We all know that backlinks are a Google huge ranking factor.
That said, not all websites need thousands of high-quality backlinks to optimize your website for Google search.
The question is:
How many backlinks should a small niche website have?
The number of backlinks you need to build for a small niche website depends on the number of backlinks that your competitors already built for their websites.
It is therefore recommended to do an extensive competitor analysis before creating any SEO link building campaigns for your small niche blog. You will then be able to understand the exact number of backlinks you need to build.
In this guide, I will describe the whole process step by step.
Let’s dive in!
- Step #1: Personal Website Audit
- Step #2 Competitor Analysis
- Step #3: Link Building
- Step #4: SEO Boosters
Step #1: Personal Website Audit
In order to build a strong link profile to outrank your niche competitors, you will need to perform your own website SEO audit first.
It will help you:
- Find the weak spots which you need to fix
- Find the strong spot that you need to work on
We will use the following tools:
- Ahrefs Backlink Checker
- MozBar extension
Now let take a look at the process.
Head over to OpenLinkProfiler and type in your website URL.
Check out the backlinks from low-quality sources such as:
- Blog comments
- Article Directories
- Content Mills
- Spammy websites
Google does not like spammy backlinks(Source). So should not you. Get rid of them as quickly as possible.
You should also make sure that your link profile is diversified.
It is worth mentioning that the link profile analysis is only one element of any website SEO audit.
Step #4 in this post covers the topic more in detail.
But for now, let’s move on to the second step.
Step #2 Competitor Analysis
Let’s assume that you blog about French Bulldogs.
We will need to analyze your top competitors and find out the ways to beat them.
Here is how what you can do:
1Use Google Search
Type in your industry target keyword in the Google search tab and click on search.
The best result I found was FrenchBulldogSecrets
2Check their backlinks with Ahrefs
Ahrefs backlink checker is probably the most accurate tool you can use to analyze a website’s link profile.
First, visit Ahrefs backlink checker page and type in the website URL and click on Check backlinks
The result shows that the website has about 700 backlinks and 60 referring domains. The domain rating is not high.
What does this result tell you?
You need to build more than 700 backlinks from more than 60 referring domains for your small niche website to beat the main competitor and rank higher for your niche main keyword.
(And don’t forget that quality matters more than quantity. So if your competitor has all of those links from low-authority resources you can beat him much less number of backlinks that come from big industry websites).
Pro Tip: If you use Ahrefs premium version you can save the list of linking websites and later contact their owners asking to link to your blog. Each of the needs a strong reason to do so but that is another story.
3Single post backlink analysis
Assuming that people are searching for articles(rather than websites) it is important to perform this kind of analysis every time you want to write a blog post.
Let’s check out how to determine the article ranking potential.
Say that I want to write a blog post about French Bulldog Life Jackets. This is what my quick research process would look like.
First, Google search:
Second, we use the MozBar Google extension to check the competition level. The top-performing result has a domain authority 44 and page authority 21:
You may also notice that the number of pointing backlinks is 0. Bingo!
It is a sure sign that you can compete for that keyword and win the position in search. And yes, you will need at least 1 quality backlink to stand a chance.
Note: Backlinks are extremely important for ranking high on Google search but there are many more factors that influence your position such as content quality and user experience(UX). If your blog does not provide useful information to users, backlinks will not save it.
Step #3: Link Building
Now that you found out how many backlinks a small website should have exactly, it is time to build them.
Let me share with you some of the most reliable link-building strategies that will help your content rank higher on Google.
1. Guest Posting
Not only does guest blogging help you build powerful backlinks it also can increase your authority.
First, find the blogs for guest posting
You may use a couple of these search strings:
- Keyword “guest post”
- Keyword “write for us”
- Keyword “submit your content”
Or find an already-made list of websites that accept guest posts.
Then, do a quick research
All good blogs that accept guest posting have guidelines. Read them all very carefully.
Next, send a pitch letter
Usually, the necessary elements of your pitch are outlined in the guidelines, here are the most popular:
- The headline of your article
- Short draft
- Your specialty
- Other examples of your guest posts
- Your author bio
Finally, write your post and send it
Do not forget to include a couple of links in the body of the post(if it is permitted) and author bio.
