If your site or specific page URL acquired 100 hyperlinks today and 10,000 tomorrow (without any virality involved), would that look natural to you?
Google doesn’t think so either.
If you build links too quickly in an unnatural way, it is likely to sound the search spider alarm bells.
But, what is it?
How is it calculated?
Why does it matter?
How do you implement a proper and natural link velocity?
Let’s dive in..
Table of Contents
The Math of Link Velocity
Link velocity refers to the number of backlinks pointing to a single URL, measured over time.
Backlinks are essential because they increase your page rank with major search engines.
As search engines and other crawling software become more sophisticated, they can find and index links faster than ever before. Link velocity is the term given to describe this phenomenon.
The relatively new SEO field involves strategies for ranking websites in search engine results pages (SERPs), thus increasing their exposure and popularity.
Link velocity trends are like many things in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) – it may be something you know exists, but you might not realize how significant an impact it has on your site’s rankings.
What Is a Good Link Velocity?
A good link velocity for Amazon.com is going to be very different from a startup doing SEO.
Amazon is acquiring thousands of natural backlinks daily, while a new website has no business of acquiring more than a handful in a week.
The best gauge of what might be a natural link velocity for your website is to look at the historical link velocity trends of your website.
You can certainly ramp up what was curated historically, but just not too quickly.
If you acquired 10 links last week, then you may justifiably be able to acquire 15 or 20 the subsequent week, but not 500.
It is best advised to work with an SEO expert to determine the best velocity for your link growth.
Virality & the Importance Of Quickly-Appearing Links
Within search and social media, building links are the most critical tool for communication. Companies creating content exist in a competitive environment where every second counts: Links need to show up as quickly as possible after publishing.
If you can naturally scale your link building, the faster the links appear, the better it is for companies looking to maximize traffic and visibility.
The optimal link velocity can also be enhanced through different frameworks, such as social media marketing.
PageRank is a number assigned to pages by Google that essentially tells us how important they are within the entire index.
We’re all familiar with this concept because of browser toolbars that assign web pages a PR value, generally ranging from 0 to 10+ (for sites like Wikipedia).
A higher link velocity means that a site is popular and well-respected within its field. High link velocity also shows us how fast a website changes, which can tell us if it has been recently updated or not.
For instance, if we see two sites side by side, one with many links and one with none, we expect the site with many links to be more influential than the other. However, too many new backlinks coming in at once will seem unnatural and might raise red flags with the search engines.
The proper balance between how much you publish and how fresh your content should be – meaning when you last updated it – is called the ‘sweet spot’ for link velocity.
If you publish too often, your website will have no time to accumulate PageRank, authority, or trust amongst link participants.
A link building strategy that has been adopted by many designers lately is called “linking out.” This means that one page, upon linking to another page or website, will place the website’s link within proximity of the first page’s link.
The idea behind this tactic is that linking out increases the likelihood that an automated crawler will find it and follow both links back to their respective destinations.
The Power (and Danger) Of Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal links, also known as “Network Links,” are links used to trade traffic with another site. This is done through a simple system where you link your site to theirs.
In return, they link back to yours on the same page, in the same post, or within an article.
You obtain these links from other websites that share information about your site with their readers. Besides, they might also offer a reciprocal link on their websites in return for a link on yours.
Reciprocal links serve as an advertising tool that spreads your brand name further while not making any effort. You may have experienced receiving reciprocal links already without even knowing it!
When you search for something on Google, the results page also shows other websites which have reciprocal links with your website.
There is no exact science as to which reciprocal links you need, so it’s best to approach every website, hoping you can obtain a reciprocal link from them.
If the website has content related to your site’s content, you have to see if there is some way you can provide them with information or access they might need help with that will encourage them to exchange reciprocal link arrangements with you.
The benefit of reciprocal linking is that not only will it drive more traffic towards both sites, but it will allow you to build up your PageRank faster by increasing the number of PageRank (PR) passing-links pointing at your site.
While it is difficult to determine which reciprocal link partner will click through on their end, several steps can be taken to increase the likelihood of them clicking through.
This includes placing reciprocal link buttons in sufficient quantity at strategic locations throughout your website or including them in prominent positions within your resource center.
Hence, potential visitors see them upon entry onto your website.
What Does Google Say About Link Velocity?
According to Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s webspam team, when it comes to link building,
It isn’t necessarily about the raw number of links that you have pointing to your site but more about the velocity. The velocity really matters. So, getting a link from Forbes is going to earn you a much higher spot in our rankings than 100 links from Dog O’ Blog because Forbes has such high authority.
The real focus is on how quickly those links are acquired.
The faster you obtain the quality links, the more helpful they can (not will) be, as long as you have a good link velocity growth pace.
And typically, sites get a more considerable SEO boost by having more quality inbound links coming in over time than they would if they had fewer inbound links, but you need to have a throttle or governor on there as well.
Google comes up with the following recommendations regarding the optimal number of new links:
- Anchor text pointing back to your domain should not appear on more than 20% of the total number of referring domains each month.
- The ratio between external and internal anchor text pointing back to your site shouldn’t be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s 10 to 1 or more, you might want to reduce the link velocity.
As mentioned, if there are too many unnatural links pointing to one page, it can be considered an attempt at manipulation.
This is because these links probably point to multiple web pages to give more weight to search engine results.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
While Google can crawl an ever-increasing number of pages, it still takes time for content to appear in search results.
The interval between the first crawl and its appearance in search results tends to be around three months on average.
Here are some of the guidelines provided by Google Webmaster!
