Today, I want to have a chat about link velocity. In a nutshell, the term ‘link velocity’ means, “the rate at which you gain new links to your website”. If you read SEO forums and blogs, it’s not a topic that you’ll regularly come across. People will harp on about PageRank, the relevance of link, and, my personal favorite “just build better content than everyone else”. Now, I’m sure that last comment will annoy some people, but let’s be honest here. People say “just build quality content” as if it’s as easy as knocking over your tea on your keyboard. I’m not arguing that having quality content is an advantage, but quality content can take months, if not years, to build and there’s nothing stopping other bigger websites from just stealing your ideas!
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This is what it boils down to
Google can’t tell the difference between average content and great content. It relies on people thinking your content is good and linking to you.
Link velocity is a great measure of popularity. It’s important. Very important.
Let’s take an example here:
Last year, I set up a website for a niche with about 5-10 medium-sized players in it and 1 super large player. These guys, quite rightfully, had total domination of the SERPs. Aside from SEO, they did PR releases, sponsorship, an affiliate scheme, and they bought advertising on sites like MySpace.
Taking a closer look at their website:
Super Large Player’s Website Profile
So, by all accounts, it was a pretty well-established site with a large marketing budget. I set my own budget of Â£4.22 and decided it was time to take them down a peg or two.
Without getting caught up in the details of the web build, I uploaded a fairly basic, flat HTML website with about 50 pages of content, following all the basic SEO rules (page titles, h1s, anchor text usage… etc.) that you can find on 1000 other SEO blogs. The important thing is this – I noticed my super large player friend wasn’t gaining links very quickly – a chink in their armor we could exploit.
So how do we get 100 new links per day?
The niche I was in was providing web graphics. Now my competitor offered a download which installed the graphics onto your computer, for use in your blog, forum, e-mail, or whatever. I opted for a ‘hosted’ option, so you can hotlink my images off my server onto your site/blog/forum… whatever.
To do this, when somebody clicked on an image, I generated a little BBcode or HTML so they could paste it onto anything they wanted. Fairly standard procedure.
To get your head around the idea, my friend has built and launched a similar site – Free Icons. Have a look around the site. When you click on one of the icons, it will generate the code for you to display the icon. The code also generates an alt tag for the image, which can be the keyword/phrase you are trying to rank for.
Ranking for main terms: 1st across the board
I was outranking them for every single one of their terms.
The site’s success wasn’t on this one thing alone. Their site is stronger than mine in almost every way, and the only thing I’ve got going for me is that I get a regular healthy dose of fresh incoming links every day. Google seems to deem this enough that my site should rank better.
All these extra links will boost your site’s authority. Since Google will have trouble identifying the content of the link, your on-page SEO will have to be spot on and the ‘regular’ links you gain will have to have some well-tuned anchor text. These bonus links can really give your rankings a shot in the arm.
Review your own position – you have had those dozen PR7 links pointing to your site and you’re ranking okay, but what mechanisms do you use to constantly garner new links? There are a million and one ways you can use this technique.
SEOmoz (who also briefly mentioned link velocity) offer “I love SEOmoz” badges that you can stick on your site, and guess what – they link back to SEOmoz.
For any site I do now, I always try and think of a mechanism to keep gaining links in the future, and then integrate this into the design – whether it’s a tool, an image, or document links. With these kinds of techniques, you can sit back and relax while other SEOs desperately scramble around the net looking for directory links and you are free to move onto your next project!