Brian Dean’s Net Worth. (Backlinko SEO) – What’s The Story?

You have been following Brian Dean for a while now, and now wondering how this guy makes money.

Or you probably want to know the figure, on a check, he received from Semrush.

That’s right.
Semrush acquired the website Backlinko which used to be Brians’s for about a decade.
This happened in early 2022.

But what is the story about Brian Dean and Backlinko? And what is Brian Dean’s net worth?

Let’s answer these questions, including:

  • What exactly is Brain Dean’s website for? Or Was?
  • How did he make money (and how does he make money)
  • Is it possible to find out how much Brian got paid?
  • What does Brian Dean do now?

In the following article, we are going to answer all these questions and most likely a little bit more.

Please note, that I am not a member or an affiliate of Backlinko.
This review is based on research and information available online in the public domain.
Any recommendations and conclusions are only opinions and may not apply to all persons or situations.

Who Is Brian Dean?

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Brian Dean is the founder of a website called Backlinko.

If you have ever done research about SEO or wanted to know how to rank well in Search Engines the chances are pretty high that you are familiar with the website.

For many people, Brian is an SEO Guru, but he doesn’t feel that way.
And generally speaking the term Guru is probably overrated.

But this article is not about the definition of a Guru…

Brian Dean and Backlinko

The truth is though that Brian knows how to use SEO, and with his practical approach, he was able to get from the learning phase to the stage of becoming an SEO coach.

But how did it all start?

A bit of background

Brian Dean and Backlinko

He is from Rhode Island where he got his master’s degree in nutrition. The idea was to continue the studies and get a Ph.D.

(Fortunately) That did not happen, since as Brian says “he hated it”.

He decided to get a job in NYC.
It was in 2008 and as he was driving to New York, he received a phone call from the company saying that they can’t hire him, due to the ongoing financial crisis…

So life took another turn for Brian and he drove to his parent’s house.

As he recalls, he was a bum for a while… but while “doing nothing” he started to read a book: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5 by Tim Ferriss.

Brian realized that there was something else than the 9-5 and that he could become an entrepreneur.

Well, he did not hit the jackpot right away, and the beginning was difficult.

In fact, the first 5 Brian’s businesses failed.


-> These were just learning lessons.

Of course, it hurts when something fails, but it only means that it was not properly managed/created, or set up.
It doesn’t mean that it can’t work.

To be a little bit more specific, some of his websites did not do well in the long term, mostly due to the Google Algorithm update.

This was about 2010 when his website was hit by the Core update and the traffic tanked.
And although Brian was not aware of using the so-called Black Hat SEO techniques, he was back at stage 1.

Regarding the Google Core Update, let me digress a bit:

You probably know that Google does algorithm updates every single day and the core updates probably once or twice per year.

Here you can see, what it looks like when your website doesn’t create rich content.

Brian Dean and Backlinko

The traffic can drop by 70% (or even more) and it takes a lot of work to get it back on track.

That website is in MMO (Make Money Online) niche, and that is considered one of the most saturated niches.
(Also because it is one of the most lucrative).

So in case, you want to get into this internet marketing game, or even affiliate marketing, which is considered the simplest way how to start (earning online) you are welcome to do it.

But please do your diligence and spend a few days researching your best niche; Or even a micro-niche.

You might be interested in:

The more specific niche you choose the higher chances you have, to rank well in Search Engines.

I have wasted almost a year until I finally decided on my niche.
Despite the fact that I was already a member of an educational platform that emphasizes the importance of a proper niche selection.
(Too bad for me, I was a bad student).

Sorry for the digress, but I guess this is a good example for anyone who wants to get into the internet marketing business (SEO) and thinks it is easy.

To be perfectly clear, if you want to create a website, and you want to see results within 6 to 10 months, don’t start with the MMO niche.

Back to Brian:

Brian ended up working on a small project for Neil Patel.

Neil Patel

I am sure you have heard the name, Neil Patel.
My guess, is you must have, and even Google Trends shows such a trend:

Brian Dean and Backlinko

(We are going to mention Google Trends once again, later on).

How did that start with Neil?

Briand cold emailed Neil, and Neil replied.

According. to Brian:

Email everyone who you respect and you appreciate his work

So, Neil assigned Brian with some small work, something like editing videos. Although it was something he has never done before, he did learn a lot.

