the process. This includes keeping track of link building efforts, researching potential sites for link placements, and writing emails or other forms of communication to request links.
Technology & Tools
To effectively build links, you’ll need access to a number of tools and technology, including a keyword research tool, website analysis tools, and a crawler or link checker tool.
New York Times, Huffington Post, and other high-authority publications charge premiums for article placements, brand mentions, and other forms of link building.
All links that you acquire should be evaluated to ensure they meet the standards set by search engines and follow best practices for SEO. You need to ensure you’re putting good content on authoritative sites whenever you create a guest post. This process can be time-consuming and, therefore, costly.
Is Link Building Really Worth The Price?
Overall, the ROI you can expect from link building largely depends on where you get your links from, who you hire to manage your campaign, and how targeted and relevant your links are. A well-executed link building campaign can generate plenty of leads and boost organic search rankings, so it can be worth the cost for many businesses.
But there is one caveat: Link building requires time, patience, and resources to do it correctly. Companies that try to take shortcuts with link building risk being penalized by search engines, so it’s important to approach link building strategically and with a long-term vision in mind.
While SEO may not be the primary source of lead conversion for all businesses (it could be PPC, social media, etc.), it certainly has the potential to be very profitable. Being on the first page of a search engine for keywords that buyers are searching for when they are ready to make a purchasing decision can generate a lot of revenue.
What Factors Impact Cost Per Link?
The price per link for your campaign will vary wildly depending on several factors.
- Placement Site: Sites like AP News, Forbes, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur.com are going to cost a lot of money. By contrast, niche placement sites like industry blogs and forums usually have lower per-link pricing. But this also depends on several factors (more on that later).
- Quality of Links: High-quality links from reputable sites can take time and effort to acquire, resulting in higher costs. Low-quality links from spammy websites will be less expensive but could result in a penalty or ban if Google detects them.
- Type of Link Building Techniques: Included in the cost of link building are the actual link building techniques you use. Some services that are offered are directory submissions, guest blogging, and content creation and outreach. Each of these techniques requires different skill levels, time, and manual effort—all of which will affect the cost.
- Volume of Links: The number of links you need will also affect the cost. Building hundreds of links can be expensive, but it can also bring a huge return on your investment if done correctly.
- Industry and Competition Level: A link building package will sometimes cost more in competitive markets since more effort is needed to compete with established players. High-competition keywords will also require more links to achieve rankings.
- Where Your Links Come From: If you buy cheap links on Fiverr, you’ll end up paying a few dollars per link. But that doesn’t mean they’ll actually be good for SEO. Working with an agency that uses white hat link building techniques and creates good content will cost much more but will result in better-quality links from reputable sources.
- Whether You Outsource: If you hire a freelancer or agency for link building services, they’ll take a cut. But doing it on your own comes with its own costs as well. These include the cost of your time, developing your outreach strategy, and any tools you might need.
The bottom line is that no matter how you go about building links to your website, every link will cost you at least some money. And the investment required depends largely on your competition, the goals you have in mind, and the quality and quantity of links you need.
What Types of Backlinks Are Valuable?
As we touched on earlier, not all links are created equal. Valuable backlinks come from reputable sites with high domain authority and page authority. These are links that search engines trust, and they often require manual outreach efforts to acquire.
Examples of valuable backlinks include:
- Editorial posts from big-ticket publishers like Reuters, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal
- Links from industry-specific blogs and publications with high Domain Ratings
- Guest blog posts on websites with high domain authority
- Resource page links from relevant websites
- Relevant links from .edu, .gov, and other non-commercial sites
The cost of acquiring these links will depend largely on the quality of the link and how much effort is required to get it. But each one will require research and high-level strategy.
How Many Backlinks Does My Website Need for SEO?
There’s no black-and-white answer to the question of how many links your site needs for SEO success. The number of links your website needs will depend on how competitive the market is and what type of keywords you’re targeting. Generally speaking, the more competitive a keyword is, the more backlinks you’ll need to rank for it.
Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow to figure out how many backlinks your site needs.
1. Look at your competitors.
To determine how many links your site needs, the first thing you’ll need to do is take a look at your competitors.
How many links do they have? Are their backlinks from high-authority sites? If so, you’ll need to acquire more links than them to compete.
Using the Ahrefs Site Explorer, we can see that Backlinko has around 592,000 backlinks from about 51,300 referring domains. This tells us that it would take a lot of effort to outrank them in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
2. Analyze the quality of your competitors’ links.
It’s not enough to just look at the total number of links. You’ll also need to analyze the quality of the links in order to estimate how many you need for SEO success.
Are their links coming from reputable websites? Do they have a lot of low-quality spammy links?
For example, a page might have 100 referring domains but 50 of them could come from low quality scraper websites.
Knowing this information can help you determine how many and what type of links your site needs.
To do this, you can look at each competitor’s link profile on Ahrefs or another SEO tool.
Looking at Backlinko’s backlink profile, we can see that many of these links come from high-DR sites with lots of organic traffic.
3. Build a list of keywords.
Once you’ve assessed your competitors’ link profiles, it’s time to make a list of keywords that you want to target.
Pick pages that are going to drive the biggest ROI or have the potential to drive natural links into your website.
4. Set realistic link-building goals.
Once you know how many links your competitors have and what types of links they’re using, it’s time to set realistic, achievable link-building goals for yourself.
Backlinko’s site ranks page one for “SERPs,” for example.
According to Ahrefs, you’d need about 524 backlinks to your page to compete. Also, Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty doesn’t account for domain authority. If you built 524 backlinks to your page but your domain rating was much lower than Backlinko’s, you’d likely need even more links to outrank them.
Start small and focus on creating quality links from reputable sources. As you build up your backlink profile, you can increase your goals accordingly.
In-House vs. Agency Pricing
Hiring a link building agency sounds expensive, but trust us—it’s much more expensive to hire in-house. And while you can use freelancers for a lower cost, agencies are more reliable and have more experience in SEO link building.
When you hire an agency, you can reasonably expect to pay somewhere in the wheelhouse of $3,000 to $10,000 per month for a fully-managed campaign.
But to hire an in-house team, you’ll need to hire writers and editors and either a public relations manager or an SEO manager (who specializes in link building and blogger outreach).
For the sake of simplicity, let’s examine the average cost of hiring these people in-house.
According to Indeed, the average base salary for a copywriter in the US is $53,659.
Salary.com data shows that the median PR manager makes $116,561 annually.
And based on HR reporting data, an SEO analyst makes around $71,701 per year.
That brings your expected total cost to somewhere between $125,000 and $175,000 per year for a basic-level SEO team, without even considering the costs of actually building your links.
In addition to the base salary of these employees, you’re also paying them benefits, and you’ll also need to provide them with the software (e.g., keyword research tools, email outreach software) and training resources (e.g., course material and onboarding documents) they need to succeed.
There’s also no guarantee that they will.
The price of an outsourced link building campaign doesn’t seem too bad now, does it?
Because of the high costs of in-house link building teams, many businesses choose to outsource the task.
Link building isn’t something you should hire internally for unless you have a large budget, an in-depth understanding of Cold Email Outreach, complex needs that require a team of experts, and an existing SEO infrastructure to support the new hires.
Otherwise, link building vendors are your best bet.
Build Links Now With Linkflow
We take a customized approach to link building. By getting to know you and your business, creating an SEO roadmap, and setting realistic goals, we can help you maximize your link-building return on investment.
And because we have a large network of bloggers and site owners, we can quickly find link opportunities and get links for a fraction of the cost of in-house link building.
Ready to get started? Contact us today and let’s start planning your link building strategy.