Money makes the world go ‘round so it’s no surprise that link building pricing is one of the most common things we get asked about. Everyone wants to know what a fair link building cost is and how they can know if they’re getting the most bang for their buck.
The goal of this guide is to be as straightforward and transparent as possible. Of course, link building costs can vary dramatically from agency to agency but we want to help identify a link that is worth paying for and help you figure out exactly how much it should cost you.
Overview of Link Building Cost
The cost of building a link can vary from as affordable as $100 per month to as much as $25,000 per month for major PR campaigns.
The average cost of a quality link is around $250-600 per link.
It helps to figure out the cost per link. Once you know exactly how much you need to pay to get a single link, you can figure out how many links you need per month to keep up with your competitors and go from there.
Here is a pricing scale to help you understand link building pricing and what you can expect to pay based on the quality of the link you’re receiving.
The question is, which link building strategy is the one you want?
As mentioned, there are a ton of factors that will impact the price you’ll pay for a link. The key is to pay enough to move the needle without overpaying and developing a strategy that is not sustainable.
Let’s look at the first tier to start.
A link in the $50-250 range is likely a lower quality link from a website that may exist for the sole purpose of providing other websites with links. These are called link farms.
This is a case where the domain rating of a website no longer matters. These sites use sketchy tactics to increase their domain authority so they can make you believe that you’re getting high quality links.
We’ll talk more about this in the sections below on link pricing factors.
We believe the sweet spot for a link is somewhere between $250-600 based on the quality of the website and your niche. These links are likely coming from a real website that may offer links but doesn’t solely exist for this purpose.
Sites that charge more than $600 for a single link are likely running major PR campaigns to score links on sites like CNBC, MSNBC, and BBC. Of course, these links are valuable and of great quality but it’s very difficult to sustain these costs.
Overall, we want to base our research and link building pricing on the average cost of a quality link.
Link Building Pricing Depends on Various Factors
There are quite a few factors that can impact link building cost. As we’ve spoken a little bit about previously, we want to determine the average cost of a quality link and it’s not always something we have total control over.
Our niche, the types of pages we want links on, and our competitors can all play a role in our link building prices.
Easiest Niches to Build Links
One of the things that you may not have total control over is your industry. You might be in a certain industry because of education or passion and you didn’t necessarily think about how difficult it would be to build links to your website based on your niche.
Here are some examples of the easiest niches to build links in:
Non-Profit – This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re in a non-profit related industry, you’ll have an easy time getting links if you’re reaching out to the right audience.
Hobbies – If people are very passionate about something like trains, flowers, or filmmaking – your link building efforts will likely be rewarded.
Children – Anything to do with children or babies is likely to get a response during outreach. It all depends on the quality of your website and the intention of your message. If you’re spreading awareness and providing information, you’ll have an easy time getting a link and it won’t cost much.
Hardest Niches to Build Links
Here are some examples of industries that are exceptionally hard to build links to:
Gambling – Getting a link from almost any website that isn’t another gambling or casino website is difficult because prospects generally have no reason to link to these types of websites. You’ll almost always have to pay a premium price for links.
Finance – Credit cards, loan companies, and insurance companies are constantly receiving emails from people who would love to get links on their websites. Since there is such high demand, you can expect to pay more per link.
CBD/Marijuana – Similar to the previous one, CBD and Marijuana is a booming industry with incredible potential. There is also a shred of taboo to this subject so websites are a little more leery about giving out links.
It’s important to remember that just because one industry is more difficult than another, doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t build links to your website. It simply means that your link building prices might be a little more than the hobbyist or non-profit websites.
The type of page you’re trying to get links for will certainly impact your price per link. This is due to a few different reasons.
#1 – People don’t always like providing links to commercial pages.
Let’s face it, people are reaching out to brands all day, every day asking for links to their money pages. If you do that, you’re going to either have a hard time getting a response or you’re going to have to pay more per link.
#2 – Many commercial pages do not provide any value.
Why would someone want to give you a link simply to promote your products?
Think of it like this.
Do you think a link to a page like the one above with a list of grass seeds would cost more or less than this page?
It would likely be cheaper to get a link to an informational article on planting grass seed than a sales page selling grass seed, right?
This is because the information about planting the seed could be valuable to readers on another gardening website.
