How Many Backlinks Do I Need to Rank?

As you embark on your link building journey with an aim to boost your rankings, the first question you’ll ask yourself is: How many backlinks do I need to rank? 

That can be difficult to answer because it entirely depends upon a couple of dynamic variables. You have to figure out how competitive your keyword is, what domain authority you have currently, and how it compares to your competitors. Other considerations such as the quality of the links and anchor text profiles can also make a significant impact.

All of this combined can help you assess how many links are required to see the results you’re looking for. Let’s take an in-depth look into each variable to find out the number of links you’ll need to kickstart sustainable growth and higher rankings.  

How Many Backlinks Do I Need to Build?

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again, content is king when it comes to being in Google’s good books. Backlinks are the number two ranking factor on Google, which means high quality, relevant content is the first requirement you need to check off. 

You have to ensure that the content you’re trying to rank, actually deserves to rank. If you’re lacking on this front, link building might not provide the spectacular results you’re expecting. But if your content is fully optimized, you are now ready to step into the link building arena and find out how many backlinks you’ll need to rank. 

While there’s no magical formula to pin down the exact number of links, you can start off by exploring some of the variables it depends on. These include: 

Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a ranking score that determines if a website will rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher the DA, the more likely your website is to rank.

Backlinking aims to boost the domain authority of your website along with its important pages so you can rank on the SERPs. That’s why the current DA of your website can help you set a good starting point. 

If you’ve just launched your website then you’re starting from square one and need a powerful link building strategy to build your DA. Conversely, if your website is well-established with a decent DA already, you’ll need fewer backlinks to rank for your chosen keywords. 

The Keyword Difficulty


In the world of SEO, all keywords are not created equal. Some are easier to rank for while others can be quite tricky. The keyword difficulty score lets you know exactly how easy or difficult it will be to rank for them. 

The higher the difficulty, the more backlinks you’ll need to rank. To make things more complicated, the number of backlinks required skyrockets as you increase the difficulty of the keyword. For example, for a keyword with a difficulty of 10, you might get away with building 10 backlinks. However, when you increase the difficulty to 50, you’ll most likely need over 100 backlinks to rank for it.

The Competition

Assessing how many backlinks your competitors have for your chosen keywords can help you find out how many links you should be building.

For a quantitative analysis of the competitors’ backlinks, you can simply look at the number of links that point to each page. This will give you a rough estimate of the number of links you need. 

Quality of the links

It goes without saying that you should also match the quality of the links, not just the quantity in order to rank alongside your competitors. 

Don’t make the grave mistake of assuming that all backlinks are the same. In the world of links, one high-quality, relevant backlink can be worth more than a hundred low quality ones.

The key is to strike the ideal balance between the quality and quantity of the backlinks. Try to find backlinks that meet most of the requirements mentioned below:

     – Found from a trusted source

     – Difficult to acquire

     – Unpaid 

     – Acquired from a relevant source

     – On a high Authority website 

     – Directs traffic

     – Non-reciprocal

     – Unique

Anchor Text Profile

Anchor text is used by Google to establish relevance. Sometimes, the number of links you need to build depends on the anchor text ratio you’re trying to achieve. This can differ depending on what kind of niche you’re trying to target.

If you’re in an industry where websites aren’t doing active link building, it’s highly likely that their anchor text ratios won’t match yours at all. In this case, you might have to build as many links as it takes to diversify your anchor text profile. 

On the other hand, if you’re operating in a more competitive niche where your anchor text is around a 50% match with your competitors, things get a bit more predictable. Then it’s all about building enough links to match your competitors’ anchor text profile.

How to Assess Link Building Requirements


Now that you’re well aware of all the variables that can help you decide the quantity of backlinks, it’s time to get to work. 

Here are some actionable steps you can take to start your link building journey:

Identify the Referring Domain Gap with Competitors

We’ve already discussed how analyzing your competition can help you get a pretty good idea of your link building requirements. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do a one-to-one comparison with other web pages because the authority and relevance of the domains also play a huge role.

But to get started, you should get an idea of the referring domain gap between you and your competitors. Find out the gap in terms of overall domain strength as well the relative number of domains going to that interface and that’ll be your rough target. 

