How Long Do Backlinks Take To Work?

No matter how long our clients do SEO, they always ask the same question whenever we execute link building as part of their SEO campaign.

When will we see results on our investment? How much return will we expect?

It’s a common and frequently-asked question that makes perfect sense. You want to ensure you get the SEO results you paid for and have a realistic timeframe to work with.

But here’s the thing: Trustworthy and ethical SEO partners don’t have a fixed and definitive answer to that question.

No matter how powerful they are, earning new links won’t affect your search engine rankings overnight. We can’t make a single link boost your SERP rankings within hours or even days since there are a lot of other factors in the equation, such as what your competitors are doing and other technical website SEO factors.

So how long should we wait?

Earning backlinks is a proven SEO strategy and is actually one of Google’s primary ranking factors.

Realistically, a standard link building campaign will take 1-3 months to see noticeable ranking results. Depending on the competition, landscape size, and your current position, some campaigns will take longer before seeing positive results. 

This is especially true for new websites or websites that have never done SEO. It takes a more longer push to build momentum. 

This post by Moz points out that most will see positive ranking movements around 5~12 weeks (after building 20 links to one page). While 20 backlinks is quite a substantial amount, we do agree that ranking results will become more apparent after five weeks of ongoing link building.

Average Rank Increase

Link Building Factors

Knowing the crucial factors that influence how well a backlink will perform is vital. Below, you’ll find all the most important factors revolving around link building.

Link Relevance

Imagine if you’re browsing a local pet shop blog for the best dog harnesses, and you click a link, only to realise it brought you to a gardening page.

It doesn’t make sense! For sure, the first thing you’d do is close the page and click the next best result.

Backlinks will greatly impact SEO results if the link acquired is from a website relevant to your site or content. Most backlinks from non-relevant websites will hold little-to-no value in helping boost your Google rankings.

In other words, you can have hundreds of backlinks pointing to your most prized page; but if they’re totally unrelated to your site, they’re virtually useless for ranking.

Link Quality 

Not all links are created equal.

Let’s get you back into character. You’re still browsing for dog harnesses and reading a few pet allergy tips within the same blog.

One piece of advice leads you to a veterinary animal hospital website, while another leads to an outdated and inactive blog website.

Naturally, you’re more likely to trust the information provided by the hospital website. Google works the same way.

Quality backlinks from authoritative websites with a high domain authority (DA), are considered to hold more weight. Google values backlinks from trusted sources, and in return, high DA sites can transfer some of that authority (or link juice) over to your website.

Moreover, make sure all backlinks have proper tags (whether it be nofollow or sponsored tags). Google frowns upon unnatural links and linkspam and may penalise websites caught doing link schemes, intentional or not.

We’ve discussed link tags and nofollow links in another post since it’s a huge topic for another time. Google also published a list of best practices to prevent link spam on your website.

Domain Authority

You read about DA in the previous section. In a nutshell, it’s a metric that measures how well a website will rank on search engines. DA isn’t a Google-backed metric, so take it with a grain of salt.

Unsurprisingly, backlinks from high DA websites hold more weight and can lead to seeing faster ranking results. For instance, if you’ve earned a backlink from a DA25 website, you may notice that results don’t appear right away.

But if you spend time earning links from high DA sites (about DA50 or more), you can expect a faster turnaround with more sustainable results. Google crawls high DA sites more often than inactive and low-DA websites, so if you want every penny to go a long way, partner with an SEO team to build links with authoritative sites.

Link Velocity

Simply put, link velocity describes how fast you’re building backlinks. The more links you earn and the faster you get them, the faster you’ll see positive results.

Viral content is one type that naturally gets the fastest link velocity. It’s hard to tell when a post will go viral—but when it does, it’s because the content is high-quality and tells a compelling story that hits home to viewers’ emotions.

Anchor Text

Anchor texts are visible texts embedded with a webpage link. When browsing a page, you don’t read a link’s entire URL. Instead, you see a phrase or descriptive text you can click that leads you to another page.

When building links, you must ensure anchor texts sound natural and are easy to follow. We don’t recommend abusing exact match anchor texts since Google Penguin filters them out as an obsolete link scheme.

How Can I Speed Up Link Building Results?

If you’re months into your link building campaign and still not seeing desired results, you may need to retrace your tracks and reevaluate your strategy.

We recommend performing a link audit with your SEO partner to spot weak links and areas that need optimisation. Quality outweighs quantity regarding links, but scalability also matters in the long run.

Consider focusing on high-quality content development if you’re struggling to earn sustainable and high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites. The reason behind slow link acquisition should have something to do with your overall content quality.

How about starting and updating your blog? Add unique forms of content that your competitors aren’t doing! Stand out from the crowd! The possibilities for building viral and high-quality content are endless, and your creativity is the limit!

Speak with our SEO experts in Sydney today, and discover how we can leverage white hat link building services to help grow your business.

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