Link Building Pricing

cost of link building - link building pricing in 2022

How much does link building cost?

(Originally written in 2020 and updated in July 2023 with current pricing data)

At Stellar SEO, we frequently encounter the question of link building pricing.

However, this question, although the same, can have multiple interpretations, such as:

  • Are there link building packages available, and if so, what is the price of each?
  • How many links should I aim to build monthly for competitiveness in my industry?
  • What is the cost per link or can you guarantee a certain number of links?
  • Is it more cost-effective to outsource link building or handle it in-house?

Today, we will explore the typical cost per backlink and delve into custom link building, which is not typically priced per link.

Additionally, we will compare the expenses associated with in-house and outsourced link building. If you’re wondering about the ideal number of links to build, we recommend reading our comprehensive link building guide to better understand 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 Build Links

Key Factors to Consider Before Purchasing and/or Building Links

Before diving into pricing specifics, it’s vital to recognize that high-quality backlinks are not a mere commodity. Relying solely on price when buying links can lead to unfavorable outcomes.

When seeking a link building agency or service, bear in mind the following aspects to ensure you’re making the right decision.

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

Link selling often relies on metrics like Domain Authority (DA) and employs a price-per-link approach.

However, it’s important to note that a high DA doesn’t guarantee link quality, and a lower DA doesn’t imply a lack of value.

When evaluating prices across different agencies, it’s advisable to consider average pricing and exclude companies that offer significantly lower costs, as this kind of substantial deviation often indicates a focus on DA alone, disregarding the safety and overall quality of link placements.

Local SEO Link Building Differs from National Sites’ Link Building

When it comes to link building for local SEO, there are notable differences to consider.

For instance, if you operate a pet supply store in a small city and manage to acquire links from local pet shelters, veterinary clinics, and community newspapers, your campaign is on the right track. Despite these sites potentially having low traffic, Domain Rating, or Domain Authority, their strong geo-relevance makes them valuable links.

Conversely, if your goal is to rank nationally for “pet supplies,” those same types of links will simply not be enough. This is because the Google algorithm for local SEO differs from the standard organic search algorithm. Meaning not all tactics are universally effective, which highlights the significance of strategic planning in backlink building campaigns.

This dynamic can elevate a website with a low Domain Authority to serve as a high-quality link for your specific objectives.

It’s NOT All About Links When it Comes to Link Building

If two companies with identical on-page and off-page SEO strategies acquire the same set of 5 links through a new link building campaign, their outcomes will differ.

Seeing that Google has skillfully developed complex algorithms, it’s quite challenging to fully understand their functioning. Nevertheless, we possess a good understanding of the primary ranking factors, which include on-page SEO, such as optimized blog posts, and the presence of trusted links.

When purchasing links, you’re not merely paying for the links themselves, so you should keep in mind that if something is easily attainable for you, it is likewise accessible to others. And when a resource becomes widely available, its value diminishes significantly — this is a fundamental principle of macro and microeconomics.

Therefore, it is vital to recognize that when you invest in link building, you are primarily compensating for the effort involved in generating high-quality backlinks. This includes:

1. Research

Keyword and quality research, which involves evaluating the quality of other websites, is a time-consuming process, there are no shortcuts, and any attempt to bypass this aspect would decrease the value of the results.

2. Content:

“Content is king,” as you likely know, and high-quality content is far more effective than low-quality, spammy alternatives. Integrating the researched keywords and links into quality content that provides valuable information to your readers without appearing overly promotional requires dedicated effort. Behind the scenes, excellent content creation involves tasks like drafting, revising, editing, rewriting, and quality assurance, all of which consume time.

3. Relationships

Securing guest posts on authoritative websites can be challenging, as the more authoritative the site, the harder it is to get published. Creating exceptional content is only a ⅓ aspect of the battle, as the next ⅓ is vital in having it published in high-quality and authoritative publications. Building strong content marketing relationships is the missing piece or final ⅓ that would see you win the war.

4. Follow-Through

By building on our established relationships and utilizing effective data analysis tools, we ensure proper follow-through. We proactively reach out to our partners to ensure timely publication and promptly address any misprints or technical issues.

We prioritize swift and efficient execution, delivering results quickly in our link building efforts.

In addition to establishing trusted links, various factors influence Google’s ranking decisions. The anchor text utilized when building a link and the placement of the link on a page that can significantly impact how Google perceives and rewards the acquisition.

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

Although it may seem like a complex question, each company has its own internal criteria for defining a “good” link.

To put it simply, being open to flexibility allows for more creativity in content production, which can lower the cost per backlink. That said, brands with rigid requirements must adhere to those parameters, potentially increasing the cost per backlink.

how much does one link cost?

Essentially, the definition of a “good” link can vary from one company to another. If you have specific and strict requirements, a customized backlink building strategy is often more suitable than a per link pricing approach.

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

On the other hand, if your requirements are more flexible, there is often an opportunity to reduce the cost per link, making a pay-per-link pricing model a more suitable option.

