A common questions we hear from business owners is if backlinks really works. Questions they often have includes:
- Will backlinks work for my business and niche?
- How long does it take for backlinks to work?
- How much does it cost to buy backlinks?
In this post, we'll look to answer these questions by providing 2 case studies of our current clients, and then using these case studies to give readers some tangible answers to these above questions.
Case Study 1: New business (no prior SEO work)
The first case study features a client started her business back in 2018 but never really spent much effort on digital marketing or SEO. She relied primarily on word of mouth and email marketing to get attract clients. In 2019 she began doing a bit of SEO work but efforts didn't really take off because her business was in a highly competitive industry (IT consulting). After a few months, she signed up with us in early 2020.
I'll make a note that if this journey sounds similar to your, then you're not alone. The vast majority of our clients started off somewhat neglecting SEO efforts before getting some help. Below, I'll detail what we did to help this client, as well as the results we achieved after a few months of work.
Plan of action:
One of the first things we need to look at when clients from competitive industries sign up with us is just how competitive their primary keywords are, and whether there are any opportunities to rank in the top 3 for these primary keywords.
We can see that the keywords this business is targeting is either highly competitive (and expensive), a bit vague ("it consulting"), or has very low search volume. What we needed to do is to find keywords that are relevant to this business, while also have a good amount of monthly search volume with high intent.
Using the client's primary keywords as seeds for new ideas, our SEO team found over 300 keyword ideas that are relevant for this business, which we then filtered for the most volume while removing keywords that isn't a fit while working with the client. Our primary objectives were:
1. More relevant
2. Had good search volume
Once we found a list of good keywords candidates, the client selected a backlink plan in early January of 2020 and we got started.
We ran the monthly campaigns while rotating through the keywords we identified in the keyword research phase of the project. After 8 months of work, here are the results:
We were able to grow this client's organic keywords from under 150 to around 600 in 8 months utilizing our Large backlink plan. Her organic traffic also tripled. Note that she started seeing results within 2 months because she already had a lot of good content on her site. While this was great, we still had a lot of work to do to continue to grow this client's business. Because of the competitiveness of this client's industry, the team and client had began more content marketing by setting up a blog, and starting to promote more informative blog posts instead of direct landing pages.
Case Study 2: E-Commerce Website
The second case study features an E-commerce business. This client launched his business back in 2017 and has been operating on a steady basis while growing his online presence and organic backlinks and keyword profile. In late 2019 he reached out to us to help grow his online business
Plan of action:
Something we noticed very quickly was that this client had a very large product portfolio on his website with great product descriptions (read: a lot of potential keywords and content). We quickly got working on a list of more than 5,000 keywords for his site. Due to the large number of keywords we wanted to target, this client signed up to 5 backlink plans with us in parallel, each targeting 15 keywords per month for a total of 75 keywords per month.
Our efforts started in July of 2019 and we started see a noticeable increase by November.
It's worth noting that this client's starting point looks very much like the typical e-commerce business. He relied primarily on Facebook Ads to drive traffic with little to no organic traffic and almost no content marketing work.
We were able to grow his SEO channel because ecommerce businesses like these with lots of products and no to little prior SEO work tends to have a lot of longtail keyword opportunities. Longtail keywords are keywords like 'p90 Panasonic rechargeable batteries'. These keywords will have low search volume, but also low competition so that it's easy to get ranked in the top 3. And while you might only get 10 or 15 visitors per month on a keyword like this, a good percentage of those visitors will buy from you simply because of how niche the product is.
If this looks like you, we would recommend reaching out to our team and we'd be happy to work with you to come up with a keyword list you can action on and answer any questions you may have.
So coming back to the questions we had posed at the start of the post. We'll look to answer these questions while drawing on the two case studies above as examples of what you can potentially expect.
Question 1: Will Backlinks work for my business?
The answer is undoubtedly yes. We can generally find very effective keywords for just about any business and industry. A big part of SEO is effective research, and this is where we'll need to understand the business in order to find high quality keywords for your SEO strategy. A friendly reminder, just like all marketing efforts, SEO isn't guaranteed to produce an adequate return on your investment. However when done correctly as we've seen in these two case studies, it can seriously grow a business and offer a diverse growth channel.
Question 2: How long does it take for backlinks to work?
It depends! For established websites with 1 year+ of domain history and some blog posts (content) or product descriptions, it can take as little as 1 month. New sites without much content can take anywhere from 3 - 6 months. Industry competitiveness also plays a role. Certain industries, including finance, payday loans, law, and insurance are highly competitive and takes longer to rank higher in Google than industries with less competition. From our experience, it typically takes 1-3 months for most of our clients to see meaningful improvements to their keyword rankings. Our team will also provide you a monthly report from Ahrefs to keep you in the loop on any progress we've made.
Question 3: How much does backlinks cost?
We typically recommend our clients use our Large Backlink Plan, which costs $250 per month. While you can elect to only use this plan for 1 month, we highly recommend being on the plan for at least 3 months to really get the most benefit because the reality is that SEO work takes time, and anyone that promises fast results is likely overpromising. Since we typically guide towards 3-6 months for significant results, we recommend clients budget $1,000 - $1,500 for SEO promotions.
On our Backlink plans page, you'll be able to see the full list of links that are included in our Small, Medium, or Large plans. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our support team through our Contact page.