The lesson:
In the beginning, just do whatever it takes.

Brian is a very optimistic guy so did not give up and decided to learn more about SEO.

In 2012 he learned how to create great content;
Great content that shows other people what works and also what is not efficient.

All this information is still available in his blog called Backlinko.
This blog documents the practical aspect of the SEO stuff.

Brian Dean and Backlinko

A Little Bit on Brian Dean’s Personal Note

The internet lifestyle allowed Brian to travel a lot.

He went backpacking for about 2 years and visited Hong Kong and Bangkok and other places in South East Asia.

He went to Europe and lived for a while in Berlin and eventually in 2019 ended up in Lisbon Portugal.

But he is not a famous internet marketer (like John Reese used to be, or still today Frank Kern is.)
If a person is not familiar with Backlinko, he or she probably doesn’t know Brian.

This is a great thing, he can walk anywhere he wants without being bothered by someone.
(my personal note).

What Is Backlinko?

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Backlinko is a website that Brian started in 2013.
He wanted to have a blog about SEO, probably not realizing that the market was saturated at that time already.

It was maybe a naive move, but because of that nativity, he was able to pull it off.

The information Brian shared on Backlinko was different than others offered.
He was able to share his losses and wins.

No one did share what doesn’t work – everyone pretty much was only showing off.
But they did not want to share their strategies.

So Brian decided to fill that gap, by doing case studies;

  • What actual steps one should take in order to achieve X.
  • And what not to do to avoid the Y.

The audience loves the Backlinko website, and therefore it has reached a pretty high domain authority (or domain ranking).

On the 100-point scale, it reached over 90.

But How About Neil Patel?

At that time probably one Neil Patel was providing the real value of what works and what does not, in terms of free valuable SEO information.

Brian made sure to create a bit different content though, and thus Backlinko did stand out.

And I personally follow both, for some reason though, I prefer Brian’s approach.

Even though the information on his website is so packed.
So packed that I need to go through the article at least twice to fully comprehend what it means there.

Maybe it is just me.
But it is obvious that there is a lot of work behind each piece of content. A lot of research had to be done behind;
…and probably even more effort to write it all down in a comprehensive way.

In other words, there is no fluff whatsoever on the Baclinko blog.

Who do you prefer?

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Please note, this is not a beauty contest 🙂

My question is, whose method do you find more valuable?
Please let me know in the comment section below.

Backlinko YouTube Channel

Brian Dean and Backlinko

The channel is actually called Brian Dean.

It was created on Monday, January 14h, 2013.

A little bit on a side note:
…to give a perspective, what also happened on January 14th, 2013 🙂

At the 70th Golden Globe Awards, on 14 January 2013, Daniel Day-Lewis won his second Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Ok. Back to work.

Brian Dean’s YouTube Channel has only 45 videos but almost 14 million views (that’s more than 300K views per video on average).

The last uploaded video was on July 20, 2021, but the channel still gets on average 1,400 new subscribers, each week.

What Is Backlinko Used For? – Backlinko Strategies

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Backlinko became so famous because it was useful to all people that wanted to learn about SEO.

It offers tremendous information from a real-life, including case studies.

One of the most known strategies is called the Skyscraper case study.

Another, very interesting and useful method how to get better results in terms of ranking and better position was the outreach to the 404 on other websites.

What is it?

Let me cite directly from the post:

Broken Link Building (also known as Dead Link Building) is the practice of building backlinks by replacing links to 404 pages with a working link to a target website.”

So basically, you write content about coffee machines and while doing research you find a website with a list of the best coffee machines.
But inside the article, there is a link that doesn’t work, a broken link (404).

You reach out to the content creator saying hey, there you have a broken link. Here is a piece of work I have done that might just be a great replacement.

The content creator puts your link on his website and you have a new genuine backlink to your website.

This is a bit of an oversimplification of the method and if you want to learn more about the strategies, you go check Brian’s blog, Backlinko.

How Does Backlinko Make Money?

Brian used to have an agency but did not want to do that.

As building up the Backlinko he looked around and realized there was no real training on SEO.
So he decided to create one.

It was called SEO that Works and it became a flagship course for the whole time.
The course was upgraded and re-launched a few times.

Other than that there were other courses:

  • Digital PR
  • How to create Courses
  • YouTube marketing

The cost for the courses ranges from $1,000 to $6,000.
Quite expensive, right?

