Back-links Velocity and Possible SEO Penalties Insight in 2019

Last Updated On: October 24, 2019

Talking about back-links it is a known fact that it is better to have fewer links that are strong, instead of a high number of low-quality links. Until now there was only some speculation about the tempo of new links incoming to the website.

Recently Google’s John Mueller provided more insight by answering a question about getting links too fast and how that would trigger a penalty.

What is Link Velocity?

First thing first, we have to note that the rate at which links are acquired is referred to within the SEO community as the link velocity.

The main issue with Link Velocity is that their patents or research papers which indicate point to it, so must scrutinize this information and file them under speculative more than factual.

One patent does mention measuring the growth of links in the context of time among other things. The patent is named Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data.

The concept of Link Velocity with the SEO community is based around a notion that high rate link growth can have a negative impact to the website in question. The patent doesn’t explicitly say that the rate of growth is the reason why the search engine might lower the rate of growth.

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Going through semantics, it says that a “spiky rate of growth” in backlinks could cause the search engine to lower the score. Further reading implies that such “spiky link growth” is indicative of artificial growth, while natural link growth is much “smoother” when represented in a graph.

Lastly, the patent in question is from 2003. which makes it very old and again we have to question its relevant significance in 2019.

Expert opinion on Link Velocity

In a Q&A session, Google’s John Mueller answered a specific question that can tell us a lot about Link Velocity. When asked about it indirectly, he said:

“From my point of view if you’re jumping in with a question like this and you’re saying I’m going to get 200 backlinks in two days… then that sounds a lot like you’re not getting natural backlinks.

That sounds a lot like you’re going off and just buying them or having someone buy them for you. And that itself would be kind of the thing that we would not be happy with.”

Next, he did discuss how the quality of the links being purchased is what will cause Google to take action, not the speed of the link acquisition, after which we get a bit more insight into link velocity with:

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“So it’s not so much a matter of how many links you get in which time period. It’s really just… if these are links that are unnatural or from our point of view problematic then they would be problematic.

It’s like it doesn’t really matter how many or in which time.

Now, we have a much better picture for the search engines point of view to links – the number of links within any period of time is not an issue, but if the links are unnatural then that is a problem.

Conclusion about back-links velocity and quality

Knowing this, we can conclude that the rate of link acquisition and the time those links are acquired are not a factor, but you must be very careful with providing quality links from authoritative websites.

Other veteran webmasters may still hold the link velocity concept true as they claim their own experience on the subject proves it exists, and we can only say that the truth is in the eye of the beholder.

If you believe in it, you can think of link velocity as a factor, though we are inclined to trust John Mueller’s response which emphasizes links themselves.