“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–
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 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?
Backlinko did a study looking at the correlation between the number of backlinks a site has and the position that site ranks on page 1. As you can see, the number of backlinks is very important:
Basically, this means that the most important thing you can do to get higher rankings is building more high-quality links to that specific page.
Domain Authority / Domain Rating Is A Factor:
The amount and quality of links coming to your entire domain can also help you rank.
You should also take note of the authority of the domains that are ranking for your chosen keywords. Check your domain authority or your competitor’s using our domain authority checker.
Not All Links Are Created Equal:
1 good link may be worth more than 10,000 “meh” links.
In fact, Google has said with the latest version of Penguin they tried to get more granular in their calculations and are discounting or ignoring links that shouldn’t have value.
Just because a website has the most linking root domains doesn’t mean it’s going to win. Link quality, strength, context all matter.
There Are More Factors Than Just Links:
There are lots more factors than just links as well including:
- Search Intent
- On Page Optimization
- Content Relevance
- Content Depth
- CTR (Click Through Rate)
- Page Speed
- etc etc
And the closer you get to the top of page 1, the more these factors are going to matter.
With that all said, what can we do to get an objective estimate?
The Tool: How Many Links You’ll Need
After all the disclaimers, here’s how to figure out how many links it takes:
- Go to SEMrush Keyword Overview and put in the keyword you want to rank for.
- SEMrush will tell you on average, how many links it will take to get to page 1.
- 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 quality 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.
How Many Backlinks Does A New Website Need?
As per Ahrefs, “The more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it gets from Google.” Backlinks are one of the premier ways of drawing an audience from authority sites in your niche, and can potentially increase your Domain Rating, Google Pagerank, Alexa Rank, and even Domain Authority.
Of course, these links have to be high-quality and relevant to your website’s niche. High-quality backlinks will never hurt your SERP rankings. A new site can benefit from five to seven high-quality links every month for a sustained period of time.
Once the site’s DA grows, you can increase the number of quality links every month to increase its position. Think of links as hashtags used in social media, such as Instagram and Twitter. They can improve your site’s exposure, visibility, and brand trust in your content. Links deliver authority to your website, improving your Google ranking.
Many quality backlinks are always a good thing but don’t forget to also optimize your site’s meta tags, URL structure, and meta description.
The more optimized your site is, the fewer backlinks you’ll need. Consequently, if you have many links, but your page isn’t optimized, it will be difficult to compete against another website with a similar amount of links but higher optimization. This is because a poorly optimized site decreases the relevance and authority provided by the backlinks.
In short, building links without keeping your page properly optimized in tandem will waste your efforts.
Quality SEO is like a snowball: the higher your performance, the easier it is to perform strategies that help increase it. Once your website traffic improves, you’ll obtain future links almost effortlessly.
It’s also crucial to keep your content evergreen. You can ensure this by keeping your page updated with the latest information.
A good rule of thumb is to update your page’s content every ninety days. Even if your site starts ranking and your DA increasing, avoid getting complacent with your link building. It’s important to keep growing your links.
Are Backlinks Still Important?
Backlinks are the foundation of Google’s search algorithm and play a key role in determining where your site ranks.
The quality of your backlinks is now more important when determining your site rank. Back in 2015, almost any backlink could improve your ranking.
In the present day, Google has become better at identifying low-quality links and rewarding high-quality links. Unpaid links from authority sites are some of the most valuable ones today.
How Do I Get Backlinks?
Participate in a link building campaign to get backlinks. A link building campaign is a series of strategies performed to acquire free backlinks.
Here are a couple of strategies to do so:
Identify your competitors
You can use The HOTH’s free backlink checker tool and type in your competitor. There, you can search for their most popular pages and their most visited links. Through the Backlinks report, you can identify the articles with the highest amount of backlinks.
Once you have found the pages you’re trying to compete with and how many backlinks they have in the report, you have the exact number of backlinks you need to outdo to rank higher than your competition.
Write great content
The best thing you can do to increase your content’s ranking is to write great content. Better long-form articles that use a higher amount of keywords than the competition. Go in-depth with your website’s articles, more so than the competition.
Build backlinks to pages that have credibility in your niche.
