How Much Do Backlinks Cost [2022 Update]

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.

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Natural Or Paid Link Building — Which Is Better?

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:

  • Increased brand awareness: Link building lets you reach a wider audience through other people’s sites.
  • Higher rankings on SERPs: Backlinks help search engines discover new sites and determine how high they should rank. More backlinks = higher rankings.
  • More conversions: Brand awareness and high rankings will bring your site more traffic to convert. Even if your conversion rate stays the same, your profits will improve.

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: Pros & Cons

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.


  • Decreased costs: As we’ve said, natural links are earned –not bought.
  • High-quality traffic: If someone links to your content because it’s valuable to their audience, it’s likely that the traffic you’ll get is very interested in your industry (and, possibly, your products or services).


  • Slow process: You can consistently make first-rate content, but you won’t get a link until someone finally notices it. This may take months or years, or it might never even happen.
  • Unpredictable results: You never know when someone will link to you. So, you can’t rely on natural link building for steady traffic.
  • Falling behind your competition: (Paid) link building is a widespread SEO practice. You’re falling behind your competitors if you’re relying solely on natural links.

Paid Link Building: Pros & Cons

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.


  • Faster results: If you pay for a link, you get it immediately. There’s no waiting until someone notices your world-class content.
  • Competitiveness: As we’ve discussed, most companies are already paying for links.
  • Zero time wasted: You don’t have to spend time forging relationships with site owners and bloggers in hopes of getting a backlink one day.


  • Can be risky: Google doesn’t encourage paid link building. So, they sometimes penalize sites that go about it in the wrong way.
  • Potential to waste money: Paid links can be a waste of money if you don’t know how to assess link quality. Also, there’s always a chance that a piece of content linking to you will never rank.

What Is The Cost of Buying Backlinks? [2022]

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:

  • 2018: Ahrefs found that the cost of buying a link was $361.44. Compare that to the average cost of $352.92 per link in 2016. – Read here.
  • 2019: SociallyInfused Media found that the cost per link was $391.55 in a study published in December 2019. – Read here.
  • 2020: Siege Media found that the price per link ranged between $150 – $1,000 and suggested that the average cost of a backlink should be $500.Read here.

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.

First Factor: DR and DA Link Building Pricing Scales

The cost of a backlink is often based on DR and/or DA scores of a site that will host the links:

  • DR (Domain Rating): Measures the strength of a site’s backlink profile. Scores range between 0 – 100; high scores indicate a high-quality profile with a significant number of backlinks.
  • DA (Domain Authority): Predicts how likely a website will rank on the SERPs. Scores range between 0 – 100; high scores indicate a high likelihood of ranking.

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.

Second Factor: In-House vs. Agency Link Building Pricing Scales

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.

Other Link Building Pricing Factors

Let’s take a look at the other factors that influence the price of link building:

  • Brand reputation: If you have a well-established brand, this may drive the price per link down.
  • Content quality: Sites that have first-class content usually have first-class rates. Plus, they receive many link building inquiries, so they can be picky about who they work with.
  • Industry: For example, backlinks are traditionally more expensive for industries directly related to money.
  • Agency fee or in-house team expenses: There are additional costs that come with link building. Take those into account too.

What About Guest Posts?

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?

Not entirely.

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:

Example response to a guest post outreach email

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).

Case Study: Ahrefs

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:

  • 24 asked for money
  • 22 didn’t ask for money

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:

Column graph showing number of blogs selling guest posts at each Domain Rating (DR)

(Source: Ahrefs)

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.

Case Study: Authority Hacker

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.

How to Buy Backlinks (Or Build Them Via Outreach)

You have two options when it comes to link building:

  1. Buy a link: Buy guest posts, sponsored posts, link placements, etc., on SEO marketplaces.
  2. Build links via outreach: Pay someone to reach out to bloggers and site owners and arrange link placements (or do it yourself). This is link building in its truest sense.

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:

  1. Define what you need: How many links you need to rank
  2. Assess the quality of links: To ensure that you’re making a wise investment
  3. Track your results: So that you know whether you’re making any progress

This quick guide will help you do just that.

1. Determine How Many Backlinks You Need

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:  

Comparison of easy and medium difficulty keywords on Ahrefs

(via Ahrefs)

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:

  • you’ll need backlinks from ~8 websites for a keyword at 7 difficulty
  • you’ll need backlinks from ~22 websites for a keyword at 20 difficulty

2. Conduct a Link Gap Analysis

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:

  1. Sites that are already linking to your competitors are very likely to link to you if you reach out.
  2. These sites are probably related to your industry and have an audience that suits you.

So, after you finish your analysis, you’ll have a list of sites that are excellent candidates for hosting your backlinks.

3. Find High-Quality Links

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:

Moz Domain Authority and related metrics

(via Moz)

And Ahrefs calculated its DR score:

Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) and related metrics

(via Ahrefs)

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.

4. Plan Your Drip Dates

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.

5. Track Your Results

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:

  • Page Authority: The authority of specific pages on your site should improve after buying links that target them.
  • Domain Authority: The overall authority of your domain should improve too.
  • Organic Traffic: You should see a spike in organic traffic because high-quality backlinks create more avenues to your site and help you rank higher on SERPs.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy backlinks on Fiverr?

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.

Is it illegal to buy links?

No, buying links isn’t illegal.

Does Google care about backlinks?

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.

So, Should You Invest In Link Building?

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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Written by
Dina Šoštarec

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