Jun 25, 2024

How Much Does Link Building Cost in 2024?

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Nicholas Rubright

Link building pricing can vary widely, ranging from $500 to $25,000 per month for services and $100 to over $1,500 per link, depending on your industry and specific campaign needs. Typical campaign budgets often range from $3,000 to $25,000 per month, and campaign success is often tied to broader marketing strategies rather than just the cost of generating the backlink.

However, if you’re Googling “link building cost,” you’re probably wondering how much you’ll need to pay someone to get backlinks for your website. This answer can be complex and might lead you down the wrong path if not approached correctly.

In this article, we’ll break down the true costs of link building with some strategies you can leverage to maximize backlink ROI.

The value of backlinks

Link building isn’t suitable for every business because, in truth, many businesses, mainly larger ones, don’t need link building. They can do well with content creation alone.

This is typical for brands that have established authority in their niche, like Zoom does in video conferencing or Slack in messaging.

At Ranko Media, for our link building services we help our clients determine their link building needs based on where their website is. Your link building strategy can differ depending on a large number of factors, such as:

  • Existing domain authority: Assuming you haven’t been buying links, your existing domain authority can be used to build an effective internal linking strategy that moves authority from your most linked pages to the pages that generate sales. This will improve the rankings of your sales pages.
  • Domain rating: Similar to domain authority, domain rating (DR) is a metric provided by SEO tools like Ahrefs that measures the strength of a website’s backlink profile. A high DR can help website owners attract a higher number of links more easily, thereby boosting their site’s overall SEO performance.
  • Age of acquired backlinks: According to a Google patent, older links have more ranking power than new backlinks. This is counter to how reviews are treated, where recency is valued. So the older your backlink profile is, the more power it will have, and the more it can be leveraged to power new content or pages that generate sales.
  • Anchor text: The text used in the hyperlink, known as anchor text, significantly influences search engine rankings. Optimizing anchor text for relevant keywords while maintaining natural readability is crucial for an effective link building strategy.
  • Existing PR efforts: If you’re doing PR, you’re probably already getting links. Sure, you can add power to some pages with a campaign like chasing unlinked brand mentions, but this may not produce the same ROI as building new content.
  • Existing brand recognition and social following: If you have a powerful brand, it’s likely we can build content to attract links from bloggers and journalists by publishing and promoting to your social media following and newsletter rather than chasing links with outreach.
  • Competitor link profiles and link acquisition history: If your competitors are actively chasing backlinks, and you know that ranking for a particular keyword is in your best interests, it may make sense to chase backlinks with outreach in addition to applying content-only strategies for other parts of your website.

As with all things in search engine optimization (SEO), whether or not you should chase links with outreach depends on many factors. We consider some of the factors above when proposing link building to clients, but every case has unique factors as well.

The cost of link building with outreach

If you determine that manual link building is necessary for your website, you should be prepared for varying costs based on your industry and the difficulty of obtaining links. In high-value niches like legal, finance, insurance, or gambling, where competition is fierce, manual link building can reach as high as $2,000 per link.

Factors influencing link building costs

The costs of link building from outreach shouldn’t come from paying for links, as this is against Google’s guidelines.

Instead, the cost comes from things like:

  1. Labor: Competitive industries with high commercial intent typically have higher link building costs because getting link placements requires a higher level of subject matter expertise. In SaaS, for example, understanding complex software functionalities and industry-specific challenges can necessitate a higher level of expertise. In general, higher-skilled labor leads to a higher quality of links. This is true whether you’re using an in-house link building team or using an SEO agency or freelancers for an outsourced link-building campaign. While it can be time-consuming, it can be cost-effective for site owners as it moves ranking more effectively and overall results in a higher backlink ROI.
  2. Tools: If you want to make good use of talent, it’s imperative to provide them with effective tools to conduct outreach (like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz), find prospects, write good email copy, manage outreach campaigns, measure the success of the link building campaign, and more. A good team is nothing without a good set of tools.
  3. Link acquisition method: Guest posts, paid links, and editorial links each come with different costs. Digital PR links may be the most expensive, but they also have the highest impact.

The cost of the link shouldn’t be the only considered factor because we’re looking for ROI, which is basically money in, money out. We want the backlinks to generate rankings and sales for your business, not just get a link for a link.

In most industries, for white-hat outreach campaigns that generate meaningful links, you can expect to pay an average price of $800 to $1,200 per acquired backlink.

