Home Advisor X Measuring Link Building “ETA” (Estimated Time to Algorithm) & Impact!

Measuring Link Building “ETA” (Estimated Time to Algorithm) & Impact!

by Larry Sivitz, Seattle24x7, Editor in Chief

The process of link building for search engine optimization and traffic building is time-intensive, but just how long should it take for targeted link building actions to take hold?

Planning is essential and, based on your roadmap, your speed and mileage may vary.  Link building involves multiple “channels” (community outreach, media relations, affinity marketing, social media profile creation, B2B trade promotions and various B2C promotions) so keeping all the flightpaths in view is critical.

Multimedia deployment is another pacing item. Link building can leverage text, images, audio, video, infographics, PDFs, podcasts, press releases, apps, bookmarks and software), all with an embedded homing beacon.

Finally, “time equals teamwork.”  Multiple link building disciplines include account and competitive research, account planning, direct marketing, media buying, copywriting, art direction design, Web production, programming, distribution, and analytics.

Since we are talking about link building, encompassing the process of optimizing any and all inbound links for the purpose of generating higher traffic, increased page views and greater conversions, we must also include changes made from ALL Inter-networked sites including those that are part of the same company, dealer, affiliate, service or social media network. For example, an organization that owns multiple domains can seize upon the “link value” of its satellite domain properties by redirecting the flow of link equity to its primary “hub” site through use of the rel=canonical tag.

Speaking of canonical linking, Google counts the links to a www.domainname.com separately from the (non-www) domainname.com. By applying a Permanent 301 redirect from the non-www to the www. version all the link equity from the first domain will flow to the other and this effect is nearly instantaneous.

Also important to keep in mind is the fact that getting search engine credit for new links will only accrue after a search engine spider has crawled the new links.  Since this time will vary based on the “crawl rates” of the linking entities, our ETA matrix (below) considers the time  it takes for the link itself to be included in the search engines, not merely creation of the link.  This presumes the search engine will process the link on its next crawl of the sites involved. Ready to execute? How long will linking the high-value chain take before registering impact?

Foreshadowing the answer, some results can have near-instant effect while some require extended periods of time to “close the loop” from link activation to confirmation. For the timetable below, we’ve modified the airline industry abbreviation “ETA” to mean Estimated Time to Algorithm or Algorithmic Impact. From the fastest to the slowest “ETA,” here is the uptake rate of various link building activities:




301 Canonical Redirect www. to non-www or vice versa


If/When applicable

Rel=canonical Cross-Domain Page Source Attribution to Primary Page and Domain


Posted Tweet & Link  on Twitter

Immediate for Real-time Search Results

Keyword relevancy and Twitter                  authority a factor

Facebook Status Update

Immediate for FB Followers.                Integrated into Bing Search Engine

Facebook Followers and Facebook EdgeRank are factors

Local “Place Page” Update

Instantaneous via announcement Update or via link added to Local profile

Comment to Blog

Typically within 24 hours and presuming “DoFollow” Blog.

New Blog Post

1-2 Days, faster in Blog Search Engines. Link value will “fade” as post page is archived

Page Sculpting (Assigning “no-follow” to links to non-essential pages to preserve PageRank)


Optimized Press Release Distribution (Google/Yahoo News Links), circulated PR with embedded links

Day of Release

Duplicate content may limit # of results displayed for same piece but link credit is cumulative.

“Web Badge” Link Backs

Immediately upon serving badge image from placed code.

Site-served Web badges create “link” once implemented on backlink site

Infographic Link Backs

Immediately upon serving Infographic from placed code once linked to from backlink site.

Site-served   Infographic creates “link” once linked to from the  backlink site

Standard Editorial Link on Target Site

1-4 Days of Placement

Crawl frequency a factor

Directory Link Placements

4-10 days accounting for acceptance by Directory

Reciprocal Text or Banner Exchange

Unpredictable pending terms of network adoption

Seattle’s SearchWrite Search Marketing has made a best practice of “structured link building” programs, namely programs designed to sustain steady and systematic link growth rate with the proper mix of community relations and partner motivations in place.

The company has implemented link building campaigns as a national promoter of the  Environmental “Green Log” Awards Program which used a distributed polling “widget” on blogging and “green content” sites across the Web to both nominate and vote for the best green products across a number of product categories. The program succeeded in elevating the visibility of the sponsor organization from page 39 to page one of Google Search Results while the awards contest paid for itself by enlisting sponsors to share in the limelight.

For a nationwide insurance client, SearchWrite produced a Father’s Day linking campaign complete with an  MP3 downloadable celebrity music-video, “Happy Father’s Day” email cards,  and free photo gallery software among other holiday bonuses.   The “optimized press release” announcing the promotion was embedded with both a music and  video player in the release itself as it appeared on Google News and Yahoo News.

Put together, a link building campaign will take a minimum of 30-60 days from the first link building block laid to the first aggregation of results in terms of installations. Done right, it  should be clear sailing going forward.  Be strong!  Link well!  [24×7]