You’re ready to double down on your link-building efforts and even think of entrusting it to a professional. The question is, what will it cost you in 2024?
For the composition of this article, we endeavored to gather the viewpoints of over five experts.
The most intriguing facts about link building pricing that we have discovered or encountered during our work:
How much do businesses spend on link building these days?
Among B2B companies, 52.8% of respondents reportedly spend up to $5,000 per month on link building, followed by 22.1% with a total spend of $0–$1,000 per month, and 19.2% spending between $5,000 and $10,000 per month.
In B2C, 54.5% of respondents shared that they allocate less than $1,000 on link building, 16.4% spend between $1,000 and $5,000, 5.7% — from $5,000 to $10,000, and 5.2% spend over $10,000.
So far, the stats only tell one thing: one can spend between $0 and over $10,000 on link building. That’s a good starting point but not helpful for making an informed decision on budget allocation. Let’s go deeper into the economics of link building and figure out what makes up a project cost.
The biggest factor affecting the price of link building is the choice between hiring an agency or building an in-house team. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each option.
Building links internally is probably the first thing that companies — in particular, SEO teams — try to do. But soon, they realize link building is a full-time job, and they need a dedicated expert (or a team of experts) for this project.
So how much does building an in-house team of link builders cost?
According to Glassdoor, the total pay range for a full-time position of a link-building specialist in the U.S. is $48,000–$82,000/year.
Considering that a real cost per employee is around 1.4 times the worker’s base salary, your spend for a link-building hire with an average salary of $63,000/year will be around $88,000/year or $7,300/month. If you’re planning to get involved in paid link-building partnerships, the price can double easily.
Another expense category is training. If you hire a link builder who’s new to your niche, it’ll take time and effort to help them get up to speed.
You should also add the cost of your outreach and backlink monitoring toolkit to the equation to get a clearer picture of your expenses.
These are the rates you’d pay if you build links at a low scale. The more data you require, the more money you’ll have to pay.
Working with a reliable link-building agency is a sure way to success. But it’s also a significant investment.
Some agencies have lower minimum spend per month (or none at all, like we at Editorial.Link). For example, Dofollow, a premium link-building agency, requires clients to spend at least $3,000/month. uSERP rates start at $10,000 per 9-10 mentions monthly.
The cost of link building also highly depends on the technique(s) used to gain backlinks. Some, like HARO link building, require relatively little effort and fewer resources while others, like paid guest posting, can take much time and money.
Now, we’ll look into the most effective link-building techniques to help you choose the most cost-efficient type of backlinks for your project.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a resource that connects writers and sources. In a daily newsletter that always includes a large list of quote requests from content creators, you can find a lot of opportunities to contribute your expert opinion to a reputable resource and earn credit for it (and a link!).
A lot of link builders turn to HARO for a steady inflow of high-quality backlinks. However, its popularity among SEO folks has also made HARO less trustworthy among content writers, causing a lot of great publications to dismiss the platform.
The best thing about HARO is that it gives you access to a wide range of topics and niches, from B2B SaaS to fashion publications. The worst thing about it is that it doesn’t track mentions you’ve gained through it — so you’ll need to monitor the status of each submission manually.
All things considered, should you choose HARO for link building? It’s free, doesn’t require much time on content creation, and sometimes gives you access to publications you wouldn’t have dreamt of. On the downside, it only lets you build links to your homepage, requires you to distract your internal experts to collect SME insights, and doesn’t set clear expectations on when the link will go live.
Guest posting remains one of the most popular link-building techniques. It involves submitting articles with a link back to your site inside to other websites. Generally, it’s considered the safest practice for earning natural links. The problem is, it’s incredibly resource-intensive.
The cost and effectiveness of guest posting can vary based on your approach.
For instance, writing a 1,500-word article to insert one link to your website is incredibly time-consuming and hardly scalable. That’s why many link-building professionals practice a 3-way link exchange through guest posting. The idea is to partner up with multiple companies and include their links in one guest post, expecting those companies to link back to your website somewhere in their resources. This way, one can earn around a dozen links from just one guest post.
