Link building is one of the best tools you can use to get more eyeballs on your site. But before you start frantically buying backlinks, you need to understand cost versus benefit.
At PrestigeLinks, we have been offering link building services for over 8 years. So, we have a pretty good idea what a fair price per link is and how to assess its quality! Here’s everything you need to know to make the right buying decision.
Before we get to how much a link costs, let’s determine whether you should buy them at all.
Both natural and paid link building can benefit your business in at least three ways:
Although they share some similarities, natural and paid link building are different in many ways. We’ll go through the most crucial differences below to help you choose the better option for your business.
Natural link building is about earning backlinks instead of paying for them. They’re earned by publishing high-quality content that other bloggers and site owners link to because it adds value to their own posts, pages, etc.
Example: In this post, we’ve included a link to Ahrefs’ case study on link building prices in 2018. We’ve done so because we believe their findings are useful to you and not because Ahrefs paid us to do so.
Paid link building is about buying backlinks instead of earning them naturally. It works like a simple business transaction – after a buyer pays for a link, bloggers and site owners link to his site in their content. That’s it.
Example: If Ahrefs had paid us to include a link to their case study in this post, that would be paid link building.
The cost of buying backlinks in 2022 typically ranges between $100 – $20,000 per month.
There’s obviously a huge gap between those two numbers. We’ll discuss why below.
But let’s first establish how much a single link costs:
There aren’t any reliable studies done yet in 2022. So, we can’t know for sure what the price per link looks like now, at least with absolute certainty.
But based on current trends, the most probable scenario is that the price per link has only increased:
More people are aware of the benefits of link building → more demand for backlinks → high demand = high prices
On top of that, we can see that the price per link was steadily growing since 2016.
Still, there are many other factors that determine the price of a specific link.
Let’s examine these factors in more depth.
TL;DR: You can expect the price of an average backlink to be around $300-500 in 2021. Price points per month range between $100 – $20,000.
The cost of a backlink is often based on DR and/or DA scores of a site that will host the links:
DR is mainly based on the quality and the number of backlinks. DA, on the other hand, is based on a number of factors — linking root domains, domain age, quality of incoming and outgoing links, and so on.
So, how do these scores determine the price of a backlink? Here’s a general rule of thumb:
Backlinks with high DR and DA scores are more expensive than backlinks with low scores.
College backlinks, for example, give a lot of link juice because their .edu domains are highly reputable — but they aren’t always cheap.
Of course, there are exceptions. Every link building service can determine its own rates. But charging more for links with lower scores simply doesn’t make sense.
Service providers may base their prices on either of these metrics.
But which one should you use to assess the quality of a link?
Our suggestion: use both.
Both scores are important and contribute to the quality of a link.
Plus, you’ll be able to check them for free with Moz and Ahrefs as long as you don’t exceed the monthly entry limits. Find out how to do this in the section on finding high-quality links.
Having an in-house link-building team is bound to get you a sizable number of links every month. But it’s not cheap.
Besides paying your staff — and other expenses that come with having employees, like rent and utilities — you’ll also need to pay for the necessary software.
For starters, you’ll need SEO tools, such as Moz or Ahrefs, and outreach tools like Buzzstream or Hunter.
In most cases, agencies are more affordable than in-house teams. We say in most cases because agency rates can significantly differ. Price points range from $5,000 to $20,000 per link building campaign.
Agencies are also usually more effective because they follow link building procedures that they’ve tested and improved while working with their other clients. In-house teams often need a lot of time to drive results.
Remember, also, that many agencies use a white label link building service under the hood, so think about doing this directly yourself to cut out the middle man.
Let’s take a look at the other factors that influence the price of link building:
Guest posts are one of many link building strategies. But most people assume that writing a guest post means they’ll get a backlink for free.
Instead of paying with money, you’re paying with the hours you put into creating content. Right?
Some websites do publish guest posts for free, but most don’t. That’s because they know you’re writing content for their site to get backlink juice.
Even if a site doesn’t directly state that they require payments for guest posts, you might still get a response like this when you send them your pitch:
This is a response we got back in 2020 after reaching out to a website that didn’t seem to charge for guest posts.
And mind you, the site owner was offering us a nofollow link in return for $100 and an article that meets his guidelines.
So, should you even consider writing guest posts?
After all, they can take dozens of hours to write. And paying to get them published on someone else’s site is a tiny bit unfair.
But guest posts are still darn worth it. They allow you to kill two birds with one stone: get backlinks and lure readers to your website.
So don’t shelve the idea of writing guest posts, at least not yet.
Let’s first explore the average prices for guest posting. They might be more affordable than you think (wink, wink).
We’ve already mentioned Ahrefs’ 2018 case study on the price of backlinks.
As a part of this study, Ahrefs also contacted 180 sites to determine how many of them were charging for guest posting.
They received a response from 46 sites:
So, more than half of the sites they contacted requested payment for a guest post. But the average price was surprisingly low — $77.80 — for sites with DR scores such as these:
Let’s now compare the average price per guest post with the average price per link from the same 2018 study:
Price per link : price per guest post = $361.44 : $77.80 = 5 : 1
An average guest post costs 1/5th of an average link.
