While building links, the main questions that come to our mind are, “How often should I build links?” Another question is, “If I build tons of backlinks straight away, does it hurt SEO?”. This is where this post comes in.
The rate at which you build backlinks for your blog matters a lot in SEO.
Link velocity is important for those bloggers who are very paranoid about their link profile.
What is link velocity?
Link velocity is the rate at which others are linking to your site.
Put in another way, it is the rate at which your backlink profile is growing over time.
This does not imply that you should maintain higher link velocity to achieve better results in search. Building quality backlinks should be the main priority, not achieving a high link velocity.
However, link velocity is one of the SEO metrics that you should track.
What is the optimal link velocity?
I think you skipped to this section, in order to know the magic number for SEO.
The answer to the above question is, “it depends”.
Let me be clear now.
What if you have tons of backlinks for a brand-new site without a single blog post on it? Doesn’t it smell fishy?
According to Google, “Backlinks should come naturally, along with the content on your site”. To be frank, it is something that is not possible.
It is clear that Google expects more backlinks, only if you have more high-quality content.
Below are the graphs that explain you the linking velocity clearly.
If you got those tons of backlinks in the first month, no backlinks in the second, about 10 backlinks in the third, and finally about 12,000 backlinks in the fourth month. Doesn’t it smell fishy?
The backlinks that are obtained naturally tend to build over time, not overnight.
The irregular spikes in your backlink profile raise a red flag.
I can say that having backlinks proportional to the amount of content that you have on your site or blog is essential.
If content on your site grows like this: First month – 5 posts, the second month – 12 posts, the third month – 10 posts, the fourth month – 15 posts so on…
Then backlinks to your site should grow like this: First month – 5 backlinks (preferably to the homepage), the second month – 10 backlinks, the third month – 27 backlinks, the fourth month – 50 backlinks so on…
Don't follow any pattern.
Keep it random, and just make sure the content and the number of backlinks are proportional.
What about viral news content?
Viral content receives tons of traffic and backlinks only for a short period.
Some of the search terms in Google are marked as seasonal or they are marked as viral keywords. Example for seasonal keywords is “Christmas Greetings”. You can use Google Trends to hunt for the keywords that are viral and seasonal.
Google knows that content targeting this sort of keywords gets tons of backlinks in a short span.
The moment, that viral content stops getting those backlinks, Google declares that the virality is over. The ranking of that content falls down. It's nothing wrong with that.
Nevertheless, that's not the case if you are targeting evergreen keywords, which have evergreen ideal interest.
It's also same for news websites.
The moment they cover a news FIRST, their backlink profile spikes. That's normal for all the sites listed in Google News.
When to start link building for a new site?
You need to consider sending backlinks to the content a week after the content and basic on-page optimization is done.
The rule of thumb will be to start backlink building only after you have your first 7,000 – 10,000 words of content on your new site.
You want to make sure that the content you publish on your blog is of very high-quality, insightful, and should be the best among the similar content on the web.
Later, if you are even aggressive in terms of link building you'll be safe because of high-quality content on your site.
Drip-feeding links are the ones that are inspired by optimal link velocity that should be maintained for SEO. This sort of services render automated programs to build backlinks to your site constantly over a predefined period.
The links built by these programs are often of low quality. It does increase the rankings of your blog, but it limits the extent to which your blog can grow forever! That hurts…
Drip-feeding link services that give you low-quality links are not recommended by me and are not suitable if you are trying to dominate Google SERPs in your niche.
If you manage to get high quality drip-linking services it's worth a try!
exisiting link velocity
In the past, you may have adopted black hat link building strategies that have affected your link velocity adversely. To make sure that you are maintaining ideal link velocity, you may make use of a tool called Ahrefs.
Ahrefs has the largest backlinks database. It delivers the largest amount of backlinks that any tool can deliver. To know more about this tool, read my Ahrefs review.
Head over to Ahrefs, type your domain name.
Below you can notice the backlink profile graph of Neil Patel's blog.
The number of referring domains have increased steadily over time. It's a good sign.
Ahrefs has the biggest backlink index in the world. The second best is the Majestic SEO tool.
You also can consider entering the domain URL in Majestic search bar.
What's the ideal link velocity?
You don't need to reinvent the wheel!
You just need to figure out the link velocity of your competitors. Do what I call – “competitor link velocity” analysis.
Go to Ahrefs, and type in the URLs of any top-ranking sites in your niche.
Just notice how their link profile is growing over time compared to the content growth on their site.
Like this, do the same analysis for 4-5 sites in your niche.
Now plot the graph containing the link growth curve of each of the analyzed sites.
You now come up with the ideal link velocity plan for your own business.
There you go!
Competitor link velocity analysis is perhaps the best way find the best rate at which to build links.
What about you?
If you are delivering high-quality content along with some visual-rich content like infographics, it helps you build backlinks naturally over time.
Let me know what are your views on link velocity and what sort of techniques you are using to determine the ideal link building velocity for your blog.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission with no additional cost incurred to you :-)