How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost Domain Rating

How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost DR and SERP Ranking? (Case Study)

A question we’re often asked by businesses and individuals alike is “how many backlinks does a website need to boost DR and see an increase in traffic and ranking?”

To answer that, we conducted a study of our own. We looked into dozens of our past and current clients and monitored their progress based on

  • The number of links built
  • DR of websites they got backlinks from
  • Duration of their campaign
  • Client’s DR before and after campaign started
  • Traffic before and after backlinking campaign

We will also discuss some general rules and factors for establishing how many backlinks you would need in order to improve your domain rating and SERP visibility.

But first, let’s have a look at how backlinks impact your DR and SERP rating.

How High-Value Backlinks Positively Affect Domain Rating and Search Ranking

Backlinks are one of the most vital components of SEO. Links to your pages from other websites – especially high-authority ones – let search engines know that you are a trustworthy source that produces relevant, valuable content that merits high ranking.

According to studies such as the one by Backlinko, backlinks are still valued as one of top ranking factors by Google, which uses increasingly sophisticated algorithms to evaluate their quality and relevance.

This backlink evaluation takes into account factors like:

  • Anchor text
  • Relevance and value of the linked page
  • Authority of the source website
  • Other factors that can be found in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

Not too long ago, how many backlinks you had pointing to your website was crucial for high ranking. It was quantity over quality, which produced a lot of poor results for users and spammy websites with little to no value, resulting in bad user experience and unmet search intent.

Since those days, and certainly in 2023 and beyond with Google algorithm updates such as Core Update and Helpful Content Update, things have changed and algorithms now favor relevant, quality content and links and punish the opposite.

The goal of these superior ranking algorithms is to make sure the websites have genuine value and authority. This spam-free ranking is made possible thanks to Google’s SpamBrain, a spam-detection algorithm that discovers and eliminates low-quality backlinks from search results. 

Let us make a top-notch digital PR strategy for you

How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost DR?Our Method and Analysis

We took 15 of our past and current clients, from diverse industries – from real estate to lifestyle – and looked at the following metrics of their digital PR campaigns:

  • Campaign start date
  • Number of links built
  • Starting DR
  • Current DR
  • Starting organic traffic
  • Current organic traffic

To measure these, we used Ahref’s Site Explorer dashboard. We monitored the performance of each client’s campaign metrics by looking at the Domain Rating and Organic Traffic graphs and numbers for a given period of a campaign’s duration.

It is important to note that Ahrefs historically shows less traffic than websites get in reality or less than is shown in other consoles like Google Analytics.

Client #1

  • Industry: Real Estate
  • Campaign start and end date: 10/12/2022 – 8/1/2023
  • Number of links built: 18
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Investopedia (95), Finance Yahoo! (92), Daily Mail (92), Realtor (91), Apartment Therapy (87), Super Pages (85), World Population Review (84)…
  • DR before the campaign started: 26
  • DR after the campaign ended: 31 (+5 gain)
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 15,000
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 40,500
Real estate client traffic after digital pr campaign

Client #2

  • Industry: Real Estate
  • Campaign start and end date: Jan 1st 2023 – June 1st 2023
  • Number of links built: 10
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Realtor 91, AOL 91, Yahoo 91, Bustle 89, AD 88, Apartment Therapy 87, Realty Times 77, Best Life Online 79…
  • DR before the campaign started: 4
  • DR after the campaign ended: 16 (+12 gain)
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 6,000
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 13,500
Digital PR impact on client's traffic and DR

Client #3

  • Industry: Online Business
  • Campaign start and end date: Mar 13 2023 – May 20 2023
  • Number of links built: 2
  • DRs of sites they linked from
  • DR before the campaign started: 41
  • DR after the campaign ended: 47 (+6 gain)
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 6,800
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 16,000
Lifestyle client's growth in DR after backlinking

