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How Much Does Link Building Cost in 2024

The average cost of a backlink can start under $100 and go even over $lk, depending on the industry and the kind of link you’re after. Similarly the budget of a link building campaign can start under $3k per month and go north of $10k month.

On The Map Marketing is a SEO agency with a proficient team that builds thousands of backlinks per month for attorneys, contractors, Ecommerce websites, and other kinds of local businesses. Let me break down the cost of link building in detail in this post to help you plan better.

Factors That Impact a Link’s Cost

High-quality links cost more than others. But what does “high-quality” mean in this context? Here are different factors that answer this question and determine how much the cost of link building is:

Website Quality

A quality website is one that has a solid backlink profile and attracts lots of organic traffic. Getting a link from this type of site should help increase your site’s SEO performance.

To determine which sites to get high-quality links from, use Ahrefs Site Explorer and type in the domain URL on the text bar. The next page shows the site’s Domain Rating (DR) and organic traffic. You can also use Moz to view its Domain Authority (DA), equivalent to Ahrefs’ DR.

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It’s possible that a site has high DR but little to no organic traffic or vice versa. If you try getting a link from these sites, you won’t see significant movements in your search engine rankings. The higher the values from both metrics are, the more authoritative the website is and the more valuable the link you can get from it.

Type of Link

You can get backlinks in two ways. The first method is email outreach, where you ask website owners and bloggers to place a link to your site on theirs.

How you secure a backlink using this approach is another thing. You can propose writing a guest post that links back to your website or provide an answer to their question that they can quote in their article (if you’re using HARO or digital PR). You can also point out a broken link on a page on their site and ask them to replace it with a page on your site, which is better than the broken version.

The second method is niche edits, where link building vendors can publish a backlink to your website from an existing and authoritative page on their website. You choose the site’s metrics (DR and traffic) and niche, and the vendor will pull up from their list that meets your qualifications. The vendor will inform you once the link has been published on the site.

Niche edits can produce more high-quality backlinks. The pages where niche edit vendors publish the links have existing authority accumulated over time, making them more potent than newly published pages. Also, it’s easier to secure backlinks through edits. The vendor places your link on a site that matches the DR and traffic you’re looking for. 

On the other hand, link building outreach requires the person to vet the websites before emailing them. Even then, the response rate is low because there is no established relationship between the site owner and the person contacting them.

These explain why niche edits are more valuable than outreach in price. According to an Ahrefs study, a niche edit link costs $361.44 on average, while the average price of guest post links is $77.8. While cheaper than niche edits, the guest post’s price doesn’t include content creation.

However, finding a trustworthy vendor to secure links from high-authority sites to yours can be challenging. Some will just publish a link on a site to yours that has the DR and traffic you’re looking for but is recently penalized by Google, rendering the acquired link useless and harmful.

Industry

Each niche charges differently depending on how willing the sites in that industry are to charge for link placements. In the same Ahrefs study above, 12.6% of the 450 websites are selling backlinks via niche edits. Most of them are from the travel niche (44%), followed by photography (15%), then fitness and parenting (14%).

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On the other hand, 13.3% of 180 sites are willing to sell guest post backlinks. Most of the sites that replied are in the finance (over 30%), travel, fashion, and photography industries (the last three are 20%). 

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The flaw with the study above is it never shared how much the sites from each industry are selling backlinks for. Nonetheless, this is an example that link building prices vary, and you can’t put an all-encompassing price tag on every link you acquire.

In-House vs. Agency Pricing

Outsourcing the link building efforts for your site is an added cost to your budget. But remember that this task can be time-consuming and cause problems in your SEO strategy if done incorrectly. You can save more time and resources by hiring the right people to build the best backlinks to your website.

In this section, I won’t be touching on services offered on Fiverr. While they are much more affordable than the options below, they produce spammy and low-quality links that could hurt your website’s rankings in the long run. Avoiding them and using either the in-house or SEO agency approach is the way to go.

In-House Costs

If you plan on building an in-house link building team, below are the positions you must fill out, the resources you need, and the cost of each:

  • Link Building Manager – This person develops the campaign to be implemented and monitors the results. They will adjust the tactics and approaches for the strategy to try and improve the campaign’s performance.  Their average annual salary is $68,000.
  • Link Building Assistant – They execute the campaign by prospecting for link partners and personalizing outreach initiatives. They ensure the successful placement of links on authoritative websites with the correct anchor text and reach out to webmasters for updates about the link request. You can outsource these tasks to virtual assistants (VAs) with tons of SEO experience to lower expenses. Hiring at least two should cost you $12,000-24,000/year.
  • Guest blog writer – The writer produces high-quality content for guest posting. Most site owners don’t accept AI-generated content from contributors, so expect to spend approximately $62,000/year for people with excellent writing skills. Aside from guest posts, you can assign them to execute your content marketing strategy by writing blog posts, whitepapers, and guides on your site.
  • Link Budget – While getting backlinks from websites for free is still possible, most site owners nowadays require payment for link placements. Using Ahrefs’ figures for niche edits, you can secure between five to six high-quality links to your site with a budget of $2,000. There’s no fixed price for your link budget–feel free to scale it depending on the number of links you want to build, which will give you the best return on investment (ROI).
  • Link Building Tools – A backlink research tool like Ahrefs ($1k/year minimum) lets you identify relevant websites where you can secure backlinks. An outreach tool like Mailshake ($600/year minimum) automates email outreach to help you focus on building relationships with site owners, allowing you to close more links. As your demand for backlinks grows, you may need to pay more for these SaaS tools to unlock their more advanced features. Expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000 for these tools.

