• author: Robbie Richards

How to Identify Backlinks Needed to Rank a Content Piece: A Comprehensive Guide

In the digital world, any website's success depends on how well it is ranking on the search engine result pages (SERPs). A considerable factor in improving the rank of a page is building high-quality backlinks to the content piece. But how many backlinks are required to rank the content piece and how to identify them? It's a crucial question to ask and answer before starting a link building campaign.

In this article, we will guide you through a step-by-step process to identify the number and quality of backlinks a content piece requires to rank. Let's dive into the process:

Step 1: Identify the Keyword and Content Piece

Firstly, select the content piece for which you want to identify the backlinks. It could be a blog article, website page, or any other type of digital content. Secondly, identify the keyword for which you want to rank the content piece.

For instance, if your website's niche is affiliate marketing, you might want to rank for the keyword "best Circ trackers," a keyword that monetizes primarily through affiliate revenue and lucrative for your website.

Step 2: Open the Keyword Explorer Overview Report

Now, enter the identified keyword in the search bar of any SEO tool (we recommend Ahrefs), and it will display the top pages report. From the primary keyword, select the one with the most volume behind it, right-click, and open it in a new tab. It will bring you to the keyword explorer overview report.

Step 3: Focus on the Referring Domains Column

Once you're on the SERPs overview report, focus on the referring domains column. It will show the number of domains linking to the content piece. But note that this number could be misleading and often higher than the actual number of backlinks required to rank.

Now, pick a domain that is ranking for a similar content type as your selected content piece and has a similar domain rating score. For instance, for our example keyword, let's select "marketing Arsenal" as it is in a listicle format, just like our content piece. We can see here that our current domain rating is 70, and marketing Arsenal has a domain rating of 56, which is lower than ours.

Step 4: Open the Referring Domains Report

To further narrow down the search and to get the lowest feasible link count, right-click on the domain link, open it in a new tab; it will bring you to the referring domains report for that specific URL.

Now, apply different filters to get more relevant results. Firstly, set the referring domains to "do follow links" only. Secondly, set the domain rating filter to a minimum of 30. It will trim off those low-quality domains that won't have significant links' impact. Lastly, set a domain traffic filter and set it to any traffic from 1 to eliminate the sites with artificially high domain rating scores.

After all filters, the previously mentioned "92 referring domains" reduced to "23 domains," which is a much more manageable number.

Step 5: Skim over the Remaining List of Referring Domains

Once you have obtained the relevant and feasible number of domains, skim over the remaining list of referring domains and make a mental note of any topically irrelevant domains. Eliminate them from the target list so that you can compare apples to apples as much as possible.

Step 6: Observe the Quality of Links

Also, observe the domain rating distribution pockets that the links are in and assess the backlinks' quality you need. Since marketing Arsenal has eight DR 80+ links and nine DR 70 to 79 ranging links, it is challenging to replicate this link profile. But not impossible, it just takes some time.

Step 7: Calculate How Many Backlinks To Build On A Monthly Basis

To calculate how many backlinks you need to build on a ongoing basis, set the backlinks filter over different periods (30 days, 90 days, and 6 months) to see how many backlinks are being generated on average.

For instance, look at marketing Arsenal's backlinks that meet the above filters match our example keyword's content piece. It generated no new referring domains or backlinks to this asset in the last 30 days, a few backlinks in the previous 90 days, and four links in the previous six months. It is an indication that not many new links are required going forward.

Step 8: Prioritize the Link Building Efforts

Finally, prioritize your link building efforts based on the highest priority content assets. Use SEO tools' subfolder filters or keyword modifiers to narrow your focus and select the assets that need additional backlinks. For instance, in an affiliate marketing website, the pages that might require extra link building are usually product pages, best tools, software alternatives, or competitor type articles.

Additional Tips

  • Update the content piece before starting backlink building to improve the chances of ranking.
  • Avoid topically irrelevant domains to stay away from any negative SEO impact.
  • Target quality links over quantity.
  • Optimize the webpage for the selected keyword and other related keywords.
  • Monitor the backlinks regularly to identify any broken links, potential negative SEO impact, and opportunities to acquire new links.


Link building is a crucial factor in ranking any content piece. The process mentioned above can assist in identifying the number and quality of backlinks required to rank the content piece. Once you know the number of feasible backlinks, prioritize your link building efforts to improve your website's ranking on the SERPs and drive more traffic.

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