Client #4

  • Industry: Lifestyle
  • Campaign start and end date: April 24 – Sep 24 2023
  • Number of links built: 12
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Behance 94, Yahoo 92, Buzzfeed 91, Bustle 89, Express.co.uk 89, Instructables 88…
  • DR before the campaign started: 54
  • DR after the campaign ended: 55 (+1 gain)
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 16.7K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 77.6K

Client #5

  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Campaign start and end date: Dec 27 2022 – Apr 28 2023
  • Number of links built: 10
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Springer 93, Biomedcentral 91, Insider 90, Every Day Health 89, Popsugar 88, Very Well Fit 85…
  • DR before the campaign started: 34
  • DR after the campaign ended: 38 (+4 gain)
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 26.4K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 90.9K
Client's growth in traffic after Linkifi digital PR campaign

Client #6

  • Industry: Real Estate
  • Campaign start and end date: Aug 1 – Oct 31 2023
  • Number of links built: 17
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Daily Express 89, NY Post 91, Realtor.com 91, Daily Mail 92, The Spruce 90, Yahoo! Finance 93…
  • DR before the campaign started: 59
  • DR after the campaign ended: 59
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 2.4K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 5
How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost domain rating - case study (client 6)

Client #7

  • Industry: Lifestyle/Home
  • Campaign start and end date: Apr 24 – Aug 24 2023
  • Number of links built: 9
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Yahoo 92, SFGate 91, My Strikingly 90, Express.co.uk 89, Mens Health 87, Sports Yahoo 88, Southern Living 85…
  • DR before the campaign started: 6
  • DR after the campaign ended: 9
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 2.5K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 3.9K
Linkifi digital PR impact on client's DR and traffic

Client #8

  • Industry: Wellness 
  • Campaign start and end date: Apr 24 – Aug 24 2023
  • Number of links built: 12
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Yahoo 92, Huffpost 92, Psychology Today 92, Time 92, Daily Mail 91, BuzzSprout 91, Vercel 91, iHeart 91…
  • DR before the campaign started: 54
  • DR after the campaign ended: 55
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 109K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 177K
How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost DR - case study (client 8)

Client #9

  • Industry: DYI/Home
  • Campaign start and end date: Oct 17 2022 – May 17 2023
  • Number of links built: 28
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Cornell.edu 92, Realtor 91, New Yahoo 91, Yale 91, PSU 91, Uni of Texas 90, The Spruce 90, The Sun 90, Bustle 89…
  • DR before the campaign started: 30
  • DR after the campaign ended: 39
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 24.2K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 77.2K
Client's growth in DR and traffic after Linkifi backlinking campaign

Client #10

  • Industry: Real Estate
  • Campaign start and end date: Apr 26 – Oct 26 2023
  • Number of links built: 9
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Wikipedia 96, Hubspot 93, Yahoo 92, Canva 92, Stanford 92, Namecheap 92, Realtor 91…
  • DR before the campaign started: 59
  • DR after the campaign ended: 65
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 290K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 401K

Client #11

  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Campaign start and end date: ? – March 2 2023
  • Number of links built: 14
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Wikipedia 96, Lifewire 91, Bustle 89, Express.co.uk 89, Homes and Hardens 79…
  • DR before the campaign started: 9
  • DR after the campaign ended: 16
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 3.8K
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 13.3K
How many links do I need to boost my DR - case study (client 11)

Client #12

  • Industry: Tech Support
  • Campaign start and end date: March 29 – June 29 2023
  • Number of links built: 5
  • DRs of sites they linked from: MSN 92, Lifewire 90, Go Banking Rates 82, BLR 80, Lattice 76…
  • DR before the campaign started: 6
  • DR after the campaign ended: 11
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 426
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 2.9K
How many links do I need to boost my DR - case study (client 12)

Client #13

  • Industry: Lifestyle/Pets
  • Campaign start and end date: Apr 1 – Jul 3 2023
  • Number of links built: 5
  • DRs of sites they linked from: Yahoo! 92, Zdnet 91, Spruce 91, Live Strong 87, Go Banking Rates 87, Matador Network 87…
  • DR before the campaign started: 1
  • DR after the campaign ended: 6
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 61
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 3.3K
How many links do I need to boost my DR - case study (client 13)

