Does Building Too Many Links Too Fast Hurt You In Google?

Jan 29, 2013 • 8:45 am | comments (21) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

linksA WebmasterWorld thread has an SEO asking, what is the recommendation in terms of how many links you should build, in order not to trigger some type of red flag with Google where you trip the "link velocity" threshold.

Fun question but the truth is, there is no such number of threshold.

Think about it for a minute.

There are new sites that launch all the time that get tons of outstanding press, which leads to tons of outstanding links.

Now if Google sees all those links and notices also a huge spike in news and social activity around the site, I suspect they know these links (the majority of them) are legit. If all is quiet on the news front and there is very little social activity, I assume that would raise a red flag.

So sites can get huge surges in links, especially if they make it to the news or get hot socially but if not, be careful.

About two years ago, we wrote about a case study of a new site getting too many links too fast and showed how there was a surge in traffic, which soon died out.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for links image

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Lyndon NA

01/29/2013 01:56 pm

This used to come up in the Google Forums every so often. I'm surprised that many still don't get it. It's not really down to the volume or rate, it's down to whether G thinks it's natural or not. That may include things like Social Signals or Mentions, or the presence of a cascade (or several) etc. Throw on where those links are occuring (site type and page location), and thel ink text (ratio of specific text to brand to general phrases etc.), and G can make a decision.

James Holden

01/29/2013 02:34 pm

Link building velocity is almost certainly a factor, but I would expect it to be adapted to each individual site based on how many links it already has, amongst other things. Gaining 1,000 links in a day is suspicious for a site that only had 10 yesterday, but a site with 100,000,000 links gaining the same number in the same amount of time is nothing unusual. This means it's impossible to define a threshold.

Gregory Smith

01/29/2013 02:44 pm

Matt Cutts gets TONS of links per post! Build the heck out of them, focus on small niches and profitability. Google can red flag you per link velocity if you use software in which builds all spam links to sites such as and the others.

Gregory Smith

01/29/2013 02:50 pm

If you start building a high amount of links daily, then continue building a high amount of links daily. If you start out slowly, then continue slowly. It's ok to gradually increase at a slow pace. Just be wise with this, and all will work out , just fine!

Malcolm Gibb

01/29/2013 04:14 pm

It's the typical pattern of a black hat churn and burn, insane amount of links within a very short space of time will get you ranked high but then Google noticed it and tanks the site. However the same thing happens on the other side of the fence, news, blog posts and content can go viral generating a vast number of links in a very short space of time boosting rankings. However the difference between the two is that the latter is more likely to gain natural social signals which I believe are important in measuring the validity of high velocity link building. Link velocity has always been an intriguing point, I've seen examples of sites that are gaining over 500 links a day with little social signals. Compared to their competitors in the same SERP this is around a 1000% difference in their link velocity and are staying stable at positions 1-3.

Prashant Bairwa

01/29/2013 05:58 pm

Regular work is best .Lot of work in less time or less work in lot of time is not good .Google always love high quality and user friendly work so all backlinks should be from authority sites and try to get more and more theme related links


01/29/2013 06:21 pm

It's not black and white. Natural = your website link history. Some sites can get thousands a day, others get 1 every other month. If your link growth does not synch with history, it can look unnatural. Based on my experience and 2 cents.

Joseph Gendron

01/29/2013 10:33 pm

I got slammed for this just recently... It has taken me 2 years to finally stop my madness and realize it no longer works.... and now.. I'm free!


01/30/2013 02:05 am

The latest trend is building a lot of links to competitor sites and forcing them off the first page. I've seen a number of controlled case studies and it appears to work really well. But if someone is ranking at 150, I doubt they will want to spam 149 sites. While this is a pathetic way to rank, many will do whatever it takes to get to that top spot in the fastest and predictable way possible. Google made this a reality.

Ranu Jain

01/30/2013 06:48 am

Link Building is still SEO's trump card. However, many people are saying that the importance of link building has decreased a lot but it's not the case. It's just that Google has made its algorithms much more refined and advanced. It is depreciating amount of links and putting more emphasis on trusted links. The majority of link building failures happen simply because people are following shortcuts and building too many links at one go with unnatural use of anchor text and automated software. I would say link building still offers amazing rewards as long as you are logical.

Sita Gabriel

01/30/2013 12:16 pm

I think if you build natural link then G doesn't have a problem with your site.

Ben Guest

01/30/2013 02:20 pm

Blame Google's freshness algo. Pounding links means pounding the freshness. That is all. You want to build authority not links.

Jon Hogg

01/30/2013 03:09 pm

Got links to the controlled case studies? I'd be interested to take a look.

Jon Hogg

01/30/2013 03:20 pm

Twit twooo

Jimmy Maddox

01/30/2013 04:09 pm

It has been my experience that you can link build as fast as you want as long as you're consistant about it. I wouldt do 5,000 links in a week and then drop off the radar for two months...If one can comfortably add 300 backlinks a week on a regular basis without any irregularity I'd think it would be natrual. Some SEO companies will allow you to order thousands of links and pay for their services all at once and then they gradually link build on a 'drip feed' method over a period of time to avoid velocity rates. IDK ....

Krunal Patel

01/31/2013 05:59 am

Google just want to remove the spam, Google panda and Penguin are just for those websites who contains backlinks from low quality and irrelevant sites, also done by automated tools. Now there is more automated tools used, and link building is totally based upon manually submission with niche relevant work as well as on just quality sites. So its time to move on with new strategy and unique work.

Montway Auto Transport

01/31/2013 02:36 pm

The power of link building will not go away any time soon, and probably it does not matter how fast and how many links you build to your website. All that matters is the relevancy and the authority of the links pointing to your website. We have been obtaining many links lately from variety of websites, but all are relevant, all coming from partners - some will bring visits and conversions, other not that much, but all help to cement our top ranking positions for some keywords. So, what is too many depends on your business. Sometime you have many people wanting to do business with you sometimes not.


02/01/2013 10:57 am

Yes,I am agree with you that too many links in a short time period is really considered as a spam in the eyes of Google.Google takes a baseline, a "normal rate of growth" for both your site and your niche. Burst link growth may be a strong indicator of search engine spam for Google.


02/15/2013 09:32 am

There is always a risk of Google penalising companies over irregular activity. At our marketing company we spread out the linking instead of doing it all at once. After all SEO should be steady and consistent.

Ryan Key

03/22/2013 06:58 am

Google ultimately makes the rules, and can change them at any time, I think it knows the difference between link farms and quality links.

The Lone Ranger SEO

07/01/2013 12:28 am

That might have seemed true in January 2013 but not by June. The Montway site has been penalized heavily by Google and is sinking fast. The Titanic went down slower. There is such a thing as too much too soon and this site proves it sitting on page 15 for the search query auto transport. Last January it was on page 1, so apparently it is very difficult to find relevant links in that kind of quantity.

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