There’s no doubt about it – if you want to succeed with SEO, you will need backlinks.
However, when it comes to building backlinks, there are a lot of questions people have in regards to how they can do things properly — AKA without getting on the wrong side of Google.
One of the most common questions people have is how many links they can/should build on a daily basis. After all, you don’t want to go through the effort of building lots of backlinks every day, only to end up with a lower ranking because you did something wrong.
Below we’re going to review how many links you can build each day without setting off any red flags. If you’re ready to launch a link building campaign, this post should help you stay on Google’s good side.
How Many Links Per Day Is Safe?
The reality here is that there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. If you read the official documentation provided by search engine companies, you will not find a guideline figure in relation to how many links per day is appropriate.
The problem, though, is that if you read stories online, you will find opinions based on both sides of the argument.
For instance, some SEO experts feel as though building lots of links every day will create problems because it will look as though you’re participating in a ‘link scheme.’
Yet, there are also SEO experts that feel as though building a lot of links on a daily basis isn’t that big of a deal. The people that fall into this camp, generally feel that the quality of your links is a big factor in this conversation.
After all, if you build a lot of high-quality links every day, is it reasonable for you to be penalized?
Following this, in the next section, we’re going to explore this argument, and see whether quality has an impact on this link building conversation.
Is Quality the Real Issue?
For the most part, earning ‘good’ links is hard, and so building lots of good links on a daily basis is no easy feat.
Thus, when you hear stories of people being penalized for building lots of links on a daily basis, there’s a good chance they’re not building the types of backlinks that are considered high-quality.
In fact, there’s a decent chance many of these people are building ‘spammy links’ that have all the traits of a ‘low-quality (sometimes known as an unnatural) link.
Now, at this point, you might be wondering what type of link qualifies as a low-quality link. Well, according to Google, here are some of the defining characteristics of low-quality links:
Low-quality links can also be links sourced via some sort of ‘link-scheme.’ Again, here’s some insight into what Google might view as a link scheme:
Thus, people may go out and build lots of low-quality links on a daily basis and then lose their rankings. These individuals may then falsely attribute their loss of rankings to the number of links they built, rather than the actual quality of these links.
This also makes sense when you consider this argument within the context of the ‘Penguin algorithm update.’
This update came out in 2012, and one of the key features of this update was the ability to spot, and then penalize websites that had lots of low-quality incoming links, such as the ones mentioned above.
In any case, it’s also worth noting that some search engines, such as Bing, explicitly state that quality is more important than quantity.
As you can see, search engines such as Bing tend to feel as though building a lot of links in a single day is a good way to arouse suspicion, especially if the links aren’t high-quality.
That said, it’s fair to say you might still be safe if you build lots of high-quality links in a single day, or even over a number of days.
After all, this tends to make sense when you consider what might happen to a website if they get a sudden surge of press.
It’s unlikely that Google or Bing will want to penalize a website if it is attracting many links over many days, because lots of media outlets around the world are now reporting on them, and linking to their website.
What Are High-Quality Links?
So, it seems as though building high-quality links is really the key here – however, what actually counts as a high-quality link?
In the eyes of Google, earning a high-quality link comes down to creating a good piece of content.
However, suppose you focus on content creation, and you attract lots of links. How do you identify which content is attracting links that are of the ‘highest quality?’
After all, if you can figure this out, you can then determine what kind of content you should focus on in order to attract more high-quality links.
Well, for one, links from ‘authoritative sites’ tend to carry more weight than links from smaller ‘lesser-known’ sites.
For instance, an editorial link from a major news publication will carry more weight than an editorial link from a small blog that hasn’t been around for long.
Now, in some cases, it can be hard to determine the authority of a given website. However, if you use SEO tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush, they can tell you the ‘domain authority’ of a given site.
Relevancy can also have a big impact in relation to how much a particular link affects your rankings.
For example, imagine you’re in the health niche and there are two websites of equal authority linking to you. If one of these websites is also in the health niche, the link from this site will likely carry more weight than a link from the website that isn’t in this niche.
The anchor text of a particular link can also impact its quality.
Anchor text sounds complicated, but it essentially refers to the text people use when they’re linking to your site.
If the anchor text is based on a relevant, high-value keyword, you might rank higher for the keyword in question. This is generally because the anchor text can make your website seem more relevant for the keyword.