While there are numerous factors to take into consideration, the aforementioned points serve as an excellent starting point.

How Much Does Link Building Costs At Stellar SEO?

To provide complete transparency, let’s begin by discussing our own pricing structure. Don’t worry though, we will also explore average industry pricing to provide a comprehensive overview.

At our agency, we offer two distinct pricing models tailored to accommodate the requirements of both our white label clients and direct clients.

This approach ensures that we can deliver services that align with their specific needs.

Price-Per-Link Link Building Services

For resellers, we offer a comprehensive range of a la carte services, which include three key backlink building tactics. These services are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of our reseller clients.

  • Guest Posting: $297 to $1000 per link
  • Blogger Outreach: $297 to $1000 per link
  • Niche Edits: $225 per link

Guest Posting & Blogger Outreach Link Building Pricing

Our services include both guest posts and blogger outreach, which are essentially interchangeable terms based on how people search for them. (Ah, the joys of keyword-targeted content!)

Now, let’s discuss our pricing for these services. For both Blogger Outreach and Guest Posts, we offer a per backlink pricing model, with costs ranging from $297 to $600 per backlink.

Please note we also provide pricing discounts for orders that include 10+ or 50+ links.

How Much Does Blogger Outreach Cost In General?

You’re probably curious about how our pricing compares to other link building services. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below, you can see a detailed comparison that includes pricing data from both 2019 and 2023.

To provide a summary of the findings from 2019:

  • 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 backlink.

Blogger Outreach Pricing In 2023

In July 2023, we conducted an analysis of current pricing data for similar services, and here are our findings:

  • A DA 30+ Link Ranges from $200 to $300
  • A DA 40+ Link Ranges from $300 to $350
  • A DA 50+ Link Ranges from $350 to $1000
  • A DA (or DR) 70+ Link Ranges from $750-$1,500

As evident, the cost per backlink has increased across the board, which is influenced by inflation and rising publisher expenses.

Our pricing for DA-based paid links, such as blogger outreach and guest posts, falls in the middle range compared to other providers. Unlike many other companies, we do not charge extra for content exceeding 500 words.

Additionally, we have minimum traffic, Domain Rating, and site quality criteria that must be met for a site to be considered in our outsourced link building campaign.

Niche Edit Link Building Pricing

Our niche edits service is highly sought after by affiliate sites and local businesses. For each link placement, we charge $225. This service focuses on identifying relevant placement opportunities for high-quality links on sites with which we already have established relationships with.

However, it’s important to exercise caution when it comes to niche edits. There are numerous low-quality and questionable companies in the market offering niche edit backlink building services, some charging as low as $20-$30 per backlink placement.

If you’re unfamiliar with this tactic, we recommend reading “What Are Niche Edits” to gain a better understanding of what they entail and what to watch out for when making a purchase.

Fixed Price Link Building Final Thoughts

Under the right circumstances, this form of backlink building and pricing can be a perfect match. For resellers, having a clear understanding of metrics and the precise number of links you’ll receive for a fixed price makes it simple to bundle and include them alongside your other marketing offerings.

If you operate an affiliate or advertising site and already have a solid plan in place, this type of link building serves as a cost-effective method to complement your overall strategy.

But remember…

Not every project is suitable for this pricing model. Brands with specific guidelines, a preference for collaboration rather than a fully managed service, and a need for greater control over the overall process, content, and messaging often benefit more from a customized link outreach plan.

Another advantage of custom backlink building is the flexibility to select tactics based on specific goals. For instance, if your aim is to rapidly build brand recognition or drive referral traffic, media mentions can be an effective link building strategy.

Custom Link Building Campaigns

Our signature service, custom backlink building, combines research, strategic development, and personalized outreach to create a tailored link building plan.

The custom backlink building campaign includes the following key 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

So… How Much Does Custom Backlink Building Cost?

When it comes to custom outreach, the pricing per link becomes less straightforward due to the research, planning, content development, content marketing, and outreach efforts involved.

As a result, there are different pricing models commonly used for custom link outreach, including:

  • Retainer Pricing
  • Hourly Pricing
  • Hybrid Pricing

How Much is Stellar SEO’s Custom Link Building?

Our custom link building campaigns typically start at $2,500 per month, with an average cost of around $5,000 per month for a standard campaign. We also offer an hourly billing rate of $125 per hour.

The number of links obtained within this budget may vary depending on your specific goals and available resources. While our custom link building pricing plans are primarily billed hourly, we do offer hybrid pricing in certain cases.

For instance, if you require research and planning but are looking to incorporate blogger outreach as one of your strategies, we can offer per-link pricing specifically for the blogger outreach links while maintaining hourly billing for other elements.

How Much Does Custom Link Building Costs in General?

Custom link outreach campaigns can have varying costs depending on factors such as the expertise of the company you want to hire and the scope of your campaign.

Let’s analyze the pricing details for the following companies (as of July 2023):

Page One Power – According to Page One Power, their typical backlink building campaigns start at $4,000 per month up to $12,000 per month, but can vary based on the specific project.