Outsourcing your link building outreach

Link building outreach services often charge for one-off links, typically generated through guest posts or paid links. The average costs for this type of link usually ranges from $500 to $1,250 per link, depending on domain authority and other useless factors.

Often, per link deals are a distraction from the meaningful side of this investment, which is ROI. How much money are these links making for your business through either referral traffic or improved search engine rankings?

Less reputable link building vendors will promise cheap links and use spammy link building techniques to try to game Google’s algorithm. Typically, the result is a number of low-quality links, and in reality they may have no “SEO juice” due to breaching Google’s terms of service.

It’s important that you find a link outreach service that aligns with your values and the best interests of your website’s health. Poor link building practices can make it harder for future SEOs to do proper work because domain authority is basically fake, and the SEO can’t use it as a meaningful measurement.

Alternatively, the best link building services will help you acquire backlinks through natural means, so you can expect future SEOs to be able to make use of this backlink profile in future strategies.

Ranko Media’s approach

At Ranko Media, we generate links through a combination of hosted on-site content and outreach. This model allows for passive link generation as well as active link generation, which we can then funnel to your website’s important pages, inflating their rankings, organic traffic, and sales for your business.

In our experience, the SEO value generated from this approach can be exponentially valuable to your business as traffic grows while your budget can maintain relatively stable. This is different from advertising or outbound sales, where once you turn off the spending, the leads stop.

If you can build a system where your website is getting links without having to do any outreach, you’re a step above most of your competitors who don’t know how to do this. This is what we specialize in.

Alternatives to getting backlinks from outreach

While manual link building can be effective, it’s not always the best or most sustainable approach for your website. It’s best for newer websites who are trying to establish their authority in a niche.

For more established websites, however, consistent content generation with a goal of sales or backlinks is what generates the highest ROI. Here are some examples of this.

Content marketing to journalists and bloggers

Creating valuable, high-quality content that naturally attracts good links is a sustainable way to build authority passively. This includes producing comprehensive guides, original research, infographics, and other shareable content that journalists and bloggers reference and link to on their own after they discover it from search, social, or other forms of passive promotion.

By consistently publishing top-tier content, businesses can earn organic backlinks over time. This strategy can be an effective omnichannel approach, generating referral traffic from PR level backlinks and social media as well.

Digital PR

Digital PR involves reaching out to journalists, bloggers, and influencers to promote your content, products, or services. This SEO strategy can generate high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites that also have high potential of passing referral traffic.

At Ranko Media, our digital PR efforts frequently involve content, which means we get the content marketing and digital PR benefits at the same time.

Hybrid strategies

Combining link building or digital PR outreach with organic strategies can often provide the best results in terms of speed and longevity. For example, you can target key pages with manual link building while creating content that attracts organic links.

From there, you can leverage internal linking strategies to pass authority to your most important pages to improve their rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This approach maximizes the benefits of both strategies and provides a more natural link profile that holds its value.

When does outreach make sense?

Determining when manual link building is appropriate involves assessing your business needs and industry characteristics. Here’s a deeper look into when and why manual link building might be the right strategy:

High-value niches

In high-value niches where links are harder to come by, manual link building can be crucial. In these industries, many are investing in link building actively, so you need to stay involved to stay competitive.

This justifies the higher costs associated with manual link building efforts. In these cases, because most (75%) link builders and link building agencies are getting links by buying them, each link earned from manual outreach can significantly impact search rankings and traffic, providing a substantial return on investment.

New websites

For newer businesses or those trying to establish authority in a competitive space, manual link building can accelerate growth. High-quality links from reputable sites not only improve SEO but, if combined with digital PR efforts, can also result in referral traffic and sales.

Targeting specific pages or keywords

Link building via outreach is particularly effective for boosting the rankings of high-priority pages or keywords, such as key product pages, cornerstone content, or valuable blog posts. By selectively targeting these pages, you can improve your website’s visibility for sets of critical keywords that result in sales or passive backlinks.

Conclusion: How to think about the cost of link building

To summarize, the price of link building depends on the level of work required to get them for your website from outreach. Usually, gaining a meaningful backlink from outreach will cost around $800 to $1,200 per link, all things considered.

Many SEO and digital marketing professionals have an approach where they calculate link building value by using a “cost-per-link” approach, but this is misguided. Backlinks should instead be valued by the ROI they bring to your business, meaning they generate new rankings, traffic, and sales. This means that the cost of a backlink can be very specific to your individual business.

By leveraging content and PR-focused outreach strategies for your backlink acquisition, you can get the fastest and highest-impact ROI from your link outreach.

If this sounds cool, check out our link building services.


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