Client #14

  • Industry: Internet/IT
  • Campaign start and end date: Apr 1 – Jul 3 2023
  • Number of links built: 5
  • DRs of sites they linked from
  • DR before the campaign started: 7 
  • DR after the campaign ended: 33
  • Traffic before the campaign started: 45
  • Traffic after the campaign ended/at its peak during the campaign: 732
How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost DR - case study (client 14)

How Many High-Quality Backlinks Do You Need? Our Conclusions

Here is the table breakdown of client industries and their respective backlink quantity and gains in domain rating.

Client #/IndustryLinks BuiltStarting DR vs End DRDR gains
#1. Real Estate1826 vs 315
#2. Real Estate104 vs 1612
#3. Online Business241 vs 476
#4. Lifestyle1254 vs 551
#5. Healthcare1034 vs 384
#6. Real Estate1759 vs 590
#7. Lifestyle/Home96 vs 93
#8. Wellness1254 vs 551
#9. DYI/Home2830 vs 399
#10. Real Estate959 vs 656
#11. Healthcare*149 vs 167
#12. Tech Support56 vs 115
#13. Lifestyle/Pets51 vs 65
#14. Internet/IT57 vs 3326

The numbers vary in great degree, showing that there can hardly be any conclusive takeaways that says “X many links will get you Y increase in DR”, and in the next sections we’ll mention some variables that impact this.

How many links you need in order to give your DR a nudge depends on:

  • The competitiveness in your industry
  • Your starting domain rate/authority
  • The general level of content and SEO optimization of your website
  • The level of authority of websites you backlink from

We couldn’t find any statistical data to support the claim that obtaining more links (and at a faster rate) than your competitors is a powerful ranking factor with a considerable influence on rankings.

However, the rise in DR points depends on the starting DR. The lower your DR is and the more high-quality backlinks you obtain, you can expect a bigger gain in DR. This can only achieved by creating and pitching high-quality, relevant content to the right publications whose high authority can transfer this “juice” onto you.

The key is in strategizing and building high-quality links as opposed to building a lot of mediocre or sub-par one. However, the number of backlinks can also play a role. But how to determine how many do you need?

How to Determine the Required Number of Backlinks For Your Website? (Factors to Take Into Account)

Let’s look at some general, widely applicable factors that can inform the quantity of backlinks needed for improving DR, visibility and traffic.

1. Look at Your Current Domain Rating (DR)/Domain Authority (DA)

Domain rating (DR) or domain authority (DA) is a numerical assessment of your website’s topical authority and strength. It is represented by a 1-100 scale, where a higher score denotes a greater authority and potentially better ranking in search results.

Factors that influence DR include:

  • Total number of backlinks pointing to a website
  • Quality of backlinks
  • Domain age and how long it’s been active 

Websites with higher DR and DA score have a better chance at ranking at or near the top of search results. Websites with lower DR score need to gain more authority via high-quality backlinks and other means in order to rank better.

In general terms, a DR score of over 50 is considered good and high authority. Websites with scores over 80 and 90 are very rare and are usually reserved with high-authority websites, well-known brands and famous publications, such as Yahoo!, Time, Forbes and others. Linkifi helps their clients get their backlinks on websites such as these!

One way to check for your website’s domain rating is via Ahref’s Site Explorer.

Under Overview on the Site Explorer page, after typing in your URL, you will notice a Backlink profile section with a DR score. This is an area of Ahrefs dashboard where you can also see your backlinks and referring domains quantity.

2. Check if You’re Using and Optimizing for the Right Keywords

Keyword research is the essential first step of every SEO, content and digital PR strategy. A properly conducted keyword research informs the direction and impacts the success of your backlinking effort.

