Link building is a hugely vital facet of any digital strategy as the process of acquiring links has shifted over the years to ensure that links are earned for the provision great content. Now while this aim should be a coherent commonality shared by anyone looking to generate more links, it is often misconceived that quantity of links is more important than quality. However, I strongly refute this point and would much rather have one link from a top-tier site, than 10 links from less authoritative sites. “But why would you prefer this, Tom?” you may find yourself asking, well, read on and you’ll find out why.

Just to be clear, this isn’t just another one of those ‘Link Quality vs. Quantity’ debates because the best answer should be obvious… 

Quantitative Link Building

In the days of old, quantitative link building worked exceptionally well and garnered pretty quick results for those who were willing to spend more than their competitors. However, as we’re all very much aware, Google’s updates ground this practice to a halt and eradicated black hat SEO from the face of the digital landscape. Because of this, a quantitative approach to link building has naturally become less effective in generating the desired results. Why? Well it’s simply because Google’s updates over the past few years have guided SEO practices to focus on creating quality content to earn links, rather than buy them.

building blocks link building

Fundamentally, though, there is no set number of links that you need to accrue per month, and similarly, there is no set pace at which you should acquire links either. In fact, as long as your link building efforts and pace that you acquire them is natural, then you’ll be plain sailing. Google will only ever take action against websites whose link building efforts appear unnatural; by this I mean websites that will build 100 links one day, then 0 the next, then another 50 the day after, then 0 the next day. All this will indicate to Google’s algorithm is that your rate of link building appears to be automated, or at least spammy, so try to make it look as natural as possible. Ultimately, as long as your links are from good sources, the pace at which you get links shouldn’t matter.

So we’ve just established that quantitative link building isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in some circumstances it can be unavoidable, but how does this compare to a more qualitative approach?

Qualitative Link Building

As mentioned in another of our past blog posts entitled ‘Link Building Myths’, quality links trump quantity every time. And referring back to my earlier statement pertaining to my preference in link building techniques, I’m going to explain why you should be focusing your efforts and resource on securing less links on more authoritative websites, as opposed to more links on less authoritative websites. Hence, the qualitative link building approach.

A couple of months ago we published a blog on the go-to-site for all the latest industry news, Search Engine Journal (SEJ), and the results that we monitored in the days following the post going live were somewhat eye-opening…

What did we do?

To generate this link, we created a blog post titled ‘Voice Search: The Future of Search?’ which was published on our website. Following our promotion, this was noticed by one of the team at SEJ who took it upon themselves to contact us enquiring as to whether they could include this within one of their pieces. We obliged, of course, then a week or so later they published the piece (on 30th June) titled ‘Proper Local SEO Citation Building Helps Users’ with a ‘DOFOLLOW’ link back to our Voice Search blog.

What were the results?

The results generated to as a consequence of this link acquisition provided an uplift in organic rankings, and in turn, an increase in traffic as a direct consequence of this enhanced exposure and trust. When tracked over the next 30 days, our website increased 147 keyword positions for a number of our major terms.

rankings graph

Not only that, but our blog post on Voice Search dropped in at position 21 for the term ‘voice search’ and continues to fluctuate on a daily basis anywhere between positions 11 and 37. With this increase in ranking for our major terms, as well as the newly garnered ranking for our blog post on Voice Search (which has a monthly search volume of 4,400), we saw a traffic increase of over 12% across all of our keywords as a consequence. Moreover, when reviewing its performance after those 30 days, we saw that it has continued to generate traffic at a steady rate. As such, the attraction to our Voice Search blog has exceeded the usual two-week ‘honeymoon’ period where it would naturally generate the most interest.


In summary, when you’re devising a strategy for manual outreach always focus on quality rather than quantity. If you create quality content that people want to read and distribute well, then it’ll generate results on its own. Ultimately, though, no matter what pace you acquire links, as long as they’re from relevant, trustworthy and authoritative sites then it’s more likely to generate better results.

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