As one of the most important off-page SEO factors related to ranking, back links pointing to your site are generally weighted by number and relevance. The more links from authoritative and related sites/pages, the better ranking potential a site has. In addition, proper use of anchor text can also boost your ranking (remember the Google Bombing Story?). But today we’ll discuss a different aspect of link building – what is the optimal rate (and speed!) for link building and will a site be punished if it gets too many links over a very short period? This deserves some discussion because many are still confused.
It’s not a secret that search engines (at least Google) evaluate links also by their freshness and age. Other criteria include: — Behavior of links including appearance and disappearance over time.
—Increase, decrease and freshness of links as a trend.
Anchor text freshness and how it changes over time. So common sense;suggests that a gradual and steady link popularity approach is advised. But my hunch is that building a great number of links overnight will not necessarily trigger a red flag; all depends on the status of your site, how you build links and where they come from. I’ll use a scenario to illustrate my point. Say, I have some, ah, very interesting photos of a well-known, ah, celebrity, which have never been seen before and are sure to create a huge buzz. So I put them on my website and they start viralling (my own word creation) around. Soon CNN and some other major news outlets get into the action and all major blog, social networking sites and forums are talking about these photos and linking to my site. Then, millions of visitors pour in for a peek and tens of thousands of more links are pointing to my site (Daydreaming stops here).
Will I get red-flagged by search engines for getting a huge number of links overnight? I don’t think so. I am basing this opinion on the axiom that search engines are smart enough to recognize these links as coming from all kinds of sources (news, social networking, blogs, forums, images, and so on). After all, in this fictitious case study I did not launch a link campaign ; all those websites spontaneously linked to me. My site’s popularity may have mushroomed quickly, but it did so naturally, not artificially.
Of course, the celebrity photo scenario is rare (lucky celebrity!). So, if you just launched a new site or are mainly using link farms (which, as we all know, are frowned upon by search engines) or directories to direct traffic to you, I’d suggest you slow down and get a tad more focused on quality and relevance of links to avoid warnings bells ringing all over California. Bottom line, though: how much is too much, and what’s the recommended link building speed ? As so often in search engine optimization, expert opinions vary. However, a good houston seo consultant would agree that 5 – 10 new links per week are not excessive. And even this number has to be qualified: if all of a sudden 30 blue chip links point to my website, I very much doubt that the Goggles of this world would suspect foul play, such as me having milked a link farm (pun fully intended), or slipping IBM or the US Government a few hundred bucks for a one-way link.
We should all be so lucky.