What’s the value of a backlink?
And by value, I don’t mean in terms of ‘link juice’ or quality. I’m talking about cold, hard cash.
To attempt to find the answer, I recently reached out to 250 websites across 5 popular niches and asked 2 questions:
Do you sell links?
If so, how much do you sell them for?In a moment, I’ll share my findings.
But first let’s take a quick look at the link buying and selling industry.
The Lowdown on Link Buying
For as long as Google has used link popularity to rank websites, backlinks have been a commodity.
And like all commodities, there are those looking to buy and those looking to sell.
Early Link Buying: Authority Directories
The earliest, and most ‘white hat’ form of link buying involved submitting your site to authority directories. These directories generally charged a ‘review’ fee.
The now defunct Yahoo directory is probably the highest profile example.
They charged a fee of around £300 for inclusion (although they did reject some sites) and a link from Yahoo would definitely boost your rankings.
Make no mistake, that link was not bought for traffic.
I submitted many sites into the Yahoo directory back in the early 2000s and the referral traffic was minimal. A link from Yahoo was always bought for the purposes of increasing Google rankings.
The Link Buying Boom
By the mid 2000s a whole industry had grown around selling links.
Sites such as Text Link Ads sold links on a ‘rental’ basis.