Link Building Pricing

How much does link building cost?

This has to be one of the most common questions we hear at Stellar SEO.

While the question is the same, it can mean a few different things such as:

  • Do you have link building packages? If so, what is included for each price?
  • How many links do I need to be building each month to be competitive in my space?
  • How much do you charge per link or do you guarantee any certain number of links?
  • Should I outsource link building or keep it in-house to keep costs down?

Today, we are going to look at both a typical cost per link and talk about custom link building, which isn’t typically priced per link. We are also going to look at the costs associated with in-house vs. outsourced link building so that you have an idea of how they compare.

If your version of “how much does link building cost” actually means “how many links should I be building”, stop and read through our competitor link analysis post first so that you can get a better sense of volume in your niche.

chapter5_illustrationNew to Link Building or Looking for a Refresher? Be Sure to Check Out The Definitive {Process-Driven} Guide to Building Links in 2020

What to Consider Before Buying Links or Building Links

Before we get into costs, it is important to understand that links are not a commodity and buying on price alone can be a recipe for disaster. When you are in the market for a link building service, consider the following points before you make your final decision.

 

A Single Metric Doesn’t Make a Link Good or Bad

Metrics such as Domain Authority are commonly used to sell links with a price-per-link model. A high DA does not guarantee a link will be high-quality. A lower DA does not mean a link will have no value.

When comparing prices between agencies, you should look for average pricing and eliminate companies that fall way below average costs. This is usually a sign that they are selling based solely upon DA, with little regard for the actual safety or quality of a link placement.

 

Local SEO Link Building is Different Than Link Building for National Sites

When it comes to link building for local SEO, there are going to be some key differences.

For example: If you have a pet supply store in a small city and you are able to get links from local pet shelters, veterinary clinics, and local newspapers, your campaign is going well! These sites may have low traffic, Domain Rating, or Domain Authority, but the strong Geo-relevance makes them great links anyway.

On the other hand, if you are trying to rank for “pet supplies” Nationally, those same types of links are not going to get the job done. This is because the Google algorithm for local SEO has some components that differ from the standard organic search algorithm. This means that not all tactics are right for every project, which makes strategy a very important addition to a link building campaign.

 

Link Building Isn’t Just About the Links

If two companies with identical on and off-page SEO acquired the same 5 links through a new link building campaign, their results would differ.

Google has done a great job of making algorithms complex, so nobody is 100% sure about exactly how they work. Fortunately, we do have a very good idea of the main ranking factors which include quality blog posts and other content along with trusted links.

Beyond just having trusted links, there are subsets of information that we also know Google takes into consideration when deciding how to rank a site. The anchor text that you use when building a link and even the location of your link on the page can make a difference in how Google views and rewards you for having obtained it.

Besides just building links, good link building agencies understand those factors and put in time and research to craft the most effective campaign possible, based upon that data. Simply put, a link from the exact same site can have more or less impact, depending upon how well it is planned and placed.

This means that sometimes getting a link for less will cost you more than it saved.

 

How “Good” Do You Need Your Links to Be?

This may sound like a loaded question, but the reality is, each company has an internal definition of what a “good” link looks like.

In the link pricing guide from Siege Media, Ross Hudgens does a good job of illustrating this while talking about the rigidness of your brand requirements.

To paraphrase, the willingness to be flexible will allow for more creativity in content production, in turn driving down the cost per link. Inversely, a brand with very strict requirements must ensure they stay within those parameters, which can drive up the cost per link.

Source: Siegemedia.com

 

To put it simply, a “good” link can be defined differently from one company to another. When you have strict requirements, a custom link building strategy is usually a better fit than per link pricing, to ensure you build a plan to get links that meet your internal expectations.

 

At Stellar SEO, we evaluate the link quality using the principles discussed in The A.R.T of Link Building guide.

 

If your requirements are less rigid, you can often decrease your cost per link, and a pay-per-link pricing model might be a good fit.

While there are many things to consider, the points above are a great starting point.

Since you came here to learn about the cost of link building, let’s get to it.

 

How Much Does Link Building Cost At Stellar SEO?

Since we know exactly what and how we charge, why not start with our own pricing? Not to worry though, we are going to look at averages as well, just keep reading.

We have two pricing models, allowing us to service our whitelabel clients and direct clients with an approach suited to their needs.