Network within your community
Use existing relationships, such as acquaintances in your network or even online communities in your niche who have a website.
Believe it or not, someone in your local community might have a website relevant to your niche, and you can reach out to them and see if they are willing to place links to your site on one of their relevant pages.
Guest posting is another great way to build good backlinks. When you guest post, you create content that’s posted on another site, attributing it with a link back to your site.
Increasing your exposure by handpicking high-authority websites in your niche is the most efficient way to build brand trust. It also has the added benefit of exposing your content to the other site’s audience, which can organically drive traffic to your website.
To find out which sites are best for guest posting, create a list of sites within your niche. Open up SEMRush and go to Gap Analysis, and then Bulk Analysis. Paste in the possible guest post websites and you’ll find the total organic traffic for each.
Only look up websites with recently published or updated content in your niche. The recommended timeframe for this is a site that has been updated in the last ninety days, minimum.
Type in the website’s name on Google + “write for us”. You can also search for a “write for us” page directly on their web pages. If they have one available, it means they publish guest content and most likely have their submission guidelines available.
Reach out to them through their contact page and find out how to submit your guest post, making it clear that you want to add backlinks to your own site. If you’re already linking to a high-quality website yourself and forwarding traffic from your own site, it’s also a smart idea to reach out to them via email.
If they don’t have a “write for us” page, you can still connect with the site and inquire anyways.
On the other hand, you can combine guest posting with a reverse guest posting strategy to maximize results from your outreach.
Reverse guest posting involves getting an industry expert to write content for your site. It works as well as traditional guest posting, especially if this industry expert has an audience of their own. This is much easier to pull off if your website already has an audience that can benefit the guest poster.
How Many Backlinks Does My Site Need?
Another accurate indicator of the number of new links you’ll need to increase your SEO rankings for a keyword is the number of backlinks your competitors have for that same keyword and the quality for each backlink.
As a rule of thumb, if you get more backlinks of equal or higher quality for a keyword than your competition, you’ll rank higher than them.
Building at least 100 backlinks is a good number for many low to mid-competition niches. This can change if your niche is a high-competition niche, such as digital marketing. However, don’t start your first day of link building by creating a hundred from the get-go, as these could harm your site if they are bad links.
The words that you can click in the backlink are called anchor text. The more relevant they are towards your niche, the higher-quality the backlink. It’s a good idea for the anchor text to contain the main keyword of the article you want to rank for.
What Is A Quality Backlink Profile?
A backlink is considered high-quality if it meets the following requirements:
- It’s on a page with more links to high-quality sites.
- It leads to a website with a high Domain Authority.
- It’s from a trusted source within the specified niche.
- It’s from a different website than your existing links.
- It’s not a reciprocal backlink.
- It’s not a “spammy” link.
Search engines have algorithms that determine each of these requirements. For example, many of them have a collection of seed sites considered trustworthy, such as Wikipedia.
Reciprocal links used to be exploited in the past, prompting Google to reduce the value it put on them. They still maintain some of their quality, but the highest quality backlinks should be from sites that you’re simultaneously not linking to your own.
It’s much better to have fewer links from different relevant sites than it is to have hundreds of links from sites hosted in the same IP address.
What Are Dofollow Backlinks?
Backlinks should contain the dofollow attribute if they are to improve your page rank. Follow links count as points that push SEO.
On the other hand, a nofollow link doesn’t count in a page’s favor, nor does it increase a page’s placement in SERPs.
A nofollow link includes the following attribute in its structure: rel=”nofollow”.
Nofollow links might seem like SEO kryptonite, but they are necessary to reduce spam in the blogging community. A webmaster might find it useful to use nofollow links in comments, forums, or paid links.
Can I Rank Without Backlinks?
It’s entirely possible that a page on a website can rank without necessarily reaching a specific number of backlinks due to their high-quality content.
Major authority sites, such as Huffington Post, Forbes, or even a famous blogger can rank on the first page without even using direct links. These sites are the exception, not the norm. Most websites will require a certain number of backlinks to high-authority sites if they are to rank.
On top of that, if your website is in a relatively uncommon niche or one that hardly gets any backlinks anyway, it might be easier to rank with a low number of backlinks or even none at all.
