Once upon a time, a website that suddenly propagated hundreds, or thousands, of links, was regarded as a likely spam site, and dealt with harshly by the top search engines. Link farms and directories fell to the SE axe, and submitting to directories was seen as a no-no. It was felt that no-one could have garnered that many links in such a short time without cheating.
However, the rise of blogging, social media and bookmarking, (basically Web 2.0 and the live web), have meant that a link can go viral in a matter of hours across the globe because it is GOOD – valuable, unique, interesting, funny content. Not because it is spam.
The fact that sites may be multi-linked as they are retweeted, posted to friendfeed, shared across social networks and bookmark sites, permalinked etc is now no guarantee of spam or black hat techniques designed to outwit the search engines, and therefore it is more likely to be what the majors are looking for – an indication of fresh, popular content.
This is where link velocity and temporal ranking factors come in. If you can achieve a substantial number of links to your content, by promoting it on Twitter etc, when you first post your content, then it is perceived as fresh and valuable because of backlinks, and will rank more highly. That is the effect of link velocity.
There have always been factors in the search algorithms that rank on both backlinks and age, as well as popularity, and achieving a combination of all of those is just part of an SEOs job. The age of a website, the age of content, how frequently updates occur etc – all these affect ranking. The assumption in the pre-dynamic web days was that an ‘aged’ website gave some indication of trustworthiness or success, and content which was infrequently linked to was likely to be stale. And the algorithms were based on factors such as these. But now, links can be created virally and globally at the speed of light, and they therefore indicate freshness.
The problem is how to differentiate between the black hat techniques of the spammers to create seemingly fresh content, and dominate the SERPS, and the great content that the search engine users’ are seeking as relevant to search results. This is no longer a static WWW world, but a very dynamic one, with live and fresh content being posted every second of the day. And much of it is valuable. But it is almost impossible for the search engines to differentiate between spam links and retweeted/bookmarked, blogged about content without inspecting it.
How the search engines deal with this is out of our control, but if link velocity means you rank more highly, then your task for the week is to put your best content out there and seek links for it from your followers, your social network, and the community for your niche subject.