SEO Question: I believe link popularity is the #1 criteria to rank in most search algorithms. Is it possible to gain links too quickly?
SEO Answer: Yes you can gain links too quickly, however I think gaining links too quick is rare. Here is an example of Google temporarily banning one of their own sites for building too many links too quickly. You have to appreciate the strength of Google's brand, and that is part of the reason their then new AdSense blog could have gained so many legitimate links so quickly - it is rare...an anomaly.
When people get in trouble for building links too quickly typically they are using automated link building methods, link exchange networks, or lack focus on link quality - all of which give a site an unnatural link profile with an emphasis on low quality linkage data (see TrustRank and the Company You Keep as an example).
If you are getting natural citations in a viral marketing campaign I would not want it to stop for anything. Even if a site did temporarily get banned by a bad search algorithms as long as the fault is not your own the site will come back strongly. Plus natural viral link campaigns have the following bonuses:
- are hard for competitors to duplicate
- competitors even requesting links the wrong way from certain opinionated high authority authors can end up hurting their brand equity.
- drive usage data - ie: they usually spread through the active portions of the web
- give you a safety net...if your site is ever removed from the search results viral links will still provide direct traffic (and revenue) as well as help fill up search results for your brand with positive comments that further help improve your trustworthiness and conversion rate
If you are building links by submitting to directories and submitting articles to syndication sites I don't think it hurts to build 20 to 50 links at a time so long as you keep actively building links over time or already have an old estabilshed site.
Of course when you build links it makes sense to mix up your anchor text and descriptions so that you are relevant for a basket of keywords and do not make your link profile too unnatural looking.
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