I get asked this same question over and over.
How many backlinks do I need from high PR pages to attain the desired Google PageRank for my site?
I never give the same answer twice.
Everyone who’s serious about inbound marketing and building organic traffic for their website very soon understands how backlinks are hugely important to Google PageRank.
But even so, it’s difficult to quantify the value of link-building efforts in a systematic way, especially in a way which can justify the expense to clients, management and website owners.
So let me quantify the value of backlinks for you ~ comparatively ~ by measuring the value of links in terms of other links’ PageRank.
In other words, how many PR4 links is a PR5 link worth?.
The problem with valuing links
Covering the market pricing of paid links with statistics from link marketers, and what paid links are worth in terms of effort and resulting traffic, is beyond this simple investigation. This is by no means a complete model for valuing back-linking activities and determining their ROI, and the ability to achieve Google PageRank.
However, it will give you a sound understanding of the value of backlinks, and just how many you may need.
Some years ago, several SEO specialists calculated and published PageRank tables based on Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s (founders of Google), original paper. However, I couldn’t find any evidence of anyone ever doing statistical measurements to check or calibrate their tables accurately; but you can easily find some pseudo-science if you do a Google image search on “google PageRank table”, and then read the pages they appear on.
Most of them appear to show that each level of page rank is worth about 5.5 times the previous level ~ i.e. a PR5 link is worth 5.5 times a PR4 link, and so on.
Although nobody knows the exact Google PageRank values, the table below gives a fairly good representation of how many external links, of specific PageRank values, are required to achieve the desired Google PageRank.
For example, if you want to know how many incoming PR4 links that are required to achieve a PR4 for your site, you simply look down the PR4 column, until you come to the PR4 row and the answer is 18.5.
So you need 18.5 PR4 links to achieve a PageRank 4 for your site? Well, not quite.
This is certainly the case, if all of the incoming links are from PR4 pages with less than 50 external links and the links are semantically on-focus with your content, but the value of the PR4 link is reduced if there are more than 50 links on the page and the page topic is not on focus with your site.
As a guideline, however, the table below gives a good indication of what you can expect.
|PR||Links For PR3||Links For PR4||Links for PR5||Links for PR6||Links for PR7||Links for PR8|
Comparing PageRank values
I am often asked what a PR4 link is worth, or a PR5 link is worth compared to a PR3 link, for example, so to try and make it easy to understand, I have listed some PR3 equivalents below, which should make it easier to see the comparative values, at least.
|PR2 =||0.2||of a PR3 backlink|
|PR3 =||1||PR3 backlink|
|PR4 =||5 x||PR3 backlinks|
|PR5 =||25 x||PR3 backlinks|
|PR6 =||125 x||PR3 backlinks|
|PR7 =||625 x||PR3 backlinks|
As you can see above, a PR6 link is comparative in value to 125 PR3 links, so it seems fairly obvious that your time is better spent in trying to achieve a few quality links rather than bundles of lesser quality links.
I have used the example of PR3 links as a standard SEO assumption says that if a link does not appear on a page of at least PR3, it is not worth the effort.
But it may be worth considering a link from a web page of PageRank 2 or above ~ remembering Google is always changing its algorithm and the higher the better ~ as long as it meets the following:
- Semantically focused on your product or service
- The website’s index page has a PR of 4 or above
- There are less than 50 links on the page
- There are no undesirable external links on the page
- There are no nofollow tags on the links
- There is no robots metatag on the page with the content,” noindex, nofollow”
- The link is not redirected
So, how much is a link worth?
Well, I can’t tell you what a PR1 link or a PR2 link is worth in absolute terms, since the tables measure the “average” value of links on the web. However, these PageRank calculations are not too far off with an comparative value of 5.5, level to level, in my estimation.
But what I do know is this. Nobody, outside Google knows exactly how PageRank works, or what relevance is put on each PageRank value or social signal, but these tables have been extrapolated from all of the articles on the subject, together with my own experience of the effects of PageRank on my client’s sites. The figures on the tables are rounded up and I make no claims to the absolute accuracy. These figures, however, do ring true with my experience.
Your link-building campaign
And think about it for a moment. This knowledge is of great significance and value to link-building campaigns. If you have a choice between sending an email to ten webmasters requesting 10 potential PR4 links, versus two webmasters requesting a single PR6 link, it actually is more efficient to spend significant time crafting your email for the PR6 link, as it is worth 5 x 5 = 25 PR4 links.
Although link-building is a laborious and time-consuming task, every website owner should be running an ongoing link-building campaign, either themselves or through a search engine optimisation professional.
You should be looking to add the equivalent of at least 30 PR3s to your site each month, preferably made up of higher PageRank links, i.e. 6 x PR4s or a PR 5 and 5 PR3s.
Don’t go crazy and try and bring in hundreds of links in one month ~ keep the progression as natural as possible ~ or another part of Google’s algorithm (link velocity) will get you sand-boxed, or even worse.
So what strategies do you use for link-building and how do you approach other webmasters? What do you find works for you, and what doesn’t? Let me know. I’m always interested to learn something new.