How many links does it take to rank high in the Google Search results?

Have you ever questioned how many links it takes to rank high in the search results? If you work in SEO, you’ll know that backlinks are one of the main pillars of SEO alongside content and technical SEO.

If your site has a high-quality, relevant backlink profile, chances are that it’ll be performing well organically and ultimately, ranking highly in Google’s search results.

At Embryo, our SEO and Digital PR teams work closely when it comes to improving the off-page performance of our client’s sites, by securing news-worthy coverage from some of the most well-known publications in the industry.

If you’re interested in improving the off-page organic performance of your website, feel free to get in touch with us.

Now, let’s take a further look into why backlinks are important and how many you need to rank highly on the search engine results page (SERPs).

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Why are backlinks important for ranking?

When it comes to ranking well on Google there are hundreds of ranking considerations taken into account, one of them being backlinks.

Ultimately, Google sees backlinks as votes of confidence from other websites on the web. So if your website is naturally attracting lots of backlinks from other third-party sites, that suggests to Google that they value the content you are publishing and have gone to the effort to reference your site in the form of a backlink.

From the above information, it seems fairly straightforward as to why Google uses backlinks as a ranking signal and why sites with a stronger backlink profile tend to rank higher in Google.

However, you are probably thinking that building lots of backlinks to your site will guarantee SEO success, right?

Incorrect, all backlinks hold different weights and can even be detrimental to your organic performance if the wrong types of sites are linking to you. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.

Are all backlinks the same?

Have you ever heard of the saying “quality over quantity”? If so, this is the kind of approach you’ll want to take when building backlinks to your website.

For example, let’s say you enter a singing competition and Simon Cowell and a few of your family members are the judges. After your performance, your family members vote you through to the next round, but Simon Cowell doesn’t. As someone who wants to be a successful singer, which vote do you think carries more weight?

That’s right, it’s Simon Cowell’s! Because he’s seen as an authoritative, relevant figure within the singing industry, whereas, your family members are not.

The same works for backlinks, if Google sees you are getting links (votes) from highly authoritative, relevant publications, they are likely to rank you higher in the SERPs than if you were receiving links from low-quality, irrelevant domains, even if you have a higher quantity compared to your competitors.

Furthermore, in March 2024 Google released a Spam Update targeting sites that carried out manipulative link-building practices, such as buying links or creating low-quality content with the aim of generating links. So if you are looking to earn more backlinks to your site, and ultimately improve your search rankings, I’d strongly advise not carrying out ‘black hat’ link-building tactics for short-term gain.

Factoring in some of the below will help you to earn links from websites you want to be associated with.


The first one is relevancy, ideally, you want industry-related publications linking back to your website. This is a great way to showcase your industry expertise to both users and Google if you have other well-known sites in your sector linking back to you.

For example, a gardening blog is likely to perform better if it’s receiving links from gardening magazines compared to car magazines.


As mentioned previously, you’ll want to try and earn links from those highly authoritative sites in the industry. Whilst relevant, weaker sites still will benefit your site from an organic perspective, earning links from the top-tier publications is likely to increase your domain’s authority, and ultimately, enable you to rank higher for more competitive search terms.

Investing in Digital PR is a great way of achieving these types of links.


Relevancy and authority are very important when considering which links you’d like to target. Having unique sites linking back to you is also very beneficial for growing your site’s domain authority.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with receiving multiple links from the same domain, it’s much more rewarding for your site to earn unique, authoritative, relevant backlinks from other third-party sources too.

How many links are needed to rank highly in the search results?

Now we’ve taken a look at why backlinks are important and whether all backlinks are the same, let’s go into detail on how many links it takes to rank high in the search results.

Unfortunately, this is one of those occasions where an SEO expert will tell you “It depends”. Whilst backlinks can help you rank higher in the search results, there isn’t exactly a magic number that will guarantee organic success.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider how competitive your niche is. Some niches will be more competitive than others, so the number of backlinks needed for your site to rank well could wildly differ from other industries.

I’d recommend running some of your organic competitors through regular SEO tools like Ahrefs to get an idea of how many backlinks and referring domains they have. You can also take this a step further by analysing how quickly they are earning links, what the quality of them and how this has impacted their domain rating/authority over time. This should give you an idea of how likely your website is to rank well in Google in your particular niche.

Another consideration is your site’s current situation. You might find that your website has one of the highest number of backlinks compared to your competitors and other SEO factors could be holding back your chances of ranking highly in the search results.

So, whilst this is all subjective, it’s best to carry out some competitor research and review your current website’s performance to get a general idea of how many backlinks you’ll likely need to rank well in the search engines.

Other ranking factors to consider

As briefly mentioned earlier in the article, building high-quality, relevant, authoritative backlinks alone won’t be enough to help you rank well in the search results if other areas of your SEO are weak.

Therefore, to fully maximise the impact of your backlinks, it’s important to ensure that your technical SEO, on-page optimisations and content quality are all as good as they can be as you won’t want your backlinks going to waste!

How can I earn backlinks?

We’ve looked at why backlinks are important and how many you’ll need to rank high in the search results. Now it’s time to discuss the best ways to naturally earn backlinks to your website. Below are a few popular techniques you can use if you’re looking to grow your backlink profile.

Statistical content pieces

Stats-based content pieces are great for naturally earning links to your website. Just make sure to keep them up to date with all the most recent industry statistics/data available. For example, Embryo created a 30 stats piece on TikTok vs Instagram which now has 49 referring domains.


Industry calculators/tools that serve a specific purpose are ideal for naturally earning links. You’ll find that because they solve a purpose, are unique and add value to users, sites will provide a reference to them as an additional resource.


Unique graphics/visuals, particularly ones that show data, such as infographics tend to perform well when it comes to generating backlinks. Imagery is a unique and simple way to provide information to users that is likely to be shared via social channels and even linked to other websites.

If you have a popular graphic on your website, make sure to carry out a reverse image search to find any sites that are using your imagery without providing accreditation in the form of a backlink.

Interactive content

Interactive content is perfect for building backlinks as it tends to be unique, shareable, fun and engaging. This type of content has the ability to go ‘viral’ and get people talking, as well as generate lots of backlinks from huge publications.

Want to rank higher in the search results?

In this article, we’ve looked at the importance of backlinks, how many links are needed to rank well in the search results and how to earn them. Whilst backlinks do carry some weight when helping you rank well in the SERPs, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only factor to consider.

Therefore, if you want more advice on how to rank higher in the search results, then our expert SEO team can help. Get in touch with Embryo today.

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