When you’re conducting your keyword research, take these factors into account:

  • Keyword difficulty (KD): A metric that estimates how competitive a certain keyword is. The higher the KD, the more difficult it will be to rank for it, especially if your DR is low. You will need a big number of backlinks to rank well for that keyword, too. Lower KD score suggests there is less competition for that keyword, so ranking for it should be easier and demands fewer backlinks.
  • Search volume (SV): Another metrics that indicates the demand, or frequency of search queries for a certain keyword. For websites that are looking to increase their DR, targeting long-tail keywords with medium search volume (around 50) can be easier to rank for.
  • Search intent behind the keyword: Make sure you fully understand the users’ search intent behind every keyword you’re looking to use and target. Google the keyword and look at the best ranking websites in the search results. What types of pages show up? Are they product/service landing pages, or are they educational blog post on a given topic? The content you want to produce for a given keyword should match this type of page/user intent that Google ranks the best.
  • Your existing DR: A website’s domain authority matters when choosing a target keyword. If the domain authority is low, you’ll likely need more backlinks to compete with more established websites.

When analyzing the keyword’s competitiveness, many SEO tools will take the backlink profiles of top-ranking websites into account.

If a number of authoritative websites are ranking for a specific keyword, there’s a good chance that the KD will be high.

For example, the image below shows that the keyword “link building” has a KD of 88. You can look for keywords KD and SV (and other metrics) using Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer.

The top 10 results will typically have an extremely high domain rating, meaning the websites are considered highly authoritative. If you want to rank for that specific keyword like “backlinking”, you would need to have a hefty amount of backlinks to compete for one of these spots.

3. Look at the Quality and Quantity of Your Internal Links

Internal linking is an SEO approach that entails linking one page of your website to another page on the same domain. Like external backlinks, are built with anchor text, which is the clickable text that allows site users to move to another page. The anchor text should, whenever possible, contain the keyword you are trying to rank for and be relevant for the content on the linked page.

Internal linking has an impact on the total number of backlinks required to rank in SERPs, because it can:

  • Distribute “link juice”: When you link one of your web pages to another, the linking page passes on some of its authority (“link juice”) to the target page. Having strong internal links pointing to authoritative pages on your site can improve your rankings, and that means that you mey need fewer external backlinks to support the page.
  • Support lower authority pages: Internal links can support web pages with a lower authority or fewer external backlinks. By including links to your lower authority pages in a higher authority page, you indicate they are valuable and trustworthy. Which can, in time, help with visibility and rankings.
  • Enhance content relevance: Internal linking can help you create connections between related content on your website. By linking similar pages together, you create a network of information that improves search engines’ understanding of your website. This helps search engines to index your pages, which may increase authority.

While internal linking is an effective and essential part of any SEO strategy, it doesn’t and shouldn’t replace link building. External backlinks remain an essential part of building your website’s authority and credibility to search engines.

4. Analyze Your Competitors for Link Gaps

Another important step in evaluating how many backlinks you need in order to move the needle for your website’s DR and ranking is analyzing your competitors’ backlink profile.

You want to look at competitors’ websites that rank particularly well for your target keyword(s). 

The competitors you want to focus on in this step are the ones who rank well (preferrably on the first page) for the keyword(s) you want to tank for. You can gain valuable insights by comparing your own page with the corresponding one by the high-ranking competitor.

Specifically, you need to:

  • Examine their number of backlinks and referring domains
  • Locate their best backlinks
  • Discover links that you don’t have (the link gap – the amount ot backlinks required to land on one of Google’s top positions for a specific keyword)

For this exercise, you can use SEMrush or Ahrefs to look at initial target keyword and locate websites with domain authority similar to yours listed among top 10 search results. 

Once you have identified competitor websites with domain authorities similar to yours or higher, pick a few of them and look at their backlink profiles to determine which backlinks support the top rankings. Make sure to only look at “Dofollow” backlinks and count how many of them are useful for you.

Locating backlinks form websites with sufficiently high DR will tell you roughly how many backlinks you will need to match or surpass if you want to rank for the keyword and increase your DR.

