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Link Velocity FAQs: What It Is & Why It Matters for SEO

Worried about your pages stalling out on search engine results pages (SERPs) and failing to climb in rank? Check their link velocity to make sure you’re securing enough backlinks to support your SEO goals.

Aug 26, 2022

6 m read

Link-building is not as simple as just acquiring backlinks. In addition to focusing on quality backlinks from distinct referring domains, you should also ensure your link-building strategy promotes a natural link velocity. What does this mean? Keep reading to learn what link velocity is and how it can impact your Google search ranking.

What Is Link Velocity in SEO?

Link velocity is a measure of how many backlinks your page acquires over a given time period. Since Google uses backlinks to measure how authoritative and trustworthy a web page is via its PageRank algorithm, acquiring backlinks has become an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO).

That doesn’t mean link velocity is a Google ranking factor, though. While referring domains certainly impact how well a page performs in SERPs, link velocity is simply a measure used by SEO professionals to monitor backlink growth. 

Why Does Link Velocity Matter?

Quality backlinks from authoritative referring domains can improve your chances of ranking for your desired keywords in Google search results. Thus, Google and other search engines monitor a variety of factors related to backlinks, including the quality of the referring domains, the quantity of backlinks and referring domains, the anchor text used, how quickly backlinks are acquired, and the other sites linked to from a referring domain.

While link velocity is not a ranking factor in itself, it is related to other ranking factors and can help you monitor your competitiveness when it comes to backlink acquisition. Ideally, you want to have a similar link velocity to other pages ranking for your desired keyword.

Will a Higher Link Velocity Lead to a Higher Google Ranking?

A high link velocity doesn’t necessarily equate with a higher Google ranking. While backlinks are a crucial part of ranking well in Google, it’s more important that your link growth is in line with the top-ranking pages for your desired keyword.

If you receive too many backlinks too quickly or if your backlink acquisition appears unnatural, Google may think you’re practicing black-hat SEO or participating in a prohibited link-building scheme. This can negatively affect your SEO efforts and your rankings.

At the same time, because Google uses backlinks as a way to measure site authority, securing backlinks is necessary for ranking well for your desired keywords. Finding the right balance is a key component of a healthy link-building strategy.

How Is Link Velocity Determined?

To find out what your link velocity is, you need to monitor how many backlinks you receive over a particular time period. You can use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to identify how many backlinks and referring domains point to a particular page and when they were acquired.

How to Use Ahrefs to Find Your Link Velocity

Paste the URL into Ahrefs Site Explorer, select ‘URL,’ and click on the magnifying glass. 

site explorer screenshot

At the top of the dashboard, you’ll see how many backlinks and referring domains your page has, followed by a graph depicting referring domain growth and average organic traffic over time.

ahrefs dashboard for example URL showing referring domains and backlinks

Click on ‘Competitors’ in the Performance graph. Paste your competitor’s URL in the box, select ‘Exact URL,’ and click ‘Apply.’

steps to add competitor to determine link velocity

Afhrefs will default to showing the average organic traffic for both pages. To see the link velocity for the selected pages, open the right-most drop-down menu and choose ‘Referring domains.’

select 'referring domains' in ahrefs to see link velocity

Now you can see the link velocity for both URLs in the same graph. For this example, I googled “dog leashes” and compared the first SERP result (blue) and the ninth (orange). It’s clear that the top-ranking result has many more referring domains and continues to steadily acquire them.

link velocity in ahrefs for two URLs

How to Use SEMRush to Find Your Link Velocity

Sign in to your SEMRush account or create a free account, and go to ‘Backlink Analytics.’

select backlink analytics from semrush menu to find link velocity

Paste your URL in the search bar and click ‘Analyze.’

backlink analytics homepage screenshot

Next to your URL there’s a field to enter another link. Click where it says ‘Root Domain’ and select ‘URL. Paste your competitor’s link in the box and click ‘Compare.’

add URLs to compare backlinks and link velocity

Now you can see how many referring domains each page has. Unfortunately, the widgets only show link velocity for root domains. However, this information is still useful because you can see the difference in referring domains and backlinks.

compare link equity in semrush

What Is a ‘Good’ Link Velocity?

There’s no one optimal link velocity. Rather, it’s important to focus on natural backlink growth, which be different based on your industry, the keyword you’ve chosen, your country, and more. 

Rather than focusing on a particular number of backlinks across the board, identify how many referring domains the top-ranking pages for your desired keywords have. If Google is rewarding a top-ranking page, aim to acquire your backlinks at a similar rate. Using the above tools to compare link velocity for two URLs will provide you with a goal. You’ll then want to participate in link-building activities or hire a link-building service to help you create content and acquire more backlinks.

Link Velocity SEO: Boost Your Link Velocity

Boosting your link velocity may sound like an easy task. If link velocity is just backlink growth over time, securing more backlinks quickly may seem like a good way to get your web page to rank higher fast. However, since Google keeps an eye out for black-hat SEO techniques like private blog networks and spammy blog comments, you want to follow acceptable and safe link-building tactics. 

So how can you safely boost your link velocity and build links? For starters, you don’t want to outpace the link velocity of top-ranking pages. You can meet it but don’t exceed it. Here are three tips to help you do just that.

Building Links to Increase Link Velocity

1. Update Your Content 

Updating your content to make it more comprehensive and compelling can increase your chances of securing backlinks. Check that your content aligns with search intent and provides relevant information about your target keyword. Look for any opportunities to improve your content with stats, examples, tips, or FAQs. 

Once you’re done, share your updated content with your network and link to it in your social posts. 

2. Use Broken Link Building Techniques

Found a broken link on a site? Why not suggest they link to your content? If you have a page that would be a good fit, email the site owner to let them know about the broken link and suggest they link to your page. 

3. Work With an SEO Agency 

At Victorious, we use a variety of strategies to support our customer’s natural backlink growth. If you choose to partner with an SEO agency, inquire about the strategies they use to build backlinks and make sure they align with proven white-hat techniques. Then, ask them to focus on the particular page you want to rank for. Find more information about these tactics and additional ways to get backlinks here.

FAQs about Link Velocity SEO

Is a high link velocity the best for SEO?

It’s critical that your backlink acquisition appears natural to Google. Gaining too many backlinks too quickly may negatively impact your SEO efforts. 

Is link velocity a Google ranking factor?

Link velocity is not believed to be a ranking factor in itself, but it is related to other ranking factors. Monitoring your link velocity can help you measure your competitiveness when it comes to backlink acquisition. 

Do all backlinks count toward my link velocity?

Yes, all backlinks count toward your link velocity. However, backlinks from distinct referring domains may have a larger impact on rank than those from the same referring domain.

What are link velocity trends?

A link velocity trend refers to how your link velocity changes over time.  

What is positive link velocity?

A positive link velocity is when you increase your backlinks month over month. If you lose backlinks from one month to the next, that would be a negative link velocity.

Create Natural Link Velocity Growth with a Link Building Strategy

If your link-building strategy is stalled and you aren’t receiving many new backlinks, slowly increasing your backlinks may help improve your SEO performance. Link building is one part of a comprehensive SEO strategy that begins with keyword research based on your industry and location. Learn more about how we can improve your link velocity and help you get first-page results. Schedule a free SEO consultation today. 

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