When you reach out to that gardening website pitching your page for a link, you can say:
“Hey mr website owner, I have this incredibly valuable article about how to plant grass seed that would look great on your website and help your readers understand how to plant your seeds, would you be interested in including a link”?
This is much easier than getting someone to link to your sales page because they know you’re only reaching out to them to capitalize on an opportunity to lift yourself up; rather than lift them up.
#3 – Everyone is doing it.
We would all love to get more high quality backlinks to our money pages right? This naturally increases the cost per link because website owners are savvy. They know what we’re trying to do. They know we’re only reaching out to them for a link because everyone and their brother is doing it.
Pages that provide information about something are much more valuable and likely to get a website owner’s attention. As a result, they’re more affordable and easier for an agency to build.
Total Links Needed Based on Competition
One thing you should do when prospecting for links is take a look at your competitors and see how many backlinks they have, what their domain authority is, and so on.
This will give you an idea of how difficult it will be to rank a certain page.
We can do this using the Ahrefs Chrome Extension.
If we wanted to rank for “best grass seed for full sun” we can Google that phrase and see what pages are ranking at the top of Google.
We can see that the top three sites are DR 55, 90, and 65. While they’re high DR, they don’t necessarily have a ton of backlinks.
That said, the number three website has 221 backlinks so this tells us that unless we have a super high DR website, we’re going to want to have that many backlinks to try and rank our page for the same search phrase.
What does this mean for you?
It means that it will cost you more money because you’ll need more links and more high quality backlinks if you intend to compete.
Keep in mind that the quality of the backlinks matters. Out of those 221 backlinks you’re competing with, only 25 of them might actually be from a decent website with high domain authority.
We talk about how to check this in our link building checklist.
Brand Strength + Content Quality
If you look at any of the guides we’ve written, they all start with the importance of content quality and value. Everything starts with value. If you give something, you increase your chances of getting something back.
It’s that simple.
Brand plays into this as well.
You can’t have a successful link building campaign if you don’t create high quality content on your site and have a little brand recognition. When you send emails to prospects, many of them are going to look you up. They’re going to check out your Linkedin, they’ll check out your website, and they’ll look you up in Google to see if you’ve done anything else.
If people can find you and see that you’re giving back to the industry by providing amazing content on your website, then you’re increasing your chances of getting a link without having to pay a premium price for it.
On the other side, if you’re a newbie with no brand recognition and you’re using slimy link building tactics to build links to your crappy site, you’ll be lucky to get a response at all. If you do get a response, it’ll be from a website owner who just wants to gouge you for a quick buck.
There’s one caveat here.
You can have brand recognition and awesome content and still get charged a premium for paid links.
Savvy website owners will see that you’re a well known brand and that you have the budget to afford an inflated cost per link.
This is why it’s important to understand link building pricing and make sure that you’re only paying for what the link is really worth; not what the website owner thinks it’s worth.
This leads us into our next point…
This is the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to link building and pricing. You want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when buying links.
There are a lot of sites out there that sell links but they turn into link farms because they’ll sell a link to anyone who is willing to pay. As a result, you become associated with those low quality websites because you have a link from them as well.
A cheap link almost always equals a low quality link.
If the links are being sold for less than $50, the site owner providing the link is doing something sketchy because it’s impossible to sell a link for that price. As a result, the link will not result in better rankings, more organic traffic, or anything positive. This is a risk you don’t want to take.
It’s also important to understand that domain authority isn’t everything. While it’s important for you to do everything you can to increase your authority, there are sites out there that use slimy tactics to increase their authority and provide links that do nothing for you.
Do not pay a lot of money for a link simply because it’s a high DR site.
You want to look at the website as a whole. Does the website have its own traffic? Does it have a steady history of growth in Ahrefs? Does it look like they only link out to sites within a certain niche?
If so, these could be paid links that are worth the money.
Link Building Agency vs. In House Link Building Team
Now let’s compare the costs associated with building an in house team and hiring out for link building services.
Let’s start by talking about if you wanted to handle everything yourself.
