Should backlinks really cost hundreds of dollars each?

evaluating backlink costs

Prices for quality backlinks range from a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars each. Some of the highest quality sites that offer pay-for-play deals even charge thousands of dollars per link placement. It’s true that you can find many “backlink specialists” selling links for a hundred dollars or less, but it’s just as true that you should run as fast as you can from these providers.

To gauge the cost of acquiring a backlink on someone else’s website, consider what you would charge for placing a link on your own site. This perspective helps in understanding the pricing mechanisms of others.

The typical backlink price range for quality links usually starts in a range of $400 to $500 USD each, and their value should be assessed individually. The price goes up from there. The key is to seek links from credible, high-quality websites that generate organic traffic (so we know Google likes them). Ideally, these websites should be closely related to your niche or, at a minimum, contextually relevant to your industry. For instance, if your business is focused on crypto, securing a link from a reputable finance or crypto website featuring content about crypto could be highly beneficial.

Websites that offer links at low costs are typically designed for the sole purpose of selling links. These sites are often saturated with paid links. In contrast, acquiring a link from a genuine website—one that would exist independently of its link-selling activities—demands a higher investment compared to a link farm.

Obtaining links organically through outreach, quality content, and professional connections is the ideal approach. But if  purchasing links becomes necessary, it is more advantageous to invest in a fewer number of high-quality links from authentic websites rather than acquiring a multitude of links from link farms.

Determining if backlink costs are justifiable involves examining several key factors

When hiring a backlink builder to build links for your site, there are important factors to consider. The link building process of the provider, and how they determine relevance and quality are some of the more obvious points worth thinking about.

Process Evaluation: Understanding the methods employed to acquire links is crucial. A transparent explanation of the link acquisition process offers valuable insights into the nature of the link building and whether it aligns with your desired strategy.

Relevance Assessment: For businesses in specific industries, the focus should be on developing link strategies that yield relevant links to their industry. This relevance should be evident not only at the content level but also at the domain level. Distinguishing between average and exceptional link builders often depends on their ability to achieve this nuanced relevance.

Quality Interpretation: The term “quality” in link building is subjective. It’s important to understand what a link builder considers as a high-quality link. True quality extends beyond complicated checklists or formulas; it hinges on relevance to your sector and the legitimacy and traffic of the linking website. Quality also means avoiding certain red flags. 

Return on Investment (ROI): While predicting the exact ROI of link building is challenging, some estimations can be made regarding the number of links needed to achieve certain outcomes. However, guarantees are hard to come by in this field.

Determining how many links COULD be necessary

A common question from new clients and prospects is “How many backlinks do I need?” In the linked article I talk about considering things such as opportunity costs, search volume, average value of a sale, your current rankings for certain keywords, average conversion rate, and other factors. Other things worth analyzing include the following:

Link Gap Analysis: This involves identifying the difference in the quantity and quality of links between your site and your competitors, excluding their/your low-quality links.

Page-Level Link Gap Assessment: Focusing on your most valuable keywords, this strategy calculates the link gap for specific pages. Concentrating link building efforts on a limited number of pages prevents dilution of efforts and ensures that link equity is directed to pages with the highest potential for traffic and revenue generation.

Link Velocity: Understanding how quickly your competitors are acquiring links and adjusting your strategy accordingly is crucial. If a competitor is rapidly building links, it may necessitate a more aggressive approach on your part. Conversely, if they are slowing down, it presents an opportunity for you to close the gap within a specific timeframe.

Is the website or content backlink worthy?

The challenge of acquiring backlinks is significantly influenced by the inherent appeal of the business or content in question. Businesses or content that are perceived as mundane or lacking in value face an uphill battle with backlink acquisition. This difficulty stems from the simple fact that unengaging content does not inspire sharing or discussion. Without adding substantial value or interest to the reader, such content typically fails to capture the attention necessary for others in the industry to link back to it. The absence of a compelling narrative or lack of innovation in presenting information often leads to these entities being overshadowed in the crowded digital space.

Conversely, businesses or content areas that offer excitement, innovation, and relevance find themselves in a far more advantageous position when it comes to generating backlinks. When content resonates with its audience, sparking conversations and interest within its industry, it naturally becomes more link-worthy. This is because exciting and valuable content invites engagement; it is the type of material that people want to share and reference. Being a source of interesting, industry-relevant information or offering a unique perspective can turn a business into a magnet for backlinks. Content that not only informs but also captivates its audience is far more likely to be cited by others, as it becomes a valuable resource within its niche.

Ultimately, the ease of acquiring backlinks is often a reflection of how compelling and valuable the content or business is perceived within its industry. Or, how thorough your link builder was in finding an extensive list of quality backlink opportunities, and how effective their pitch was during the outreach process. In the digital marketplace, where content and backlinks are most important, the ability to stand out with engaging, insightful, and discussion-worthy content and outreach pitches are crucial factors in building a strong backlink profile.