Use Tools Like Ahrefs

To get an accurate sense of metrics like the number of referring domains and relevancy, you can use a couple of tools. One tool that’s widely used in the industry is Ahrefs. 

Ahrefs can give you a rough idea of the number of referring domains pointing to the overall domain and the inner page of the website for the keywords you’re competing for. This provides a rough estimate of how many links your competitors have and how many you need to get to that ranking. 

Consult a Professional Link Building Agency

Matching the number of links may be a good beginners’ strategy, but as you get more sophisticated you’ll understand the importance of variables like domain authority and topical relevance. That’s why link building isn’t only about numbers, it’s a mixture of art and science that creates the perfect backlinking strategy. 

That’s where a professional link building agency like Outreachmama can help you stand out from the rest. Outreachmama’s link auditing services use a proprietary relevance-based link scoring system to set accurate and realistic link building goals for your website.   

Building Links to Homepage Vs. Inner Pages


To understand the difference between building links for your homepages vs. the inner pages, let’s start with an analogy. 

Google is much like a rollercoaster at a carnival that has a minimum number of tickets and a height requirement. The height requirement is analogous to the overall DA while the tickets signify the DA of the inner pages you’re trying to rank.

If you’re really tall, you have a better chance of getting on that ride. This means that websites that have really high DA tend to rank quickly and easily for new content without any link building. Since Google already trusts them and sees them as a reputable resource, they don’t need any links in order to rank. 

So, if you have a highly authoritative site, you might not need any links after all. In case your page isn’t as authoritative as your competitors, you need to turn to the DA of the inner pages. 

Should I Build Links to Homepage or to Inner Pages?

In general, it’s much better to focus on building the DA of your homepage until you have domain authority parity with your main competitors. Once your results for the homepage start to plateau for a given keyword, you can start targeting the inner pages individually.

There was once a time when inner page links used to matter quite a lot. But now Google gives way more weightage to the overall DA of your website.

In short, your goal is to build authoritative demand and the best way to do that is by building authoritative homepage links. 

How Many Backlinks Do I need to Rank: In Closing

Finding the number of backlinks you need to rank is just the beginning of your link building journey. Even reaching the top of Google shouldn’t be your cue to stop building links. 

Link building is an ongoing and dynamic process. Simply setting targets and meeting them isn’t good enough. You need a sustainable link building strategy to build links consistently and remain competitive.

How Many Backlinks Do I Need to Rank?

As you embark on your link building journey with an aim to boost your rankings, the first question you’ll ask yourself is: How many backlinks do I need to rank?  That can be difficult to answer because it entirely depends upon a couple of dynamic variables. You have to figure out how competitive your keyword … Continue reading "How Many Backlinks Do I Need to Rank?"Read More

How to Measure Link Building ROI?

Links and content are still the two most important ranking factors in today’s digital landscape. Most experts also believe that links are here to stay and will continue to be instrumental in the future. But before you jump headfirst into a link building campaign, you need to estimate how much you should invest in it, if at all. 

That’s where link building ROI comes in. Many businesses are confused about how to measure a return on investment on something as confusing as links. In reality, you can get a pretty good estimate with just a few metrics such as your click through rate, converting traffic, the average value of conversion, and the number of links you need to meet your ranking targets.

Conducting a quantitative analysis before launching your link building campaigns can help you maximize the potential of your investments. Our comprehensive guide will demystify link building ROI for you, so you can make sure your linking efforts pay off in the long run.

Measuring Link Building ROI: The Complete Process


The process of measuring link building ROI can be divided into two parts: the return and the investment. 

Return from a link building campaign is simply how much revenue you can generate from a realistic ranking target for particular keywords. On the other hand, the investment can be measured by identifying how many links it will take to reach that target. 

Measuring the Return

Step 1: Set a Realistic Ranking Target to Estimate Traffic and CTR

The first step is to identify a ranking target for a particular keyword. This will involve the estimation of a realistic search volume and the positions you wish to target. You may want to ask yourself some honest questions about whether aiming for page one or the top five is practical or not. 

You also have to consider the position of the pages you’re trying to rank among other factors and identify the click through rate (CTR) depending on your search traffic estimation. This way you can extract a multiplier for your total search traffic, giving you a tentative figure for how many visitors your website gets.  