Note: It’s worth mentioning that Google is wary of websites that have lots of ‘exact match links.’
These are simply links that have anchor text focused on a specific keyword. We will discuss this in more detail later, but you don’t want to have links that all have a similar kind of anchor text, as doing so can lead to a penalty.
A high-quality backlink also tends to be a ‘follow’ rather than a ‘no-follow’ link.
If a link is a follow link, the website owner is essentially signaling to Google that they vouch for the website in question. These links tend to provide more of a rankings boost when compared to ‘no-follow’ links.
No-follow links are typically not going to provide a direct improvement in rankings, as they’re generally not ‘recognized’ by Google.
That said, Google recently introduced a variety of no-follow link variations and some of these options have a varying impact when compared to ‘standard’ no-follow links.
In most cases, websites that link to you will tend to use the ‘follow’ attribute. However, you shouldn’t assume this is always going to be the case.
As a result, you should keep a close eye on the attributes people use when they link to your site. If you notice someone has used a no-follow link, you might want to message them and ask them if they’d be willing to change it to a follow link.
Now, some websites have a policy against this, and so this strategy might not always work. Yet, it is often worth the effort when you consider the work that goes into earning a link in the first place.
Again, most SEO tools will help you determine if a backlink is a follow or no-follow.
In any case, these are some of the main things that define a high-quality link. If you focus on building lots of links like this, you should be mostly okay, even if you’re building lots of links every day.
Now, the word ‘mostly’ here is important, because there is also something else you need to consider when it comes to building lots of links every day.
In the next section, we’re going to review what this other factor is and how it can impact the ‘safety’ of an SEO strategy that focuses on building lots of links every day.
Your Link Profile is Critical
Another big part of this debate comes down to the ‘link profile‘ of your website.
The term link profile essentially refers to the characteristics of the links pointing to your site. You want to have some variation here, as this will look natural in the eyes of Google or Bing. This is critical because as shown earlier, Google and Bing really don’t like ‘unnatural links.‘
The people who are penalized for building a lot of backlinks every day might be penalized because their links don’t vary that much.
For instance, these individuals might have a very narrow view of what a ‘high-quality’ link looks like. They might then go out and build/buy lots of these links, thereby creating a link profile that has little variation.
So, for example, they might build lots of links that have the same kind of anchor text. Alternatively, all of their links might come from high-authority websites.
This could then arouse suspicion, which could lead to some kind of penalty that will subsequently need to be addressed.
However, if you organically build links, it is a lot easier to have a natural link profile that will not raise any red flags.
After all, suppose you create a great piece of content using the Skyscraper technique. Upon doing this, there’s a good chance a wide variety of websites will link to you. All of these websites will have variations in regards to authority, anchor text, relevance, and so on.
This backlink diversity will then make your link profile seem natural, and thus the odds of a penalty are much lower.
What if Your Website Already has Lots of Low-Quality Links?
Some people might find themselves reading a blog post like this after they’ve already built, or been penalized for building a lot of low-quality links every day.
Alternatively, they might be fixing up the mess left by an agency that built lots of low-quality links on a daily basis. You might also find yourself in a position wherein someone else has built a lot of low-quality links to your site, in an attempt to tank your rankings.
If you find yourself in any one of these situations, you’ll be happy to know there is a way to recover.
That’s because you can use something known as the ‘Disavow tool.’
This tool came out roughly at the same time as the Penguin update, and by using it, you can tell Google that you don’t want to be associated with certain links.
Using this tool is tricky, as it does have a bit of a learning curve. Thus, you need to make sure you understand how it works before you decide to use it. If you do things haphazardly, you might hurt your rankings even more.
As you can see, there isn’t a definitive answer in regards to how many links you can/should build each day, without setting off alarm bells.
Ultimately, you should focus on building high-quality links, and you should also ensure that your link profile has some variation.
Now, building links in this manner is difficult, so you most likely won’t be able to build lots of links like this every day. Thus, if you do things this way, you should automatically find yourself on the safe side of things.
That said, in some cases, you might end up hitting a good streak, where you find that you’re able to build lots of links day in and day out. In that case, provided that your links follow the two prerequisites mentioned above, you should still be okay if you find yourself in this position.