Backlink Spreading (Drip-Feeding) Explained

Backlinks are the primary way of ranking a page in Google and other search engines. The higher number, more targeted and authoritative the backlinks, the better it will rank. However, nothing is quite that simple, and there are many factors that affect the value of any particular backlink.

Over time Google has highly refined its ranking algorithm and these days it is no longer a case of simply throwing as many backlinks as possible to the target page. In other articles I have discussed many of the factors that affect the quality of the link itself, but in this article I want to focus on the frequency and pattern in which backlinks come into your site and introduce a technique known as link-spreading, or drip-feeding.

The Google spider runs constantly and it is always crawling websites looking for links. As well as examining the link itself, Google is also looking at the overall pattern in which the links come in. Google prefers 'natural' links. What does that mean? Let's say you have a website about Persian cats and you write a great article about a new technique for grooming your Persian cat in the winter time. This article is read and you start to find that other website owners such as bloggers write about your article and link to it. Some readers might bookmark at their favourite social bookmarking site. Others may tweet about it, Stumble it and so it goes on. These are what are called 'natural' links.

These links are deemed natural because they are created by many people at different times in different places. Google likes this. Google is not so fond of links that it deems are 'unnatural' and does not give them as much credit. For example, I mentioned social bookmarking and of course this is the primary tool used in the IMAutomator suite. There are hundreds of bookmarking sites. Most individuals who use a bookmarking site will probably have just one favourite but of course you can submit your own article to them as way of creating backlinks and it follows that 50 links is better than 1 link! This is where automated tools such as IMAutomator come into play.

However, we don't want those 50 links to be created all at once because Google sees this and deems it to be an unnatural linking pattern and thus doesn't give those links as much credit as usual. The solution then, is to spread those backlinks out over time and this is what we call backlink spreading or backlink drip feeding and this is the technique that IMAutomator uses.

The default option for all of the IMAutomator tools is to slowly drip the links at a rate of 1 per day and IMAutomator will randomise the precise times within that 24 hour period to make it as random as possible and thus not showing any discernible pattern in the frequency of the links.

Another reason to use slower submission speeds is that Google likes to see links coming in over time - this tells Google that the site is popular and it helps to keep the ranking stable over time. Let's say you have just joined IMAutomator and you have an established website that you'd like to promote that has many pages of content. If you were to submit the maximum number of links every day and put them all on the fastest option then you'd have a flurry of inbound links which would likely raise your rank in the short term but then they would suddenly stop once you'd finished bookmarking everything and Google may then decide to drop your rank.

Mix things up a bit - submit a handful of links, vary the speeds and if you have used other link building methods such as squidoo lenses, articles etc then why not bookmark some of those for some indirect link juice?

Are there any downsides to this strategy?

There are always at least two sides to any story! Another benefit of posting backlinks to sites such as social bookmarking sites is that it is a great way to help your article get indexed in the search engines and this is particularly useful if you're posting links to a brand new site. If you spread the links out over a long time, it may take a while for the page / site to get indexed.

Another possible downside is that you could potentially lose out on the benefit of a hot new trend. This depends very much on the subject of your article. The cat example I used earlier is something that is timeless - there will always be Persian cats that need grooming so this is an article that can sustain the test of time. However if you are writing about something new, such as an event that has just occurred in the news, then you might want more immediate attention. If there is a flurry of links coming into sites on a specific new topic, Google can see this as a hot trend and push the relevant article further up in the rankings for a while.

So how fast should you build your links? This is one of those questions that cannot be accurately answered so with IMAutomator you have the flexibility to choose a link frequency that suits you. If you want a fast submission, you can have all of the backlinks submitted in a single day, or you can spread them out over more time if you prefer. You are in control.

For the bookmarking tool (and future tools will work in a similar way), when you submit the details of your bookmark to IMAutomator, you can pick a number of days for those links to be spread out over. Your bookmarks are submitted to a number of bookmarking sites and these will always change around a bit. Some sites come and go and we're always updating our database to try and find new sites to submit to.

Tags: backlinks, backlink spreading, backlink drip feeding, link building

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