If so, then a smarter SEO strategy for you would be to focus on producing content instead of link building.
Despite this, it’s a smart idea to begin your backlinking strategy with internal links to your own site. Every website should interlink to other pages within.
Case on point, you can write the best piece of content out there, but without links, your competitors will win.
Quality Links Matter More In Your Link Building Strategy
Instead of worrying about the number of links you need, concentrate on the long game of building quality backlinks.
Guest posting is the best way to start your link building content marketing strategy, as it has the benefit of providing you with a link and also exposing you to a wider community.
Backlinks are more effective if they are high-quality, and less so if your site isn’t optimized along with them. When improving your website’s backlinks, quality will always matter more than quantity.
Want some help figuring out your link building plan? Just book a meeting with us here and get a personalized strategy!
Great Article Guys! Just Ordered some guest posts.
So Google is making it hard every day, so to rank a keyword which has difficulty 29, we need 32 backlinks but this tool doesn’t tell us that what should be quality of these backlinks, may be only backlink from a guest post can be enough as compared to 32 links.
Get 32 in-content backlinks, wait a few weeks and you’ll see if they were good enough 🙂
This came at the right time… Thanks a bunch
Are there any free tools that you know of for figuring out this same information?
You can check semrush free plan
Obtaining backlinks nowadays is a great task as requires a lot of effort and time. Also, once you obtain a backlink it takes time for your site’s ranking to improve in search results. Thanks, Hoth team for writing such a useful article 🙂
I like the tool that tells you about how many backlink it takes for the site to rank on top 10. Short and informative article you have there.
I think guest post back link still does help a lot for better ranking on search engine. Ok, now one point to be noted here, back link from quality guest can help, not the junk one. I am using this technique to grow my site.
Great post! It is always interesting I think to check in Ahrefs like you mention to see the sheer difference in terms of how many backlinks and unique RD different websites have on any given SERP.
Great post! Building backlinks are that one thing most of dread to do. It just seems tougher to do when you’re a small business without the brand recognition the bigger guys get. Info like this definitely helps!
Thanks for the post. I want to start buying some myself.
If you have any questions about it simply submit a ticket with our support department.
What impact does the SERP layout have on the overall value of a page one ranking in the first place?
I’ve seen data from G that this current layout only has about 20% of all clicks on the page occurring in organic listings. Meaning that 80% of search traffic has found a solution to their query before getting that far down the page.
How does that factor into what decisions you make on traffic?
Every query is different and it’s going to be hard to make a blanket statement, but Ahrefs does use clickstream data to factor that in, so I like to look at their traffic estimates.
Re: The layout, I’m a big fan of getting out of the tools and really searching the keywords in Google to see what’s coming up. The results will often surprise you (local map packs ranking, youtube videos, rich snippets, different search intent types of articles). Then mimic that content to gobble up as much traffic.
Either way, ranking high is going to be better than ranking low (or not trying at all), and there is so much opportunity with SEO.
As a side note, ads are growing bigger and look more and more like organic search results. We can help with that too!
1 good link may be worth more than 10,000 crappy links but no one knows which is that 1 good link.
In-content links on high authority domains are what you’re looking for.
Great post! Guest posts are the best backlinks, but your price is a little expensive, I will consider your service.
Thanks for the comment!
Good Info! Obtaining solid high-quality links from relevant industry sites takes a lot of time, energy and effort. There is no short cut to improving your search results.
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is a paid tool…what other tools will provide the same or similar results?
short and to the point. Thanks HOTHers!
I’m going to be buying some incontent links soon. Just saving up for it. Thanks for the info. Very handy. I don’t have Ahref, would love it if you can help in getting some data.
Just book a meeting with us here and we can run reports for you!
Do you really have to do guest posts? Is there another way?
Yes, there are lots of ways to get links! With that said, in-content links on good sites are really what you want to drive rankings and guest posts are one of the most scalable and effective ways of getting them.
I’m having a hard time right now getting on first page of Google, and this article is really helpful.
Though one thing you missed which I would like to add is **PATIENCE & Consistency**
It’s been a month I launched website and still 0 visitors a day lol.
