Link Building Statistics That Prove You Need To Build Links

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Link building is dead, right?


The truth is that there is a ton of evidence to show that backlinks still are one of the top SEO ranking factors.

Link building statistics show that your backlinks are like social proof in the eyes of Google. The more social proof you get from links, the more Google will trust your website.

What is link building - more links equal higher rankings

More trust = higher rankings.

But before you go out and start building tons of links, there are some things you need to know.

How you build backlinks and the quality control you implement will play an important role in how much they impact your website.

The following link building statistics explain why quality links are now more important than ever and what kinds of links you should be building.

Key Link Building Statistics

SEO experts still say link building is one of the 3 most important SEO ranking factors. But what sort of results can you expect from quality link building?

These are the key link building statistics that you need to know:

  • The number 1 ranking page on Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than pages ranking in positions 2-10.
  • Only 5% of all websites online have backlinks pointing at them.
  • Quality content with 3,000+ words receives more backlinks on average than blog posts with less than 3,000 words.
  • About 2.2% of all content online produces more than one unique backlink.
  • 58.1% of SEOs believe that backlinks have a significant impact on rankings in search engines.
  • 53% of marketers believe that link building will continue to have a significant impact on rankings in the future and 41% believe it will have less of an impact.
  • 92% of marketers believe that links will still be a key ranking factor in Google’s algorithm in the next 5 years.
  • 41% of SEO experts consider link building the be the single most challenging part of search engine optimisation.
  • Over 60% of businesses outsource their link building to professional agencies and contractors.
  • 13% of SEO experts believe that link building is the most valuable SEO tactic today.

Most marketers and SEO professionals believe link building is an essential part of SEO today and will continue to be in the future.

Link building key statistics infographic

Link Building Process & Strategies Statistics

There are tons of link building strategies that you can take advantage of.

But not every link building strategy delivers the results you want. Here are the latest link building statistics about processes and strategies.

Most Used Link Building Strategies

If you know anything about link building, you’ll know that content is still the best way to attract high-quality backlinks.

  • “Why” posts
  • “What” posts
  • Infographics

…receive 25.8% more links than “how to” posts.

The truth is that “how to” posts are very beneficial for your readers, but they don’t attract as many natural backlinks.

90% of marketers use quality content as their core strategy for link building.

Most SEOs believe that content and backlinks work best together as the main way to increase organic traffic.

What sort of content should you be creating?

Short answer – Long form content.

Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter articles.

long form content

A recent study also showed that quality content with 3,000+ words receives more backlinks on average than blog posts with less than 3,000 words.

The bottom is that you should consistently create high-quality and valuable long-form content that covers topics comprehensively.

This is the type of content that will bag you more backlinks.

Other than creating quality content, there are some other link building tactics that are proven to be effective.

Here is a complete breakdown of what SEOs say the 3 most effective link building tactics are:

Link Building Tactic Percentage of SEOs
Content marketing 12.5%
Guest posting 11.7%
Link exchanges 10.9%

Just focusing on these 3 different link building tactics could be all you need to generate quality backlinks consistently.

Link Attribute Statistics

“Dofollow” links are the main links that every SEO wants.

But 48% of marketers reported that “nofollow” are a part of their process as well.

Google is on record for saying that nofollow tags are a signal to the algorithm but can still impact your rankings.

When asked the question – “what link building activities do you spend the most time on” here’s what SEO professionals answered:

Link Type Percentage of SEOs
External Links 34%
Internal Links 24%
Equal Time Spent On Both 42%

There is no doubt that external links have a big impact on your search engine rankings.

But what most people don’t know is that internal linking is also extremely important. Internal links are links that point from one page on your website to another page on your website.

Most SEOs believe internal link building to be one of the top SEO strategies today.

What’s more?

51% of SEOs believe bloggers should include two to three internal links in a blog post.

internal links in blog content

A further 36% of SEOs say 3 to 5 internal links should be included in each post. Ensure you add consistent and relevant internal links to your content.

It’s no secret that anchor text plays a role in the value of a backlink.

But 52% of marketers also believe that having brand mentions in the anchor text of a backlink impacts organic search rankings significantly.

Make sure to diversify your anchor text to include brand mentions as well.

Watch this anchor text strategy video to learn more about developing a powerful anchor text strategy.

