The total number of backlinks does not matter

Google’s John Mueller claims that the total number of backlinks a website has is irrelevant to the search algorithm.

One good link from a relevant website can have more impact than millions of poor quality links.

This was stated by Mueller during the Google Search Central SEO Hangout recorded on February 19.

A site owner submits the following question to Mueller: “What matters more? The number of unique referring backlink domains or the total number of backlinks?”

Sometimes known for his vague answers, Mueller couldn’t be clearer in explaining how little either of these factors matter to Google.

Read his full response in the section below.

Google’s John Mueller on backlinks

Mueller advises site owners not to focus on the total number of links pointing to their site or the total number of unique referring domains.

Google doesn’t evaluate links this way, he explains:

“I don’t think we differentiate like that in our systems. From my perspective, I would tend not to focus on the total number of links to your site, or the total number of domain links to your website, because we look at links in a very different way .

What matters to Google when it comes to links is how relevant each one is to the website it points to.

This is how Google determines the weight of individual links. The total number “doesn’t matter at all”.

In theory, a site could create millions of links on millions of domains, and Google could end up ignoring them.

“We’re trying to figure out what’s relevant to a website, how much should we weigh those individual links, and the total number of links doesn’t matter. Because you could create millions of links on millions of websites if you wanted to, and we could just ignore them all.

Mueller says a single link from a relevant source can send a stronger signal to Google about how it should treat that page.

It gives a hypothetical example of a page linked to a major news site. Google would see it as an important page even if it’s one of the only links it has.

“Or there could be a very good link on a website which is, for us, a very important sign that we should treat this website as something relevant because it contains this link. I don’t know, can -be from the homepage of a large news site, for example.So the total number is essentially completely irrelevant.

Quality over quantity is what matters to Google.

Listen to Mueller’s full response in the video below:

For more information on this Hangout, please see the articles below:

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