Yes it’s a question I get asked all the time! Regardless of what Matt Cutts says about links it is a fact that links and more importantly how many you have pointing at your website are one of the largest factors in how well you will rank in the engines period!

So how many do you need exactly. Well as a rough guide try this

For a top 10 position, your text link count should outnumber the count of half of the 10 top ranked pages, and also exceed the count for two-thirds of the top 20 pages.

For a top 3 position, on average, you will need to have 50{43946a6dc24a630024a4956007774dcc8df1489b9e2ae5f76e983656afc81d57} more text links than were required to crack the top 10, although in some markets there may be a wide gap between the top few sites and the rest of the top 10.

Try that and you won’t go far wrong

Mark.