The Role Link Growth Plays in the SERPs
It is common knowledge that backlinks affect a website’s search engine rankings, consequently many website owners build backlinks for the first few weeks after creating a website and then they stop, assuming that the SERPs are based on the cumulative amount of backlinks pointing towards the website. It is not that simple. The above mentioned method of one-time link building will work in the short term, for a month or two, but after that the SERPs will drop because sites are not ranked on cumulative backlinks but on backlink growth.
Perfect Link Growth – Natural
The graph above shows perfect link growth, where the amount of new links found each month is higher than the previous month. This trend shows Google that either your website is becoming more popular over time or that it’s becoming higher quality. This trend also shows Google that the link growth is organic/natural, compared to unnatural methods such as directory submissions or link exchanges. If you can achieve link growth similar to this your rankings will become higher and higher over time.
Unnatural Link Growth – One-time link building
The graph above shows one-time link building link growth, where the amount of new links found each month is highest in the first few months of the site’s existence then the link growth tapers off. To Google this link growth signifies unnatural link growth such as directory submissions or link exchanges. Because many people assume link building for SEO is cumulative they tend to build links unnaturally for a few days, weeks or months but then they stop. If your link growth is similar to this you may see reasonably high rankings after the first few months but after this period the rankings will decrease.
Unnatural Link Growth – Digg
The graph above shows Digg link growth, where the amount of new links found each month is high in one month but near nil in the others. This growth can occur if a website reaches the front page of a social bookmarking website such as Digg, after hitting the front page it may receive a lot of links but after it’s gone from the front page the link growth per month will return to normal. If you have this type of link growth you may see a jump in rankings after hitting the Digg front page but these rankings will not last long, they will return back to normal in the long run.
How to Improve Natural Link Growth
Obviously natural link growth is the best to improve your SERPs so that is the trend you should target, but it can also be improved upon further. The natural link growth can be fast-tracked by encouraging people to backlink which simply makes the slope of the graph steeper.