- Links from websites with spam or other violations of guidelines, whether in the past or more recently, may not count as a plus for your website
- Links from “bad neighborhoods” on the web will be counted less favorably
- When offering reciprocal links to another site, check their link policy before requesting a reciprocal link
- If their link guidelines allow for reciprocal links, please follow their guidelines exactly when offering them a reciprocal link back to your site
- Requesting reciprocal links should always be done after reviewing their page rank and status within search engines
There are some strategies that you can use to increase your reciprocal link numbers; these include adding reciprocal links to several of your pages instead of just one page at one domain.
Hence, if you find reciprocal linking useful, make sure to follow Google’s guidelines to improve your rankings.
The Best Strategy Around Link Velocity
If you have a site that people are linking to frequently, Google will deduce that your content must be relevant or valuable enough for others to link to you as well.
In fact, good content velocity can also contribute and lead to greater link velocity.
It’s a situation of more, begets more or a positive feedback loop.
The more unique and relevant the link sources are, the better they will be for your overall SEO strategy, driving traffic to your website.
This ensures that your website is indexed and working hard for every keyword phrase that people type into search engines.
SEO can take months before getting any strong results, and this strategy builds instant SEO authority by having great content that people want to read.
It works best when you build up link velocity, SEO authority, and keywords relevance.
For instance, Ahrefs ranks websites based on how many other pages are pointing at yours.
The idea behind this link-building technique is that you naturally build up your website by earning links from other sites instead of buying them from SEO companies who might be doing black hat SEO tactics.
The SEO software provides users with rankings and link velocity insights about their competitors’ sites and information on where they might be missing opportunities for link acquisition.
However, the importance of links is not only limited to promotion and search engine rankings; they can also be beneficial when deciding which topics and angles to produce new content around.
A powerful way of utilizing this information is applying “Link Velocity Analysis.” This is simply analyzing how many outside websites are linked to a specific piece of content over time.
Case Study for Bad Link Velocity
Here’s a competitor of ours who worked very diligently (should we say too diligently) to build nearly 200 links from very high quality, high authority sites in a short period:
And here is the resulting aftermath:
To be fair, the links they acquired were VERY good.
Should this particular page come back in the future, it may dominate, but it could be sandboxed for a while, which ultimately means a loss of leads and revenue.
In contrast, slow burn ensures less disruption and flux in your rankings.
How Does The Google Algorithm Think?
Google has long held to its rule of only counting one link per page as “votes” for high rankings – including sub-domain links or links from related sites. But, they recently changed their tune on this subject.
This year we witnessed disagreements over updates, but it was all about link velocity: how often an external site links to your domain.
Imagine if you were trying to rank for link velocity on your website; how would you do this? What are some of the things that could help? Or hurt your rankings?
One way to get good rankings for this term would be through links pointing back to your site.
Online marketing is a necessary part of business in this digital day and age. However, for a website or webpage to be successful in terms of traffic, conversion rates, and general popularity, it needs to be indexed by the leading search engines.
The more efficient these search engines can be at indexing your site, the better your ranking would be for relevant keywords.
How To Get Ranked Higher?
Knowing how to gain good search engine rankings, you need to understand the importance of a fast-moving flow of links coming in from other websites pointing back to your own.
The process by which you get ranked high involves other websites linking back to yours, for reasons including but not limited to:
- The information that the website contains is helpful for your site’s audience (this is why Wikipedia was created)
- The opinion expressed on your site is relevant enough for them to share it with their audience
- It promotes goodwill between both sites because they respect each other’s opinions
Having a website with link velocity means you have many links going to your site, but they are going there at a constant rate rather than spiking once and then dying right away.
The way link velocity works is simple: you build your site’s PageRank through backlinks as quickly as naturally possible, so Google gives more weight to those links than any new ones linking to your pages.
However, it’s important to note that the number of backlinks created by link velocity should not exceed the number of pages on your site.
How To Avoid Google Penalties with Link Velocity?
It could also have a downward trend of link acquisition, often referred to as a “negative link velocity.”
Google is strict about what content is allowed on their search engine results pages (SERPs). If the sites violate Google’s guidelines, they risk getting targeted with a penalty that could harm their rankings.
Google Penguin is a change in Google’s algorithm aimed at decreasing the effect of spammy link building.
Google uses hyper-competitive metrics to measure a webpage’s authority, the most well-known being PageRank, which was later enhanced with additional equations such as Domain Authority and Ease of Trust score.
Among other things, sometimes search engines check the sources that link to your website. So if you have just a few websites linking to your page, it might look suspicious for search engine algorithms.
So, it’s easy to see why so much focus is towards simply increasing PageRank and rankings in general because these metrics are essential for the Google crawler system.
You might be able to get out of this if your links look like they were included for legitimate reasons and were probably not all paid for.
There are several ways to avoid penalties when it comes to Google. For instance, you need to make sure that the links pointing towards your site:
- Are not all on one IP
- Do not share similar anchor text
- Are spread out over time instead of all at once
- All look very natural
Every website owner’s responsibility is to ensure that their site is being indexed correctly and not suffering from any penalties due to black hat SEO tactics.
An excellent way to avoid this issue is to follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for crawling, indexing, and ranking.
While it isn’t directly an infringement on those guidelines to use the black hat technique, such as keyword stuffing, you may end up suffering from negative consequences; such as your site dropping in rankings or even getting banned altogether.
As search engines like Google use link velocity to determine rankings and site authority, website owners need to learn tips for controlling their pages’ link velocity so they can ensure their sites are not penalized for aggressive linking.
While some say that high traffic can lead to better rankings, others insist on finding other factors such as relevancy and user experience.
Although the impact of link velocity is not entirely known for SEO, there is some evidence that certain types of backlinks can positively influence search engine rankings.
Several factors play into this, and it is different for each website, depending on how relevant they are. However, we do know for sure that link velocity matters! Contact us today about our link building services for your SEO, including our white label link building service for SEO agency partners.