A question I constantly hear is “how much does a backlink to my website cost?”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you know that links to your website are a huge factor in what makes it perform better in search. However, not all links are created equally.
Time required for link acquisition
Time is money.
There are few good SEOs out there. The ones that are good are in extremely high demand, and they charge for their time using the same methods attorneys use.
Also, there is no place to simply “go get links”. Therefore, the amount of effort required to locate one is unknown.
Pro Tip: The vast majority of SEO people out there acquire links to their client’s websites using tactics which will later haunt them. If you have been penalized by a bad SEO company please feel free to visit our link removal services.
How links work:
In the old days website’s popularity was measured by the number of links pointing at it. Search engines used this method until it was abused; this method quit working approximately 10yrs ago. As a good rule of thumb, anyone trying to “trick” the search engines will eventually be punished. Links should come as relevant citations and/or geographically relevant websites. The easier they are to get the worse they are for you.
Types of Links
I could write a book on this topic, but in a nutshell, links come in good, bad, and ugly (and great).
I’ll start with the bad.
- Bad links: Some websites, such as directory sites, have no traffic and are worthless. Simply visiting them allows any user to insert a link. This is the type of link which any idiot can obtain in under 3 minutes. As of a few years ago these sites posed zero value. These days, they actually negatively impact your website.
- Ugly links: The next type of bad link is a link from a spammy website. There are many flavors of spammy websites. Spammy websites exist just to spam up the web. Some are filled with trash articles which make no sense. Others are part of a network of spammy sites. Additionally, some directory sites are ugly.
- Good links: Good links are sometimes called citations. When content on your website is used as a reference or enhances another article on another website they may reference your site or cite on of your articles. The most holistic form of a good link is a natural link. This is the way the Internet was intended to work and why it is called “the web”. Unfortunately, obtaining natural links is very difficult unless you sport some very unique content on your website.Example: Let’s say that you are a cheese producer and have an article on your website which details how your amazing mozzarella cheese produced. A local pizza maker who uses your cheese to make their epic pizzas could link to your cheese page.
- Better links: Better links are good links but from more powerful sites, links which are contextually relevant, or links which are geographically relevant to you.
- Amazing links: You probably do not need these. Unless you’ve been spending $15,000/mo or more on pay per click, your niche simply isn’t competitive enough to require amazing links. Amazing links come from website such as CNN, Huffington Post, etc.
Links you can purchase yourself
First of all, purchasing links is against Google guidelines.
That said, Google isn’t going to rank your website unless you have them, and you can buy links all over the place. You can sponsor local events, join the BBB, or join the chamber of commerce. These are usually not enough to boost yourself to the top of the rankings, but this is something you can do without the help of your SEO consultant. In these cases you are not directly purchasing a link, nor will it cause a problem in the future for you. The link is simply a perk and natural benefit of doing business.
Wait, how much do links cost?!
A great SEO consultant is going to research your competitors and look at their links. They are going to discover places where you can find links and help nudge the process along. At some point they may even come up with a strategy for organic and natural link acquisition.
In other words, you are paying for their time to discover links.
In a 5hr period an SEO may find 0, 1, or 8 links, it just depends. The more competitive and powerful the sites are, the more difficult they are to obtain. This is the Internet and SEOs have been fishing for links for 20 years now, so it isn’t like you can simply email someone and have a new link in 5 minutes.