Price-Per-Link Link Building Services

Our a la carte services, which are typically best suited for resellers, include 3 link building tactics:

  • Guest Posting: $167 to $600 per link
  • Blogger Outreach: $167 to $600 per link
  • Niche Edits: $150 per link

Our custom link building service is billed hourly, but we will come back to that below.

 

Guest Posting & Blogger Outreach

Guest posting and blogger outreach are the same service. We have both because of how people search for it. (Good ole keyword targeted content..lol)

Anyway, on Blogger Outreach and Guest Posting, we offer per link pricing that ranges from $167 to $600 per link.

 

We do offer some pricing discounts if you order 10+ or 50+ links in a single order.

 

How Much Does Blogger Outreach Cost In General?

I am sure you are wondering how that compares to other services, not to worry, here you go:

Source: Growista

 

In 2019, Growista pulled together this comparison chart, showing pricing averages by Domain Authority and for a “general link”, which are links that are not priced by Domain Authority.

To summarize the findings:

  • A DA 20+ Link Ranges from $69 to $287
  • A DA 30+ Link Ranges from $94 to $400
  • A DA 40+ Link Ranges from $199 to $627
  • A DA 50+ Link Ranges from $300 to $600, but data was only reported from 5 of the 31 sites on the list.
  • A “general link”, not based upon DA ranges from $150 to $500 per link.

As you can see, our pricing for DA based links (blogger outreach and guest posting) comes in about middle of the pack.

We do not up-charge for content over 500 words, which many other companies do. We also have minimum traffic, Domain Rating, and site quality checks that a site must also pass in order to be considered for outreach by our team.

The pricing for a “general” link is a little vague as it could come from a service like niche edits or it could be an outreach link earned by creating and promoting linkable content assets.

 

Niche Edit Link Building

Our niche edits service is popular for affiliate sites and local businesses and we charge $150 per link placement. This service isn’t based upon domain authority, but rather focused upon finding relevant, quality link placement opportunities on sites we have a pre-existing relationship with.

Word of Warning On Niche Edits: There are a lot of very low quality, downright shady companies offering niche edit link building. Some of these services charge $20-$30 per link placement.

If you are not familiar with what this tactic is, I suggest reading “What are Niche Edits” to get a better sense of what they are and what to look out for when buying them.

 

Final Thoughts on Fixed Price Link Building

In the right circumstance, this type of link building and pricing can be the ideal fit. If you are a reseller, knowing metrics and the exact number of links you will get for a set price makes it easy to bundle and include alongside your other marketing offers.

If you run an affiliate or advertising site and have a good plan already in place, this type of link building is a cost effective way to supplement your broader strategy.

 

But remember…

 

This pricing model isn’t the right service for every project. Brands with stringent guidelines, seeking collaboration instead of a “done for you” type of service, and those who desire increased control of the process, content, and message are often better served by a more customized link outreach plan.

The other benefit of custom link building is the ability to select link building tactics based upon underlying goals.

For example, if you are trying to gain brand recognition quickly or capture referral traffic, media mentions are a great tactic.

When you need a goal-driven strategy and a custom approach, we can help you. That is where our signature service comes in.

 

Custom Link Building Campaigns

Custom Link Building is our signature service. It combines research, strategy development, and outreach into a custom link building plan.

Our custom link building campaign consists of the following phases:

  1. Intake Meeting & Detailed Marketing Questionnaire Completion
  2. Content Assets Review
  3. Link & Anchor Text Profile Review
  4. Competitor Link Prospecting & Segmentation
  5. Competitor Link & Anchor Gap Analysis
  6. Initial Prospect List Built & Segmented
  7. Strategy & Tactics Finalized
  8. Outreach Begins
  9. Tracking, Reporting, & Adjusting As Needed

As mentioned earlier, link building isn’t just about the links. This service is meant for those looking for precise, goal-driven link building strategies.

 

So… How Much Does Custom Link Building Cost?

Since custom outreach involves research, planning, content development, and outreach, the price per link becomes a little less clear. Because custom link outreach is process driven, the most common pricing models are:

  • Retainer Pricing
  • Hourly Pricing
  • Hybrid Pricing

 

How Much is Stellar SEO’s Custom Link Building?

Our custom link building campaigns start at $2,500 per month and more typically average around $5000 per month for a standard campaign. Our hourly billing rate is $100 per hour.

The number of links secured for this budget varies based upon your goals and resources. While our custom link building plans are most commonly billed hourly, we do offer hybrid pricing in some cases.

