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How Many Quality Backlinks Make a Difference?

So, you want to get your affiliate site ranked, but how many (quality) backlinks do you need to witness any noticeable results? Moreover, what is a quality backlink in the first place?

The Quality Of Backlinks

Essentially, the higher the PageRank (PR) of the page giving you the backlink and the more relevant it is to your site, the more quality the backlink is.

Now, the story with PR is that it’s not a linear scale. In fact, it’s logarithmic. What this means is that the PR4 page is not just “slightly” better than the PR3 page. It’s more like 8 times better (base 8 logarithmic scale).

Just to simplify things a bit, we can say that a link from a PR4 page is 8 times more valuable than a link from a PR3 page. Of course, this doesn’t take the relevance of the page into account, which is a huge factor as well.

Page vs. Site

As you can see, we’re focusing on how to get quality and relevant backlinks from a PRX page, not site. That’s because Google actually publishes PR for individual pages and not for complete sites/domains.

This is a common misconception that is mostly overused by people trying to sell you links. They often advertise their services saying that they can get you links from PR5 domains, for example. When in fact, the truth is that only the homepage is PR5 and the rest of the site is much less authoritative.

The Numbers

As it turns out, it is not a surprise that the exact number of backlinks you need in order to rank well depends 100% on your niche, the keyword you’re after and the SEO competition of the niche itself.

For example, if you’ve found an under-the-radar keyword that doesn’t have much competition then you can often get ranked with just one high quality link (from a PR7 page, for example). However, for highly competitive niches, even tens of PR7 backlinks might not be enough to do ANY significant difference.

Natural Profile

Apart from getting quality backlinks, you also need to mind your backlink profile as a whole. In short, getting only PR7 links without any other links (PR0, 1, 2, etc.) will make your profile highly unnatural and suspicious, which will result in Google not crediting you for all your efforts.

Natural backlink profiles are always comprised of links coming from all PR scores, and not just one or two. Same thing goes for follow vs. nofollow backlinks. Although it is believed that only the standard follow links pass link juice, your profile needs to have a big number of nofollow links as well. Again, just because it is a more natural-looking structure.

In essence, the SEO word for 2013 is diversification. It’s not only the numbers that matter, but also the structure of the backlink profile and the overall impression of how natural it is. In a word, your backlinks need to be diverse.