One website I launched last year was in low competitive niche, so I got 50 visitors a day after around 2 months, and ranked for some good keywords on the first page.
Yes 100% – We wrote an article about this here: https://www.thehoth.com/blog/why-you-need-the-gym-of-seo/
Ahref show 30 link need…is it 30 link every month we need to build to rank in 1st page?
It would be 30 total, but keep in mind top rankings generally continue to receive links over time, so this number may change as well in the future.
Thanks, I appreciate your efforts to show us how many back links to be first on google..
This is great insight of how many links needed, my travel blog’s DA is stuck at 25 for long , the target traffic is from India, I have few good backlinks to my domain, what should I do more?
Your Domain Authority will increase by getting more links.
When I’m looking at the backlinks to build in other to win, I try to look at the page level and the velocity of the link the top 5 received because I want the link to look natural, I don’t want to be too pushy.
And for the number of link you need to rank, there’s no actual figure but for Google to consider you as a contender in the top ten, you need to get around the same number of links they have.
Plug your keyword into any link explorer and find the number of root domains that links to the page, remember the link should be on a page level.
Do this for all top 10 result to find the number of root domains and calculate the average number of root domains. That gives you the number of root domains you need.
how to get backlink from 0 backlink in a site
Thanks for this useful information.How to get free Df Backlinks. Request to guide . I am new in this . How get traffic on a particular keyword in which difficult to get traffic.
haha right when I first clicked on the link to this article, I answered the question to myself “It depends”… then immediately saw that at the top of the page while it loaded.
But from my experience, domain authority is a really huge factor that gets overlooked very often when it comes to ranking. Because of that, I’ve stayed away from a lot of the ambitious keywords I’ve wanted to rank until I build much more authority myself.
Thank you very much Clayton for this complete guide about how to create the first 100 backlinks. I totally agree with you, quality backlinks are the gold key for ranking high, unfortunately it is not so easy to get them so my motto is: “whatever link (not spammy) is just better than no link”.
nice article I have one doubt which basis google will search results top position websites for one keyword. which one high priority in search result appears to tell me.
thanks for this great post. All post of Thehoth is awesome. Learn good things from this article.
Great aticle. I think getting backlink from a higher authority domain makes content much more trustworthy than multiple backlinks from less or no authority domains.
Thank you very much Clayton. The first 100 backlinks are probably the hardest given that in time you would drop some along the way. But reaching 100 quality links.. The quality of the backlink would be more important than quantity in today’s SEO world wouldn’t you say?
Thankyou for this post very interested as im constantly trying to build my backlinks quality is the key. The Hoth has really helped me over the last few months with my SEO.
Appreciate all the efforts that you have taken to do such a detailed post! Thanks for sharing.
Hi Clayton Johnson, I’m not the first to tell you this, but you really helped a lot of people putting all this information down. Thanks so much!
How can I get excellent backlinks for my website:
How can I get excellent backlinks for my website?!
Hit up our team, they’ll be happy to help: https://www.thehoth.com/meet/
It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy to acquire reliable, high-quality links from sites that are relevant to the business.
Good job and thanks for sharing
This is awesome and i appreciate the post. Really educative and i really wish to know how to get backlinks. Can you help?
Hey Rachel, I completely agree with you. One good backlinks worth 10000 cheap link. Also, content plays a major role in ranking and i try to create long form and guest post in niche sites to acquire high quality link that works for me.
I read this article very carefully and backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors no doubt …. but what about the age of the website? Do you think it is still important?
Not a hard and fast rule, but I’d say the longer a website has been around, the more authority it’ll have just via simple ranking factors. That said, things like DA and DR, traffic and general reach will have a more profound impact on the link’s value. Hope this helps.
Thank you Rachel
Thanks for the post. I want to discuss about some for our website before buying.
You can schedule a call with one of our experts here to dive a bit deeper: http://www.thehoth.com/meet
I’m going to be buying some incontent links soon. Just saving up for it. Thanks for the info. Very handy. I don’t have Ahref, would love it if you can help in getting some data
Hey, the content is awesome, and it’s very informative. Keep up the good work
Is this still applicable in all niches and can I do it for my photobooth rental company?