5. Identify the Pages You Need to Build Backlinks to

You shouldn’t focus on building the links to all the pages on your website. Focus on building links to pages that drive traffic, convert visitors or generate leads and sales to your business.

To begin, look at the keywords that your site is currently ranking for on the top three pages of Google.

These are the keywords for which you have the best possibility of ranking first.

You may find these keywords for free using Google Search Console.

To find more relevant keywords, use the Semrush free trial or Ahrefs. 

You should now determine which keywords are most commercially relevant to your business. Create a selection of target keywords that you want to target. This usually entails eschewing high traffic, high competition terms in favor of super-targeted high search volume keywords.

And the Answer is…

In conclusion, determining the rough number of backlinks needed for improvement in DR/DA and, therefore, in SERP rankings should begin with these questions:

  • Is your page optimized for backlinks?
  • How big is the SEO competition for your target keyword?
  • How many backlinks and referring domains do top-ranking pages have?
  • Does your content meet high-quality and relevance standards?
  • How do backlink quantity and quality correlate?

As there is no definitive, general answer on the number of backlinks needed (the answer “it depends” really is relevant and the only competent one in this case), the real answer would be: 

Creating a well-thought-out backlinking strategy tailored to your specific business, requirements and situation is the only way to ensure your DR and rankings go up.

Second part of the answer, equally vital is: quality of backlinks matters much more than quantity, especially with Google’s growingly sophisticated algorithms favoring content and links that are relevant, helpful, well-researched and valuable.

Coming up with a broad range of backlink quantity or definitive statements in numbers would be unprofessional, insincere and irresponsible, as each business is a story of its own.

It’s worth noting that there is such a thing as acquiring too many backlinks too fast and that it can impact your website negatively, because Google may interpret this as suspicious, black-hat activity and penalize your business.

However, when done properly, digital PR service that creates and publishes well-researched, relevant and valuable content and backlinks on high-value domains – as done by Linkifi – is sure to get green flags by Google and contribute to much higher DA and SERP ranking in time.

Let Linkifi Help You Determine the Number of and Generate Backlinks From High-Authority Sites

Before pitching journalists and landing high-value links to your website, our experts can assess your business needs for backlinks and devise a strategy for acquiring the necessary amount of them.

We then source journalists’ inquiries, vet the sites, and pitch on your behalf in order to land a sufficient number of links from publications with high authority and domain rating.

Through white-label reporting we’ll provide you with the info and metrics of the links coming in in real-time.

FAQs on How Many Backlinks Does a Website Need to Boost DR

How many links does it take to rank high in search results?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for the number of backlinks needed to rank; it depends on the competitiveness of your niche/industry, the current authority of your website, the quality of your content, and the authoritativeness of your backlinks.

The quality of backlinks (backlinks coming from high-authority pages, in well-researched, relevant content that points to relevant and helpful pages on your website) is much more important.

How many backlinks are needed to increase Domain Authority?

In general, you need more backlinks for competitive keywords and fewer backlinks for less competitive keywords. The number of backlinks your competitors have will influence how many backlinks you will need.

Quality outweighs quantity in backlinks; one highly authoritative backlinks can outweigh many low quality links.

What makes a high-quality backlink?

Because high-quality backlinks are crucial to a website’s ranking, it’s critical to khow to recognize them. Here are some things to look out for:

Backlinks from websites relevant to your industry or area of expertise are more valuable than links from random, non-related websites. Search engines understand that your content is important to your target audience and your industry when related websites link to it.

Backlinks from high-authority pages are more valuable than links from lower-ranking sites. These backlinks also have a stronger impact on your search engine rankings.

How can I get a backlink from a high-authority website?

Getting backlinks from large, high-authority publications is not easy if you are not an established business and don’t have carefully nurtured relationships with influential media.

Linkifi can land powerful, earned backlinks for you by pitching journalists from high DR websites (current average DR for placements is 79) – such as Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post etc. – to boost your business with impactful digital PR.

Get high-authority links

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