Analyzing Costs of 30+ White Hat Link Building Services (2019)
If you want to outsource your link building, how much should you expect to pay?
Note that I’m not talking about spammy services where you pay for a PBN link (if you don’t know what that is, don’t bother looking it up). I’m talking about a Google-friendly white hat link building service.
In order to find out, I decided to collect pricing information from over 30 link building providers.
I made a few assumptions and decisions to make a clean, easy-to-read comparison:
- I only looked at services that charged by the link. I found a few sites that charged by the hour, but that makes it a lot harder to compare services against each other.
- I assume that guest posting is a white hat link building strategy. This is slightly debatable, but I think most SEO experts would agree with that.
- I used Moz Domain Authority (DA) in order to classify services when possible. Everyone uses it and mentions it on their services pages, so it’s an easy way to compare services by different providers.
- Many providers had a general link price. That is, they didn’t specify any hard metrics for a link, other than it had to be good quality. I lumped all of those together.
- I only analyzed services that advertised as and could plausibly be white hat link builders. I ignored sites that offered white hat links for $20.
- I assumed that everyone who said that they were white hat were actually white hat. I didn’t have the budget to spend thousands of dollars on all of these links. Use these providers at your own risk.
Here are some of the conclusions that I came to after analyzing the pricing data:
- White hat link builders can easily be split into two categories: outreach link builders and guest posting link builders. Outreach relies on emailing site owners to convince them to link to a site. Guest posting relies on creating custom content for another site.
- For both types of link building, higher DA links will cost more.
- Link builders can vary greatly by how much they charge per link.
- Guest posting links generally cost around $150-$300 per link.
- Outreach link building generally costs around $250 per link.
- Outreach link building is rarely segmented by DA. Instead, you usually just pay for a “good link”.
- Guest posting is generally cheaper than outreach link building for DA 20-30 links. For higher DA links, it’s not as clear.
Guest Posting Link Building Cost by DA
A lot of the guest post link builders I saw provided detailed pricing pages for pricing links by DA. As an example, here’s the pricing page from iGuestBlog:
I ended up with a lot of data to segment all of these prices. Here’s what I found when I analyzed the average cost per link of white hat guest post links:
The most obvious trend is that DA 20 and DA 30 links are much cheaper than DA 40 or DA 50 links.
This makes sense since there are many more sites with lower DA. Sites with higher DA may also have higher standards for the content they accept. Therefore, link builders need to spend more money creating better content.
Outreach Link Building Cost by DA
When I looked at prices for outreach link building, I saw that many didn’t provide segmented costs by DA. Instead, you usually just pay for a general high-quality link.
This is probably because outreach is a lot harder to segment out than guest posting. It usually involves reaching out to a large number of sites and hoping a small few link back to you.
For several DA brackets, I didn’t have enough data to provide an accurate average link cost. Here’s what I could reliably gather:
Getting an outreach link generally is going to cost around $250. For the few sites that guaranteed a DA of 30, the cost was slightly higher at an average of $272.
What you should take away here is that if you work with an outreach link builder, you have to clearly communicate your needs with them.
Comparing the Cost of Outreach and Guest Post Link Building
Here’s the data from both types of link building put together:
Clearly, guest posting tends to be cheaper than outreach link building.
Does this mean that outreach link building is always worse and more expensive than guest posting?
I don’t think so. I believe you need to know when to use one or the other.
If you just need links that have a certain DA and are relevant to a niche, then guest posting is probably the way to go.
On the other hand, if you have unusual link building requirements then outreach link building might be the way to go.
Types of Links Offered by Guest Post Services
When I analyzed the DA links that different guest posting services offered, here’s what I saw:
There were only 6 of 23 services that offered a general guest post link. I imagine that this is because guest post link builders know that their clients generally want links of a certain DA.
A good portion of them offer links in the DA 20-40 range. This is to be expected since there are many sites in that range that allow guest posting.
Only five services offer guest post links on sites with a DA greater than 50. Not only are there few sites with that DA, but few of those sites allow guest posting.
I didn’t see any services that offered guest posting links from sites with a DA of 60 or more. That means that you may need to use other link building methods if you want links from the highest quality sites.
Types of Links Offered by Outreach Services
Here’s what I saw when I analyzed which DA links were offered by outreach link builders:
6 of the 8 outreach link builders offered general links. They are high-quality links, but they’re not necessarily bucketed by DA.
3 of 8 outreach link builders offered links from sites with DA of 30 or more.
This only reinforces the fact that outreach link builders tend to offer a more customized service than guest post link builders. Few can/will make guarantees based on Domain Authority.
Instead, they trust that their clients can recognize the value of a “quality link”.
A quick aside: 30 DA links are the most common category for both outreach link builders and guest posting.
I imagine that this is because 30 DA sites hit the sweet spot of having a high volume of targets while also having high quality. This is a sign that DA 30 sites may be the best targets for your link building.
Complete Link Cost Data
So here’s all of the link cost data in raw form:
While we do some standardization for rates, the highs and lows are quite far apart.
A DA 20 guest post can be anywhere from $69 to $287. A DA 50 guest post can be anywhere from $300 to $500.
Outreach link building tends to have less variance. A general outreach link cost anywhere from $166 to $500. However, the highest price, from Admen, is an outlier. If you take that out, general outreach has a max price of $250.
Something else I want to point out is that I only had one outreach service that had a set price for DA 40 links. That was Reach Creator, and the price was $325.
The average price for guest post links of DA 40 is $303. What this means is that it’s likely that for higher DA links, outreach prices might start to be similar to guest post prices.
For a lot of the general link outreach services, you could specify that you only want links from sites with DA of 40 or higher.
That may add to the price of the outreach service, but it’s likely to not make it much more expensive than a guest post link.
This leads me to believe that the cost to get a DA 20-30 link tends to be less through guest posting and tends to be similar between the two methods when getting DA 40+ links.
Naturally Acquired Links – The Elephant in the Room
One thing I didn’t see is any link builders talking about is naturally occurring links.
When you publish great content with decent traffic, then people will naturally tend to link to it.
I published that post over a year ago, yet I’m still getting links to it. For example, this Italian site with DA of 54 linked to that post 7 months after I published the article.
I have no idea who runs that site or even what that article says (I don’t know Italian). Still, the link juice certainly has helped that post to be on the first page of Google for the term viral posts.
I want to stress that I don’t think that link building is a commodity. Service providers are not the same, and you shouldn’t go looking for the lowest price you can.
Instead, I just wanted to show you what you should expect to pay if you are going to outsource your link building.
While a lot of factors can vary the price, I think that my analysis shows that if you’re going to pay for a white hat link building service, you should expect to pay around $150-$300 for links in the DA 20-40 range.
What do you think of my research? Do you have any questions about it? Let me know in the comments below.