Link Profile Volume
This is a great question which depends on several factors.
First you must have a list of target keywords. See How To Identify Quality Keywords to Target for a complete guide on finding suitable search terms to target.
Let’s assume that you have your list of keywords.
To find out how competitive they are, you will need to analyse the sites that currently rank for the keywords that you want to rank for.
As a general rule of thumb, the more traffic is available, the more sites will compete so the more backlinks they will all have.
There are exceptions to this however.
To begin, do a Google search for each keyword.
The top ten search results are (in Googles eyes at least) the 10 best, most suitable, relevant and trusted pages available. You are going to make your site as good or better than they are.
You will notice that the top 10 results will vary. Some will be home pages, some blog post pages, some inner web pages, some may be PDFs, etc.
It is important to compare like with like. If you are trying to rank your home page for the term then compare other home page results.
If it is an inner page of your site that you want to rank, then likewise, compare with competitors that have an inner page ranking.
Comparisons can get complex, but stick with it, this is the best way to get an idea of how many backlinks you will need to build in order to rank well.
There are hundreds of small factors that can add up to provide rankings boosts. The key at this stage is to identify the key indicators that your competitors have and mimic them.
Use https://majestic.com to analyse each competitor in turn. Click on the backlinks sub tab and the software will list the current backlinks from most powerful down to weakest.
The software will show you all backlinks and a separate column of Unique IP backlinks. The Unique IP list is the important one to focus on because only one link from each Class C IP is counted by Google.
You should count up all of the backlinks that have pass trust score as well as noting the relevance of that trust score to the niche of the business.
In many instances you will see that a site may have 50 backlinks from different IPs, but only 15 that pass an Trust Score.
In this instance, 15 – 20 high quality backlinks passing good, relevant trust score metrics will get you where you want to be.
There are of course other SEO elements to consider including;
- Exact match URL
- Age of URL
- Content Length / Quality
- User Engagement Metrics
- Social Media Engagement
- On-Page Keyword Density
- Cross Linking Profile
- Age of Backlink Profile
- Page Load Speed
Collectively each of these elements can influence how many backlinks you need. An old URL with 20 years history will naturally rank higher than an identical site with a newly registered URL.
Likewise, if a competitor has 1000 positive 5* Google Business reviews and you have none, then they will have an advantage in SEO.
If you have a bounce rate of 85% and your competitors’ is 35% then Google will assume that their content is better than yours.
Depending on how all these metrics compare with your website, you might need a few more or less backlinks to rank alongside them in Google.
REMEMBER: No two web sites are the same, the influence of over 200 factors on each will make them behave slightly differently. The aim here is to analyse several top ranking competitors and form a strategy based on the backlink profile across a range of ‘similar’ websites.