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Outsourcing links - how much to pay

What's a fair price per reciprocal link

     
6:14 pm on Jul 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If we outsource link building, specify some basic criteria like minimum PR of 4, sites dealing with topics X or Y, linkpage to be no more than one click away from homepage etc. what would be a fair figure to pay someone per actual reciprocal link achieved?

If anyone has already done this and has some ball park figures, these would be most useful to me. Thanks in advance.

6:21 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Tell me how much they want to charge and I will undercut it by 10%.

Jeeze, what a nice guy.

6:34 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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SinclairUser,

They've offered to charge me $0.00 so far. 0 less 10% is zero. Is that how much you will charge me? Jeeze, what a nice guy :-)

No, seriously though, anybody there who's already done this please let me know if you have any figures. Thanks

7:28 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We've paid $10-$15 dollars each for links with our specified anchor text.
7:39 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks gilmour. Any others?
7:54 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We haven't done this, but I did some research and found anywhere between $5 and $20 per link.

I think outsourcing is definitely the way to go, especially if you have many sites.

However, the difficulty is finding people you can trust. The only time I tried outsourcing, the guy demanded the money in advance (we payed him half), then he disappeared for 2 weeks, then he sent me a list of places to ask for links - but he was supposed to do that.

In the end we were down a couple hundred dollars and had no inbound links to our site.

So just be careful who you choose to work with.

8:07 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Plan on spending twice as much for a one way link then a reciprocal link. :)
9:14 pm on July 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If it helps ...our site does have a lot of useful content in our field - about 800 pages of it. Despite all that info what we actually sell is very, very limited and we sell only in the UK, so competitors from other countries also link to us without worries about losing business.

Thanks for the feedback so far guys, I'm still open to figures you believe are reasonable or that you have already paid.

2_much, thanks for the useful tip.

7:14 am on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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specify some basic criteria like minimum PR of 4

Site home page or the link page?

If you are saying site home page it's ok. If you are saying link page then your price quote increases much higher than the $5 to $20 range.

I agree outsourced link building is the way to go. But then there are some things you have to keep in mind. Many people ask for hourly rates. It's better to decide a quote on a per link basis. Also to have a dedicated link email id for your domain which you give to the link Developer so that lends authenticity to the link mails he sends. Ask for references as they are important. If possible pay through Credit Card and determine a time frame for getting X amounts of links. You also need to decide a response time in which you will upload the links which partners have put up on their site. Have personally experienced some people taking such a long time to upload links that the other link partners have deleted the links out of frustration. Avoid situations like that. How much are you willing to co- ordinate with your link developer determines the sucess of your outsourced link campaign IMHO.

And do you want topis related links or links from any good site? The former will cost you more. There are also some 1 way link development services but they are very costly. HTH :)

7:18 am on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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With a little guidance the neighbor's kid (or yours) could do this very cost effectively - and the controls are in your hands.
7:20 am on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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fathom, if you go with your neighbors kid, how many links an hour can you expect? What do you pay them in, nickels, dimes or donuts? :)
8:26 am on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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While I do source links for clients, I get them to send the requests.
IMO, third party requests are less likely to be viewed favourably.
10:28 am on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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IMO, third party requests are less likely to be viewed favourably.

I agree completely. Thats the reason I insist on an email id on the client domain before starting any link campaign. Also personalize the letter. Do not go on with History and Geography stick to the objective of the mail. Some people have a policy of site threshold PR, below which they do not link to you. Keep a note of such sites as they can link to you in future when you achieve a threshold PR. HTH :)

1:01 pm on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys.

The general consensus is that it's better to outsource than do it inhouse. The neighbour's kid idea sounds cheap but doesn't seem that popular :-)

We'd be happy with a PR4 homepage (our links page is a PR5), could give the link coordinator his own email address, and perhaps even access to update our links page himself.

Paying per link definitely sounds better than paying per hour. And the using a C Card is a good idea as well. Thanks.

What's strange is that apart from gilmour, nobody else so far seems to have outsourced this.

2:00 pm on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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fathom, if you go with your neighbors kid, how many links an hour can you expect? What do you pay them in, nickels, dimes or donuts?

How many do you expect from a expertly trained seasoned professional?

I go with the donuts myself :0

2:29 pm on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I hired the son of a friend to do some link development for me, and I'm pleased with the results. The project is ongoing, depending on when he has time to work on it.

