Link-building has become an inseparable part of the SEO strategy puzzle. While it’s not always clear why it costs what it does, it’s obvious how it pitches in your business’s success—companies that invest in link-building report a 45% higher success rate.
But how much should you invest in link-building?
In this article, we will talk about the factors that affect the overall cost of link-building and suggest a couple of ways you can go about link-building that might fit right into your budget.
What Factors Into the Link-Building Prices?
Let’s first look into some of the most frequent and decisive factors of link-building pricing.
Content Research and Strategy
When it comes to shaping your link-building campaign, content research and strategy are inseparable parts of the process. At this stage, you should get to know your target audience, understand what type of content appeals to them, and identify the channels they frequent online.
Much more than this, you have to perform in-depth research to find target websites, analyze their audience, and the website’s relevancy to your industry. It’s this groundwork that fuels your link-building efforts, so a good chunk of your budget will be directed toward this.
When researching content and building a content strategy:
- Identify the terms and phrases your target audience uses when they conduct searches online to create content that matches their interests while boosting your SEO.
- Understand what strategies are working for your competitors and devise a strategy that competes for the limited attention span of consumers (tools like SEMrush can provide a wealth of insights in this area)
- Discover topics that your competitors haven’t covered and create unique content that provides value to your audience—it’s a surefire way to earn unique backlinks
You’ll also likely need someone—or a team—equipped to carry out this research and lay out the right strategy, which includes adapting as the environment and user trends evolve. This is another cost you’d need to be prepared to bear when investing in link-building.
When considering the cost of link-building, don’t underestimate the importance of content creation as 90% of marketers rely on content as their go-to link-building strategy. After all, this is the meat of your SEO strategy, where you provide value to your audience and potential customers.
Content creation involves developing high-quality, relevant multimedia material intended to engage, inform, and eventually persuade your audience. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, infographics, or podcasts, you’re creating assets that provide a unique value proposition to your visitors. But this comes at a cost, and here’s why:
- A professional writer who is knowledgeable about your industry and proficient in SEO usually charges more.
- If your content includes custom-made infographics, charts, or other types of visual elements, you’ll need the services of a graphic designer.
- Crafting outstanding content requires extensive, in-depth research to provide your audience with new, valuable information. The time and effort put into this research can substantially affect your budget, but it’s a worthy investment considering that 54% of businesses are planning to increase their content marketing budgets.
- Content promotion is another important consideration. Your content might be top-notch, but it won’t do any good if nobody sees it.
Pitching to Publications
A well-researched and strategically crafted pitch that is unique and relevant to each publication requires a deep understanding of each outlet, its audience, and how it operates. This process requires a personalized email or communication, which is incredibly time-consuming and dictates a substantial portion of the cost.
Pitching to publications with high domain authority (DA) is generally more expensive than pitching to lesser-known publications. High DA publications have demanding criteria and expect superior quality content—this could be the reason why only 8.5% of cold outreach emails result in a successful link placement.
Let’s take a look at how pitching to publications impacts the cost of link-building:
- Businesses need to invest in extensive research to find appropriate publications, understand their content aesthetics, and identify the potential contact person.
- Crafting a compelling pitch, both in terms of idea and format also comes at a price. It requires time, creativity, and excellent writing skills to persuade a publisher with a compelling story that aligns with their content strategy.
- Submitting or pitching the articles takes patience and persistence. This step also includes follow-up emails, responses to queries, and possibly rounds of edits as demanded by the publication.
Strategic Follow-Ups and Nurturing Relations with Journalists
Developing excellent relationships with journalists and industry influencers is crucial in link-building. Nurturing relationships and implementing strategic follow-ups can help secure higher-quality links and improve your website’s SEO. However, the time, effort, and skill required contribute significantly to link-building costs.
Consider the following:
- Press Relations: Having a great product or service is only part of the equation—to get your content in front of the right audiences, you need to invest in press relations. This could mean attending networking events, partnering with PR agencies, or even cold emailing.
- Follow-Up Communications: After the initial pitch, follow-ups are essential. Statistics underline the importance of follow-ups: 35-50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first and the same is true of pitches—quick follow-ups are more likely to earn you a link.
- Maintaining Relationships: A positive, ongoing relationship with journalists and publishers can lead to more link-building opportunities in the future. These relationships need to be cared for through regular interaction, which can consist of providing relevant news or maintaining social media engagement which further adds to the cost of link-building.
The industry of your business significantly influences link-building costs simply because certain industries are more competitive than others when it comes to generating backlinks.
Here are a few key reasons why this is the case:
- The competition level in your industry can drive up prices. The more businesses there are vying for those top spots in search engine results, the harder it is to secure quality backlinks, directly raising the cost.
- Some industries have a wider range of relevant, high-authority publications than others. If your industry is a niche, there may be fewer opportunities to acquire high-quality links, increasing the cost per link.
- Larger industries may attract more journalists and publishers, hence, a higher chance of getting quality backlinks at a budget-friendly price.
But, things are not as simple as that. Let’s consider two different scenarios:
- A popular industry like fashion or technology, where content abounds and publishers are constantly looking for the next big thing. In such industries, the almost unlimited amounts of content can mean that getting your work published might be easier, but also may not generate as much buzz due to market saturation.
- In a niche or specialized industry—think industrial manufacturing or animal husbandry, for instance—the amount of content out there may be more limited. This might mean publishers are eager for relevant, quality content. However, it might also mean that link-building efforts need to be more intensive to effectively reach your audience.
Essentially, these variables could either raise or lower your link-building costs depending on the industry specificity and saturation.
The Cost of Link Building
According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate link builders charge in the US is $23. Depending on your goals, the services you need, and the payment option you choose, you can expect to pay different rates. For instance, one-time projects range between $500 to $5000 while monthly campaigns can cost from $1000 to $20,000.
Although there are different payment options (fixed price, hourly rate, recurring payments, and more), businesses mostly choose to handle link building in-house or hire an agency. Both approaches come with distinct cost structures.
In-House vs. Agency Costs
Building your links in-house offers you greater control over every detail of your strategy. This approach may seem more cost-friendly at the start since you remove any agency overhead. However, the real expenses may soon add up.
You will need to hire experienced staff, invest in training, and purchase essential tools and subscriptions. If your team lacks expertise, the cost in time and potential missteps can also be significant.
According to research, an in-house link-building team charges $15,341 a month.
Hiring an agency can sometimes be more cost-effective. Agencies already have the necessary tools, skilled staff, and industry knowledge. Despite upfront costs that may seem steep, outsourcing to an agency may save you money over time as you avoid hiring and training costs.
On average, agencies charge $240-$700 per link. Keep in mind that most agencies offer flexible payment options. At Linkifi, we appreciate your trust—the more links you need us to build, the lower the cost per link we charge.
The Value of Link-Building for Your Business
When you invest in link-building, the benefits extend far beyond immediate visibility—it sets the foundation for your long-term online growth. This is due to the sturdy network of backlinks acting as referrals, guiding potential customers to your website.
Backlinks from high-authority sites boost your website’s authority with Google and other search engines, improving your ranking in SERPs. The importance of link-building isn’t limited to singular metrics. It has implications on the overall growth drivers of your online business, contributing to increased market share and profitability.