For example, if you think you can get 1000 searches per day with a 10% CTR, then the page will get roughly 100 visitors per day.

Step 2: Estimate the Converting Traffic

We’ve already found that the page is getting 100 visitors every day. However, the question remains, how many of those people are signing up or paying for your services? This is the converting traffic or conversion rate (CR) of your page. 

If you get 100 people per day to visit the page and you have a 1% CR, you can estimate that at least one person will sign up for your service every day due to ranking on Google.

Step 3: Estimate the Average Value of Conversion

Measuring the converting traffic is all well and good but we need to know what that conversion is adding to our revenue. For that, we need to find out the value of a single conversion. So, if you’re selling a product worth $100, that’s the value of one conversion for you. 

Putting all that together we get…

Revenue = Value of one Conversion x Conversion rate x Traffic Per Day

Value of one Conversion = $100

Conversion Rate = 1%

Traffic Per Day = 100 visitors 

Revenue = 100 x 0.01 x 100 = $100

To summarize, if you’re selling a $100 product, have 100 visitors a day, and have a 1% conversion rate, you can make $100 every day. That makes around $3,000 per month and more than $36,000 per year. This will be your overall return for the ranking targets of your choice.

Measuring the Investment

Step 1: Compare the Domain Authority (DA)

DA is a benchmark to measure the strength of a domain and how well it’s doing on SERPs. It ranges from 0 to 100 and is based on a logarithmic scale. These ratings can be extracted from a number of reliable, industry-standard tools such as Ahrefs and Moz.

You can compare your DA to your competitors and figure out the link gap between them. To calculate how many links are needed to fill this gap, simply look at the number of quality domains pointing to their homepage versus yours. 

Step 2: Check the URL Rating (UR)

The next thing to consider is the strength of the particular page you’re trying to rank. This is measured by the UR of the page which is also on a scale from 0 to 100. You can get a rough estimate of how many inner page links you need to fill the gap just like you did for the homepage.

Going with the example we mentioned above…

Let’s say after all these comparisons, you decide 10 homepage links and 10 inner page links will get you where you need. That means you need 20 links per month to stay competitive. If each link costs around $200, you’re looking at an investment of $4,000. 

The question is whether you would be willing to spend $4,000 for a $36,000 a year return? That seems like a pretty good deal to us. However, if you bumped up the price to $10,000, it might be overkill considering the returns you’re getting. On the other hand, if you lower your investment to $500, that’s probably not going to get you the results you need. 

Note: The values you come up with will be estimations that are subject to change. Due to the multiple factors that affect the ranking in general, it can be almost impossible to get the exact numbers. However, since there is real math involved here, you can get some close estimations to help you make some informed decisions.

Consult a Professional Link Building Agency

All these calculations can get a bit too confusing, especially without any experts on board. To simplify your link building journey, you can consult a professional link building agency. Such agencies have the right knowledge, tools, and experience to help you figure out the cost and returns in no time. 

At Outreachmama, we use our proprietary algorithm to analyze your site versus your competitors while factoring in your backlink profile, its strength, relevancy, and other considerations. With that, we create a comprehensive link report with SEO analysis, competitor rundown, the estimated number of links you need, and the budget required. 

If you provide us with the right metrics, we can also calculate the estimated ROI and discuss further steps to maximize the potential of the campaign. This may include bridging the content gap between you and your competitors by providing relevant content suggestions to bump up your rankings.

How to Maximize Link Building ROI

After all these calculations, you’ll have a rough estimation of the ROI on your hands. This figure might either work in your favor and fit your budget or prove to be too expensive and time-consuming for you. Let’s take a look at how we can deal with either of those cases. 

If the ROI works out…

Identify the Content Gap

If you’re on board with the ROI calculations, you can take your on-page SEO a step further by filling the content gaps. This would include improving your content, its search intent, and keywords for better on-page optimization. Tools like Search Console, Ahrefs, SurferSEO, and even a manual review of SERPs can help you achieve that. 

Identify the Link Gap

For off-page optimization, we need to identify the link gap at the domain and page level and execute campaigns to fill it.

If the ROI doesn’t work out…

Work on the SEO

By working on SEO, we mean rethinking the keyword strategy and targeting SERP features.

