Link Volume, How Many Links Can You Really Build?
Link volume or quantity is a rather controversial subject. So over the course of this article I’m going to talk about some of the DO’s and DONT’s of link volume and how you can use it to get rapid search engine rankings.
Most people associate link quantity with higher search engine rankings. People think “the more links you build, the higher up you’ll rank”. There are a lot of misconceptions in the world of SEO and that’s a huge one.
It’s not all about how many links you build, it’s about how you build them and what you do to them. To gain top ranking, you can build hundreds or thousands of low quality backlinks or just a few dozen high quality backlinks.
The best strategy is to build a diverse range of links including awful blog comments and forum profiles to well written guest blog posts and private blog links.
Link volume is essential no matter what kind of links you’re building. You can easily rank for competitive keywords with 5-10 high quality backlinks, but wouldn’t you rather have 300 or 3000 links? It’s a fact that thousands of backlinks scare off competitors so its a good reason to use low quality links in your “portfolio”.
You should always use non contextual backlinks and blog networks (or article submissions) for link volume. You always want a steady increase in backlinks. One of the biggest mistakes SEO’s make is building thousands of links one day, and none until weeks later.
You don’t want Google seeing 20,000 new links one day and only 5 the next. For long term search engine rankings that stabilize you need a steady growth in link volume.
You can build high quality links in low volumes for steady long term rankings as well as build low quality links like blog comments, forum profiles and mass article submissions for quantity.
One of the biggest misconceptions out there is about how many links you can really build without being “caught” and sentenced to the depths of the search engines. The truth is the more links you build, the better you’ll rank. However there are exceptions.
If your brand new site that launched 3 days ago receives 10,000 links overnight, it may well get sandboxed the following week. Generally before your site gets penalized, you’ll experience a few days or even weeks of top search engine rankings.
From my experience Google will do one of three things when they notice a sudden influx of links to your website.
- Google shoots you to the top of Google for a few days to a month and then sends you straight to the depths.
- Google fires you to the top and you remain there. (Happens rarely)
- Google sends you to the highest possible position for a few days, and then you slowly move down the ranks.
Most of the bullshit information about how links will damage your rankings has been fabricated by people affected by #1. If your site is brand new or just hasn’t been active for a while, Google may temporarily ramp up your rankings and soon after banish you to the depths of the search results.
The second “thing” rarely happens because people simply don’t know how to do it. It’s what we all want, to get to the top of the search results as quickly as possible and remain there. The secret to remaining at the top of Google is to keep on building links.
Shocking stuff, I know. If you want to shoot straight up to the top you can go ahead and build several thousand backlinks. You just have to justify the amount of new incoming links you’re getting. If your site is new then it’s not a good idea to get that many links that quickly because it’s unnatural.
However if you really want rapid search engine rankings that stick, you need to justify your links by creating background noise. Background noise being activity outside of link building, mainly social activity and press releases. Press releases work like crazy if you publish them just before a massive link building campaign.
Or if a few hundred people are talking about your site on Facebook, Google doesn’t freak out when you get a sudden influx of a few thousand links.
So if your site is new or if it’s been inactive for a while; justify your links via social media and press releases before a massive link building campaign. And most importantly, keep building links to maintain your rankings.
(Note: Even if your site isn’t new or inactive it’s still a good idea to send out press releases and use social media prior to a link building campaign when the link volume is going to be high)
Now the last result of a sudden link influx is extremely temporary top rankings and then a slow decrease. If your site is old, active or authoritative, this is likely to happen 99% of the time. If you build a few thousand links overnight, you probably won’t get sandboxed… You’ll most likely be catapulted to the top of Google.
However if you don’t keep on building links, you’ll slowly (or quickly) move down the rankings again. So it’s the same as with result #2 but if your site is old, active or authoritative. The answer is you can and should build links in high volume.
However if you see a rapid increase in rankings, you need to keep building links until your rankings are completely stabilized or otherwise one of two things will happen. You’ll either be sandboxed (very unlikely, likely with brand new sites and massive link volume) or slowly move down the SERPS.
Another vital part of building links in volume is using a variety of anchor text. Build 250,000 forum profiles overnight all using the same anchor text and Google will screw you. In the past I’ve experimented with building as many as 100,000 links overnight.
The usual result was a rapid boost in rankings and then a slow decrease. For the less competitive terms it was usually a rapid and stable boost in rankings. The important thing to remember is that it’s all about your site’s current status. Your site is always one of the following:
When your site is active you won’t get penalized very easily. If your site isn’t active, it just means you’re not updating it regularly. If your site is non-active, it has a greater chance of being penalized. If your site is old (2 years plus) it has drastically less risk of being sandboxed or penalized.
If your site is authoritative (aged + lots of content and indexed pages and backlinks), you have a very small chance of being penalized from building links. The biggest secret to link volume is making it appear natural. Brand new sites about teacup sets don’t get thousands of backlinks in their first week of life.
That’s not to say you can’t quickly build that many links to a brand new website. I’ve done it before and maintained my top rankings by following my rules. If you’re going to go crazy with link volume, make it appear natural by sending out a few press releases prior and make sure you use social media.
Well think about a legitimate site that gets a load of media attention. Maybe it gets featured on Yahoo news or gets tweeted by a guy with ten million followers, it’s likely to get thousands if not tens of thousands of natural backlinks within days. Links from articles, thousands of links from references and the big one; syndication. The site won’t be penalized because of all the social activity.
You must remember that no matter what situation your site is in, it can always be penalized after a sudden influx of links that don’t appear natural. You may well get lucky and fly under the radar several times but, better safe than sorry – keep building links and mimick social activity.
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