For example, let’s say that you needed the research and planning, but we knew upfront that blogger outreach one be one tactic used as part of your overall strategy. In cases like that, we would offer per-link pricing on the blogger outreach links and hourly billing for the other elements.

The best way to address which works is by booking a consultation, so that we can learn more about your business and help you weigh the options.

 

How Much Does Custom Link Building Cost in General?

When it comes to custom link outreach campaigns, the costs can vary significantly, based upon the quality of the company you hire and the scale of your campaign.

In order to help you get a better sense of link building costs, we are going to look at the starting prices for some other reputable companies, then talk about average pricing among good link building companies.

Let’s take a look at the price points for the following companies:

Page One Power -According to Page One Power, a typical link building campaign for them costs $3,500 per month, but varies by project.

Link Fish Media – According to Link Fish Media, their most basic campaign will produce about 3 links and costs $1050. Their website states that their average client campaign is $5,000 per month.

Siege Media – As mentioned above, the cost per link range suggested by Siege Media in their pricing guide ranges from $150 to $1000 per link, depending upon the requirements and niche.

Webris – According to Webris, they work from the retainer model and bill $250 per hour, plus any costs associated with placed links such as content writing and sponsored post costs.

Linkbuilder.io – According to their website, Linkbuilder.io offers three price points ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 per month for custom link building.

So to summarize – You can expect to pay between $100-$250 per hour or $2,000 – $8,000 per month on average.

Now that you know the costs of working with link building agencies, let’s look at the cost of in-house link building.

 

The Cost of In-House Link Building

Building links is a time consuming task, so at minimum you would want to have at least one person doing outreach and one person to produce content. You are also going to need to provide tools and training to your team.

Depending upon the size of your company, you may opt for an SEO analyst and a content writer or a Public Relations Manager and a content writer. We are going to look at both options below.

Obviously some areas will fall below these prices and others will be well-above. For the sake of simplicity, we are looking at the U.S average.

 

Content Writer Average Salary in the U.S.

Source: Payscale.com

SEO Analyst – Average Salary in the U.S.

Source: Payscale.com

Public Relations Manager – Average Salary in the U.S.

Source: Payscale.com

Content Writer + SEO Analyst Cost

  • $95,173 Per Year
  • $7,931.08 Per Month

If you opt for the combination of content writer and SEO analyst (so you can get some on-page work done as well), the total yearly cost would be: $95,173. This equates to $7,931.08 per month.

 

Content Writer + Public Relations Manager 

  • $113,208 Per Year
  • $9,434 Per Month

The combination of public relations manager and content writer is more expensive, coming in at $113,208 per year or $9,434 per month.

The totals above are in addition to any tools or training that you may provide. Here are a few basic tools you would likely need as well.

Tools And Training for Your In-House Team

The sky’s the limit when it comes to tools and training options, but we are going to keep it simple with just a few basic tools.

Ahrefs – To find link opportunities and do competitor link and anchor text analysis. The base price is $99 per month.

Hunter.io – To find email address for link prospects. The base price is $49 per month.

Link Building Training – There are a few options here, but here is some pricing to consider.

  • Theblueprint.training – $999 one time fee
  • SEO That Works – $467 per month
  • Personalized Hands On Training -$250 – $500 per hour.

As a rough average, let’s say you spend a modest $250 per month on training and tools subscriptions. That is another $3000 per year.

At this point that would put your total yearly cost somewhere between roughly $98,000 and $117,000 per year.

 

But… 

 

There is another cost to consider as well. The cost of links.

If you are one of the many businesses that are open to sponsored posts, you need to include the added costs for that as well.

A 2016 study conducted by Ahrefs indicated that the average cost to buy a backlink (or sponsored post) from a website was $352.92

In 2018 their updated study showed an increased cost per link average of $361.44 per link.

Since not all companies are willing to pay for posts, and even those who are won’t spend the exact same amount per month, we won’t add this to the costs.

However, unless you are not willing to pay for any links, I would imagine at least $1,000 per month should be added to your estimates.

Excluding the cost of sponsored posts, the monthly cost of a two person in-house link building team ranges between $8,166.66 and $9,750 per month.

If you have extremely strict guidelines, an in-house team could be a good option. Otherwise, the cost is roughly double that of hiring an agency for an “average” campaign.

 

So, How Much Does Link Building Cost?

Nothing if you do it right.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that link building is a tool that should be used to help you achieve your business goals.

If you have a clear goal, a sound strategy, and a reputable link building company helping you secure the right links, the payoff is going to far outweigh the cost.