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4.8 Grow your links regularly and at a natural speed

I already made a mention of this before, when talking about link farms — remember? But here it is again:

Grow your links at the right pace.

Let′s think: normally sites do not get thousands of backlinks overnight. It doesn′t happen that often that crowds of people all of a sudden put links to you, all within a day or two. As this doesn′t look natural, Google may pretty well frown on this.

All right, you may think But why do these link farms still exist, maybe it′s not that bad at all? Hm... here′s what happened with my friend′s website.
He was selling snowmaking equipment. The competition there isn′t severe and after doing simple on–page optimization and arranging a couple of links he easily got a #5 place in Google for the keyphrase snow blowing machine. Sure, he wished to get higher — and he went to those link farms. Mitch got about half a million links one day, and some hundred thousand more next day. I mean, he practically got them all at once. And — instead of the higher rank he expected he got... what do you think? Lowered in ranking? Not that simple. Totally dropped from top 10 results — for quite a long time! Sure this was a bad lesson.

Therefore, do NOT get thousands of links pointing to your website all at once. If you do this, you are asking Search Engines for trouble. Better increase the number of your backlinks gradually. For instance, raise the number of backlinks you get slowly but surely, by 30 to 50 links a week. Hope you remember that they should also target diverse anchor texts and not just commercial ones. This helps you stay in the clear and build your links the natural way.

Moreover, it′s better to be getting links regularly, without long breaks. For instance, it′s better to get 30 links each week than 500 links today and then nothing for the whole month.

4.9 Look where the link can be placed

Links can sit on different pages of a website, and this makes surprisingly big difference for how profitable a link is. Let′s talk about this.

Sitewide links: safe or not?

Some sites will place a link to you on each page of the site — and this link is called sitewide. As a rule this link will be sitting on the same place of each page, like footer, blogroll or sidebar.

Google toolbar in Google Chrome web browser
Google toolbar in Google Chrome web browser
Example of sitewide links in the sidebar

A sitewide link has good potential to bring you traffic — as it can be found on every page, the same user will see the same link numbers of times. Sure, this makes bigger chances that sooner or later the link will get a click.

However, today sitewide links can bring you more bad than do any good: if Search Engines assume that your sitewide link is paid — they might penalize your website and lower your ranking. Besides, if you get a hundred of links from the same domain it won′t bring as much value as 10 links from 10 different domains could bring, because diversity matters.

That′s how Matt Cutts puts it in one of his videos: "If we see a link from a domain, we might count it once, but if we see 50 links from a domain, we still might choose to only count it once".

"…if I were a manual webspam analyst, sort of doing an investigation, and we got a spam report, you′re an English site, and you′ve got a site–wide Polish link or something like that or vice versa, it looks commercial or it looks off–topic, low–quality or spammy, then that can affect the assessment on whether you want to trust the out–going links from that site."

Also, it is quite easy to see that a link in a blogroll with any anchor text other than the name of the website is unnatural. So with sitewides, you should be careful. By the way, if you′re getting them for traffic only, then you can use the rel="nofollow" attribute to be on the safe side.

Link from the homepage

You can get a link from a site′s homepage, that is, from the main page of the site (URLs of these pages end with the domain name — .com, .org — or .de etc.), for instance

A link from a homepage has a lot of value, and it′ll hardly look suspicious to Search Engines (like sitewide links do). If you have an inbound link from a PageRank 5 homepage, this is a big add up to your rankings — and looks quite natural.

Link from an inner page

A link can also stand on an inner page — any page deeper than a site′s homepage.

Its URL looks like this:

or like this...

A link from a deeper page is not so valuable as, say, a link from the homepage. But if a homepage has a PageRank of 6, part of this will definitely pass to the inner page that′s linking to you — and in turn, you′ll also get part of its high rank.

Moreover, some inner pages rank very high themselves — so they can be really good. And, as links from deeper pages are not tremendously weighty, you will get these much easier than links from homepages or sitewide links. So don′t waive the idea of getting links from inner pages.


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#1007 2010-02-04 14:27:34 Dan Richmond

@mike kikker

Sitewides won't harm you. BUT if you get them all at once, there's a big chance that they will only qualify as just one link. That's why it is better to get same-domain links gradually.