Adding up the costs above, expect to pay your in-house team at least $158,000 a year.

Also, you may have to provide training and additional resources to your in-house team members to update their link building knowledge. This will depend on how proficient and self-sustaining your team members are with their jobs, although deploying them to seminars and conferences can upgrade their skills to help improve the quality of links they can build for you.

Agency Costs

If you don’t want to build and manage an in-house team, you can hire a marketing agency instead. Its team can do on-off packages or months’ worth of campaigns for your website based on your willingness and budget.

The price that link building agencies charge for building links varies. SirLinksalot sells niche edits, and its price hinges on the website’s DR, referring domains, and the number of links you need. For example, a package of three links from high-authority sites costs approximately $200 and $800 per order.

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If you’re looking for agencies that develop long-term link building campaigns, go with agencies like Outreach Monks. They guarantee a certain number of links on sites with specific DRs every month using the manual outreach approach. Prices range from $7,000 to $72,000 yearly.

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Other digital marketing agencies don’t have their prices published on their websites. Their approach is to onboard you to a consultation call and identify your site’s needs concerning link building. They will then price the custom campaign they prepared for you.

You can also hire Upwork freelancers if you wish to pay for your outsourced link building campaign by the hour. Just like agencies, their rates differ from each other. More experienced link builders will naturally charge more than novices (ranging from $50-$75/hour). 

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But just because they charge high doesn’t automatically mean they’re right for you. You must still do your due diligence before inviting them for the job. Also, hiring these freelancers may not include writers and tracking of the links, so you have to find others to fulfill the other parts of your campaign for you.

At face value, hiring agencies is more cost-effective. However, unless you know which links to get for your site, you’re left to decide which campaigns and packages to buy from them. As a result, you may end up wasting your hard-earned money by mistakenly purchasing a package that won’t raise your site’s rankings.

You can run a hybrid approach by hiring a link building manager to develop the strategy and ensure the campaign runs smoothly. Once you approve the strategy, hire an agency or a group of freelancers to execute the plan for you.

Conversely, you can bring in a consultant or freelancer to flesh out your link building strategies if you already have in-house link builders. They bring a fresh set of eyes to your campaign and provide recommendations for improving them.

Tips to Get a Great ROI From Link Building Services

Regardless of who and how you outsource your link building to, the goal should still be the same: increase referral traffic from Google from the quality and number of backlinks they will be for you. Below are ways to ensure that you get the most out of what you paid for your link building plan:

Obsess Over Process

Before hiring people or agencies to work with, know how they will build links for you. Ask questions about their processes and let them explain why they do things a certain way. Clearly explaining the reason for their methods is a good sign that they know what they’re doing. 

If possible, request case studies and client success stories if they’re unavailable on their website to see how effective their link-building approach is. You want results from their clients in the same industry as you. Their ability to increase organic traffic on a site like yours means they can do the same for your website.

Quality Over Quantity

More doesn’t always mean better when it comes to backlinks. While quantity is a factor that influences the price of link building, a good link will always trump multiple low-quality links. So, a service provider prioritizing the volume of backlinks over a site’s organic traffic and link profile should be a red flag.

Of course, having lots of high-quality backlinks is better. But for those working on a limited budget, even a handful of quality links should help improve your SERP rankings. The service provider should prepare a campaign that will secure these links so you can maximize ROI.

Choose High Value Content Neighborhoods

Context matters when securing backlinks from websites. A backlink from an authoritative plumbing site brings little to no value to your law firm’s website since both sites are unrelated. At the same time, the link does no favors to the plumber’s website visitors since it doesn’t provide information relevant to their plumbing needs.

Also, you want to build links on sites that constantly grow and haven’t experienced drastic drops in organic traffic. Even if the site is relevant to your niche and has a good link profile, the link from it won’t mean a lot if it no longer generates the same amount of traffic as before. In fact, this could even harm your site’s rankings in the long run, especially if the website gets penalized by Google’s algorithm.

Your vendor should strike the balance between SEO metrics and topical relevance when acquiring backlinks for your site. 

Branded Anchors Go a Long Way

If there’s anything you should learn from the latest Core Updates from Google, you should prioritize building a sustainable brand. Most content site owners are seeing huge drops in traffic because they followed trends instead of looking at the bigger picture by expanding their online visibility to traffic sources like social media, email, and others.

So, how does this connect with brand anchors? Link builders use keywords as anchor texts to help increase their client site’s ranking for these terms. But only a good few of them use branded anchors in their link building campaigns. 

While not many people may be searching for your brand now, using it as an anchor text helps establish your site’s E-E-A-T. By putting your brand at the forefront of your SEO campaign, you can showcase your expertise and authoritativeness, which are crucial in gaining your audience’s and search engines’ trust. 

Is an Expensive Link Building Package Even Worth it?

While you have to set aside a budget for a link building package for your website, it doesn’t mean you should get the most expensive one. What’s more important is how effective the package is and if it can get your website to increase its organic rankings and traffic soon.

With On the Map Marketing, you can request an exclusive package tailor-made to your website. Our case studies of law firm sites that improved their SEO performance over time prove that our services work. Contact us with your website URL, and we’ll prepare a quality link building proposal for your site very soon.

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