Secret to Outrank Your Competitors – Does the Number of Backlinks Matter?

Secret to Outrank Your Competitors

If you’ve been in content marketing for a while, you know how crucial it is to get quality backlinks to rank higher on Google. 

So, you launch an outreach campaign, create high-quality content for guest posts, and finally publish it to your desired site where you wanted to get the backlink. 

Unfortunately, while you’re getting a good amount of link juice, you’re still not ranking higher on SERP.

Do you know why?

It’s probably because your page doesn’t have enough backlinks to outrank your competitors.

So, here comes the billion-dollar question – how many backlinks do you need?

While there’s no fixed number to answer it, you can still get your answer by carefully analyzing your competitors’ backlinks to rank high for a particular keyword.

In this article, we’ve discussed the way you can find the average number of backlinks, as well as other important factors you need to consider for your page to rank on Google.

Finding The Number of Backlinks You Need to Outrank Your Competitors – Step by Step Process

So, you’ve understood the need for a significant number of quality backlinks that will help you to rank higher on Google.

But, how do you determine exactly how many links you need to rank for a particular keyword? 

Determining this number is quite difficult since it depends on a lot of factors such as page relevance, keyword difficulty, anchor text position, number of outgoing links, etc.

Determining the exact number of required backlinks can be challenging. So, you may want to hire an SEO agency to do this work for you.

At OneLittleWeb, we have SEO experts who can help you with that by analyzing your page and comparing it with your competitors’ page. 

If you want to rank your page for a particular keyword but are confused about the backlinks, you can try our quality guest post service.

Our expert account managers will not only score a high-quality domain for you but will help you to determine how many backlinks you may need to rank high on Google.

So, what’s the procedure to determine the average number of backlinks for your page? Let’s have a look.

Find Out The Difficulty of The Keyword You Want to Rank for

One of the simplest ways to get an idea about the minimum number of backlinks you need to rank is to determine the keyword difficulty.

The concept is quite simple. The higher the number, the more backlinks you will need to rank for that particular keyword.

For example, if your niche is pet food and you want to rank one of your webpages for the target keyword “best puppy food,” you need to determine its keyword difficulty using any tools.


Here, we used Ahrefs and found out the difficulty level of this particular keyword is 24, meaning that you will need at least 24 backlinks to rank high on Google.

While it sounds quite simple, it’s not the only way to find the exact number of required backlinks. 

The number depends on a lot of other factors that you need to consider before you end up to a conclusion.

Find Out The Domains That Has Ranked Top for Your Target Keyword

Although the correct number of required backlinks depends on a lot of factors, you can get some ideas by looking at how your competitors are doing for that same keywords and why are they ranking high.

Finding it out is quite easy. You can use tools like Ahrefs to determine the number of backlinks your competitors have.

Let’s say you want to rank your page for the keyword “top 10 puppy foods.”

Now you need to analyze your page you want to rank using Ahrefs site explorer.


Then click on the organic keywords and click on the first keyword to find out your competitors who are ranking higher than you.


From the above images, you can see your page’s position and the target keyword your page is ranking.

From the last image, you can see your competitors who are ranking higher than you for the same keyword.

Now, look at the number of backlinks they have for the same keyword. Is it more or less than you?

If more, then how many?

If less, then what are the other factors that help them rank higher than you?

If you carefully look into the image, you will see there is already a website that’s in a higher position than our target website with fewer backlinks.

It means apart from the number of backlinks, there are some other factors that can affect your position on Google.

What are those factors you need to check for your competitors that are ranking higher than you?

Let’s find out.

Content Quality

Have you ever heard that content is the king?

You’ve heard it right. 

The quality of content is something that has a lot to do with the ranking of your webpage. 

No matter how many backlinks you have, you may not be able to rank if the content quality is not up to the mark.

Also, no webmaster will want to link back to your site if you can’t provide them with a value-driven, niche relevant content.

So, if your competitors are in a higher position regardless of the number of backlinks, you need to check their content and make sure the one you create is better than those.

Backlink Quality

While the number of backlinks is an important factor, their quality matters more than the quantity when it comes to ranking higher on the SERP. 

No matter how a fewer number of backlinks you have, if you can score them from a high-quality relevant website, you will get more link juice and traffic, which eventually put you into a higher position.

So, while your competitors that are in a higher position have more backlinks, you will see the quality of those backlinks are also better than the one you got for yourself.

