14 min read

Link Building Packages: Be Careful When Buying Backlink Packages

Dmytro Sokhach, CEO of Admix Global
Link Building Packages

What is a link-building package?

A link-building package is either a one-time or a monthly service designed to secure backlinks for your website following specific SEO guidelines.

Believe me, purchasing link-building packages often leads to wasting thousands of dollars with little to show for it.

In this article, we will look at the main tricks that link building agencies and vendors use to mislead their unsuspecting clients.

Here's what I've noticed some link building agencies do:

  • Hiding Links: They don't show where your backlinks are being placed ahead of time;
  • Faking SEO Metrics: They inflate the numbers for things like Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Rating (DR);
  • Inflating Traffic Stats: The traffic figures they show you can be misleading;
  • Suspect Sources: Instead of genuine sites, they might use private blog networks (PBNs) or link farms;
  • Marking Up Prices: They often charge way more than what the links are worth.

I want people to be more educated about link building, to understand what quality links are, how to get them, and how a fair price for links is determined.

Why Do I Care About Backlink Packages?

Unfortunately, due to dishonest link building companies, many clients, not seeing any results, consider link building a scam. This damages the reputation of everyone in the market, including us as a link-building contractor.

This is why I can't overlook the widely used service among SEO professionals known as link-building packages.

Numerous agencies offer these packages, allowing you to purchase either single-use packages or a monthly subscription.

The idea of packaged SEO services is quite attractive: clients pay a monthly fee for a set number of links from websites with specified metrics, e.g., a package of 4 DR 50+ links, costing $1000 per month.

These link building providers position such a service as a guaranteed delivery of links on time.

At the start, clients provide the link building agency with a list of target pages and a list of their corresponding link anchors. In the end, clients get a URL list showing where their articles, containing the links, have been published on various websites.

Pros of Link Building Packages

  • Budget-Friendly Planning: You know exactly how much you'll be spending, making it easier to get approval from management. The costs are fixed, so there are no unexpected expenses or additional monthly fees.
  • Guaranteed Links: One of the advantages of purchasing link building packages is the assurance of receiving a certain number of links. You make a payment each month, and in return, you receive the promised quantity of backlinks.

This is where the pros of link building packages end.

Cons Of Link Building Packages

The main problem of buying links in link-building packages is the low quality of links.

Clients buy these packages hoping their website will show up better in search results, which means more traffic and leads.

But do these packages really help?

Here's a real example:

  • Before coming to us, a client was spending $5,000 monthly on a link package for 11 months. 
  • For this investment, they received between 17 to 20 links each month.

Below I give you one of the monthly reports that the link building service sent to the client:

example of link building packages

At first look, it seems okay: your links are out there, and they match the Domain Rating (DR) you asked for.

When someone buys a link-building package for, let's say, $5,000, they think they're getting a lot. They expect the service to pick out websites related to their business (car niche, in this case), talk to each website, agree on what the article should be about, make sure the article fits the website's writing guidelines, edit the article (if needed), and finally get it published.

Sounds good. However, it's not always what happens…

Instead, many times these links come from link farms, which are websites that just post articles for money and don't care much about what's inside. Often, the articles that include the client's link are not well-written or relevant. Additionally, they are frequently composed using ChatGPT, as these websites do not prioritize high-quality content.

For example, let's take a look at "nerdynaut.com" from the report (second line).

example of link farm - nerdynaut

What catches your eye right away?

The site shares promotional articles on all kinds of topics, not just ones about the client's car-related business.

Each article has ads and links to other websites.

example of article from website from link building package

Right away, I could tell this site was just another link farm. But I still went ahead and emailed them at the address listed on nerdynaut.com, asking one simple question: How much for a sponsored post? I got an answer in 10 minutes.

got answered in 10 minutes from link building packages website

Turns out, you can put a sponsored post on this site for just $30, and they don't care what it's about — they'll link to anything, even gambling or adult content.

In our company, we focus on earning links from reputable sites that don't just sell spots for links.

We have a special tool to help us spot these link farms, a big database full of sites that sell links.

The tool allows us to see if the site is present in various linkseller lists. We can also see the price of link placement from different link building agencies.

price for nerdynaut in our special tool to us spot link farms

Below are the results for nerdynaut.com

pricing for nerdynaut in special tool

We found that for many link building services, a link from nerdynaut.com is priced at $50, but if you go directly to the website's owner, it's only $30. However, in a $5000 monthly link building package, this same link cost the client $169.

