How Many Backlinks Do You Need to Rank #1 on Google?

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Data fetched from a report indicates that 90% of people don’t move past the first page of search results. 

When people search for things, they often don’t have a lot of time to do it. They are looking for answers fast. This means that if your web pages don’t rank at the top of search engines for relevant keywords, you’ll be missing out on the majority of your target audience. 

backlinks: serp stat

And in 2022, one of the best ways to reach the top page is to have people linking to your content.

More and more, Google considers the number and quality of backlinks as one of the top-ranking factors. 

In 2016, when Google’s very own Andrey Lipattsev revealed the importance of backlinks in a Q&A session with Google, we witnessed an ever-increasing number of businesses connecting with link building and search engine optimization specialists – asking them to help them conquer as many backlinks as possible.

So this leads us to this question…

So, exactly how many backlinks do I need? 

The backlinks you need will depend on the main keyword difficulty, your domain rating, the authority of your individual page or post and the quality of your content. 

For example, if you have a well-researched and optimized article that is done according to the user intent, you might only need 5-10 high-quality backlinks to rank high. However, if the keyword difficulty is very high, the backlinks increase. For example, to rank for a keyword with 86 KD, you need links from 524 websites, according to Ahrefs.

You may ask yourself now – which is more important? The quality or the quantity of the backlinks pointing to your site?

Generally, It’s better to have two DR70+ websites linking back to one of your web pages than 30-40 DR10 or DR20 websites. That’s because backlinks from DR10 or DR20 websites are considered low-quality links. 

Link building is one thing – but what’s important is having a backlink strategy that focuses on getting high-quality links that’ll help you position your website as authoritative and credible.

You can do this through guest posting, blogger outreach, social media marketing, journalist outreach, and more.

However, as I already mentioned, keyword difficulty still plays an important role, and in the next part, I’ll tell you exactly what that is. 

How Can SEO Keywords Difficulty Impact Your Search Engine Rankings?

Just to recap, the chances of your web page ranking at the top of search engines highly depend on the difficulty of the SEO keywords you’re looking forward to targeting. The difficulty is measured by the number of links Ahrefs thinks you need to get to outrank the other sites currently positioned at the top of the search engine.

For example, if you target a keyword ‘X’ with an SEO difficulty of 20, you’ll probably need 25-40 relevant links to rank at the top. 

On the other hand, if you are looking forward to ranking at the top for keyword ‘Y’ with a difficulty of 50, you may need anywhere around 50-100 relevant backlinks.

How can I check the keyword difficulty? 

Let’s say I want to rank at the top for the keyword ‘digital marketing agency.’ First, I will hop onto Ahrefs and look up the keyword on Ahrefs, “Keywords Explorer.” And here’s what I found: 

As you can see, the keyword difficulty stands at 83 – which is super-hard. And if you look just below the number, you’ll find it mentioned that “We estimate that you’ll need backlinks from ~427 websites to rank in the top 10 for this keyword.”

Again, let’s do it for another keyword – ‘digital marketing tools.’ 

With a keyword difficulty of 58, you’ll need a lot more backlinks in order to rank – around 118. 

Of course, these aren’t rules set in stone. It’s more of a guideline on what you should prioritize to beat other websites discussing the same topic. Marketing and SEO specialists should know that you can’t rely on a single metric. On-site optimization, content strategy, and technical SEO – are all equally important factors involved in creating a website that speaks to the users, and Google loves to put it at the top. 

How Can Your Website’s Domain Rating Impact Your Google Rankings?

Another important factor Google takes into consideration is your website’s domain rating. The domain rating of a website is nothing but that website’s backlink profile compared with others on a 100-point scale. 

And people are taking it very seriously. According to a study by Data Box, Domain Rating is among the top 5 priorities for professionals when discussing SEO goals. 

It’s important to mention that you will see both Domain Rating and Domain Authority. They are both similar metrics, but the main difference is that Domain Rating (DR) is the proprietary ranking metric of Ahrefs. At the same time, Domain Authority (DA) is a predictor from Moz acting as a ranking metric.

Now, let’s understand how your website’s overall DR/DA can impact your web page rankings. Let’s say – a DR70 website is targeting the keyword ‘digital marketing agency.’ At the same time, a DR20 website is doing the same. 

Which website do you think will have better chances of ranking at the top of search engines for the keyword?

Obviously – it’s the DR70 website. High domain authority websites often have the leverage when it comes to ranking and getting organic traffic. While I am not saying that a DR20 can’t rank higher than a DR70 website – but to do that, the DR20 website will not only need to have an insanely high content quality but also a solid backlinking strategy.

How Can Content Quality Impact Your SEO Rankings?

Google genuinely wants to put the most relevant results in front of its users. For example, at the beginning of my blog, I prioritized building links to my content, but I still wasn’t posting enough. So even though my DR sky-rocketed, the organic traffic was minimal. 

The results changed as soon as I prioritized putting out high-quality, relevant content. My articles ranked on the first page more often, and I got snippets and many high-quality organic links.

So what does that mean? First, the number of referring domains does not matter too much to the overall performance of your website if you do not have a solid content strategy and are putting enough effort into satisfying user intentions. 

Content quality matters. 

Let’s say your website DR stands at 70 whereas your competitor’s DR stands at 40. Now, if you are building an article “5 Benefits of Digital Marketing Agency” – targeting the keyword “benefits of a digital marketing agency,” there are two options. 

  • If you publish low-quality content, even if you have a high domain authority website and 100+ backlinks, you’ll have a hard time ranking at the top for the keyword.
  • If your competitor is publishing insanely high-quality content yet doesn’t have more high-quality links than your website, Google would still prefer to rank them in the front page.

Pay attention to how your content performs and what type of content is currently ranking on the top page. Thankfully, marketers can now enjoy a plethora of google ranking software options so you can easily check different metrics and track your efforts. 

How many backlinks do search engines need to rank my content?  

At the end of the day, there’s no simple answer to this question. More high-quality backlinks can definitely help you out but nothing matters if you don’t put effort into your content strategy and think about your user base. 

Balance is needed in order to gain the most out of your online marketing strategy. At the same time, you also need to be paying attention and avoid getting too many backlinks from low-quality sources. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about experimentation. In time, you will see what works for your website and business niche, improve your efforts and create a great resource for people to reference. 

And if you need any help figuring out what works, you can always let me know, and we can work together to make the best of your website! 

Good Luck!

Jessica La 

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✔️ Organic growth from $22,000 to $115,550 in 3 months.
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I show
like this.

✔️ Organic growth from $22,000 to $115,550 in 3 months.
✔️ Ranking #1 with 0 links.
✔️ Growing sites to 50+ DR. 

Once a week. Spam free. Occasional dry wit.