What Is A Manual Link-Building Service & Is It A Worthwhile Strategy?

by Jason Smit

How much does link building cost?

This is among the most common questions for brands and businesses investing in SEO. It’s also one of the most challenging questions to answer.

Link building pricing can vary enormously, from twenty to thousands of dollars for a single link. This can make it tricky to understand the best link-building prices and what you should invest in.

The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. And getting higher-quality links means more significant investments.

However, understanding link-building pricing is more complicated than that. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to link-building pricing, covering everything you need to know.

The True Value of Link Building

Link building is an essential aspect of SEO that involves acquiring links from other websites to your own. It plays a crucial role in determining a website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

The value of link building is increased website visibility and authority. This means more traffic you generate for free, which could result in more customers.

Let’s break this down in more detail.

Improved Search Engine Rankings

Backlinks are one of Google’s most important ranking factors. This is because search engines consider backlinks a signal of trust and authority.

If reputable sites are linking to yours, it shows that the content on your site is valuable, credible, and trustworthy.

So, if you have a good backlink profile, search engines will rank your pages higher in the SERPs.

Increased Website Traffic

Following on from the point above, as your website appears higher up in the SERPs, you will naturally gain more organic traffic from search queries that are relevant to your business.

In addition, backlinks act as pathways for users to navigate between different web pages. When a reputable website links to your content, it can drive traffic from their site to yours, potentially increasing your audience and user engagement.

Enhanced Credibility and Authority

Backlinks from authoritative and well-established websites can significantly boost your website’s credibility and authority in your niche.

When reputable sources link to your content, it indicates to both users and search engines that your site is a reliable source of information. This is essential for generating trust around your business.

Brand Exposure and Awareness

Acquiring backlinks from various websites can also expose your brand to a broader audience. When users come across your website through links on other sites, it increases brand visibility and can lead to brand recognition.

The more backlinks you get, the greater your brand exposure and visibility across the web.

Relationship Building

Link building often involves contacting other website owners or bloggers within your industry.

This process can foster relationships, collaborations, and partnerships that can be beneficial beyond link acquisition, such as guest posting opportunities or joint marketing efforts.

The right relationships can hold a lot of long-term value for your website.

Long-term Sustainable Strategy

While search engine algorithms evolve, backlinks have remained a fundamental aspect of SEO. A well-thought-out and executed link-building strategy can provide lasting benefits regarding organic traffic and search engine rankings.

However, it’s crucial to emphasize that not all links hold the same value. Quality matters more than quantity.

Generating links from relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy websites is more beneficial than having loads of links from low-quality or irrelevant sources.

Natural and organic link building is also preferred over manipulative practices that violate search engine guidelines, which can result in penalties and harm your website’s reputation.

So, when looking at link-building pricing, it’s essential to understand the long-term value the right links could offer your website and business.

The initial link-building cost won’t be recovered immediately, but it should be considered a long-term investment.

link building is a long term investment_grandfather clock

How Much Does Link Building Actually Cost?

So, how much do link-building services cost?

Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer to this.

Link-building package prices vary massively, from $150 to $20,000 monthly. This depends on the quantity and quality of the backlinks you purchase.

All links are priced differently, and your link-building costs could vary each month – even if you use the same link-building service and tactics.

Plus, you could purchase a once-off backlink or invest in backlink packages on an ongoing basis. The costs will vary greatly depending on your strategy.

To give you a rough idea of link-building pricing, here are some of the main factors that will impact the cost:

In-house Link Building

If you’re handling link building internally, the cost might include the salaries of in-house SEO experts or content creators dedicated to acquiring backlinks.

You won’t necessarily pay directly for each link, but you will pay for the salaries, resources, and time it takes to generate links.

Outsourcing to Agencies

Many businesses outsource their link-building efforts to specialized SEO and content agencies or freelancers.

The cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on factors like the:

  • agency’s reputation
  • number of links you need
  • quality of links
  • scope of the link-building services offered

Content Creation and Promotion

Beyond purchasing backlinks directly, you may also need to invest in content.

After all, link-building is only relevant if your website has a great content strategy in the first place.

Creating high-quality content for link-building purposes involves costs like hiring writers, designers, or video creators.

Promoting this content to attract backlinks might also involve expenses for outreach tools, email marketing software, and other promotional activities.

Paid Link Building

When looking at link-building pricing, this is probably what you’re thinking of.

Paid link-building strategies are when you purchase links outright.

Costs for paid links can vary significantly based on the site’s authority, relevance, and the industry, ranging from a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands for a single link.

Tools and Software

Using various SEO tools for link prospecting, analysis, and outreach will involve monthly subscription costs.

 Link-building tools can range from a few monthly dollars to more expensive enterprise-level solutions.

Content Syndication or Distribution Networks

Companies use content syndication or distribution networks, which may have associated fees for publishing your content across multiple sites for link-building purposes.

content syndication, newspapers

Types of Backlinks & Their Costs

Now that we’ve got an idea of what could go into a link-building strategy let’s explore link-building pricing in more detail.

If you purchase links directly, here are some of the different backlink strategies you could use and how much you could pay for them.


HARO is a platform connecting journalists with sources for their stories. It allows individuals and businesses to provide expert insights in response to journalists’ queries.

Obtaining backlinks through HARO outreach can vary in cost. The platform itself is free, so you could generate quality backlinks for nothing if you do it yourself. However, this takes plenty of time, effort, and expertise.

Paid HARO services usually cost around $400-$500 for a high DR link.

PR Links

Digital press releases distributed through reputable PR services and link-building agencies can lead to backlinks from news sites and other media outlets.

Costs for PR distribution services range widely, starting from around $99 for basic packages to several hundred or thousand dollars for more extensive and targeted distributions.

Guest Posting Services

Many agencies offer guest posting services, where they write content and secure placements on relevant websites with a backlink to your site.

Costs for guest posting services can range from around $100 to $1000 or more per post, depending on the website’s authority, traffic, and niche.

With guest posting, you pay for two things: content and outreach. This means you could hire a content writing service and do the outreach yourself, but it can take up much of your time. You can often secure guest posts on other sites for free as long as you supply the content.

However, paying directly for guest post insertions gets more expensive. While it’s much easier to do and doesn’t require outreach, you could be looking at around $250 and up for guest posts on quality sites.

Just be very cautious of the quality of guest posts you purchase.

Content Marketing Campaigns

Investing in content marketing campaigns, such as creating valuable infographics, research reports, or comprehensive guides, can attract natural backlinks. This is a different link-building tactic, as you don’t pay directly for links and cannot guarantee backlinks to your website.

Costs for content creation vary based on the complexity and depth of the content, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Broken Link Building and Link Reclamation

This strategy involves finding broken links on other websites and offering your content as a replacement. Costs can be minimal, focusing on outreach efforts and content creation, but finding relevant broken link opportunities requires time and effort.

This is not a service you’d typically pay for but rather something you’d do internally.

Another strategy similar to this is link reclamation. Reclaiming lost or uncredited backlinks to your site involves identifying instances where your brand is mentioned without a link and reaching out to request a backlink. The cost just involves outreach efforts.

Directory Submissions

Submitting your website to industry-specific or reputable directories can acquire backlinks. Costs for directory submissions vary, ranging from free to several hundred dollars for premium listings.

It’s important to note that while these methods can help you acquire backlinks, the costs vary widely based on the quality, authority, and relevance of the sites where you generate backlinks.

If you sign up for link-building services, in many cases, the link-builder will also use various tactics to help secure different types of backlinks. This can make it tricky to narrow down your link-building pricing and to understand precisely what you’re paying for.

link building directories

What Makes Link Building Expensive? Breaking Down Factors That Impact The Cost

We’ve established that link-building costs can vary widely based on several factors. However, the bottom line is that if you purchase high-quality backlinks, you must be prepared to pay quite a lot for them.

