“Just how many links does it take to rank?” is the question every marketer would like to know the answer to. If we knew how many links we need to rank, our lives would be so much easier, right?
Yet, unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to backlinks. So like it or not, the answer to this question is “it depends!”. Every keyword, niche, and link building strategy is different. So, there is no way anyone could give you the answer to this question without a deeper analysis.
So, how do you figure out how many links you need to rank in your niche? Well, since there is no clear answer to this question, you need to first understand how backlinks work and how they will make your site rank in your niche. Or, obviously, you can talk with SEO experts that can offer you a tailored link building package for your website’s needs.
Let’s take a deeper look at what influence backlinks have in terms of achieving high rankings in the search engines and how to avoid the common link building mistakes.
Quality vs quantity?
Quality versus quality in link building is perhaps the fiercest argument among all marketers these days. Do you need as many links as possible or do they need to be qualitative to matter in the ranking?
So, in one corner stand those marketers who pledge for backlink quality and in the other stand those who believe backlink quality actually matters. So, who’s right? Well, that’s what we are going to analyze. But first, let’s make sure you understand what backlinks are.
What are backlinks? Well, they are the links that travel from another website to your website. Those links can come from diverse sources including social media, editorials, directories, or reviews. But most often, backlinks come from blog posts and other types of content that exists on other websites.
Now, going back to our initial matter, what matters most when choosing between quality or quantity? Well, we should first discuss the ins and outs of each option:
Quality backlinks are those links that come from high domain authority websites that aren’t only trusted by search engines but also by searchers. In other words, not only the Google algorithm trusts them but so do actual people that trust the content that exists on those websites. And, obviously, quality links are good, well, because they are high-quality. Therefore, they are beneficial for domain authority and SEO rankings.
As for quantity backlinks, they are those that come from websites that have low domain authority or medium domain authority that are neither spammy websites that no one trusts nor the best quality websites that are very reliable. So, they are those websites somewhere in between. Yet, the result is also obvious, quantity but no quality backlinks often generate a huge amount of low-commitment traffic. However, this isn’t necessarily bad either because they do generate a lot of traffic. Yet, chances are that you may be dealing with the risk of accidentally generating backlinks from some spammy websites.
The answer: both link-building strategies have their ins and outs and while for some businesses quantity backlinks can be more effective, for others quality may matter more. In the end, it’s best to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and see what works best for your website.
Spy on your competitors’ backlinks
Once you’ve got a clearer idea of what’s the difference between quality and quantity backlinks, you may be one step closer to figuring out what your link building strategy should look like. But hold your horses! You still have a lot to learn!
Next, you may want to look at your competition to get a rough estimate of how many backlinks you may be needing to rank. What to research about your competition? From the number of external and internal links to the authority of them, length of content, quality of the content, and age of the URL, the internal and the external links.
Another thing you may want to analyze is the topics of the popular links of your competitor. If you already have content about that topic, then you’re fine, if not, you may want to consider writing a new post about that topic.
That being said, research the backlink profiles of your competition to see identify which are the sites that give them links and why. Next, get deeper into your research and find out which blog posts or pages are getting the most links, and, once again, why. Once you’ve figured it all out, it is time that you do the same as your competitor does.
Choose link diversity
When it comes to link diversity, once again, there is a fight among marketers who claim that it is important and those who claim that it couldn’t matter more. But what does link diversity means? It is a method of getting inbound links from different kinds of pages and content types such as directories, articles, or news links. Also, it means getting links from different types of domains such as .edu, .com, .net, etc. And, finally, link diversity also means getting a variety of anchor text in those links you get from different websites.
Now, although some marketers argue that link diversity isn’t that important, we would like to give you a good reason why it is very important: it makes backlinks look natural. And, the idea of naturalness helps your site escape the risk of a penalty in the search engines.
Avoid speedy link building
Now, this idea is somehow similar to the idea of quantity backlinks, meaning that the more backlinks you get, the better you rank. Yet, we’ve already told you this is a tricky matter and now we are going to explain why.
Let’s say, for example, that you build 100,000 new backlinks in one day. It sounds like your website is going to rank the highest ahead of your competition, right? However, don’t forget about the possibility of getting your website flagged by Google. How can this happen? Well, Google’s Penguin update, launched in April 2012, is designed to get better at catching sites deemed to be spamming its search results. Simply put, this algorithm will be checking whether your backlinks are natural. So, if you generate 100,000 links in just one day, those links are most likely not natural which will eventually lead to getting your website flagged by Google.
In conclusion, there is no easy answer to the question “how many links should I build to rank in my niche?”. However, all those strategies explained above will help you understand that when it comes to backlinks, quality matters more than quantity. Therefore, first, make sure that you generate quality backlinks and see where it goes from there.