Interestingly, the same tool identified that the other 17 websites also sell links.

example of pricing for another websites from link building packages

For instance, a link from supanet.com is just $38 (that includes the agency's extra charge), but in the package, a client was charged $327 for it.

At Editorial.Link, our prices start at $300 for a link, but we guarantee they come from legitimate sites that don’t sell links.

One big issue with link building packages is that clients can't approve each link individually or pick websites, so they end up buying links without seeing them first.

Agencies that sell link building packages usually want to keep the websites private. They're afraid you'll pick the ones that are best for you and cost less.

At our agency, clients can approve every link and only pay for the ones that match what they need.

But the real issue isn't just that they're keeping sites a secret.

The biggest problem is that these services promise to provide good, honest link building – like reaching out to blogs the right way, i.e. using white hat SEO, without shady PBN sites or link farms. However, what they actually do is the total opposite. They end up giving you links from these link farms, charging you as if they were top-notch sites.

As someone who’s really into SEO, I've never gone for these link building packages. I've got my way of checking if a site is good, and it might not match what a link building agency thinks.

I even said this to Joe Davies, who runs one of the biggest link building services out there, with $10M annual turnover:

dialogue with ownder of one of the biggest link building service provider

He told me they don't do preapprovals because they focus on serving agencies with lots of clients, aiming to save these clients time.

they don't do preapprovals because they focus on serving agencies with lots of clients

Some people might like the idea of having everything done for them from start to finish. This could be a good solution for some clients, but as an SEO expert who cares a lot about my reputation with my clients, I can't agree to use links without seeing them first. However, this approach can be very profitable for agencies.

Joe Davies even talked on LinkedIn about how this model is great specifically for agency businesses.

Joe Davies even talked on LinkedIn about how this model is great specifically for agency businesses.

Sure, Productized SEO might make things easier for the sales team and streamline operations, but it offers less value to you as the client.

Imagine this: you're paying $10K a month for SEO, and half of that goes to the SEO consultant. You expect them to carefully select sites for link building and help you with SEO.

Instead, the consultant spends $5K of your money on a bunch of links to save their (not your) time.

You'd feel pretty upset if, after a year, you spent over $100K and saw no SEO improvements. Even worse, the next SEO person tells you it will cost more time and money to fix the problems from those bad links.

This Productized SEO approach is why so many clients end up feeling let down, thinking it's all just a big scam. They feel tricked because the work that was supposed to help didn't do anything at all.

Productized services might be okay for simple tasks like translations, but they're not good for SEO and link building. The big problem with these services is that they decide the value of links based on things like DA or DR, but those aren't always true signs of a good website.

pricing of FatJoe link building packages

For example, if I want a link from a website with a DA of 50. A service like FatJoe could charge me $369 for it.

But, these DA and DR numbers can be faked. You can find lots of offers on Fiverr to pump up these scores.

Here's a real-life situation: someone boosted their website's DA from 1 to 53 in no time:

example how to boost DA with fiverr resellers

They even showed a screenshot from the website in their review. Not only did the DA jump, but their DR shot up by 54 as well. Yet, their website traffic? Still zero.

example how not only DA jump, DR boosted too

See, these metrics, DR from Ahrefs and DA from Moz, they don't mean anything to Google. Google uses its own system (Page Rank) to judge a website. So, even if Ahrefs says a site's DR is 66, Google might think it's worth nothing.

To test how easy it is to fake DR, I made a new website, editorLAL.link, ordered a DR boost on Fiverr, and in two weeks, the DR went up to 71.

seo experiment with domain rank

But the editorLAL.link domain doesn't even have a website, and Google hasn't indexed it.

domain doesn't even have a website, and Google hasn't indexed it

And if you think those 18 sites are of high quality, they're not. They're just junk links, automatically generated with cheap (<$1) tld .shop domains.

just junk links, automatically generated with cheap (<$1) tld .shop domains

Look at one of the referring sites, williamellison.shop.

Look at one of the referring sites, williamellison shop

In turn, the site is linked by 10 other sites, all subdomains of a free website maker, weebly.com.

all subdomains of a free website maker

Like this one: jalil4454.weebly.com.

Like this one: jalil4454.weebly.com.

So basically anyone can bump up a website's DR. Even if it’s non-existent and not indexed by Google (as in my case).

So, deciding to buy links based only on DR or DA isn't wise because they don't always show if a site is trustworthy.

Here's how prices can get weird: a link from a site with DR 60 costs way more than from a DR 30 site, based on these faked metrics.

a link from a site with DR 60 costs way more than from a DR 30 site, based on these faked metrics

Also, when I checked my editorLAL.link in Semrush, it scored low at 4.

checked website in Semrush, it scored low at 4

That's why it's super important for me (and, I think, for you too) to review a site before buying a link from it.