Rethink Keywords: Find out if you can rank for other less competitive and more targeted keywords. This can be done by combing through competitors’ keywords and finding more effective keyword targets.

SERP Features: Find clever ways to navigate the SERPs by ranking for snippets and targeting the schema markup. When it’s not realistic to compete in terms of DA, you can try to consult agencies that will help you gain advantage over the algorithm.

Explore Alternative Traffic Strategies

Sometimes SEO isn’t the best strategy, especially if the page is too ad-heavy or there are too many high DR competitors. In this case, you can go for alternate traffic strategies such as PPC, social traffic, or PR.

PPC: If SEO is like setting up traps for opportunities, PPC is like hunting. You can get some immediate feedback about what’s working or not. If you have a good PPC partner, you can leverage your PPC data and revenue to invest in your SEO campaign. 

Social Traffic: You can leverage organic or paid traffic from your social media platforms.

PR Agency: You can also go for a PR agency whose goal is to get you featured in well-known brands. This may have SEO benefits but it’s more about getting your content on other websites to boost your traffic.

Investing in Link Building: What are the Risks?

A lot of businesses are concerned about the risk that may come with investing in link building. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to linking campaigns. The risks and rewards depend heavily on your profitability, industry, and traffic potential. However, if you’re worried about losing your investment due to Google’s strict attitude towards building links, you can rest easy.

Google no longer penalizes or devalues your entire website because of links it finds to be spammy. Instead, it simply devalues the spammy links. You may lose some ranking because of that but it’s not as harmful as being shut down entirely. It almost seems like Google is also warming up to the idea of building links, making it virtually risk-free.

How to Measure Link Building ROI – In Conclusion


Measuring link building ROI can be a tricky process. With so many factors affecting the success of your website, it’s difficult to pinpoint what link building can realistically contribute to it. 

Thankfully reliable metrics like converting traffic, click through rate, and domain authority can help you narrow down exactly how many links you need and the returns they will generate.

When you look at all the successful link-building campaigns around you, it’s easy to see that in most cases, link building can definitely add to your revenue in the long term – if you do it right, that is!

How to Measure Link Building ROI?

Links and content are still the two most important ranking factors in today’s digital landscape. Most experts also believe that links are here to stay and will continue to be instrumental in the future. But before you jump headfirst into a link building campaign, you need to estimate how much you should invest in it, … Continue reading "How to Measure Link Building ROI?"Read More

Is Link Building Dead?

There was once a time when black hat SEO and spammy link building tactics reigned supreme. However, over the years Google has been slowly patching the loopholes in its algorithms. This has led many people to wonder whether link building is dead for good.

So, is link building really dead? The short answer is no. Link building may not be as straightforward as it used to be but it’s still instrumental to your website’s rankings and traffic. There may be a future devoid of link building but that’s not approaching anytime soon!

The next important question to ask is: How can you still make the most of link building in 2022? Read on to explore the merits of link building in the modern internet landscape and how you can stay on top of your linking game!

Is Link Building Dead For Good?

We’ve already established that link building isn’t quite dead and buried just yet. To elaborate on the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, let’s revisit the glory days of link building and what it has morphed into today.

Link Building Then: The Golden Age

At the turn of the century, links were more important than ever before. Paired with the right keywords, linking tricks worked like magic. Countless sites with highly irrelevant content popped up high on Google, ruining the search experience.

Seeing how unnatural links were used so successfully in the early 2000s, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that link building worked wonders. That was until 2012 when Google released a new Penguin update that dealt a massive blow to black hat link builders. This directly targeted low-quality linking strategies and rewarded websites with organic links and good content.

As sites that were solely propped up using black hat link building were devalued, Google pushed people to focus on what really mattered: quality.

Link Building Now: Quality Over Quantity

Today, content marketers have finally embraced a more consumer-friendly approach that prefers quality over quantity. That’s not to say that links hold no power anymore. It’s quite the opposite actually! Links are still a major ranking factor on Google.

To explain why it’s so difficult to decouple links from the ranking algorithm, let’s take a look at what link building actually implies. Google’s job is to list the most relevant resources for any given query. Links are essentially a vote in the website’s favor, making it easier for Google to find the most useful sites. The more high-quality links vote for your website’s relevance, the higher you will rank.

