Is it better to acquire a spike of links to aid on page SEO, or is it better to apply a drip-down philosophy of stability over time to climb to the top of search engines?
We know that search engines employ an array of advanced mathematical equations to determine if artificial metrics (such as spam or automation) are being used to inflate relevance within their index. Among the metrics most often used to “sniff out” peculiar behavior is a side-effect of gaining popularity or link building known as link velocity.
Link velocity is the rate in which you gain or lose links; do either too fast and a website may trip an algorithmic filter which could possibly isolate or temporarily penalize the keyword targeted. Building links hinges on diversifying your approach and one key factor that moderates the success of any SEO campaign involves being aware of link velocity.
Since everything leaves a trail, depending on your websites previous traffic footprint, the rate of natural link velocity (a few links a year or a few hundred links per month, etc?) determine what is considered natural or unnatural for that website. Ideally, keeping the link velocity steady over time (gradually increasing links, traffic and relevance simultaneously) will produce the most trust for your link profile.
We can only speculate the exact proportions to the formulas that govern administering search engine ranking penalties. However, we do know that websites that push the envelope also ride a fine-line or algorithmic scrutiny that could either pass with flying colors of flunk the exam when put to the test.
Velocity is used as a means to identify popularity from peer review. Despite tooting your own horn, your on page SEO must coincide with the off page reputation from other websites based on how many times your website is referenced or linked to online. In other words, you need links…but not too many too fast!
There are different kinds of links for different purposes, some “like wikipedia” or from a popular article are better for traffic (please note that I am not endorsing comment spam). Other types of links are better for producing off page ranking factor for your preferred landing pages such as contextual or editorial links (given freely from others).
Regardless of the type of link “blog, directory, RSS feed, article author box, editorial, etc.”, the velocity of how many links your website attracts should be commensurate with concurrent traffic volume and have a natural trajectory.
For example, it is not natural for a website that has been essentially stagnant for months to erupt with a plethora of links and have no significant increase in traffic or engagement time. Nor is it natural for a website to gain 2,000 pages of content in a short period of time.
There are many ways to improve rankings, increasing post frequency for content is one method (which is the equivalent of building links). Also, you can expedite higher rankings by attracting an array of links from multiple IP addresses with varying degrees of age and authority to facilitate domain trust.
It should be clear that SEO is not link building. Link building is something you do to get search engines to take notice of the improvements you made to increase the relevance of your website by streamlining your content.
With less resistance as a result of optimization, granular changes within a website can unify context through bridging relevance across multiple metrics (title tag, description, internal links, sitemaps, rss feeds for multiple categories and a healthy array of back links). This is turn allows each page to become extremely buoyant and pass ranking factor from page to page.
The purpose of link building is to create trust and authority, it is that authority that then allows you to leverage that ranking factor throughout your entire website. Much like currency, you can escalate specific pages based on which keywords have the highest degree of conversion for your target market.
Creating a hierarchy for your preferred landing pages is an investment in time, each page’s primary keyword has a unique tipping point that it unique to each website. Some pages and keywords rise to the top only after the threshold is reached and then the relevance sustained over time. Some could take weeks and others 9 months to a year and then just rise to the top as a result of optimization.
For example, one degree of the trust rank algorithm is to look for changes over time to a link profile. If a link is there for one month it is as if it only receives 15% of the total link volume and weight to the target page. If the link remains another 30-45 days it receives another jolt of the total link weight such as another 30%, then after 9 months to a year all the links that remain intact pass the test and start sharing their full capacity of link flow.
This is why link velocity is important, you must control the crescendo effect and constantly scale internal domain authority through topical relevance (adding more relevant pages) or get a higher caliber of links from authoritative pages already ranking for those keywords (to pull your page up in the results).
Before you go, here are a few additional resources on the topic of link weight, link flow, link velocity and volume.
- Balancing Link Diversity, Link Velocity and Link Volume
- Understanding Link Prominence, Volume, Flow and Distribution
- Newton’s Law of Link Building Momentum
In closing, the choice is yours, as each action has its own consequence (creating spikes in velocity or building a gradual curve) the thing to remember about building links is, if you are starting with a leaky bucket, it doesn’t matter how much water you pour in it.
Start with on page SEO first to remove obstructions and then think about building link popularity. The real premise of link building is to build authority.
Authority can create relevance from internal links from within your own website, so that the inbound links you get from other websites are scrutinized less from algorithms because your website has more trust and requires less validation from external sources.