Link building is one of the many strategies that SEO experts and digital marketing firms use to improve a website’s search rankings.
Because it’s one of the best ways to get backlinks.
Backlinks help to improve your search rankings, establish you as a thought leader in your industry, increase organic traffic, and lead to conversions, but not all backlinks are created equal.
The end goal is to get as many good backlinks as you can.
But it’s also possible to build them too fast.
That’s where the concept of link velocity comes into play.
Today, I’m going to share some Intergrowth insights into what link velocity is all about, what the ideal speed of link building should be, and how it can improve or harm your rankings.
What Is Link Velocity?
Link velocity refers to the speed and the upward trajectory with which you increase your number of backlinks. It’s a topic that’s not discussed often enough in SEO, but it’s a significant factor that deserves attention.
Why does it deserve attention?
Because a lot of clients come to us wanting a lot of links now.
When we talk about link velocity, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two different ways to get backlinks:
- Inbound link building
- Outbound link building
Inbound link building is how you acquire natural backlinks. You create high-quality content that other sites find valuable, and they include a link to your website on theirs. Other than creating the content, inbound links require no effort on your part.
Outbound link building, or manual link building, means reaching out to other sites and encouraging them to link back to you.
There’s no way to control the link velocity of inbound, natural links. Great content tends to generate links on its own, and that’s a good thing.
Outbound links are the ones that you need to worry about getting too many links too fast.
Is Link Velocity an SEO Ranking Factor?
Search algorithms consider a variety of factors when determining where to position you in SERPs. The quantity and quality of websites linking back to you is one of those factors.
Link building strategy is an important part of your overall SEO strategy. While no one can say exactly how much weight links carry, having a long list of reputable websites linking back to your website will help you outrank your competitors for the themes that are most valuable to your business.
A backlink is an indication that your website has value to offer, so it’s sort of like each backlink is a customer giving you a five-star review.
Let’s say you sell a product and you’ve received 1,000 individual five-star reviews. Your product is going to be viewed as more favorable than a competitor selling a similar product that only has ten five-star reviews. Backlinks work in much the same way.
With that said, it also matters where those backlinks are from. The goal is to obtain high-quality links from respected, trusted sites. Backlinks from referring domains such as Forbes, TechCrunch, or the New York Times will likely increase your chances of getting more links from other sites. Backlinks from lower-quality sites won’t be as valuable.
Is There a “Perfect” Velocity for Building Links?
There is no optimal link velocity for every brand, and you cannot look at competitor link velocity trends to determine your own speed. You have to set your own benchmarks.
For some clients, the right velocity is to build two links per month. For other clients, it’s 30 or 40 per month. It all depends on how many links you’re currently getting each month to determine the appropriate velocity for building more.
Google and other search engines discourage many forms of manual link building. We get it. Links are their best tool to assess website quality. They don’t want businesses manipulating that data point.
Here’s what they have to say about “link spam”:
We recommend businesses avoid giving search engines the perception that they’re doing any manual link building.
That being said, if you’re a newer business trying to outrank your established competitor, you probably need manual link building to outrank them.
So how do you accomplish that? Focus on flying under the radar.
Imagine you’re driving down the highway. You’re driving the speed limit: 60 miles per hour. If all of a sudden you start doing 100 miles per hour, there’s a good chance the next cop that sees you will pull you over and issue a speeding ticket. But if you step up your pace to 65 or 70 miles per hour, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
The same theory holds true with manual link building. If you’re currently getting two backlinks per month and all of a sudden you start getting 50 per week, you’re sending up a red flag to Google and other search engines that you might be trying to build links in an unnatural manner.
Note: While some SEOs might disagree with me entirely and say it’s fine to build 100+ links a week from the day your site goes live, I believe it’s better to err on the safe side.
Increase Link Velocity at a Reasonable, Steady Rate
At Intergrowth, our link building efforts are client-specific. Our goal is always to safely scale up the client’s backlink profile to catch up with their biggest competitors without getting the site flagged for black hat practices.
If a client is currently getting one link per month, we may start out building two or three links per month. If a client gets a hundred links per month, we may start with 30 or 40 and ramp that up to 80 or 100 per month over the next year.
Here’s the bottom line:
Link velocity is more about gradual acceleration and less about reaching your destination at breakneck speed.
Can Building Links Too Fast Hurt Your SEO?
In addition to the possibility of getting pulled over for speeding, there’s another reason why building links too fast can be problematic:
They often lack quality.
When websites set out to build a large number of new links within a short period of time, they tend to focus on quantity over quality.
But it’s the quality backlinks you need.
In fact, generating links to sites with little value behind them can do more harm than good. Google may discredit your spammy links, which means that you could lose traffic to your site and lose the resources (such as time, money, or both) you put into it.
Whether you have a brand new site or are tired of your competitors outranking you in search engine results pages, backlinks can help you level the playing field — as long as you build them at the right speed.
Keep in mind that if you see 100x link growth overnight from inbound links, you don’t have to worry about a thing. The more natural backlinks you generate, the better!
When determining how to reach a higher link velocity, it’s important to look at your SEO metrics and historical data. The more links you earn, the faster you can feel comfortable building them.
And if you’re seeing a big increase in natural backlinks, don’t worry; just make sure to keep publishing the high-quality content that’s getting you those links.
While it’s reasonable to want to generate a lot of new links in a short amount of time, that’s not always the best approach.
What you need is a well-crafted link building strategy that involves publishing valuable new content supplemented by manual link building to establish a more complete link profile.
Do that and you can beat your competitors in terms of how many backlinks you have and how high you rank in SERPs.
After all, that’s what it’s all about.
To devise a link building strategy and start getting backlinks the right way, contact Intergrowth today.