How many links does it take to get to page 1 of Google?

“How many links will it take me to get to the first page of Google?”

This is probably the MOST asked question we get, and until now almost everyone in the SEO industry gave the most annoying answer ever–

“It depends…”

Well, today we’re going to try and actually answer that question!

Disclaimer: To be honest, I don’t want this to come across like we’re even going to pretend to give you a foolproof answer. There are so many influencing factors in rankings that it would be straight up lying to pretend that we know with 100% certainty what it’s going to take to get you ranked. BUT we would like to give you a better answer than “it depends” so you have something to work with, backed up by data.

What Actually Matters In Ranking?

Let’s take a look at the data. We know that links are a very important factor, but just how important are they?

Ahrefs did a study on ranking correlating factors and the number of unique domains linking to a page is the most important factor.

Source Ahrefs

(UR or “URL Rating” measures the strength of a target URL’s backlink profile and the likelihood that the URL will rank high in Google.)

Basically this means that the most important thing you can do to get higher rankings is build more good links to that specific page.

There are a few things to consider though:

Not all links are created equal:

1 good link may be worth more than 10,000 crappy links.

In fact, Google has said with the latest version of Penguin they tried to get more granular and discounting or ignore links that shouldn’t have value.

So, here you have to take that into context. Just because a website has the most linking root domains doesn’t mean it’s going to win. Link quality, strength, context all matter.

More factors than just links:

There are lots more factors than just links as well including:

  • Content Relevance
  • Content Depth
  • On PageOoptimization
  • CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • Page Speed
  • SSL Certificates
  • etc etc

And the closer you get to the top of page 1, the more these factors are going to matter.

But for the purposes of today, we’re just focused on seeing what it takes to get to page 1.

What’s happening behind the scenes:

If you’re in a competitive niche and we take a look at how many links are pointing to the pages, many links may not be showing up in backlink checkers.

PBN owners are blocking bots from crawling their pages, so they won’t show up in backlink checkers.

…So basically there are TONs of influencing factors that may mess with the data on this.

But with that all said, what can we do to get a pretty damn good estimate?

The Tool: How Many Links You’ll Need

So, after all the thousand disclaimers, here’s how to figure out how many links it takes:

1. Go to Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and put in the keyword you want to rank for.

2. Ahrefs will tell you on average, how many links it will take to get to page 1:

keyword difficulty

3. Additionally you can check out the ranking pages to see the mixture of values:


You will probably notice that there is an enormous variance in the number of links websites ranking on page one — That’s why it’s an average, and NOT an exact figure.

But once you have this number, you’ll have a good idea of what to shoot for in terms of how many links you need to build.

What Kinds Of Links Should I Build?

When you look at this average, you want to think of this number as the number of QUALITY links you need to build.

A great type of link to build for this is in-content links like guest posts.

Any questions? Let us know in the comments!

-The HOTH Crew