Large-scale link builders also practice an unconventional yet effective technique known as homepage backlinks. This method involves placing your links on domains owned by a link-building expert or agency.
To place your link, a link builder gets a solid domain specifically for your needs and builds a website on it. After a few weeks of running the website without backlinks, they place your link(s) on a homepage, and you enjoy the results.
On Shared Domains, a homepage backlink costs around $150–$250 — a price new companies can afford to pay to boost domain authority fast and risk-free.
An editorial backlink is a type of link that’s built naturally from a powerful publication. When you publish unique, link-worthy content on your website, chances are reputable sources will link to it because it adds value to their readers.
That being said, creating content that drives links naturally is also not free. According to the report by Peak Freelance (and our own experience), long-form, well-researched content most often costs anywhere between $500 and $5,000.
But if you ask your in-house content writer to produce content, it’s basically free, right? You know it’s not. It requires spending your team’s resources and may involve extra costs on tools and research.
If editorial link-building is that complicated, should you pursue it at all? At Editorial.Link, we make it simple for you. We help companies earn editorial backlinks without spending their time and money producing link-worthy content.
A relatively new approach to link building is using podcasts to earn backlinks. It involves reaching out to podcast hosts and either offering them to sponsor their next episode in exchange for a link or applying to be a guest and earning a backlink organically.
How effective is podcast link building?
Patrick Whitener, SEO Strategist at Liquid, has recently shared the results of his two-month campaign of building links through sponsoring podcasts. In total, he spent $4,520 to gain 14 links in two months, with an average cost per link of $332.82. Given an incredibly high acceptance rate (25%) and a moderate price per link, podcast link building looks like a worthy endeavor.
One more white hat method is relationship-based link building. It incorporates elements from various strategies mentioned above, but at its core, there’s one key requirement — you need strong relationships with other content teams or link builders to consistently earn backlinks, almost for free.
So with relationship-based link building, you don’t have to pay for sponsored guest posts or link placements. What you do need to pay for is having a link-building expert on your team or agency costs.
Is there anything else that might affect the price of your link-building project? Just a few more factors…
The higher the site’s domain authority, the more you should be ready to pay for a link placement.
According to Ahrefs, the cost per placement on a website with a domain rating of 50 and higher can reach $600.
In competitive industries, where obtaining quality backlinks is challenging, the cost per link tends to be higher. According to the same Ahrefs report, the average cost of a link across competitive niches is $361.44.
Mind that in some niches, like fashion and finance, site owners are usually less open to link insertions, which could also affect the costs significantly.
A link builder can get you hundreds of links for $50. But will it help your site’s authority? No, it won’t.
Relevant and high-quality links cost way more than that. The cost per backlink on a reputable website can easily exceed $1,000.
First off, if placing a guest post on someone else’s website is free, it doesn’t mean the link costs nothing to you. Oftentimes, it’s more cost-efficient to pay $300 for a link insertion than spend several days writing a guest post.
Furthermore, approximately half of high DA websites that accept guest posts set a price tag on it.
You can lose your backlink at any time if a site owner doesn’t provide you with any guarantees for placement duration. And to get those guarantees, you’ll most likely need to pay extra costs.
Many clients forget that link-building agencies employ a wide variety of tools in their work for link building.
However, in addition to this, we use a vast number of other tools.
The short answer is “yes.”
Quality backlinks boost your site’s authority and help you improve your organic rankings with less effort. And the higher you rank, the more potential customers see your website.
The question is, should you hire an in-house link builder or outsource the task to an agency? We’ll let experts speak for us.
Smart, scalable SEO agencies outsource their link building, because they:
Joe Davies, Founder at FATJOE
Editorial.Link is your trusted partner in link building. Let us earn high-quality editorial backlinks for you.