Linkbuilding for SEO April 2016

Linkbuilding for SEO April 2016

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Linkbuilding – How Soon Will It Help SEO?

The truth is, a new link doesn’t affect rankings immediately. That makes it hard to tie an individual link to SERP rankings increases, since there will usually be several other links and on-page changes made to a target page between the time when you get that first link and when you finally see increases in rankings.

So, I set out to figure this out myself. I’m lucky enough to be working for a company with nearly 200,000 indexed pages, which gets hundreds of new links each month naturally, through PR and through my link building efforts. That means I’ve got a lot of pages that only got 1–2 links in the last 6 months, and didn’t go through many on-page changes.

I picked out 76 links pointing to pages which are all similar to each other in content, and we didn’t change that content (significantly) for 6 months. I focused on rankings for target keywords with a 25–35% Keyword Difficulty Rating. I looked at two versions of their target keywords, so I could have a bit more data. The results aren’t super surprising to SEOs, but they’re often questioned by the managers of SEOs, and now you have graphs to prove what you’ve been saying all along.

It takes 10 weeks on average to see 1 rank jump

This graph shows an up-and-to-the-right trend for average increase in rank over weeks after link was created.

More links do have a more immediate effect. Jacob at Exstreamist promoted some material that got him around 20 links to one of his pages, which was being outranked by other pages with about 6 more inbound links. It took his page 5–10 weeks to move from #9 to #5.

It seems that each link has a small to medium effect initially, but that effect increases over time. If you add a lot of links at once, you’re not only going to see faster results, you’re going to see much bigger results over time.

The lower the rank, the more effect a link has

This graph shows the average increase in rank by starting rank over weeks after link was created.

The pages that I observed that were already ranking on the first page of SERPs didn’t show much of a rankings increase with one link, barely moving over one spot in 22 weeks. In contrast, pages ranking on the second or deeper pages of SERPs took off after 8–9 weeks.

Keep in mind that I am working with a fairly small data set, so I don’t recommend that you promise a 10 spot jump after 22 weeks.

Higher Domain Authority (DA) will move the needle faster

This graph shows average increase in rank by Domain Authority range over weeks after the link was created.

Unsurprisingly, a higher DA will have a bigger effect — however DA 10-25 range backlinks can sometimes end up being the best links as sites grow in age and DA every day.

One comment is thus

“From our experience, more of the DA 10-25 range have been more responsive to a conversation about links, guest spots or anything else. Maybe because they are relatively new and are open to new ideas, who knows, but it works for sure.”

Check your Domain Authority here.

Cool! So, if I start link building now, I’ll see results in 10 weeks or sooner!

Actually, no. It takes a while to get links from a (legitimate) link building campaign. Each step is going to take a varying amount of time, based on souce. This also means that it may take you 6 months – 1 year from beginning to end before you start seeing noticeable effects from your link building efforts.

As an SEO, I feel the need to reiterate: SEO is an investment. Yes, it’s going to take you a lot of time to get those results. But do you see how those rankings keep moving up and to the right, even after you’ve secured those links?

Manage Client Expectations

Manage your clients’s expectations that this is going to be a long process, but the money you pay now is going to pay off continually as long as you keep on top of your competition.

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