A lot of site owners jack up their prices by messing with these SEO scores, but it doesn't make their sites any better.

Is There an Alternative to Link Building Packages?

Is there an alternative to buying link-building packages?

Yes, collaborating with bespoke link-building agencies.

Such agencies usually partner only with genuine businesses that care about their reputation, so they don't sell links.

You won't find links from top-tier sites like monday.com or hubspot.com in any standard link-building package. However, you can still get them from these prestigious websites (in fact, we've helped our clients do just that).

The thing is, sometimes, earning a link takes a bit more time. But then one high-quality link can make all your effort worth it.

For instance, we managed to get a link for Sitechecker from a page that ranks for relevant keywords and has over 10K traffic per month. On the same day, the client started receiving conversions and registrations.

example of link that we managed for our client

Links from quality authoritative sites also influence getting on the block best brands list:

Links from quality authoritative sites also influence getting on the block best brands list

Here, as you can see, Google showcased Sitechecker as a top SEO audit tool, partly thanks to a link we secured from HubSpot.

While links from packages might seem to help at first, they're not great for a long-term strategy.

Link farms get overloaded with links and often end up being deindexed by Google, turning those links toxic.

They can harm more than help, possibly leading to penalties for unnatural links.

For example, one of the websites from a $5,000 link package we talked about before isn't even accessible anymore; the domain expired, making that $247 link worthless.

another example of site from link building packages

The website did what it was supposed to do: it made money for the person who created it and for the agencies that sold its links.

Meanwhile, genuine business sites like HubSpot focus on creating content for real people, not just for search engines.

HubSpot focus on creating content for real people

Because they produce high-quality content, these websites naturally attract many links.

The value of links from these sites will increase over time which makes them a wise long-term investment.

Where to Find for Bespoke Link Building Agencies?

Try Clutch, where they manually check and verify each review, or read through Reddit for a variety of opinions.

Being a bespoke link-building agency, Editorial.Link has more than 50 verified reviews on Clutch and only secure links from genuine business sites. Plus, clients can review and approve each link, only paying for the ones they choose.

Clients start each month by sharing their link-building goals. The team then picks potential sites daily and updates the client, who decides whether to pursue each new link. No advance payment needed; you only pay for the links we managed to get by month's end.

I say "managed to get" because not every link will be approved, unlike with packages where link farm site owners accept any topics. For instance, our team might get turned down if the client's site is seen as too low-authority, if the host site doesn't allow branded anchors, or due to direct competition.

With real businesses, there's no promise of a fixed number of links each month — it could vary. That's why we suggest clients approve more links than planned, say 15 instead of 10, to allow for flexibility.

For instance, our outreach specialist was unable to place a link approved by a client because their website lacked sufficient authority.

outreach specialist was unable to place a link approved by a client because their website lacked sufficient authority

If this were a link farm site from a link-building package, there wouldn't be an issue – the site would have posted the link without any questions.

Here's another example: our specialist got turned down because the site does not place branded anchors.

our specialist got turned down because the site does not place branded anchors

And here's yet another example: the editor refused to place our client's link because of competition.

the editor refused to place our client's link because of competition.

This is why with real business websites, there can't be a guaranteed number of sites each month like in link-building packages from link farms. If we promise a client 10 links a month, we aim for that number, but some months we might only manage to secure 7 links, while other months we might get 11.

That's why we ask clients to approve more links than planned, for example, not exactly 10, but with some leeway - like 15.

Yes, this does make planning your budget harder. So, you can pick what's best for you - either go for link-building packages that might use link farms or choose real business sites where the number of links you get each month could vary.

In our agency, we look out for our clients. If we get you more links than planned, like 12 instead of 10, you only pay for 10. The extra 2 links will count towards the next month, where we'll aim to get 8 links.

If the client gets fewer links, say 8 instead of 10, they can either pay for just those 8 this month, or pay ahead for 10, and then we owe them 2 links for the next month.


Link-building packages might look good at first, but most providers out there are offering links from link farms.

For niches like online casinos, where it's tough to get natural links, these packages might seem like the only choice. But for other industries looking for lasting results, spending on link farm links usually just wastes money.

I've written a lot about why I don't think you should use link farm sites, especially not at ten times the price, like in the example I mentioned before.

If you're ready to spend time approving each link yourself, then choosing bespoke link building could be a better choice than link-building packages.

This method focuses on getting links from growing, real-business websites, which means the links will be more beneficial in the long run.

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