Most Popular Link Building Tools And Metrics

Here’s the truth:

It’s very difficult to build links at scale without the right tools.

There are a ton of link building tools that you can use for the job. But some tools are far better than others.

These are the most popular link building and tracking tools ranked by SEOs today:

Link Building Tool Percentage Of SEOs That Use The Tool
Google Search Console 45.3%
Buzzstream 14.8%
Ahrefs 8.5%
Majestic 7.9%
Pitchbox 7.5%
Screaming Frog 5.7%
MailShake 4.4%
Semrush 4%
Moz 3.8%

Google Search Console and Buzzstream are the most popular tools for link building for most SEOs.

My personal favourite link building tools are:

These are the top 3 pro link building tools that my team uses for our link building services for clients.

But the truth is that building links is just part of the process. The best SEOs know how to measure the quality of links before they even start building.

What metrics do they use?

Here are the top 3 metrics marketers use to measure link quality:

Link Quality Metric Percentage Of Marketers
Domain Authority 65%
Domain Rating 48%
Page Authority 36%

65% of marketers measure their link quality by looking at domain authority, making it the most popular link metric. 48% of marketers use domain rating and 36% look at page authority.

A further 38% of marketers say that page rankings are their top KPI to determine the effectiveness of link building. This means they build links to a specific page and wait to see if the rankings for that page increases.

Outsourcing To Qualified Link Building Services

What about outsourcing your link building?

The truth is that link building is hard work and requires a lot of skill. That’s why tons of businesses (even SEO agencies) outsource their link building.

69% of marketers believe that buying links positively impacts their rankings on Google. 36% of businesses said they hire outside expert agencies and freelancers to build more links.

what do marketers thinkg about outsourcing link building?

Outsourcing your link building to trusted link building services is a proven way to get quality backlinks without taking up all of your time.

How long does it take before a link starts to help your rankings?

51% of marketers say it takes about one to three months before they actively start to see the impact of their link building efforts.

Link Building Trends Statistics

Looking for the latest trends in link building?

Here are 5 link building trends that you need to understand and take advantage of right now.

Trend #1 – Cold Outreach Is Over Saturated

The truth is that website owners receive hundreds of emails every day.

What’s more?

Only 8.5% of cold emails used for link building generate results. That doesn’t mean that cold outreach is completely dead.

cold emails in for link building

It just means that building links at scale through cold outreach is a numbers game. You need to send out hundreds of outreach emails just to net yourself a couple of good links.

And if you are targeting major publications, the results are even worse.

The average editor gets around 400 emails per day. The odds are slim to none that they will even open your email, let alone reply with a favourable response.

But if your favourite link building strategy is still cold outreach, here are some tips that will improve your chances of success:

  • Use a template for your outreach but make sure you personalise and tailor each email to the receiver.
  • Outreach emails that are sent mid-week receive up to 2x higher response rates. Send your emails on Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • Send at least 2x follow-up emails 5-7 days apart if you don’t get a reply to your initial email.


Being successful with email outreach has just as much to do with the link building strategy you pair with your outreach strategy.

Take advantage of any of these link building strategies to combine with your outreach efforts and maximise your results.

Trend #2 – Unique Content With Original Research Attracts Backlinks

Everyone knows that you need unique content.

But what you might not know is that publishing original research is one of the best ways to generate a ton of natural backlinks organically.

What is original research?

Any kind of test or research that you do yourself. It’s as simple as writing content about how you conducted the test and your results.

Easy, right?

Here is an example of my original research with the fastest WordPress hosting:

  • I signed up for 12 different hosting companies
  • I ran three tests to see which one was the best

fastest wordpress hosting example

This single post has attracted hundreds of powerful links from other sites.

Think about your own niche and look for questions that people are always asking. This can help you come up with ideas for doing your own original research.

Trend #3 – Link Building Is Getting More Competitive Than Ever

Most website owners now know the value of a link.

There are also more and more people:

That means that the link building industry has become very competitive.

Outreach results are falling. Broken link building is tedious and rarely worthwhile. Even guest posting has become a costly strategy.

What do you do then?

Simple – Go back to the proven and value-driven link-building strategies that generate quality links consistently.

My favourite link building strategy for this is competitor backlink analysis.

backlink competitors analysis example

It has the highest return and has helped me consistently build thousands of links over the years. Competitor backlink analysis has also been a great way to build relationships with other website owners in my niche.

