How Many Backlinks Do You Need?

How Many Backlinks Do You Need?

It’s quite obvious to most people how important links are to your website. But how many is enough?

I can’t give you an exact amount, there is no exact amount, this is for the same reason that I try not to offer an exact amount of how many I’ll build a client at a sales pitches.

The reason is that it depends on a number of factors. Primarily, how competitive the keywords you have want to rank for are. Start by checking how many inbound links that the sites ranking above you have, using Yahoo Site Explorer to give you an idea of how many links you will need. This could be a handful or it could be thousands.

I’m in a Competitive Market…

In that case, I recommend targeting less competitive keywords to begin with, for which blogging can be a great tool. This post for example is trying to rank for “How Many Backlinks Do You Need?”, while my ultimate goal is to keep pushing the Receptional website up for the term “link building”. That is a long term goal, one of which we’re closer to achieving month-on-month, despite the growing and aggressive competition we face. In the meantime, I am ranking well for niche phrases, attracting visitors to the site and hoping to obtain links in the process. Link building is very much an on-going and multi-faceted undertaking.

How many links is enough?

I believe that you can never have enough links, as the competition is always growing and looking to overtake you. Continuously building quality links is the key.

The answer to the question is that it’s hard to determine how many links you need, when a bigger issue is the quality of those links.

You have probably come across many websites with few links ranking higher than those with several. If that comes down to link building and not SEO, then it’s about the quality of the links. While it’s normal for your site to naturally attain poor quality links, it’s the quality ones that ultimately help you rank higher in the SERPs. Quality links are what you should be aiming to build and ideally, yes, there should be lots of them.

What are Quality links?

In terms of building quality links to help your website rank, firstly check that the links you are building are clean. Here’s a guide to how to check for clean links. The ideal places you want links from are pages that are ranking where you want to be seen (ie high in the SERPs).

Generally though this will be a case of building a link on your competitor’s site, which is an unlikely event. In that case, aim to build links on similar, related and well-ranked websites. Sites that have lots of quality links themselves are able to pass on good link juice.

Good luck with your link building. Please check out my previous articles for help with other areas of link building.

Barrie Smith

Barrie is a very experienced marketer, with notable successful campaigns in the gambling, e-commerce, travel and many other industries.

Twitter LinkedIn Google+ 

Share this Post: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google Plus StumbleUpon Reddit RSSEmail


  1. Hey Barrie, another good post. All I would add is that for most website owners enough can be very small if there market is more localized and not highly competitive. I ranked a website that was about landscaping just by making some on page changes and only added 10 quality links to his link profile. He went from nowhere to #1, again with some tag changes.

  2. Before I really don’t know how many backlinks I should build to increase my ranking. And this post clarify my doubt.

  3. as the title says, Quality over Quantity. 10 good strong links can rank better then 1,000 low quality, already spammed backlinks. There’s no exact amount needed. Just have more then your competitors, get higher quality backlinks, and watch them be overshadowed by you.

  4. The amount of backlinks is always relative to something and always changes. You got my avid curiosity with that article title and I was hoping to see some numbers too but you are right, there is no exact formula on the number of backlinks we need. I could use some more references on building high quality links, I already have as a reference but I want to go even further than that.

  5. I don’t know much about Outrank, but when it comes to counting backlinks, there are really only a few raw data sources to choose from:

    1: is the original. Most people still use this, but there are rumours that it will not be supported after Microsoft takes up powering Yahoo search, so if you are new to this, look for an alternative.

    2: is the SEOMoz offering and whilst it was originally stringest for US sites, it gets stringer month on month.

    3: is what we consider the gold standard at the moment. Receptional is biased – but the database is the largest available.

  6. I agree you can never have enough links into your site.
    Aside from link building for SEO reasons no one is going to find your site if nothing links into it!

  7. A lot of website dont give clean links, most of them are javascript redirecting, the best way to check this is, if you are using firefox, check the left hand side corner, you will see the link, if it is not your website url, then it is javascript redirecting. For those links, they dont pass on any juice to your website.

  8. I like getting number one into google. Richard Dennis and Tom Big Al Schrieter taught me that you have to have a catchy title and a first sentence that grabs your readers attention or else you are wasting your time no matter how great of a writer are you.

    Lawrence Bergfeld

  9. Why is it that when I check my backlinks, with a backlink checker it comes up with fewer backlinks than in Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster says I have 880 links to my site. A backlink checker says it’s only 70 or so? Also, if I have 880 backlinks, why am I not ranked? My blog is indexed, and it ranks number 1 for it’s title.

  10. Hi Can,

    Yahoo Site Explorer is a quick, free way to check and count all of your backlinks picked up by Yahoo (Google seems to ignore many).  I also recommend Majestic SEO, which you can use to check the number of links from any domain.  You can find more details of links to your own site for free by adding a piece of code from within Majestic.


  11. I often check my sites backlinks on different search engines. Google is always return zero but I’m sure my pages are indexed. How can I count backlinks of all search engines ?

    Your reply will be highly appreciated

  12. hmm good data but u need to keep posting like this… will be visiting very often.

  13. Great post.. Though I was looking for some number in my mind you manage to explain how number doesnt matter but the quality of the links does.

    Thank you

  14. …and it seems that it is almost a defeating process, when so many people are cheating to get to the top. We want to build backlinks for our site, but in the end, it’s tough to tell quality over quantity…and even tougher, to get the quality backlinks at all.

Leave a Comment

one × four =