#995 2010-02-02 23:30:11 mike kikker

This book is fantastic, but as usual I have questions. I'll have to check back at this site later to get all of the answers.

Okay, sitewide links on large site may result in me getting a lot of links fast. If there was a HUGE site with a ton of content, and like 1,000 pages indexed and I knew the site owner, would getting that "one" link sitewide count as one, or 1,000? Is there a rule of thumb on how many links to get per month or a general growth rate?

Should I stay away from sitewide links from large site on a new domain for a few months of gradual link building?

#981 2010-01-28 11:38:33 Dan Richmond

@ Paul Watchorn

<i>I have probally missed it, and I can't remember, is there a way to get 'the real page rank' value, not TBPR, since it is not always current?</i>

No, that's impossible

#980 2010-01-28 11:37:09 Dan Richmond

@ Paul Watchorn

<i>My question is, does powersuite have this facilty, to search the keywords, and eamil the results automaticly?</i>

Yes, you can do that with Rank Tracker. If you only need to schedule ranking checks, you can do that with the Professional version of Rank Tracker. If you also need to email reports automatically, you will need the Enterprise version. You can check the Features&amp;Editions comparison <a href="">here</a>.

#973 2010-01-26 12:06:32 Paul Watchorn

Hi Dan, Thanks for the answer regarian Google page rank.

I have probally missed it, and I can't remember, is there a way to get 'the real page rank' value, not TBPR, since it is not always current?

#967 2010-01-25 06:53:34 Paul Watchorn

Hi Dan, I am working through this book using the evaluation version of SEO Powersuite, I want to be sure that when I start offering this service, I buy the right software the first time.

Muy main business site is looked after by a professional Uk company, they send me an automated list of the position of my keywords weekly. If I get on the first page, I get to pay.

My question is, does powersuite have this facilty, to search the keywords, and eamil the results automaticly?

I looked in the sheduler and since it is the evaluation version, I can't test it.

#835 2009-12-13 08:21:37 Maggik van Dijk

Hi Dan

What role does nofollow links play in the placements of SEO. Other resources suggest you should avoid them. I have been using the software and it suggested sites with a nofollow link for example, and notes on Facebook. I am at this stage a bit confused.
Thanks for the help.

#1215 2010-04-30 15:19:38 Thomas Kampling

Well, to recieve nofollow links (not too many), like from "MR. Wong" f.e., to me it even seems to pass 0.185 pt.(as Spyglass says) of linkjuice. So this one is cool!

#507 2009-10-05 10:16:59 Dan Richmond

<b>@Andrew Hughes</b>

Here is what happens: you are getting a number of links -> Google sees these links and drops you before it can revise your links -> then it does the revision and gets you to where it "thinks" you should rank.
The fact that after all you continue landing on the same page 3 most likely means that you would need much more (or better) links to go higher. I believe I've already mentioned it here on SEO in Practice: the closer you're approaching the top, the more links you need to move at least one position higher.

#505 2009-09-30 04:45:45 Andrew Hughes

Hi Dan,

I've just downloaded another SEO book which professed to be the ONLY book needed to transform your website. I was bored by about page 10! This is still the best and most plain speaking book there is!

Anyway, onto my question. I've been optimising a client's site using the website auditor tool and I now have it around 79% optimised. This shows as mostly light green against the competition. I've also been doing the link building using resiprocal and one ways, blogs, articles etc. Initially the site went down and then rose back to it's original position on page 3 of Google.

I did more link building yesterday, trying to keep it natural looking and I also posted a blog with keywords etc. Today I've looked at the rankings and it's gone down again. Is this to be expected? Obviously, it's gone down twice now when I've been optimising it and I'm concerned for my client that I might be doing something wrong.

Any suggestions, words of wisdom, nuggets of gold that can help me out of the stuck place I'm in :-)

The website is

#424 2009-07-06 07:33:09 Dan Richmond

<b>@ stop dreaming start action</b>

If you use synonyms to avoid duplicate content sure that will look more natural.

#1516 2010-09-06 16:54:22 Ivo Ignatov

let's say that the article is 500 words. What should be the percentage of different words (synonyms)?

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