How Many Links Does It Take To Get To The Middle Of Google Page One?
Copyright (c) 2009 Bill Platt
911 Reputation Management
Everyday it seems, people are asking me the optimum numbers of
inbound links they need to acquire for their website in order to
rank well in Google.
My answer is going to seem a little flip, but it is the honest,
Answer: You need more inbound links - of equal or higher quality
- than what your competitors have.
Albert Einstein argued that any mathematical formula that
required pages of calculations did not contain within it "the
mind of God".
So when Albert Einstein developed E=mc2, then Einstein had
fulfilled the promise of a simple formula that could encompass
the brilliance of God.
When people wonder as to how many inbound links they might need
to acquire in order to rank in the Top 4 of Google's search
results or even the Top 10 of Google's SERPs, they are generally
hoping that someone will be able to give them a numeric answer,
so that they know whether they can afford to undertake the
process or not.
I understand the WHY of the question, but there is no canned
answer that will work for everyone.
Remember, your competitor may be asking the same question and
undertaking the same processes as you are, trying to accomplish
the same goal.
No one can truly begin to understand the answer to this question,
until one has take the time to do an Inbound Link Comparison
Analysis of all of your competitors in the Top 10 spots of
* You need to look at the Top 10 listings in Google for a
* You need to do backlink checks for all ten URLs in Google's
search listings, and you need to check those numbers across a
variety of sources, including Google, Yahoo and any other tool
you can find to do a check. (Google and Yahoo both tend to
understate the actual link counts. While Yahoo will show you more
than what Google does, they also show a number of "no
consequence" links in their results.)
* You need to look at the quality of a few of the pages that
offer links to the URLs in the search results.
This is not an easy process to undertake. I have done it before,
but the best you can hope for is a "snapshot" of what is out
there, and therefore, what you need to accomplish.
Note: If Wikipedia turns up in your search query, few people with
small budgets will ever be able to dislodge Wikipedia in the
search results. What they make up for in a small number of
inbound links, they more than make up for with links from dozens
or hundreds of PR4, PR5 and PR6 pages. Wikipedia is the king of
Internal Linking, and they use that to a great degree to rank
extraordinarily high in Google's search listings.
Your analysis should seek to uncover how many links a page has to
As a general rule of thumb, Google will show you less than 1% of
the existing number of links for a web page. Yahoo will sometimes
show closer to 5% of the existing number of links for a web page,
but they will not show you the highest quality of those links.
So, as you strive to gain a "snapshot" picture of the playing
field, you want to take Google's Inbound Links number and
multiply that by at least 100. Then you want to take Yahoo's
Inbound Links number and multiply that by at least 20, then cut
the number in half to acknowledge the number of worthless crap
links they have in their database. Once you have achieved these
two numbers, then I tend to call the truth "somewhere in the
With your "somewhere in the middle" number in hand, then you
need to look at the quality of links to a few of those search
listings, to get an idea of whether those links exist on higher
quality pages or simply junk pages.
If those links are on junk pages, then the goal could be achieved
by just working the numbers. But if there are a lot of high
PageRank pages in the mix, then whatever number is in your hand,
should be multiplied, perhaps 100-fold, to overcome the quality
of pages that link to your competitors.
If you get the idea that my simple formula leads to a complicated
answer, then you are right.
All of the numbers that I have included in my sample formula are
based on rough speculation, as the "snapshot" offers you your
best hope of understanding the challenge in front of you.
While the number of inbound links may be relatively easy to
determine, the link quality is a factor that is really hard to
* If you determine that you only need 300 inbound links to rank
with the big boys, you may be right.
* Your 300 inbound links number should also be quantified
against the number of links that Google will count worthy, so you
may need 1200 links to get 300 links that Google will deem
worthy. This calculation depends more on the "quality of your
content", rather than the "quantity of your content".
* When all is said and done and your 300 Google-worthy links
have not yet put you on page one, then you know that the quality
of the links pointing at your competitors is greater than the
quality of the links pointing to you.
If you were hoping for an easy answer, I am sorry that I could
not help you with that.
But with this explanation of the challenge, you may be better
prepared to answer the big question, the question that is really
on your mind:
=== Are my hopes of achieving good rankings in Google within my
I tend to throw "worry" to the wind and just start working. I
don't worry if I can afford to do it or not. I simply start
doing, and I know that in one month, one year or five, I will
have built enough value in my website that my competitors are
going to be the ones who are trying to figure out if they can
Bill Platt has provided SEO services since 2004. In 2009, he
transformed his SEO service, into one that helps people defeat
negative search results in Google. By improving the rank of
positive website reviews in the search results, negative search
listings begin to disappear from the public eye. If you would
like to learn more about how Bill's Reputation Management SEO
service can help your business, visit: http://911reputation.com/
Bill has also owned http://thePhantomWriters.com/ since 2001.
Top Notch PLR Articles for your Website or Blog