But how much value these courses used to have?

Think about it his way;
If there is tons of great stuff for free on Backlinko, imagine what one can get for the paid course.

Currently, Brian works on a new course, called SEO crash course for beginners, and as of this writing, it should be launched soon (I guess Summer 2022).

But Money…

When it comes to earning potential, it is important to mention the amount of traffic;
The website has about 500,000 unique visits per month.
At its peak, it got 650K a month.

Let’s say that only 0.1% of visitors did purchase the $1,000 course.
The revenue would be about $0.5 million.

Please note that the course was launched only a couple of times per year.

But that gives us an idea about how lucrative the website become and why Semrush decided to acquire it.

Semrush Acquired Backlinko

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Brian got an email “out of the blue” asking whether he wanted to sell it.

He was asked about that before but did not happen as it was his baby.
And it is a perfect business model – not stressful, at least in the earlier stage.

Not long ago, Brian was also working on another project, called Exploding Topics.

Managing both became stressful.

So the email (screenshot above) came pretty much at the right time.

How Much did Semrush Pay?

It is confidential.
They are public companies so no inside info can be revealed.

But it will be known since the public company must show their number.
Assuming in 2023.

But it was most likely 7 figures.
Definitely, a number that made Brian happy.
Do you have other information?

Please let me know in the comment section at the end of this article.

Brian Dean’s Net Worth

The estimated Brian Dean’s Net Worth is not really known.
And why it should be.

You find different figures, from $5million to even $25 million.

As mentioned in the section above, the main income was from selling his course.
I am sure you have noticed that there are no ads, on his website, which is pretty cool.

That means (at least what I think) he really wants to deliver value, since based on the traffic Backlinko got, he could have easily earned $15,000 a month, just from the ads.

After the acquisition (which was 7 figures), it could be true that Brian Dean’s Net worth is about $10 million.

Which is great.

He currently has slowed down but is still very active in his new project called Exploding Topics.

This new project is not as lucrative yet as Backlinko was, but there might be a bigger potential and the traffic still rises.

Any New Projects?

Exploding Topics – Brian and Joshua’s New Project

Brian Dean and Backlinko

Brian and Joshua are both co-founders of this new project called Exploding Topics.

What is Exploding topic?

You are familiar with Google Trends, I believe.

Google Trends analyzes the popularity of the most searched queries in Google in different locations.

In other words, you type a specific query and you get some results.

Now imagine having a tool that gives you new ideas, meaning something you had no idea exists.
And that is Exploding topics – It shows data about something you don’t know.

So you check the data and you go: “hm, I didn’t know that existed”

Pretty Cool.

What is it good for?

  • It is good for investors (what’s trending in general – for start-ups)
  • Content marketing people that want Keywords that are trending and are not competitive yet


So there we go, that’s how Brian’s story about how he started to learn about the SEO to teaching the SEO and finally did sell his “baby” to a huge company like SemRush.

The nice thing about it is, that both (Briand and SemRush representatives keep a good relationship and the idea is to cooperate with each other.

As you see, the website Backlinko is still up and it probably stays that way for some time.

How about you?
Would you like to become a successful internet marketer and learn SEO?

To start making consistent income online (using SEO), requires knowledge and experience, but with a proper niche selection, or let me be specific, a micro-niche and basic SEO skills you can expect to have a full-time revenue within 10 months.

Full-time revenue means net income that allows you to mean more than you currently have and eventually leave the 9-5.

Are you interested in creating your own website and learning how to optimize it well?

Let me know in the comment section below, I might have something for you.

Thank You For Reading

2 thoughts on “Brian Dean’s Net Worth. (Backlinko SEO) – What’s The Story?”

  1. I have heard of Backlinko before, but was not familiar with the creator, Brian Dean. So this was a very interesting read about Brian and the background to starting Backlinko. I do follow Neil Patel and enjoy getting his newsletters and videos and always feel I can earn something from him. SO if Brian Dean worked under Neil Patel, I can certainly see the value of what he would have learnt.

    It would be interesting to know how much Semrush paid for Backlinko. With Brian’s entrepreneurial flair, he is bound to make a success of his new venture and course as well. 

    • The new Brian’s venture called Exploding Topics will be successful as well. 

      I have been using it for a while now and I am pretty happy with the data. 

      Well, thanks a lot for your comment. 


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