Here’s a breakdown of the different elements that make link-building expensive.

Quality of Backlinks

Acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative and reputable websites often comes at a premium.

Sites with strong domain authority and traffic charge higher fees for link placements or collaborations.

Expertise and Experience

Hiring experienced professionals or agencies with a proven link-building track record often comes with higher costs. Their expertise in identifying opportunities, creating compelling content, and executing effective outreach strategies will involve higher fees.

Content Creation

Producing high-quality content that attracts backlinks requires investment.

Costs go up for skilled writers, designers, developers, or video creators who create engaging and valuable content.

Relevance and Niche

Link building within competitive or specialized industries requires more effort and resources. Niche-specific content creation and outreach often require extra investment due to the limited pool of relevant sites to target.

Scalability and Volume

Scaling a link-building campaign to generate a lot of backlinks across various high-authority sites can significantly increase link-building pricing.

Each link acquisition involves content creation, outreach, negotiation, and relationship-building efforts. The more you do it, the more your costs will go up.

However, many link-building services do offer discounts for bulk link purchases. If you look at the cost per link, this could decrease significantly by purchasing larger backlink bundles.

Tools and Software

Using premium SEO tools, outreach platforms, and analytics software involves extra expenses. These tools aid in link prospecting, competitor analysis, and performance monitoring but come with subscription costs.

Paid Promotions and Collaborations

Link-building strategies involve paid promotions, sponsorships, or collaborations with influencers, publications, or websites. This can be expensive, depending on the popularity and reach of the platform.

Time and Resources

Effective link-building requires substantial time investment for research, outreach, relationship-building, and tracking campaign performance.

The cost associated with the time spent by skilled professionals can add up. You might even need to hire someone full-time to manage this.

Ethical and White-Hat Practices

Most importantly, you pay for quality when it comes to link-building pricing. And when it comes to quality link-building, you have to follow white-hat practices.

Employing ethical and white-hat SEO practices involves higher costs than cheap link farms, as these strategies focus on quality, relevance, and organic link acquisition. They take longer and require more effort than cheaper, riskier, black-hat methods.

However, white-hat link-building is the only approach that is worth it and adds value to your website.

Competition and Demand

In highly competitive industries or where there’s a high demand for backlinks, prices tend to rise due to the limited availability of authoritative link opportunities.

SEO backlinks

Is Link Building Really Worth It?

Yes! Link building is undeniably worth it for improving your website’s SEO and overall online presence.

Quality backlinks from reputable and relevant websites are a crucial factor in achieving higher search engine rankings, driving organic traffic, and establishing authority within a given industry or niche.

Without any backlinks, your website might never appear on search results pages or generate meaningful traffic.

Just make sure you have clear goals for link-building and understand what you’re paying for and what kind of value this offers. In addition, make sure you use white-hat link-building to obtain links from trustworthy sources.

If you just go out and purchase poor-quality, spammy-looking backlinks, it could hurt your SEO rather than help it.

organic traffic growth chart, SEO

Key Takeaway: You Get What You Pay For

The bottom line is this: link-building pricing is expensive, but you get what you pay for.

There’s no point in purchasing cheap, spammy backlinks, as they’ll only damage your website over the long run. Investing in high-quality links comes at a premium, but these are the only links that add value to your website.

So, establish SEO goals and understand what role backlinks play in your broader SEO and marketing strategy. This will help you purchase the correct links that pay themselves off through greater search engine rankings and visibility.

Jason Smit

Jason Smit is the CEO of Contentellect and believes that marketing success lies at the intersection of great content and quality links. With 15 years spent in agency environments, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Media and Performics, his experience is distilled into Contentellect's service offering. He holds a B.Com Marketing from the University of Cape Town and a PGDip. in Entrepreneurship.

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