How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Rank? Here’s The Answer

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One question I get asked all the time is…

“How many backlinks do I need to rank this page in Google?”

Most website owners understand that backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for Google.

The thing is…building backlinks is hard work and requires a lot of time, money and effort.

So how do you know how many backlinks you need to build?

Well I’m going to show you the 3 step process for working out exactly how many links you need to build to rank any page of your website for any keyword.

How Many Links Do I Need To Build?

An established website has around 40-50 backlinks to its homepage, and individual pages have 0-100 backlinks. Too few backlinks will make Google consider your site less relevant and too many will raise suspicion of manipulation.

The ideal number depends on your niche and competitors.

I wish there was a blanket answer to this question. But the truth is there isn’t.

Every single keyword, niche and search result is different.

You need to spend the time calculating the number of backlinks you actually need but thankfully it is much easier to do than it sounds!

Just follow these 3x steps:

Step 1: Determine Which Pages You Need To Build Backlinks To

Not every page is worth building backlinks to.

Surprising, isn’t it?

You should only focus on building links to pages that include keywords that generate leads and sales to your online business.

So, let me show you how to find those pages:

Prefer Reading? Click Here To See Instructions

First, you want to look at keywords that your site is currently ranking for on the first 3 pages of Google.

These are the keywords you have the best chance of winning the top spots for.

You can use Google Search Console for free to find these keywords.

google search console results positions

Ideally, use the Semrush free trial or Ahrefs to identify better keywords. These SEO tools give you more valuable data than Google Search Console.

ahrefs organic keywords

Now, you need to identify which keywords are most commercially relevant to your business.

To do so, create a shortlist of target keywords that you want to target specifically.

That usually means avoiding the high traffic, high competition terms and instead focussing on those super-targeted 100-500 search volume keywords.

This should bring the most benefit to your business and provide a higher ROI.

Step 2: Calculate The Backlink Gap Between You And Your Competitors

Now that you have your shortlist of target keywords, you can calculate the “link gap”.

The link gap is the number of backlinks you need to build to rank in the top 3 spots on Google for a given keyword.

This is ultimately where you want to be.

Think about it…

Once you know how many links you need, you can figure out:

  1. How much it will cost.
  2. How long it will take.

The process is pretty simple:

Prefer Reading? Click Here To See The Instructions:
Use Ahrefs or Semrush to look at your first target keyword.

ahrefs backlink gap analysis

Your goal is to see if you can find websites with similar domain authority to yours ranking in the top 10 search results.

Found a website with similar authority?

Now you want to look at the backlink profiles of the top 3 websites in the search results for the specific ranking page.

You need to figure out what backlinks are powering the top 3 positions.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

When I click through to the 1st ranking website ranking for this keyword, I can see that it only has 4 strong links worth paying attention to.

first search result

Important: Make sure you filter for only “Dofollow” backlinks. “Nofollow” backlinks are irrelevant in this context.

on do follow links

When I click through to the number 2 ranking page, I can see there are only 3 backlinks with any meaningful authority.

second search result

Lastly, I’ll click on the number 3 ranking page and I can immediately see they only have 1 high authority backlink.

third search result

Now I know how many backlinks I need to rank for this keyword.

Based on these findings, we can assume that it would only take about 4 high authority backlinks to break into a top 3 position and potentially claim the top spot.

The next step?

Build the links you need!

Step 3: Start Building Your Backlinks

Link building is the trickiest part for many SEOs.

Some people feel comfortable enough to do it themselves (see method #1) while others prefer to outsource it (see method #2).

Depending on your own business needs, choose the best method for you.

Method #1: Replicate Your Competitors’ Best Backlinks

Backlink Analysis link building is my favourite link building strategy.

And it consistently brings me the best results in the shortest amount of time.

link building win rates

First, you want to find your top competitors in the search results. To do so, just do a quick Google search for your target keyword:

competitor backlinks

The top-ranking websites are your key competitors.