However, the definition of a high-quality link now includes the relevancy of the link. This means that there will be no one size fits all solution to your ranking problems. To rank higher, you need to target backlinks on outlets that your audience is invested in. Your links need to follow your goals, not the other way around!

Can You Improve your SEO with Link Building Alone?

When it comes to the visibility of your website, link building is still one of the most powerful SEO tactics available. In fact, according to a survey by Aira, 92% of marketers think that link building will remain a vital ranking factor in the next five years as well. But is a solid link building strategy the only thing you need to ensure success? The answer is no! Link building is simply one side of the coin.

The other side is high-quality content. When you’re focusing too much on your linking strategies, it can be easy to forget that the number one ranking factor for Google is useful, well-structured, and relevant content. Once you’ve tailored your content to perfection, the next thing to tackle is attaining high-quality links.

In short, keeping the quality over quantity rule in mind, link building pairs beautifully with amazing content to drive traffic and boost your rankings.

How to Channel the Power of Link Building in 2022

Is Link Building Dead?

Google has gotten insanely good at identifying the majority of unnatural links that indicate black hat or gray hat tactics so they aren’t a viable option anymore.

Let’s take a look at which areas you should focus on in 2022 and how you can utilize the current digital landscape for SEO and marketing.

1. Experiment with New Content Mediums

In the age of social media and influencers, creativity is heavily rewarded. Putting all your eggs in one basket is simply not good enough. You have to innovate continuously and experiment with different mediums to create brand new opportunities.

The goal is to find link-worthy content ideas that cannot be easily replicated. Some good ideas include infographics, statistics, and graphs that provide bite-sized information in fun ways.

2. Make Valuable Connections

Modern link building is all about making meaningful and personalized connections with authors and publishers in the field. The days of cold emailing and spamming are gone. Instead of investing in mass outreach, you can get much better results with a more targeted approach.

Today you can engage relevant professionals through social media platforms such as Twitter. A good strategy is to start liking, retweeting, and commenting on posts by journalists and key figures in the industry.  The more personalized your PR pitch is, the higher the chances of getting recognized.

3. Enter the World of Influencer Marketing

Believe it or not, influencer marketing isn’t only made for Instagram-worthy consumer brands. When it comes to link building, influencers carry a lot of untapped potential. Collaborating with these public figures can boost your visibility and get you the right kind of attention. The key is to target influencers whose audience might be interested in your content and services.

4. Leverage Popular Trends

In our digital world, trends and hot topics rise and fall at lightning-fast speeds. But if your timing is spot on, you can leverage trends to attract a lot of attention. This requires being up to date with trending topics across the web.

But tread with caution because trends can plummet as quickly as they skyrocket. You have to race against time to create campaigns before your content becomes irrelevant. If you’re too late, your idea might just be a big waste of investment.

5. Delegate to a Trustworthy Link Building Agency

With new trends popping up all the time, SEO can be a rocky landscape to navigate, especially if your agency isn’t well versed in the latest tactics. In such a scenario, delegating these important SEO tasks to a link building agency could be the way to go. With a link building agency taking care of your SEO needs, you can focus on what really matters: building your brand and accelerating growth.

If you’re looking for reliable link building services to take your website to the next level, you can find everything from blogger outreach to relevant guest posting and much more at Outreachmama. Check out Outreachmama’s services for a holistic link building experience.

The Future of Link Building

Future of Link Building

While those sneaky spam-filled links are no longer the norm, Google still uses links to determine the trustworthiness of a site.

In fact, Google’s strict policies have elevated link building to a more quality-focused and targeted approach. With so much competition and market saturation, content that sets itself apart and provides real value comes out on top.

As far as the future of link building goes, there are many diverging opinions. The bottom line is: Until Google finds an alternate source of determining authority, links are here to stay. Remember, quality over quantity is the motto for the decade and this applies to both your links and your content.

Links aren’t dead, they’ve just been given a new life!

Is Link Building Dead?

There was once a time when black hat SEO and spammy link building tactics reigned supreme. However, over the years Google has been slowly patching the loopholes in its algorithms. This has led many people to wonder whether link building is dead for good. So, is link building really dead? The short answer is no. … Continue reading "Is Link Building Dead?"Read More