I pay a dollar for each letter he writes or submission form he fills in, with a bonus when someone replies to say they'll link to the site. I set up an email account for this project, and gave him the title "assistant to the editor" to sign his letters with. I have access to the account so I can see all emails he sends, and if someone replies to him I get a copy. With our piecework arrangement he can work at home at his own pace, and it works out to about $10-12 per hour for him when he's working in a focused way.

We began with backlink research on related sites, so he has a well-targeted list of prospects. I created a form letter which he then personalizes by:

  • finding and using the correct address for the webmaster or whoever else seems appropriate,
  • addressing them by name if possible,
  • suggesting a specific page where we think our link would fit well,
  • and (where appropriate) some other comment about the other site. That can range from complimenting something to pointing out a broken link!

We're not asking for recips, just announcing the site and suggesting where a link would make sense for their content (always mentioning a specific page). He has sent out about three hundred and fifty letters so far, and I have gained over fifty one-way links of varying PR that I can trace to his work. Some sites have given multiple links.

This work takes a special kind of mind, web-savvy, literate and creative, yet tolerant to a certain degree of repetitiveness. I've offered the same work to a couple of other people, but neither of them worked out.

4:51 pm on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Buckworks your friends son is talented! I agree it's not everyone's cup of tea. And a ratio of 1 in seven is very good for a beginner :)

This work takes a special kind of mind, web-savvy, literate and creative, yet tolerant to a certain degree of repetitiveness.

I agree completely.

6:24 pm on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yes, he's good. Good enough that it won't be long until he's smarter than I am!
7:19 pm on July 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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This work takes a special kind of mind

You don't give enough credit to kids.

web-savvy

Most kids are web savvy - long before they can write

literate and creative

Granted a 5 - 12 year old isn't the target here but quite a few 13 - 16 year olds are very literate and creative.

I know a 14 year old that has made his father a 100K flash design business. Dear old dad sells them but doesn't have a clue how to make one! ;)

yet tolerant to a certain degree of repetitiveness

Prefect - Easy work -- Perfect for teens! Beats cutting the grass. ;)

I've offered the same work to a couple of other people, but neither of them worked out.

You're right - not every ones cup of tea -- but just like anything else not everyone can be a SEO, programmer, copywriter, doctor, submarine, etc., but then again most people have more than two neighbors.

1:06 am on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Forgive my failing memory... but is the same forum that advises all the keen newbies to go worth and procreate content and yet more content so that reciprocal links will flow automatically?

Methinks there are quite a few folks talking with their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks... this thread is the reality of where seo is going in order to appease Google.

Google's appetite for links, no matter how contrived and far removed from the concept of reciprocal, spawns yet more link based cottage industry.... direct payment for links and paying to outsource link farming.

What's next? Link breeding farms cultivated in an environment built solely for the purpose of growing PR which can then be marketed to the highest bidder?

Is that another SearchKing I see on the horizon?

And there is poor old stupid me thinking that I'll actually do OK by providing the viewer with on-page content relevant to their search....

1:55 am on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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<<is the same forum that advises all the keen newbies to go worth and procreate content and yet more content so that reciprocal links will flow automatically? >>

The ideal is content that is good enough to attract ONE-WAY links! Reciprocal links are okay, but it's even better if you don't have to trade for the links you get.

If a site is useful/informative/funny/whatever enough, links will come ... as long as the site has enough exposure to get the snowball started. To launch a site effectively takes work, or money, or both, and some luck helps too.

<<Google's appetite for links, no matter how contrived and far removed from the concept of reciprocal, spawns yet more link based cottage industry.... direct payment for links and paying to outsource link farming. >>

I don't understand what you're saying here.

Many people would see a link as "purer" if it's not reciprocal.

<<Link breeding farms cultivated in an environment built solely for the purpose of growing PR>>

Some of us cultivate links for the old-fashioned reason that they send traffic.

6:03 am on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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What's next? Link breeding farms cultivated in an environment built solely for the purpose of growing PR which can then be marketed to the highest bidder?

It's not next. It's already there. ;) And it's not for highest bidder. It's based on fixed rates. There are lots of search kings around. The only thing is they are Back end services or done in house by large SEO companies. HTH :)

12:11 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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austtr, I quite understand your point.

Our site does have a lot of quality content we've come up with ourselves, hundreds of pages of articles and guides we've written ourselves over the years. There is a sub category of our main topic that we want to provide a lot more information on. For various reasons we are looking to do this on a new site rather than use the existing one. It has the potential to run into several thousands of pages.

