How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Outrank My Competitor

How many backlinks do I need to outrank my competitor? If that’s what you were Googling about, you’ve landed on the right runway.

Well I won’t beat around the bush, so, unfortunately, I’ll have to burst your bubble by letting you in on the fact that there is no specific number of links you can calculate or count which you need in order to outrank your competitors or any “exact” or “specific” answer for your questions like “How many backlinks do I need to rank?”.

How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Outrank My Competitor

How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Outrank My Competitor

It’s all about the “quality” rather than quantity. Well, I like to walk my talk, so let’s do so.

Why don’t link numbers Matter?

In order to understand why the “number” of backlinks isn’t fixed, you’d need to understand how exactly backlinks pass link-juice, and how they contribute towards your SEO tactics.

Quality Matters not Quantity

There was a time when “how many links you had” defined your authority and boosted your SERP positions.

Unfortunately, that time is long gone.

After the recent Google updates the search engine is focusing more on the “quality” of the link you have, instead of “how many”.

How is the “quality” of a link determined?

There are various factors which go towards determining the quality of the links you’re getting:

1. Relevance

Before anything else, comes the “relevance” of the links. How relevant are those links to your domain or niche?

For e.g. if your website is in the Digital marketing niche, and it has hundreds of links from Sports or the Gambling niche, which are miles apart from your own niche, the links would do you little or no good.

While having just 10 quality links from other Digital marketing or SEO niche would boost your SERP positions just because they’re relevant to your niche.

2. Moz Metrics such as DA / PA

These aren’t the “most important” yardsticks, but hold a majority say in the quality determination. These metrics are awarded to the “domain” from where you are curating the backlinks.

How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Outrank My Competitor

DA stands for Domain authority, while PA means Page authority. DA is the “universal/ overall” authority of the website, calculated using the quality, number,  relevance, site-age and a number of other factors.

While PA generally indicates the authority of any specific “Page” on the website.

You can check those metrics using the Moz Open Search Explorer. The higher the DA and PA are, the better the links from that domain would perform for you.

3. Type of Links

There are various types and kinds of links. For e.g. you might be getting comment backlinks, contextual backlinks, sidebar links and so on.

Contextual backlinks (the ones provided within the content of the article) are the best kinds, they look and feel original and organic, and there’s no chance of them being “spam” because only the website administrators have access to the content.

They also work best because generally, people link out to “related” content, for e.g. if you’re talking about Sports, there’s a thin chance that you’d suddenly link out to an SEO agency or something else that’s completely unrelated.

So that’s a fact well-known to Google and hence they are taken as relevant links.

You might like: Understanding Dofollow And Nofollow Links: SEO Basics.

The other types such as comment backlinks and sidebars worked great until last couple years or months but as of now, they aren’t of much value.

But then again they help you “diversify” your links, so you don’t have just one single kind of links to your site.

4. Content-Length

Neil Patel says “Links from longer content are worth more”. Period!

How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Outrank My Competitor
Image Credits: Quicksprout

We all know how long content is prioritised and valued by Google, and rightly so because the longer the content is the more research and time the author has invested in crafting it, indicating how serious and well-researched the article will be.

Useful Resource: Adding Maximum Value To Your Content

How many backlinks do I need to outrank my competitor

So it’s only natural to assume that if you’re getting links from a 500 word content VS a 3000-word content, go for option #2 because that’s what Google will go for.

How to Get those Quality Backlinks?

So now you know the kind of links you need to focus upon, here’s how to grab them:

1. Guest Posts

Guest posting isn’t dead, nope!

Just hit Google with “Your niche + write for us”. Analyze the metrics of those URLs and the ones which seem to fit your bill, just drop them a mail via the contact form or E-mail addresses provided on the Write for us page.

Interesting Article for you: How To Get High-Quality Backlinks (Without Guest Posting)

2. Buy Backlinks

There are various services and agencies offering legit, manual, and good-quality backlink services. In fact here’s something that completely answers your question regarding where to buy backlinks.

Note: This site doesn’t support/recommend buying backlinks, page views, robotic traffic or any other kind of Blackhat SEO Techniques.

Read this: Why You Should Never Buy CRAP Backlinks: An Experiment

3. Outreach campaigns

You don’t always need to get the target site a “guest post” in order to get backlinks. A good strategy to curate backlinks is “Replacing” links.

For e.g. you can easily find out where your competitors are getting their links from.  And there are times when those links are 3-5 years old.

In that case, you can just email the admin/editors saying that the link is outdated, and you have a newer, fresh and updated link.

It doesn’t always work, but even if you get 2 links out of every 20 emails you send, it’s still a win because a site that old generally has impressive authority.

Final Words

So yeah I suppose that debunks the myth of “a specific number of links required” before you can outrank your competitors.

It’s all about quality, value and authority. Do let me know if this piece helped demystify your doubts a bit.

Also feel free to drop your feedback using the comment box down there, all suggestions are encouraged as well.

Useful Resources:

If you liked this article, do share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Do you have any queries? feel free to ask in comments.


  1. Except for buying backlinks unless and until they’re of very good quality, I use Guest posting and outreach which works great.

    I follow popular 20×5 formula which demands us to create at least 20 links to each pillar article before moving on to the next one.

    A nice read.

  2. Hi Jyoti,
    Yes you are right. Numbers doesn’t matter any more but quality backlinks can make a difference. I am not sure about buying backlinks. Is it good for the long run?
    Anyway great article. Thanks for sharing.


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