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Link building techniques which might land you a penalty according to Google’s own John Muller

The SEO community is very creative and quick at naming things like “Link Juice”, “Link Velocity”, “Black hat”, “Pogo sticking” etc. We’re going to talk about a recently coined term called “Link Velocity” in this article.

What is Link velocity?

What is Link velocity in SEO
What is Link velocity in SEO

Link Velocity in simple terms can be summarized as the rate at which links are acquired for a particular domain or URL

This idea originated from a patent named “Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data” (Click on the link only if you are an SEO nerd) and it discusses multiple other things as well. I will fetch out relevant information for you here.

Link Velocity ideally says that a high rate of link building is bad. This is where the above patent or study comes into the picture. It says that for a new site, a high rate of link growth would mean more relevant information on that site compared to the older site. 

Quoting an excerpt from the patent:
“Consider the example of a document with an inception date of yesterday that is referenced by 10 backlinks.

This document may be scored higher by the search engine 125( Search engine 125 is a google patent)  than a document with an inception date of 10 years ago that is referenced by 100 backlinks because the rate of link growth for the former website is relatively higher than the latter.”

So it directly contradicts the Idea of link velocity.

The patent has more to say about links:
“While a spiky rate of growth in the number of backlinks may be a factor used by the search engine 125 to score documents, it may also signal an attempt to spam search engine 125. Accordingly, in this situation, search engine 125 may actually lower the score of document(s) to reduce the effect of spamming.”

This is where Link Velocity actually originates. But it’s not sufficient proof that it exists.

Going by the google’s 2011 “Query Deserves Freshness” update if a site gets sudden popularity and chunk of links fast then that would promote the page.

John Muller’s take on Link Velocity

This is what john muller has to say about link velocity when asked by a user.

  • Question:

“If I build 200 backlinks in two days and didn’t perform any link building for years will Google still see this as black hat and penalize me?

What about link velocity?”

Will Google penalize me for acquiring backlinks quickly using blackhat
Will Google penalize me for acquiring backlinks quickly using blackhat
  • John Mueller answered:

“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.”

So what google focuses more on according to Muller is that you get more natural links. He verifies it again in below comments

This is what John Mueller says about link velocity

“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.“

“Muller specifically states that the time period in which you get the links and the rate of link acquisition is not a factor.”

Watch john muller answer the questions below:


It doesn’t matter how fast you bring links or what quality links you are bringing. What matters most is whether you are getting natural links or not. Blackhat technique works and guest posting is one of the most used techniques among SEO’s but both natural link building and guest post should work in tandem for getting best results.

Also with the latest barrage of updates from google and going by the buzz in the SEO community, the recent updates have been majorly focused on trust factors and it directly connects to links and link building. Also, a lot of SEO’s often forget that penguin update now runs real-time after Penguin 4.0. So, more flags to remain careful on link building techniques that you are using. 

Reference: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-link-velocity/331637/

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