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How Many Backlinks Should a Website Have?

We all know just how important backlinks are to an SEO campaign. What remains unclear though is just how many backlinks you need to have on your website.

Today, we’ll be seeking to answer the age-old question of quality vs. quantity. To some degree, both these options offer valid reasons as to why you need to back them.

However, for the sake of clarity, we’ll be imploring further into the topic in today’s discussion.

Understanding Backlinks

Backlinks are essentially the hyperlinks from your site to other sites. If you happen to be an authority in your industry, then, it’s not uncommon to find websites linking to yours for the sake of credibility.

Those who are renowned for achievements in their industry are oft-referenced in articles by others. The more backlinks you receive, the better your odds of registering increased traffic and seeing a boost in search engine rankings.

Why Search Engines Like Backlinks

Search engines love backlinks since they serve as an indication that other people love your website. Aware of this stance, there are some unscrupulous entrepreneurs who seek to use underhand methods to rank highly.

Such back hat practices usually involve the payment of money for links to your website across various other sites. While this may see you gain some ground over your competition, in the long term, Google and other search engines are bound to discover your exploits. This usually happens because when backlinks are purchased, some emphasis is usually placed on the quantity aspect. The poor sources where your links originate from usually sound the warning bells for Google to respond.

To avoid getting penalised by Google, try steering away from such link schemes. In the worst case scenario, your website may be de-indexed. When this happens, search engines may choose not to display your website completely in search results.

How Many Backlinks are enough?

New Websites

Age plays a key role in determining just how many backlinks you need.

New websites typically little link building activity. Instead, most of the work needs to go into building branded links. If you’re working on local SEO, you need to put more emphasis on developing your social profiles, local citations and branded web 2.0s.

Ideally, you need to wait at least a month building your social profiles and setting up content for your site.  Once the groundwork is done, it easy for you to justify just why you’re doing link building.

Websites aged 2 Years and Above

There’s some wiggle room for you to flex here. You can come up with as many links as you’d wish in this scenario. Having said that, it’s best to wait for a while for the content you post to simmer. Once sufficient traffic is recorded, you can get back to building backlinks. A good waiting period is about a week’s time.

Old Websites aged 10 Years and Above

You can play with your options on such websites. The fact that you can come up with as many backlinks as you want however doesn’t mean that you can compromise on the quality.

Things to Consider

Setting backlink targets is not the most prudent thing. The best ways to go about is to build steadily and naturally go into building links.

Rather than being an instantaneous activity, link building needs to happen on a consistent basis. As an ongoing process, it doesn’t make sense to include targets and deadlines into the mix. A steady development is the only sure fire way for you to have an edge over your competition.

You should not stop pursuing your SEO targets even once you manage to break into the first page of search results, monthly link building services are offered by multiple companies for a reason.. its an ongoing task and is not a one off thing.

Quality is of the Essence

Many people make the mistake of focusing on the number of backlinks instead of quality. 1 high-quality backlink can be just as effective as 100 low-quality backlinks. As such, it’s not a pure numbers game.

You need to strike a perfect balance between the number of backlinks you generate and their quality. If you’re unsure how to do this, you need to ensure that the backlinks you create conform to at least half of these qualities:

  • Comes from a relevant source
  • Originates from trusted sources
  • Not paid for
  • Not easily gained
  • Not reciprocal
  • Contains few other backlinks on the page
  • In-content
  • Sends traffic
  • Next to backlinks to authority websites
  • Originates from different sources to existing backlinks

On-Site Optimisation

You require fewer backlinks if you’ve done due diligence and properly optimised your website. If you have a poorly optimised site, the odds are that the backlinks you share will have zero effect on your audience. This is because you don’t have grounds for prospects to trust your website and regard you as an authority in your field.

Some recommended optimisation steps are:

  • Introducing in-content links to vital pages
  • Removing or merging pages containing little precious content
  • Ensuring that no page is situated more than 5 clicks from the homepage
  • The key pages need to be at least 1 or 2 clicks away from the homepage
  • You need to direct authority towards the pages you’d like to rank highly
  • Editing out unnecessary outbound links
  • Identifying and rectifying all the broken links

Level of Completion

As you look into your competition, be sure to take note of how many links are pointing to each of their pages on search engine results. While at it, be sure to ignore the numbers from the webpage containing the most backlinks and the webpage with least number of backlinks.

Once you have the numbers right, ensure that you develop high-quality content (whitepapers, infographics, blog posts, and landing pages). Providing in-depth coverage about your industry is likely going to put you in good books with your audience.

With the content sorted out, it’s necessary to come up with smart sharing initiatives, not just to your audience, but also to other industry titans. Striking a rapport with some of the top brass in your field may be a masterstroke on your part since you’ll be able to promote your business on a person-to-person basis.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.