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How long must a link be in place to affect rankings?

     
3:17 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Given that it is generally recognised that backlinks are a major ranking factor in the SERPS - has anyone any feedback (or data /evidence on how long a 'link' or 'links' have to be in place before they affect rankings?

yes I know 'how long is a piece of string' and depending on the value of the link - but... any feedback?

and this is a general question rather than related to a specific link or links... to a website
8:33 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The fundamental answer is that a link can only affect the target site's ranking after the page on which it resides has been crawled and indexed by the search engine. But these days, of course, there are aspects of links that can take quite some time before all of the effects of an individual link are accounted for in all of the search engine's various algorithms.
8:36 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I wondered if Google for example has an 'age factor' - ie a length of time before it will take into account a link or whether once crawled it is 'counted' straight away....
8:43 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps the first question to ask is whether one really good link will result in a ranking boom in the absence of other strong links.

It sounds like you're placing a lot of hope on a single link.
9:00 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The other website that contains the backlink could get stronger over time, especially if it attracts valuable new backlinks of its own. Of course, it could also get weaker over time as well.

Also, the specific page that contains the backlink could have its importance diluted, or get pushed farther away from the home page, as new pages are added to the other site over time..

Also, keep in mind that the best way to judge a backlink is by how much traffic it sends you.
9:18 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just to say the question is NOT relating to any particular link or links - just a question for discussion.. :)
11:36 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I got a link yesterday from a PR4 (if you follow such things) interior page on a local government type site. My logs show both bots and users, in small numbers, hitting my fairly obscure page that is the recipient of the link. I strongly doubt that individual page will ever hit a top five position in the SERPs due to the link.

But there is immediate traffic, exposure and benefits to the rest of the site as time goes on. If I was to guess at the time frame where one link would have maximum effect on rankings, I'd probably say 1-2 months.

When it was possible to get high value links with "exact keyword" anchors, results were much easier to predict. Now, I tend to skirt around those "exact keyword" links. Call it Penguin Paranoia.
1:51 am on Aug 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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wondered if Google for example has an 'age factor' - ie a length of time before it will take into account a link or whether once crawled it is 'counted' straight away....

What a seemingly simple question that generates a very short and long answer at the same time...

ShortVersion : It depends.



Short Version of the Long Version: It depends what type of impact you're asking about.

PageRank: The link likely goes to the back of the queue and gets processed on the next pass -- Takes a while.

TrustRank: (Based on "hops" to get from a "trusted site" to the linked site) Likely similar to the time it takes to have PageRank applied -- Takes a while.

Relative Freshness: Likely nearly immediate (no point in trying to figure out what was "minty fresh" 3 months ago to show people today), but also likely on a per-niche basis, and only likely to have a "visible ranking impact" on QDF queries and the level of impact would also be dependent on the "freshness" of the page it's on, and the pages linking to the page of site it's on, and where it's place and how likely it is to be clicked and a quite possibly a number of other factors I'm not thinking of right now probably play a role.

Relative Link Churn: It's fundamentally "backward looking", but the link would likely be "counted" relatively quickly, while any impact may not be felt soon if at all, since it's probably a calculation that's "averaged over a period of time", rather than a "number today" type calculation.

Relative Growth Rate: Likely counted nearly immediately since it gives an indication of a "hot topic/site" right now compared to other sites in the same niche, but any positive effect of it for "hotter than the rest" would also be short-lived, since it's calculation that would look for "more popular today" rather than "overall totals".



There are probably a few more I'm forgetting, and we can't even be sure they use all of those specifically, but they are all from Google patents, so I think it's reasonable to assume even if they don't use what they outlined/patented specifically they likely use similar concepts for document scoring based on inbound links, and the overall impact of links or any given link isn't quite as simple as PageRank passed and the answer to "how long does it take for the effect of a new link to be felt" is really, most likely, it depends...
2:52 pm on Aug 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks The MadScientist - some useful information...