Take the top 5 competitor ranking for your target keyword and use Ahrefs to do a complete backlink analysis of those sites.

Read my Ahrefs review to learn how to do it.

ahrefs export

This will help you identify their “best backlinks” (aka the backlinks you want to replicate).

Now you have all the data you need.

The last step is to see how they obtained the link. Was it a…

guest post example

Whatever it was, you are trying to replicate it.

For example, if it was a guest post, just reach out to the website and pitch a guest post. Pretty simple, right?

Here’s why this works so well:

  1. If a website linked to your competitor, they are more likely to link to you as well.
  2. It allows you to get more high-quality links with much less effort.

Follow my complete backlink analysis link building tutorial to see the full process:

Method #2: Order The Links You Need To Rank

I said it before and I will say it again:

Link building is hard work.”

Even with a great link building strategy, it takes time and dedication to see good results.

That’s why many business owners outsource their link building needs to reputable link building services.

The benefit is you can calculate the number of links you need to rank, and then simply go and buy them. It doesn’t get any easier than that, right?

The best link building service I can recommend is LinksThatRank (my own service).

linksthatrank link building services

LinksThatRank has the highest quality control process of any link building service around.

Each link we build is:

    • Manually reviewed by a team member.
    • Passes a 23-point checklist before being placed.

That’s how we are able to consistently get results like this for our clients:

links that rate case study

If you don’t have the time to build quality backlinks, get LinksThatRank to do it for you.

Why Do I Need To Build Backlinks?

Link building has become an essential part of SEO.

Without building high-quality links, it will be difficult for you to rank for competitive keywords. Here are 3x big reasons you need to build more backlinks.

Backlinks Can Help You Move Your Rankings Up

Google views links like endorsements (or votes).

What is link building - more links equal higher rankings

Think about it:

The more endorsements you have from other websites that Google trusts, the higher you will rank. Make sense, right?

The key is building links from other high authority sites.

Part of that authority is passed onto your website, which means Google is more likely to rank your site in the SERPs.

Backlinks Can Help You Get More Search Traffic

link building strategiesWhat happens when your website ranks higher?

Simple – you get more organic traffic.

And the best part?

This traffic is highly targeted.

When you rank for relevant and high-value keywords you can be confident that you are getting quality traffic.

Backlinks Can Help You Increase Your Authority

Authority is a measurement of how likely you are to rank in Google.

Higher number = More authority.

If you want to increase domain authority you need to build more backlinks. This is how you create a competitive advantage in the SERPs.

how is domain authority calculated

When you have a strong authority website, it will be:

    • Harder for competitors to outrank you
    • Easier for you to rank for more keywords

Link building gives you an advantage that is not easily taken away.

That’s what makes it so powerful (and important).

Wrapping It Up

There you have it.

Now you know how to accurately calculate how many backlinks you need to build to rank any page for any keyword on Google.

The only thing you have to do is use the 3x step process above to consistently rank your high-value website pages for the right keywords.

Don’t have time to build backlinks?

Consider buying backlinks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, backlinks are still very important in 2024. While backlinks aren’t the only ranking factor, they are one of the top 3 ranking factors. High-quality backlinks can increase your ranking and traffic significantly.
Yes, backlinks are very good for SEO. Google considers backlinks like an “endorsement” from one site to another. More backlinks signal to search engines that others trust your site and Google can also. This is why you get a rankings increase when you build more backlinks.
The time it takes for a backlink to be indexed can be anywhere from less than 1 week to 3+ months. You have to wait for the search engine to reindex the website that linked to you.
An established website should have 40-50 backlinks to the homepage and 0-100 backlinks to each individual web page to start being competitive from an SEO perspective. However not all backlinks are equal because higher authority links carry more weight.

What Are Your Thoughts?

8 Responses

  1. This a great In-depth link building tactic for filling the links gap of any website. It’s a helpful guide. I’ve learned so much from Matthew. Thanks for your amazing efforts!

  2. Thank you for sharing this information about backlinking. It has helped me understand how important backlinks are to my SEO.

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