That’s a big difference that can make creating high-quality content worth it.
Authority Hacker ran a study on 5 popular link building services.
They found that the prices per guest post ranged from $150 to $1,000.
These price points are nowhere near what Ahrefs’ found in their study. According to their data, an average guest post should cost a bit under $78.
Aside from the fact that Authority Hacker’s study is more recent, what else contributed to such a big difference in the cost?
Well, the fact that Authority Hacker didn’t reach out to bloggers or site owners directly. They hired link building companiesto do it for them.
And link building companies charge for their time, effort, and, often, insider deals with site owners. All these factors increase the final cost.
So, if you want to save a bit of money, try reaching out to bloggers yourself.
But if you want someone else to do it for you — and possibly get you higher-quality links — prepare to pay a higher price.
You have two options when it comes to link building:
Each option has its pluses and minuses: buying links is faster; outreach is cheaper and, some would say, more reliable.
For example, you could pay someone $100/hour to build links for you.
Three hours of their work would cost you $300 — which is still cheaper than the average price of a single backlink you can buy. And you can expect them to build at least one link in three hours.
You could also build links via blogger outreach yourself. But beware: it’s nowhere as easy as it sounds.
No matter if you decide to build links yourself or buy them, it’s vital that you can:
This quick guide will help you do just that.
You’ll need an SEO tool to determine how many links you need to rank. (Or you can have a link building service do that for you.)
What you’re looking for is keyword difficulty: the more difficult it is to rank for a specific keyword, the more links you’ll need.
Enter your keyword in a tool like Ahrefs’ Keyword Difficulty Checker:
You’ll get a benchmark for how many backlinks you need. Usually, this number is close to the keyword difficulty.
If you go back to the above examples, you’ll see that:
Now that you know how many links you need, you want to find relevant sites in your niche that could host those links.
By choosing only relevant sites, you’ll avoid spending money on backlinks that won’t bring you high-quality traffic.
To find relevant sites, conduct a link gap analysis with an SEO tool like Moz’s Link Explorer.
You’ll get a list of sites that are linking to your competitors but not to you. In other words, you’ll discover easy link building opportunities:
So, after you finish your analysis, you’ll have a list of sites that are excellent candidates for hosting your backlinks.
Now you’re ready for the final step before you seal the deal — examining the quality of the sites you’ve collected.
Site quality is important because it determines link quality.
And you should assess it yourself because it’s always possible that your competitors have chosen the wrong sites for their backlinks.
One way to assess a site’s quality is to establish its DA and DR scores. We’ve explained what they are in the section on link building pricing scales.
Now, we’ll show you how to discover these scores using Ahrefs and Moz.
We’ve entered a sample URL in both tools. Moz showed us the site’s DA:
And Ahrefs calculated its DR score:
So, now you know how to check these scores - but what do good scores look like?
The answer depends on what you’re looking for, but most SEO experts consider DA and DR at 20+ acceptable for most niches.
Drip dates are the dates on which you’ll introduce the backlinks you’ve built or bought.
But why would you spend time planning dates if you can have all your links published at once?
One word: Google.
Google doesn’t encourage buying links. They would prefer you built them naturally.
So, you don’t want Google to know that you’re buying links. And you are certainly going to raise eyebrows if 50 sites suddenly start linking to yours.
In other words, releasing many backlinks at once will signal that perhaps your links aren’t earned but bought. This can lead to Google penalizing you.
That’s why you should release your backlinks slowly and methodically over time. So, again, plan your drip dates.
The number one mistake people make is they don’t track their results after buying backlinks.
We get that it’s not exactly the most exciting part of the process. But it’s crucial.
Without keeping an eye on your analytics, you can’t know whether your investment was worth it.
Besides, tracking your results is easy. You should only track these three things:
If you don’t see an increase in these metrics, chances are you’ve invested in a low-quality backlink.
There isn’t much you can do about it after you’ve paid for a link. Most sellers don’t offer guarantees or refunds.
What you can do is switch to another seller or, better yet, hire an expert who will assess the link quality for you.
No, you shouldn’t buy backlinks on Fiverr. Many case studies, like this one, have concluded that Fiverr sellers mainly deliver low-quality, nofollow links.
These won’t help you rank. In fact, they’ll probably hurt your backlink profile and your rankings.
No, buying links isn’t illegal.
Yes, Google cares about backlinks. It uses them as signals of authority. The more backlinks are linking to your site, the higher its perceived trustworthiness. And the higher your site will rank.
You absolutely should invest in link building if you want to gain visibility and grow your audience. Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible to achieve those outcomes without backlinks.
But keep in mind that you need to know how to assess link quality before making an investment. Otherwise, you risk wasting your money.
The problem is that reliable assessment can take a lot of time and resources.
If you don’t know how to do it yourself — or just don’t feel like doing it — we can help. Schedule a free consultation today and discover how we can get you high-quality backlinks that yield results.
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