Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Mick King on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, May 17, 2018).

Realistic number of refering backlinks

For a new website when you choose your keywords. What number of refering backlinks would you say you have a realistic chance of ranking along side. Example if one competitor has 350 refering backlinks would you say you had a good chance of competing with them or what is the limt of refering backlinks you would not go near for the keyword required

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Michael Martinez: If you only look at backlinks you are missing part of the framework a search engine uses to determine where and when your content will be shown in search results. Links only help so much. You have to do the rest on content. So it`s not realistic to estimate how well you can compete against another site based on backlinks or content. It`s like partially mixing two colors of paint and trying to determine where the colors blend the most and the least.
  • Mile Živković: Take a look at what else out there ranks for a given keyword. If the existing content is poor, even a high-difficulty keyword won`t be too hard to rank for.
  • Mick King: Thanks guys relevent content relevant links
  • Dave Elliott: I kinda agree with michael. One of the most important questions to ask is "can we create a page that answers the queary better than the competition" that said a layer of data on top of that is needed and comparing link data and things like trustflow is not a bad way to go.
  • Dave Elliott: I won`t ever say don`t bother if they have x links though. Firstly it depends on how many you have at both a page and domain level and secondly Wikipedia aren`t top for every queary so it is more than possible to outrank the biggest of fish.
  • Mick King: Would that mean they have pbn that we can`t see
  • Dave Elliott: No, most would be entirely legit links. Just answers the queary better & has been linked to from authoritative sources.
  • Michael Martinez: Not sure I trust the metric completely because it was dropped in the middle of a presentation, but one survey of Websites with backlinks (and I believe they reviewed several million sites) concluded that about 70% of sites did not have any backlinks (that they could find). I think this was at the recent Brighton SEO conference. Take that with a grain of salt, but I am sure they were confident in their data set.
  • Dave Elliott: Think I was in that talk and wanted to know how far they were looking down the serps and what search volumes the keywords had. I`m sure they are correct but would suggest they were looking a long way down the serps. Certainly doesn`t conform to top 3 positions for anything I have looked at.
  • Michael Martinez: Dave Elliott I`m just pulling this off the top of my head as it seems relevant. Not sure I trust my memory and it was hardly the full point of their presentation.
  • Dave Elliott: Yeah, if memory serves it was in one of the page speed lectures?
  • Mick King: Would that mean they have pbn we can`t see how would I find that out sorry newbie questions!
  • Michael Martinez: That`s really not a discussion worth having. If you spend too much time looking at someone else`s links you start to imagine all sorts of things. The search engines will try to ignore those links if they violate the guidelines. You really need to focus on what YOU can do for YOUR site that helps it grow.
  • Mick King: That`s great advice thanks
  • Tony Kelly: Build content around keywords that you can compete for currently. If that`s long tail keywords that there is less competition for, then so be it. If you immediately start targeting competitive keywords there`s a chance you won`t rank well for anything - better to target smaller volume, less competitive keywords and have some traffic than have none.As you build authority / links over time, adapt or build new content that allows you to compete with higher authority websites.If you`re targeting local search traffic, citations can be as powerful as links and you will need to tailor your approach to suit. Lots of the fundamentals still apply, but there are other factors to layer on top for local SEO.
  • Greg Moro: Another consideration is understanding the intent of the searcher/query as well as the SERPs for the KWs you are targeting. For example, if you are an ecommerce site, and the SERPs contain mostly ecommerce sites, then you know your site is a fit. If the SERPs are all over the place with ecommerce sites, local results, recipes etc., Google is either looking for diversity or doesn`t have a great grasp of what the best results should be (for example, some words have multiple meanings). The main idea here is understanding the intent of the query and what types of sites Google thinks are good to serve as results. You may not want to do this for all KWs, just the most important ones (depending on size of site). You can then layer in some of the competitor backlink data to get a sense for what it would take to compete in those SERPs, but like others said, don`t over-focus on this...make sure you are making content that is (perceived as) high-quality.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, May 17, 2018).

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