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Getting to page one of Google: “How Many Links Though?”

“How do we get to page one of Google?”

As an SEO consultant, this is probably my number one FAQ. That and, “fancy a brew?”

It’s also really not that straightforward to answer. And I usually just go with the standard ‘it depends on…’ then launch into a full-on explanation of all the possible factors that affect it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve left people looking totally bewildered.

So in today’s technicalities-explained post on the blog, I thought I’d have a go at describing what it really takes to get to page one of Google. I even include a working example from a Fishpool client, too, to try and bring things into focus a little.

What it boils down to

We’ve put our thinking hats on, and have done a bit of ranking ourselves. There’s an (almost) endless list of factors that can affect you getting onto page one of Google, including but not limited to: content relevance, content depth, linking domains, on page optimization, click through rate (CTR), mobile optimization, page speed, SSL certificates and keyword density.

So first of all the Fishpool team have ‘ranked’ our top three factors that help websites get to page one of Google:

Getting to page one of Google depends on…

  • Building Links
  • On Page Interaction
  • Content

On Page Interaction is so important because the website itself plays a big part in Google’s ‘response’ based rankings. Things like user experience, time spent on site (bounce rate), page visits per session and page loading speed all add up. The easier it is for a user to use and interact with the website, the better it performs in the rankings. But this factor in isolation won’t get you to page 1.

Content is also a major factor when aiming for page one of Google. Content relevance, depth, topic, title, word count and objective all play a role in sending the right signals to Google. Another content-related factor that people often overlook is how your content successfully promotes brand awareness, but more on that in a later blog post from PR geek, Rachel.

So that leads us to our Numero Uno ranking factor, yep it’s links! The type, volume and authority of links to your website all influence where it ranks in Google. And when done right, it’s those links that are gonna push you to page one.

Disclaimer Alert 📣🚨

Everybody knows that links (and your backlink profile) are crucial for website rankings. But there are so many metrics behind a backlink portfolio that are interconnected. Just changing one or two in isolation won’t increase your rankings.

Page one and the high search volume niches are extremely competitive. The first positions are occupied by the biggest sites, with the richest backlink portfolios. So it pays to focus efforts where competition isn’t so intense, like lower volume result pages and trying to get your sites subpages pages to rank.

This disclaimer is so necessary, as, for some sites, page one is just not feasible, or even the best approach.

Let’s get straight into the nitty-gritty. Links are super important, but what do we mean by backlink portfolio? What’s all this behind-the-scenes stuff?

First, you’ve got to consider the quality of the links you build. Things to consider here are:

  • What’s the subject matter of the page that’s linking to your site? Does it fit in with your site? Is it relevant?
  • Is the linking site trustworthy? Moz helps us establish this with Trust Flow.
  • How does the linking site fair-up when ranked against other URLs for key criteria? aHrefs URL rating helps us understand this.

Also, what makes a link a good link? This can be summarised by evaluating the total numbers of:

  • Domains that link to it (i.e. referring domains)
  • Links that point to it (i.e. backlinks)
  • Different IP addresses that link to it (i.e. referring IP’s)
  • Follow backlinks (the ones that allow Google to pass authority)
  • Different anchor texts, and the variety of keywords in those anchors.

That’s a lot of metrics to consider. What if we delve further, into just one metric?

Let’s think about just one of the above metrics for a second. Anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. And it’s really important when you’re trying to get subpages to rank for specific keywords.
Now, there’s a lot of thought that goes into each backlink that is built, in terms of making the link and the backlink profile as a whole look “natural”. And what I mean by that, is that if a website has a backlink profile with all the anchor texts having highly competitive or unnatural keywords then the profile will look a highly suspicious. And could attract a penalty from Google.

There are a number of ways a Webmaster/SEO can monitor and optimise a backlink profile to maintain a healthy balance of natural keyworded anchor text links. Webmaster tools by Google is a good place to start, but also tools like aHrefs and SEMrush provide us vital information on backlink profiles.

In a nutshell, link-building is a complicated (but very rewarding) task when done right. And it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that, it’s better to build a handful of high-quality links – that meet the above criteria – than to build 100 low-quality links.

So with the knowledge and right tools available, you can come up with an average number of links it will take to get your domain or subpages ranking. At Fishpool, we use data from aHrefs keyword explorer and other tools to figure out what it’s going to take to get your keywords ranking.

Let’s consider a real-life example from a Fishpool client

Since January 2017, we have been building links with this client, mainly via Guest Posting.

The first two graphs show growth of the number of referring domains and referring pages (hence the guest posting increasing):

The subsequent graphs show the increase in organic traffic and organic ranking keywords:

We can see here that as the total number of referring domains grow, so does organic traffic and organic keyword rankings, too.

The big question, answered?

The big question might be “Getting to page one of Google: How Many Links Though?” but what I have tried to demonstrate in this post is that it’s really, really not that straightforward. But as you can see from our example, it is possible and it does work.

If you want to have a chat with us about all this link-building lingo, and how it can benefit your business, then drop Rachel an email on Rachel@modular.fishpoolmarketing.com. She’d be happy to have a chat!