2. Email Outreach
Email outreach is one of the best ways to build some good backlinks for a small niche blog.
You will need:
- A piece of great content
Start with the website owners who previously linked to your competitors. You can tell that those guys may be willing to link to your website because they already linked to other industry-related blogs.
I suggest you using a 2-step approach. It does not look spammy and shows respect to the webmasters.
Your letters may look like this:
Hi [First Name], I know you are really busy with [name of the blog].
You also probably get tons of emails, so I’ll be really brief.
As someone who writes about [niche name] and enjoys articles about [top articles on the blogger’s website], you may find this interesting.
I’ve recently finished my super-informative article – [Name of the article].
I would love if you take a professional look, mind if I send it to you?
Note: You do not push anyone and do not throw your link at the blogger’s face.
When you get a positive response, follow up your letter with this script.
Super! Thanks! Here is the link to my post: [Post URL]
Tell me what you think about it. Cheers!
And if they really like your content they will link to you. There is even no need to ask for that and be pushy.
Okay, let’s check out the next link building strategy that works great for the niche websites.
3. Broken Link Building
First, you need to install an extension.
If you use Google Chrome, I recommend using “LinkMiner”.
Then, you need to find some popular pages on the web.
Or any other pages that have lots of outbound links. Check the links on the page using an extension.
You can find some broken links there:
Next, contact the webmaster
Here is the script you may try:
Subject: Something wrong with the link
Hello, [Name], I came across your website today. It’s fantastic!
I found lots of great content on it. But, I also found a link that doesn’t work fine.
Here it is: [URL of broken links].
Actually, I recently published a great article on the same topic and it may be a great replacement to the broken link.
Here is the link to my article: [Article URL].
Thank you for your time, hope it’s gonna help.
Note: If all links on the resource pages are fine, you may still persuade the website owner to add your website/article to the list.
4. Resource Pages
Resource pages can be a goldmine for link builders because they were made for linking to other websites.
First, use the following search strings:
- “Keyword” + inurl:links
- “Keyword” + “useful resources”
Then, analyze its potential
Forget about the page if it looks too spammy and outdated.
Next, send an outreach email
Try this template:
Hi [Name], I came across to your resource page recently.
I found lots of great content on it. In fact, I recently published a post about [Topic].
It’s [Brief Description].
If you are interested you may take a quick look: [URL].
By the way, I am sure it may become a nice addition to your resource page.
Thank you for your work and time. Have a great day!
Step #4: SEO Boosters
As I have already mentioned above, building backlinks is only one step toward ranking success on Google.
If you want your website to dominate the search and bring consistent traffic to your blog you need to optimize for other SEO factors.
The ranking factors below are considered the “pillar rankings” in an SEO world and should be treated seriously.
In other words, if you want to beat your competition you NEED to consider these factors as well.
1. Technical SEO
These important elements(and many others) go under technical SEO:
- Website crawlability and indexability
- Website architecture
- Missing duplicates
- Missing broken links
- Missing thin content
You can use this technical SEO checklist to optimize for these and many other factors.
2. Quality Content
Quality content is one of the 3 top ranking signals. (Source)
I personally consider it as #1 ranking factor out there.
If you want to rank high you need to consistently produce high-quality content that appeals to people and search engines.
These are the quick tips you can use right now:
- Publish long and informative posts(>1500 words)
- Write short paragraphs and sentences
- Add rich media
- Add keywords in the title and across the article (do not go overboard)
- Include inbound and outbound links to authority resources
- Create a short URL
You already know that backlinks and content are two of the top 3 ranking signals.
What is the 3rd one?
3. Google RankBrain
Google RankBrain is all about user satisfaction.
To make sure that you stand a chance before your competition you need to consider the following steps:
- Increase organic CTR. Write compelling article headlines and descriptions.
- Bounce Rate and Dwell Time. Beef your posts up with easy-to-digest tips and actionable strategies. Increase users’ reading experience.
- The number of returned visitors. Collect email addresses from your blog visitors and notify them when you have a new piece of content published.
- User Experience(UX). Optimize your website for mobile. Increase its speed. Work on its design.
And this is it!
Now you know exactly how many backlinks a small niche website should have and some additional things to consider for outranking competitors.
How many backlinks do you plan to build in the nearest future?
Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.
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