So what are the features that make a quality backlink?

Starting from the organic traffic to the domain authority and their social share magnitude, there are a lot of things to consider while prospecting domains for backlinks.

So, before you select a domain to get backlinks from, evaluate its quality and compare it with your competitors’ backlinks.

On-Page SEO

So, you’ve come up with a nice guest post for your backlinks. Your publisher loved it.

But you’re not seeing your desired result even after months got passed. 

Why is this happening?

One reason could be you didn’t do the on-page optimization for your target page.


Check your competitors’ page for which they are getting a fairly good number of backlinks. Are they well-optimized? Are the anchor text in the right position? 

How short and specific are their URLs?

Do they have the target keyword in the URL?

And the list goes on…

On-page optimization is a must to make sure the content can rank for its target keyword. 

It’s because if your page isn’t well optimized, webmasters may not agree to give you backlinks.

The Anchor Text

While you’re comparing backlinks of your competitors for two different domains, you may find some unusual things.

Despite getting a backlink from a lower da website than the other one, a website may provide more link juice to a page it’s linking to.

Wondering why it’s happening?

The position and relevance of the anchor text might be a reason.

Regardless of the quality of your backlinks, your target page may not receive enough link juice if you use irrelevant and unnatural anchor text in the content.

If the anchor text isn’t relevant to your niche, you may end up attracting wrong audiences to your page, which eventually leave and never come back, thus making your site lose its ranking.

Besides, the placing of anchor text impacts a lot how much link juice you will have. The higher the link is placed, the more link juice you can get to your target page.

Number of Do-follow & No-follow Links

This is a crucial part where most people make the gravest mistake. 

If you don’t know the differences between do-follow and no-follow links and why it’s important to make your target link a do-follow one, it may hamper your ranking.

A do-follow link passes the link juice from the referring website to your target page it’s linked to while a no-follow link doesn’t.

When you’re creating a guest post for backlinks, make sure the link targeting to your webpage is do-follow and the other links placed around the content are no-follow.

There have been controversies regarding the perfect ratio of do-follow and no-follow links.

Some SEO experts say it should be 50:50, while others say it’s 40:60. 

However, if you look into high ranked sites, you will see they usually have a good number of do-follow links.

So, in case you want to rank higher than your competitors, get a healthy mix of both do-follow and no-follow links for your site.

Number of Outgoing Links

How much link juice your target page will have depends a lot on the outgoing links surrounding it throughout the content. 

In the example shown in the above screenshot, you can see that even with less number of backlinks a site can rank higher.

How’s that possible?


It’s because that site probably has less number of outgoing links than the others.

The more outgoing links you have on a published content, the more the link juice will be distributed. 

Some websites tend to add a bunch of outgoing links to their sites. 

These are known as link farms and getting a backlink from them can be harmful to your site.

So, whenever you’re seeing that your competitors are ranking higher than you even with fewer backlinks, check if you’re getting your backlinks from a link farm.

Number of Internal Links

Having a significant number of internal links can also help pass link juice to some of your pages.

Even with a good number of backlinks, some of you may not see a good ranking because you don’t interlink other pages of your site.

Internal links help your readers to visit other pages of your website, thus passing some link juice to those pages.

It helps those pages to get some traffic and rank eventually though some of them don’t have any backlinks.

So, look at your competitors’ pages that are ranking higher. If you see they have a lot of internal links, you know why they are ranking.

Site Structure

Another important thing that most site owners ignore.

Having a quality backlink can’t help you rank higher if you have a poor site structure. 

The website structure refers to how organized your site’s content are. 

No matter how amazing content you have, if they are not organized it will lead to poor user experience.

Compare your website with your competitors’ one. Which one demonstrates a better user experience? 

How much time does it take for the pages to load?

Are they mobile friendly?

If the other site passes this test and yours doesn’t, you need to improve your site’s structure before you even go for backlinks.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve read so far, you already know while the number of backlinks can impact your site’s ranking, it’s not the only ranking factor.

While some SEO gurus will always tell you that you need a significant number of backlinks to rank higher on Google, in reality, there are some other things you need to consider.

The quality of your content, the domain you’re getting backlinks from, the number of do-follow and no-follow links, site structure, etc. should be considered while you’re comparing your site with your competitors’ ones.

So, next time you want to outrank your competitor, don’t just consider the number of backlinks. Consider the other factors and you’re good to go.

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