Inbound links are important for SEO. But this does not mean that you should buy backlinks everywhere. That is a mistake that many marketers and website owners make. How many incoming links you have, and at what speed this goes, is what you call link velocity.
Google is not always a fan of high link velocity. When the search engine sees that you are not doing natural link building, this has a negative impact on your website.
What exactly is link velocity?
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Various factors play an important role within SEO. Content is the most important ranking factor. If you have no or too little content on your website, there is little for search engines to index.
Not only the amount of content on your website plays a role, but also its quality. Low-quality content is rated negatively.
Another ranking factor is the link profile. The link profile consists of backlinks, which are recommendations from other websites. Link velocity is about the speed at which you get backlinks. For example 200 per day, or 200 per year.
Build lots of links quickly
It is often thought that it is good to quickly build a lot of backlinks. This is a technique that was used a lot in the past, and with success. Search engines were not yet able to judge the quality of backlinks. The larger the link profile, the more SEO effect it had.
Precisely because link building has been abused, search engines now view this differently. They judge a link profile by quality, not quantity.
What link velocity has to do with this
The idea of quantity over quality was born with the advent of the Penguin algorithm. This Google algorithm was rolled out in 2012. Marketers noticed that links no longer worked properly. That is why the term link velocity was coined. Marketers are convinced that getting backlinks quickly leads to websites being penalized.
Yet this is not quite right. When a well-known website publishes a good article, there is a chance that many other sites will refer to it in the short term. It is even possible that as many as 300 backlinks refer to this article within a week.
If link velocity really existed, this website would be punished. But that doesn’t happen. Just look at large news sites, which receive a lot of backlinks in a short period of time. These are all backlinks that get all at once, and that would be bad according to link velocity. You may wonder why these news sites are still so authoritarian. Because they are NOT punished.
A spiky growth rate
Google filed a patent in 2003 for an algorithm that determines how it treats a website based on link profile growth. There is one passage in this patent that marketers have misinterpreted:
“The method of claim 23, where the appearance of one or more links relates to at least one of a date when a new link to the document appears, a rate at which one or more links appear over time…”
In simple terms, this means that getting a lot of links in a short period of time could be an attempt to spam. In my case, the search engine will lower a web page’s score to reduce the effect of spamming.
But this does not mean that a page that gets a lot of backlinks in a short time frame will also be penalized for this. Not…
Google is looking at a spiky growth rate. Take, for example, a well-known news website. He sometimes gets 100 backlinks a day. Because this happens more often in the year, this is a normal backlink growth rate.
You speak of a spiky growth rate when, for example, five backlinks come in per week, and then suddenly 200 in a week. This is a signal to Google that you have bought backlinks.
When you have not purchased backlinks or a link package
It is of course possible that your website shows link velocity, but that you have not bought any backlinks at all. Is your website being penalized now?
Google is smart enough to judge whether the backlinks you receive are bought or if they came about naturally. Often purchased backlinks are of low quality. They come from link farms, Private Network Blogs or from websites that have not built authority. Google really sees that.
But not always. Backlinks are also bought from authoritative sites. Marketers are looking for quality websites to buy backlinks. That costs a lot of time and money for the client, but it is the only way to effectively apply link building.
Quality of the content versus link building
Many SEO specialists advise starting websites to do link building. But actually this is illogical. A new website has little content. As a result, the public has not yet been able to get acquainted with the site. Then it is strange that dozens of websites are suddenly referring to this new site.
So when a marketer or SEO specialist tells you to do link building with a new site, this is bad advice. Google really knows that websites don’t suddenly start pointing to brand new sites. This is a red flag for Google.
For new websites it is important to first create quality content. In addition, you need a lot of patience. For new websites, it can easily take six months before the best articles appear on the first page of Google. But when the quality of these articles is too low, they will never rank that high.
Only when your website is seen by the public, it makes sense to engage in link building. You may approach other websites and ask them to link to you. As long as you don’t arrange commercial backlinks. And if you do, you must mark these links as sponsored.
Link velocity as a ranking factor: my verdict
Although many SEO specialists say that link velocity has a negative impact on rankings, little is true. There are no indications for that at all. Google itself also makes no reference to link velocity or link speed. The search engine indicates that they judge links from a website on natural structure, not on the speed with which backlinks are obtained.
John Mueller of Google says the following about this:
“It’s not so much about how many links you get in what time frame. But if they are left-wing, unnatural or problematic, then they cause problems.”
So it doesn’t matter if you get backlinks fast or slow. It is mainly about quality. This means:
- Natural links are always better
- Bought backlinks (unnatural) often have a negative impact
- Referring links must be relevant
Do you still want to buy backlinks? Then it is important that Google does not see your new backlinks as spam. That is why it is important to determine your backlinks very carefully. If you need help with this, please contact me.
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