What we are hoping to use the reciprocal links for is to build the traffic TOGETHER with having good content. It's quicker than just building the good content and waiting :-)

We believe that the one way links to us will be built up over a shorter span of time if more webmasters can find us via the reciprocals we invest in now. We won't complaint about the traffic from Google.

6:27 pm on July 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We've paid people off and on for years to do link hunting - it can be kind of challenging to find the right mix of ability and motivation to get the job done in an effective way.

I really don't see any Searchking analogy, unless you hire someone who stuffs fifty links on sites he owns, controls, or has agreements with. The only long-term effect I can see is perhaps a gradual devaluation of links due to increasing disparity between sites with link programs and those without.

I like your activity-based approach, buckworks - it keeps the link-hunter interested without having to wait to see if hours of work pay off in a few links. And your back-end numbers seem strong enough to justify the cost of the requests.

5:50 am on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't see why a person can't do this themselves.
And if one decides to pay someone to do it $10 to $15 per link unless the sites are very good is just plain high.
It doesen't require any grand skills to gather mass amounts of links. All it requires is time and effort.
A neighbor kid can do this just fine but if you do this yourself you will learn more about your industry and find sites that might link to you later should you add additional content in other topic areas. The real concern with outsourcing link building to someone else is the risk to your site's reputation and spam complaints.

To gain links just email every single site that links to your industry leader. It requires no major skill. Now it helps to be able to find the few quality sites that a link from would be most valuable from too. But a brute strength link building approach works too. If your time is too valuable to justify this then one should consider just paying for traffic perhaps.

7:04 am on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Forgive my failing memory... but is the same forum that advises all the keen newbies to go worth and procreate content and yet more content so that reciprocal links will flow automatically?

appeasing Google's appetite for links..

Yes its content and more qualilty content, but also links and more quality links, certainly when starting up a site, before word of mouth/web/link and repeat visitors are auto-generated because of the great content.

My favourite local pizzeria, with the best content appeasing my appetite, started by using the neighbors kid to stuff all local households postboxes with their leaflets - and so do their competitors. Promotion is real life.

Links (votes) appease all major search engines algos, IMO, not only Google's.

Often, linkhunting only tends to work to jump-start a site, after that it's back to content building etc. I've had some reactions to link hunting that were very confronting or embarrassing - no better motivation to rebuild qualtity content after that.

11:06 am on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the great comments so far guys. It's heartening to know that our policy of "investing" in reciprocal links to get the one-way links and SE traffic later is the right way to go especially if we are committed to providing a lot of unique, useful and relevant content. vitaplease has summarised it well.

firstmark, you want a job done well - do it yourself. I understand completely and I do wish I had the time. Unfortunately, the webmaster bit of my job is only part-time. I have the rest of the business to run and sometimes have to pay for others to do stuff ;-)

Who knows, I may find someone who's better at the job than I am and it may cost me less per hour/per link than what I pay myself :-)

The brute force approach somehow lacks appeal. I also have a faint suspicion that links so generated may be of lower quality, and not last very long. I may be wrong. To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I wouldn't want to be a member of a club where webmasters link to me based on a "canned" request for a reciprocal. But if it works for you, who am I to criticise?

buckworks, yours seem like a good route and congratulations on your excellent conversion rate.

Any other numbers? Actual payments for third parties to build you links? Thanks for everyone's help so far.

12:34 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Out sourcing links will always be a good scheme for those who can afford it, and whole new industries are likely to be built up on it...... but its not going to be much use until we can decide what is happening with google and the backlinks problem.
1:10 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't see why a person can't do this themselves.

I will tell you some reasons. Go for any Big and Top revenue generating industry. They need 1000's of Keyword rich links from different sources of web. So as everything else it comes to money. They hire 4 to 5 different link hunters and pay them to get links. It generally takes them 8 months to get on top. And then the great traffic and conversions come. Is there any other logical way in which you can do this? It's pure business sense which drives this Link development outsourcing business. For individual sites link development by hand makes much more sense.

But for top category market segment in the long term the ROI for outsourcing is outstanding if you know your stuff. ;). These are my limited views. HTH :)

1:13 pm on July 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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<<its not going to be much use until we can decide what is happening with google and the backlinks problem.>>

Forget Google, and focus on the fact that links are worth developing because they send visitors!

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