How Many Backlinks Do You Need to Rank Your Website?
I’m sure I’m not the only website owner who has a love/hate relationship with backlinks. Sometimes they’re your best friend, you may have a solid link profile and know that google holds your site in high esteem, or you may have a relatively new site or one that it is hard to get links to, and thus be struggling with your rankings. Backlinks are a huge part of SEO and the marketing of your website and thus are not to be ignored, here I’m going to look at how many backlinks you really need for your site.
Backlinks Are Not Your Number One Priority
Where a lot of people seem to trip up is thinking that SEO is the main aspect of internet marketing. It isn’t. You can have a thousand brilliant backlinks but if there’s nothing worth seeing on your site and nothing to hook viewers in then you just wont succeed, not to mention the fact that you won’t get the links in the first place! The point of links being a key factor in SEO is that you usually only get the high quality ones by posting great content, the BBC don’t link to rubbish sites, NASA wont link to you if you aren’t a real authority in your field, and nobody will want to link to you if your site is poor. The flip side of that is that if you make a great quality site you are much more likely to get links from people who find it.
Links are needed, especially in certain niches, but CONTENT should always be your priority. Your content is the linchpin holding your site (and possibly business) together.
Ranking Without Links
Because Google knows that links can be manipulated, and aren’t always the most accurate representation of a website’s quality, it isn’t the only ranking factor, and you can get your site to the top of google in certain niches without a single backlink. People like the adsense flippers make a living out of this method. Choose the right keywords and as they put it the “low-hanging fruit” and you can rank without links, taking a big job off your hands. You can bet that the sites that rank in this way have good quality content on them and follow all of the other key areas of SEO to get to the top of the SERPs.
Ranking With Links
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to get to the top with no linking, and though it should ideally take care of itself (eventually), sometimes your link profile needs a helping hand. It isn’t as simple as putting a good site online and waiting for it to rank, and links pointing to it can be extremely powerful. A good way to gauge is to look at the QUALITY links pointing to the top ranking sites (especially if they are niche sites built in the same way as yours rather than a wikipedia, eHow or Squidoo article). Unfortunately there is no yardstick by which to measure, and you have to play it by ear, but my main advice to you would be to focus on quality in links. One link from a Nasa or a BBC could be worth thousands of links on directories, social profiles or other average to poor sources. Keep your links relevant and from authority sources and you can get your site to the top of the rankings without slaving away on tons of links. Find good quality guest posting opportunities and get your site featured in the best places and watch it soar to the top. Quality trumps quantity in this game, especially after the penguin, panda and EMD updates.