Link Fish Media – Link Fish Media offers a basic campaign that generates around 3 links, costing $1,050. Their average client campaign is stated to be $5,000 per month.

Webris – Webris charges a flat fee per backlink of about $300. If you wish to purchase packages, they cost $300 per backlink with a minimum of 10 links per order.

Linkbuilder.io – Linkbuilder.io provides four pricing options ranging from $2,999 to $19,999 per month for custom backlink building services.

Screaming Frog – The pricing range at Screaming Frog varies as they adopt a “day rate” model and their daily rate is £850. Their requirements also state a minimum of 4 days per month, so to start a campaign, you’d need at least £3,400.

uSERP – uSERP offers preset options with prices ranging from $10,000 to $20,000+ per month. For the $10,000 option, approximately 9-10 links per month can be expected.

Linkgraph.io – The pricing at Linkgraph.io ranges from $140 to $2,000 for one link inclusion via a guest post, depending on the target site’s DA level. Every additional link/guest post doubles the price you’d pay. So, if you’re looking for 2 links from websites with DA of 20 to 29, you’d need to pay $280, and so on.

Outreach Mama – Outreach Mama offers a price range of $175 for 10 Tier 2 links up to $725 for 50 Tier 2 links. And if you’re targeting specific DR ranges, then the costs are $157 per backlink for DR30+ sites up to $287 per backlink for DR50+ sites.

So to summarize – you can expect to pay between $125-$250 per hour or $3,000 – $10,000 per month on average to link building vendors.

Now that you’re familiar with the costs associated with hiring specialist link building agencies, let’s shift our focus to the prices of in-house backlink building.

The Cost of In-House Link Building

Link building is a time consuming and intensive process, requiring dedicated personnel for outreach and content creation.

Additionally, providing the necessary tools and training to support your team is vital.

Depending on the size of your organization, you might consider hiring an SEO analyst and a content writer, or a Public Relations Manager and a content writer.

Let’s examine both options below.

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
  • $105,769 Per Year
  • $8,814.08 Per Month

If you choose to hire a content writer and an SEO analyst to handle both content creation and on-page optimization, the total annual cost would be $105,769, which averages to $8,814.08 per month.

Content Writer + Public Relations Manager
  • $127,306 Per Year
  • $10,608.83 Per Month

Opting for a combination of a public relations manager and a content writer would be slightly more expensive, with an annual cost of $127,306 or $10,608.83 per month.

Tools And Training for Your In-House Team

When it comes to tools and training, there are various options available to help you boost your organic traffic. Let’s focus on a few fundamental tools that can make a significant impact:

Ahrefs – This tool enables you to discover link opportunities, analyze competitor links and anchor text. The base price for multiple users is $399 per month.

Hunter.io – With Hunter.io, you can find email addresses of potential link prospects. The base price for this tool is $49 per month.

Link Building Training/SEO Training – There are several training options to consider, and here are some pricing details:

  • Theblueprint.training – Access fee of $6,999, plus an additional $499 for the project management suite
  • ClickMinded – Lifetime access for one person is priced at $899, while lifetime access for your team is available at $8,999 and they regularly offer discounts, so you can get the price down to $1,999
  • Market Motive – Self-paced learning with 180-day access costs €15 or $16, and the online bootcamp with 90-day access is priced at €849 or $926 at today’s rate

Considering these factors, your total annual in-house costs would fall within the range of approximately $98,000 to $117,000.

But…

There is another important factor to consider when calculating costs, and that is the cost of acquiring links.

According to a study conducted by Ahrefs in 2016, the average cost of purchasing a backlink or sponsored post from a website was $352.92. Their updated study in 2018 revealed an increased average cost per backlink of $361.44.

However, unless you are completely averse to engaging in paid links, it is advisable to allocate at least $1,000 per month to account for these expenses in your estimates.

Excluding the expense of sponsored posts, the monthly cost for a two-person in-house link building team, along with basic tools, typically falls within the range of $8,500 to $10,500.

If you have extremely strict guidelines, establishing an in-house team may be a more suitable option.

So, How Much Exactly Does Link Building Cost?

Absolutely nothing, if you do it right.

It is vital to understand that backlink building serves as a tool to assist in accomplishing your business objectives.

With a well-defined goal, a solid strategy, and a reputable link building agency assisting you in acquiring high-quality links, the benefits will significantly outweigh the associated costs.

Travis

Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO. His background as a U.S. Army combat veteran and a dedicated business owner has shaped his approach to SEO, blending discipline, thorough research, business acumen, and a deep understanding of the evolving SEO landscape.

Travis Bliffen's expertise and contributions in the field of SEO have earned him recognition and features in several prominent publications, such as Search Engine Journal and SEMrush, where he has shared his insights and strategies for effective SEO practices. Since launching Stellar SEO in 2012, he has been committed to crafting tailored link-building and SEO campaigns for clients across diverse niches.

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