Timing of Link Credit for New Links

I’ve been experimenting and doing some testing recently to try to figure out how long it takes to get “credit” for new links to your site. It appears that the organic rankings credit comes about 5 days after you get a new link to a website.

To verify some of my recent findings, I worked on a website whose “PageRank” was, as reported by the Google Toolbar, a PageRank zero. The site is several years old, has content on it, but really hasn’t been optimized properly. The pages on the site were indexed, but there was virtually no traffic to the site except for the occasional “type-in”. This site had 307 pageviews total during the month of January 2007.

To continue with the test to verify my recent findings, I secured the equivalent of what would be a PR9 and a PR8 link to one of the interior pages of the site (not the home page). At the same time, I added additional pages to the site with unique content over a period of about a week, and fixed the navigation on the site so it can get crawled properly. The verdict?

Five days after securing the new PR9 and PR8 links to one page on the site, the traffic started flow as a result of better organic search engine rankings. After five days (the first five days of the month of February 2007), there are about 14000 pageviews on the site. Granted, there’s not a huge amount of traffic to the site after five days, but the entire site is crawled and the pages on the site that “should be” ranking well are ranking well in the Google search results. The topic of the site is in a pretty specific niche, so I’m not expecting hundreds of thousands of pageviews on the site.

Many people have been wondering (and even I’ve been wondering) how long it takes to see an organic ranking effect on getting some new links to the site. From what I can tell, it takes about 5 days right now in order to see any effects of getting new links.

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  1. CrankyDave says

    Very interesting.

    Out of curiosity, have you or do you plan on testing the same idea using links from pages with lower toolbar PR? I would tend to think that links from pages that would display a toolbar PR of say PR3 or PR4 might not be credited as quickly.

  2. Bill Hartzer says

    That’s a great point, CrankyDave. I’ve tested the timing with the higher PageRank links (PR9 and PR8) and some links that are PR5 and PR6. I’m not seeing a huge difference in time, though, at this point. The difference is about a day (an on-topic link from a PR9 or PR8 takes about 5 days and a PR5 or PR6 is either five or six days, sometimes a week).

    I’ll do the test with a PR3 and a PR4 and will report back when I have some solid data. But, I suspect it’s going to take about a week or more. We’ll see.

  3. Mark Barrera says

    I always love it when someone actually ‘tests’ the systems. One thing I was curious about it how often the page that the link is coming from is spidered as this would affect how long it takes to see the credit from the link.

    In your test of PR3 and PR4 links, you might want to check Google’s cache of the page (that contains the link) every day to see when they actually crawl the page and then count from that date on to see when how long it takes for the link to get credit.

  4. Bill Hartzer says

    Mark, it’s going to be difficult to determine specifically when Google spiders the page for several reasons. First, most of the pages I’m testing are crawled several times every day (sometimes hundreds of times every day) because of the new links that are going to them. So, once the spidering starts it sometimes spiders hundreds of pages and visits the robots.txt file numerous times.

    I don’t believe the Google cache would help–unless I were to put a feed on the page and have that feed updated every 15 minutes. In that case I might be able to narrow it down to within an hour or two. Still, I think there’s actually several crawls that are made, and I’m convinced that the Google crawler that caches pages actually comes at a different time than the crawler that visits for other purposes such as crawling for links, crawling for content, etc.

    But, keep in mind that just because we know that there’s a 5 day lag time in between the time that a site get new links and the time that a site’s rankings increases doesn’t mean that we really can do anything with that information. I’m not sure if knowing that it takes 5 days to get link credit is useful or not. Sure, it’s kind of neat to know, but really, how does it help us?