Link Building – Can Too Many Links Hurt You?

I have seen over the years that if you build your link popularity naturally you can move up in the search rankings fairly quickly even if your website is new. In fact I have done it enough that when it doesn’t happen I am very surprised.

That is why I have been confused when working with a friend of mine who started a website about 4 and a half months ago. He has implemented full boar every single thing I ever asked him to do. He is very motivated and so often does more than I ask him to do. Based on my past (and current) experience by now his site should be showing on page 1 of Google for hundreds of terms and his site should be generating a lot of income.

For some reason though, his rankings aren’t there. After looking into the issue I noticed that websites ranking on the first page of Google for his competitive key phrases have under 1000 back links. These are websites that have been around for several years.

So I did a backlink check for my friends website that is 4 months old and he is showing 22,000 backlinks. This huge disparity is probably throwing up a big red flag to the search engines that a new site is getting that many links.

Even though he could have naturally acquired these links, the difference in the amount his competitors have from how many links he has makes it so his link building doesn’t appear natural to the search engines. Because of this they have probably put his site into a mini sandbox.

Eventually I expect his rankings to hit and hit hard and he will start making a lot of money but until his site gets more age, and the search engines see that he will keep getting more links, he will just have to wait.

What you should take away from this? – Don’t get too many links too quickly as it can have a negative effect on your rankings. Especially avoid site-wide links in the beginning if you can help it.

Adam White is a 20+ year entrepreneur having built and sold 18 internet businesses. He currently runs JustReachOut and SquidVision, a new type of landing page optimization software for SaaS companies, and does SaaS and SEO consulting at He lives in Tennessee with his wife and kids and in between SaaS businesses he writes and directs feature films.

8 comments On Link Building – Can Too Many Links Hurt You?

  • A “site-wide” link is what?

  • A site wide link is a link that shows up on every page of a persons website. It is usually found in the sidebar of a blog or the footer of a website.

  • I am such a link-building rookie, but I have had pretty good success at ranking for my reasonably reachable terms. My links are mostly Web 2.0 in nature (related forum, blogs, and delicious) and there are not that many really, certainly not even a thousand.

    I wonder if Google is starting to value these more. Of course, I write a lot of original content for my site and I am certain it is original. But, having said all this I go back to my original comments about being a novice. So take it for what it is worth.

  • I am also experiencing mixed results with lots of links, however, your premise about the search engine philosophy of, “everything must appear genuine in comparison to the rest of the field” makes sense. I’d love to see a post that has more empirical answers – I certainly wish I had one.

  • Why avoid site-wide links in the beginning?

  • If you build your link popularity too quickly it looks unnatural to search engines.

  • Besides the number of links on a page, there are various other factors that a Search Engine, especially Google, looks into:
    – The date on which new links appear to a site/page.
    – The staleness and freshness of a site by links acquired for it over a period of time.
    – It calculates the time period between the first link since the page was noticed and the latest link date. This indicates the site’s increasing or decreasing popularity.
    – A page that is updated while your link on it remaining ‘as is’ is a good indicator of a relevant and good link.
    – Links from .gov, .edu, etc. sites are considered more trustworthy.
    – How authoritative the websites and the pages linking to the pages are.
    It is important to take care of the above criteria for good rankings and ‘quality’ visible backlinks in the long run.

  • What tools do you use to build linksto your websites? I have heard the SE’sdon’t like spammy stuff but manual backling would take an enternity….

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer