Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

How Google Ranks Links

As we point out in many places on, Google heavily relies on incoming links when it comes to ranking web sites. In addition to the sheer number of links and their anchor texts, the recently released Google patent specification shows possible ways how Google might use historical link information to further evaluate links.

For example, Google might record the date they first found a link and even record the life span of a link and the speed at which a new web site gets links.

The patent specification indicates that Google might track this:

  • Both the anchor text and the discovery date of links are recorded.
  • Google might monitor the appearance and disappearance of a link over time.
  • Google might monitor the growth rates of links.
  • Google might monitor the changes in the anchor text of links (what the link actually says) over a given period of time.
  • Google might monitor the rate at which new links to a web page appear and disappear.
  • Google might record a distribution rating for the age of all links.
  • Links with a long life span might get a higher rating than links with a short life span.
  • Links from fresh pages might be considered more important.
  • If a stale document continues to get incoming links, it will be considered fresh.
  • Google doesn’t expect that new web sites have a large number of links (but they do need some).
  • If a new web site gets many new links, this will be tolerated if some of the links are from authorative sites.
  • Google indicates that it is better if link growth remains constant and slow.
  • Google indicates that it’s best if anchor text varies as much as possible among incoming links.
  • Google indicates that a quick burst of new links may be a strong indicator of search engine spam.

What does this mean to your web site?

If you participate in quick link exchange schemes or buy links to your web site so that you get many links at once, chances are that Google will see this as a spamming attempt and will penalize your rankings. It’s far better for new links to appear in a natural way, a few at a time over an extended period of time.

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