Trend #4 – Target Small Niche Keywords To Get More Backlinks

SEO as an industry is getting competitive.

That means ranking for the big, high-traffic keywords is harder than ever.

Most SEOs consider keyword search volume as the most important factor for keyword research. It makes sense right…

You want more traffic, so you go for the bigger volume keywords. This is the old way of thinking. You already know that one of the biggest secrets to high rankings is building quality links.

The 1st ranking position in the Google SERPs gets 3.8x more backlinks than all the other results on the page.

The 1st ranking position in the Google SERPs gets 3.8x more backlinks

Therefore your goal should be to find niche keywords where you can rank your content in the first position.

This will help you attract the backlinks you need to start targeting more competitive keywords.

Trend #5 – Nofollow Links Are More Valuable Than You Think

Nofollow links are worthless, right?

Not anymore.

In 2019, Google updated its link attributes to include:

  • dofollow
  • nofollow
  • sponsored
  • UGC

They also updated how they treat link attributes in general.

Google treats all link attributes like a signal, not a rule. This is important to understand.


Just because someone adds a nofollow link to your site doesn’t mean you don’t benefit from it. Nofollow links simply tell Google that the site that linked to you doesn’t necessarily endorse you.

That’s it.

Ultimately Google has the final say on whether the ranking credit is passed onto you anyway. Here’s exactly what Google said in their update release:

“When nofollow was introduced, Google would not count any link marked this way as a signal to use within our search algorithms. This has now changed. All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyse and use links within our systems.”

This essentially means that nofollow links could still pass on some SEO value and help improve your rankings overall.

Link Building Cost Statistics

Tons of businesses, agencies and freelancers outsource their link building needs to qualified link building services.

But how much is it likely to cost?

Here’s how much the average link costs from a quality link building service:

Link Type Domain Rating/Authority Cost Per Link (USD)
Low Power 20 to 34 $150 – $200
Mid Power 35 to 49 $220 – $300
High Power 50 to 80+ $310 – $500+

  • Low-authority links with a domain rating between 20 to 34 will generally cost between $150 – $200 per link.
  • Mid-authority links with a domain rating of 35 to 49, you can expect to pay between $220 – $300 per link.

High-power links with a domain rating of 50+ are extremely hard to acquire. Expect to pay between $310 to $500 per link for this level of quality.

It’s true that you can find backlinks for cheaper from lower quality link building services.

Here’s the problem:

Building quality links takes a lot of time and resources. The reason link building services can build backlinks for a lower price is because they cut corners.

Cutting corners puts you at risk of receiving a Google penalty. It’s just not worth the risk.

You will notice that all trusted link building services charge a similar amount per link.

The average company that outsources link building completely spends 25% of its entire SEO budget on link building alone.

Remember that link building is essential to SEO and works best when combined with an effective content plan.

46% of marketers said they spent $10,000+ each year on link building. 22% said that they spend between $1000 and $2500 annually.

How much money do marketers spend on link building?

Think of link building like a trade off between time and money. You can do it yourself, but it will cost you a lot of time. That’s why marketers and businesses choose to outsource it so they can focus on other areas of their marketing strategy.

Here’s the truth:

Website owners are waking up to how important links are. Because of this, the challenge of getting links and the cost of link building has increased.

And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change in the future. 41% of SEOs believe that the cost to acquire new backlinks will only increase in the future because of search competition.

What’s more?

69% of marketers said buying links from quality link building services positively impacted their rankings for very difficult keywords.

If you are looking for an edge in the search results, there is no doubt that link building can give it to you.

Wrapping It Up

Now is the time to start embracing link building.

These link building statistics show how effective link building can be and its impact on your search engine rankings.

Link building key statistics infographic

Use one of these proven link building strategies to start building backlinks that move the needle forward. You can also do a competitor backlink analysis to help you find potential links you can build to your site.


Link building takes a lot of time. Be prepared to commit the time needed to get the results you want before you start.

Don’t have time to build links?

I recommended outsourcing your link building efforts to a trusted service like LinksThatRank. They have the highest quality links online and a proven reputation for building links that improve SEO.

You can check out their latest client results on the home page.

Want more statistics posts? Take a look at these blogs:

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