Building links are critical to the success of your site’s SEO performance. The more high-quality links your site has, the higher your keyword rankings on search results. From here, expect more organic traffic coming your way!
However, does it come to the point that you have to stop doing link building on your site?
In other words: exactly how many backlinks will it take for your website to reach the top spot of Google search for its target keywords?
This post provides a controversial answer to this age-old question. It also provides you with tips on building quality backlinks your site needs to reach position one on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The Real Answer? It Depends!
There’s a running joke in the SEO community that all questions about optimizing your website for search traffic can be answered with “it depends.”
How long should your blog posts be? It depends.
Should you set up a blog on a subdirectory or subdomain? It depends.
Do web 2.0 links still work? You guessed it—it depends.
Jokes aside, there is a legitimate reason why this answer gets thrown around on almost all SEO-related questions.
Since SEO is a dynamic and ever-evolving practice with its multiple algorithm updates, you can’t expect a one-size-fits-all answer to the same question every time.
There are a variety of factors that will help you uncover the honest answer to your question, namely:
- Industry – What are the tried-and-tested practices in your niche? For example, aggressive link building is the norm for websites in gambling and adult niches.
- Competitors – How are sites in your industry treating this issue? If the average blog post length for a keyword is 1,000 words, you must do as the Romans do.
- Current site performance – Is your website relatively brand new, or does it already have existing authority? For new sites, instead of building links right out the gate, you might want to publish high-quality content first, which you can use as bait to build backlinks to your site.
Going to the question about how many links your site needs ultimately depends on how many backlinks your competitors have.
But before you build high-quality backlinks to your site, you need to know first the kind of links other sites in your niche have and how authoritative your website currently is.
From here, you’ll know how many backlinks your site needs and, more importantly, how you can build them for your site.
How to Know How Many Backlinks Your Site Needs?
The process below is something that companies offer as part of their link packages. However, you can do it yourself if you have the time to identify the number of links your site needs.
First, you need a tool like Ahrefs that enables you to conduct competitor and backlink research.
Using Ahrefs, you want to know your top competitors on organic search. To do this, type your domain URL on Site Explorer. Then go to Organic search > Competing domains to see sites ranking for the exact keywords as you do.
You share the most keywords on search results with the sites on this list, which means they probably have relevant links that you need to outrank them on Google search.
From here, go to Backlink profile > Link intersect and enter the top competing domains to compare your domain with.
This feature pulls out the link profiles of each site, including yours, and cross-references referring domains that your competitors have that you don’t.
You should see the list of domains that your competitors have links from on the next page.
To answer the post’s question, the page shows you the number of backlinks your site needs to compete with other sites in your industry and rank on top of Google.
At the same time, Ahrefs shows you the domain authority of each via its Domain Rating (DR). This shows how formidable the link profile of a site is. So, the higher the DR score, the more authoritative the site is.
Using this metric allows you to filter out spammy links that you should avoid at all costs if you want to get the best out of your campaign.
This means you should build links from sites with high DR scores to help you get the most out of your link building campaign.
What If You Don’t See a Lot of Competitors Yet?
But let’s backpedal for a bit—what if Ahrefs shows a low percentage for the keyword intersect between your site and competitors?
Or what if Ahrefs shows you that your site doesn’t have any competitors yet?
If this is the case, that means your site isn’t ranking for enough keywords to compare it with other sites in your niche.
The fact that your site isn’t ranking for lots of keywords means you need to build your on-page SEO first.
In this case, you must focus on creating content optimized for your target keywords first before building links.
How to Secure The Backlinks You Need for Your Site
Your next step is to find ways to acquire links from these domains.
Ahrefs shows you the type of links your competitors have from domains you don’t have backlinks from yet.
Under your competitor that has a link to that domain, click the number of links to see the anchor text, the pages linked to the website, and others.
This will help you piece together the techniques for your backlink strategy. For example, your competitors have links from domains with high DR scores via guests posts, consider launching a guest blogging campaign on these domains.
If you’re looking for an all-encompassing number regarding the number of backlinks your site needs, you’re asking the wrong question.
It should be clear to you by now that getting more backlinks depends on:
- The number of backlinks other websites in your industry have
- The tactic used to acquire those links
- The authoritativeness of your site, i.e., how many keywords is your site ranking for?
By answering these questions through research and analysis, you should have a clear idea regarding the number and quality of backlinks you must build.
Now, if you don’t have the time to do these yourself, we at Linkplicity will help take the load out from you. We’ll research the number of links your site needs and acquire them via different means.
This way, you can worry about scaling your organic traffic and increasing the chances of growing your revenue instead!