When it comes to SEO and digital marketing, there’s a lot of noise out there. Just run a basic “how-to” search on Google with any generic strategy and you’ll find thousands of blog posts from amateurs and professionals alike. Some of the information is useful, but most of it lands just a bit off target.

As you become more aware of how SEO and digital marketing work and what they can do for your business, it’s critically important that you stop consuming general self-help advice that looks at topics like link building from 30,000-feet above. Though a macro understanding of digital marketing is helpful, it’s the micro view – the one where you grab a magnifying glass and inspect the inner workings of specific strategies – that spurs results.

In this article, we’re zooming in and providing you with an in-depth look at a relevant topic. By the end, you’ll no longer be asking yourself why link building is so expensive. Instead, you’ll be looking for ways to get started.

The Cost of Link Building

When you work with a link building agency, you’re paying for a few different services. Generally speaking, you’re paying a marketing professional to pitch content ideas, develop said content, reach out to publishers, place the content, and provide some data/analytics about the content’s performance on the back end. While all of these services are included, you’ll generally discover that pricing happens on a cost-per-link basis.

The cost-per-link varies rather dramatically and is dependent on a number of different factors. By far, the most important factor is the website or blog where the content/link is published. The higher the domain authority (DA), the more expensive it is to purchase a backlink for these sites.

Links published on low DA websites – say 60 or below – are going to cost a fraction of what they cost on high DA websites. Generally speaking, you can expect to spend somewhere between $100 and $1,000 for a quality link with a quality publishers.

As with anything, there are exceptions to the rule. If you’re targeting really niche, low DA blogs and only need a couple hundred words of content to accompany the link, it’s possible that it could cost slightly less. If you’re trying to acquire a backlink on a very well known and authoritative website, then you could spend upwards of $2,000+ for a single link.  

5 Reasons Link Building Isn’t Cheap

When business owners and marketers first become familiar with the topic of link building and how it works, they typically do so in a top-down, generic manner that provides a limited understanding of what’s actually involved in the process. As a result, they’re blown away by the cost. However, the truth is that white hat link building is almost always worth the investment.

As you can see from some of the numbers mentioned above, link building isn’t cheap. But it isn’t fair to say it’s “expensive.” As with most business services, you get what you pay for. Quality link building has a premium price attached to it for a reason: It yields the client tremendous, long-term value.

Before writing off link building as too expensive or unreasonably priced, consider the following. Here are a few specific reasons why link building isn’t cheap:

  1.     Content Ideas and Strategy

Let’s start at the very beginning. While you’re interested in acquiring links as quickly as possible, it takes time to get the ball rolling. It all starts with the strategy.

You can’t just pick a link, choose a publisher, and finalize a transaction. In order to get your link on a specific website, it has to be embedded into quality content that provides value to the publisher’s readers. This requires a strategy session where ideas are generated and pitched. Sometimes this can go back and forth a few times before a specific pitch is finally approved.

Time is money in the digital marketing industry. When you pay for a link, you’re also paying for all the time and creative energy that’s spent on the front end.

  1.     Content Writing

Next comes the actual content writing. This can require even more time than the strategizing.

For high authority publishers, content generally needs to land in the 700- to 1,500-word range. Considering that writers are paid on an hourly or per-word basis, a significant percentage of a link’s cost is tied up in the price of the copy.

After content is developed, a copyeditor has to review the content and polish it until it shines. This is yet another cost that’s built into the price of the link you’re purchasing.

  1.     Outreach and Placement

Next comes the part you’re most focused on: outreach and placement. A link building service has established relationships with bloggers and publishing platforms all across the web. But it’s not as simple as sending them a link and getting it published. It takes some effort.

Content has to be pitched and delivered in such a way that publishers want to push the content out to their readers. If a publisher is disinterested in the content that’s pitched, the entire process has to start over again. It’s a sensitive process that requires great care.

  1.     Expertise

The link building industry has changed a lot over the years. Google and other search engines have cracked down on spammy link building practices that were once rampant and easy to get away with. In order to be successful in today’s SEO world, your link building campaigns need to be carefully crafted and properly aligned with the newest Google updates.

If you’re paying for cheap links, you’re probably paying for an inexperienced content writer with minimal SEO knowledge. They’re quickly writing thin content and trying to peddle it to low authority publishers. The links may or may not stick. If the links do stick, it’s highly possible that they violate Google’s nuanced expectations (thereby delivering low/no value).

A quality link building services comes with experience. Link building schemes aren’t developed with a spitball mentality. Instead, they’re fine-tuned with a thorough understanding of SEO best practices. White hat techniques are then used to place the link and cultivate long-term value for the client.

  1.     Back End Support

Quality link building isn’t a one-and-done strategy. Links are living, breathing digital assets that can be monitored. A reliable link building service will monitor the link placement, provide some data on how the link is performing, and keep an eye on things to ensure the link doesn’t get removed or flagged. Again, this is a cost that’s built into the price of the link.

Partner With the Right Link Building Service

If you want to, you can find a digital marketer or SEO specialist who will provide you with backlink services at a low, low price of just $200 or $300 per month!But working with these individuals is a lot like purchasing a used car from a greasy salesman on a questionable corner lot. It might be more expensive to purchase from a certified dealer with thousands of loyal customers, but at least you know what you’re getting.