If hiring out for link building services isn’t for you, here is what you’ll need:
Ahrefs ($199 mo) – Competitor research, keyword research, data acquisition
URL Profiler ($25 mo) – Provides more advanced and bulk data
Hunter.io ($49 mo) – Basic scraping tool to find email addresses and verify deliverability
Mailshake ($58 mo) – Sending bulk emails and automation
Total software cost = $331 per month
Next, you need someone to come up with the link building strategy, prepare the prospect list, write the email templates, and get everything together.
This person will essentially serve as your link building manager and manage the process from end to end. The cost of this will depend a lot on where you hire from.
A cheap link builder from sites like Upwork can cost between $25-50 per hour with costs ranging much higher for native United States link builders. You can expect to pay as much as $3,000-4,000 per month for these individuals.
Based on our industry knowledge we would expect the cost of the average quality link builder to be around $2,500 per month.
Total link builder cost = $2,500 per month
Link Builder Assistant
If you’re building custom link building campaigns, you’ll want to have a link building assistant because they’ll take more of the menial legwork off the more expensive link builder.
This individual will handle tasks like manually filtering prospect lists, filtering the inbox for qualified candidates, checking websites to make sure they meet your criteria, and more simple tasks.
An assistant frees the link builders time to focus on more profitable tasks which saves you money on your link building campaign. You can get a link builder assistant for roughly half the cost of a link builder.
Total link builder assistant cost = $1,500 per month
The reality of link building is that you’ll often have to pay for high quality backlinks and that’s fine. The key is, making sure that you get what you pay for.
In some cases, link exchanges may work by having you pay someone else for a link, that link goes to a prospects website, then you get a link from that prospect.
Regardless, this is another cost you can expect to run into if you handle your campaigns in house.
The average placement cost for a link that isn’t on a link farm is around $100. This number could be higher or lower based on the quality of the website and the owner’s understanding of link building.
If you’re building 20 links per month to your website, that’s $2,000.
Total placement fees = $2,000 per month
Guest posting is another aspect of link building that you’ll run into. Writing guest posts requires you to hire a writer and likely pay them around $50 to do the guest posting that you’re going to send to your prospects.
You can expect this to make up about 50% of your link building campaigns. Some website owners will just give you a link or agree to a link exchange while others will want you to provide value in the form of guest posts. Keep in mind that in many cases, you may still have to pay for the placement even if you’re writing an article for them.
Total guest post costs = $500
With all of that said, you’re looking at around a total cost of $6,500 per month to handle your campaigns in house.
That’s approximately $325 per link.
The cost of link building agencies will vary based on the agency but you should keep in mind everything we’ve talked about so far and use those costs to figure out what the average outsourced link building campaign would cost.
A low quality agency that is going to be purchasing links from link farms might only charge you $50-100 for links but these won’t do anything for you.
Now that you know the costs of doing everything in house, you can understand that this link pricing doesn’t make sense. They’re obviously performing some type of link scheme that isn’t going to benefit you.
We want to build our SEO strategy on something that is sustainable. Hiring link building agencies that utilize these strategies is not a sustainable long-term strategy.
The mid-tier link cost of $300-600 is the sweet spot in our opinion. These links aren’t too expensive so the cost is sustainable, yet they’re also high quality. Acquiring links at this price is going to move the needle while also being sustainable long-term.
Benefits of Working With a Link Building Agency
Let’s talk now about some of the benefits of using an agency rather than handling everything yourself.
1. Leverage Proven Expertise
There’s no guarantee that you’ll ever get a link placement or that it will result in improved Google search results. This is because so many things can go wrong during a campaign. Leveraging the experience of link builders allows you to trust in a process that is proven to work.
2. Completely Hands Off
The whole process is hands off and all you need to do is pay the company. Keep in mind that link building is multi-dimensional so it’s more than just researching or writing email copy. You need to be good at everything or good at hiring people who are if you expect to be successful.
3. More Cost Effective
The cost of a link can actually be more reasonable when using a link building agency because they do this work at scale. Since they do link building everyday, they’ve already developed partnerships and relationships which results in a lower cost passed onto you.
Link building is challenging for even the most talented and experienced SEOs. It helps to have a dedicated link building agency with a proven track record of success.
If you’re struggling with link building or you simply can’t figure out where to start, consider contacting us to learn more about our link building pricing and the services we provide. We can help develop a sustainable link building plan that gets you the results you want.