Based on ACTUAL data sets from more than 80 websites.

It seems to be related more to content than links along with other micro factors. In general:

  • Sites that had active link acquisition and low index bloat and had a tight index of performance pages saw an INCREASE in rankings and traffic.
  • Sites that had no active link acquisition other than general background flux in random links / scrapers but had a large content pool where more than 50% of the index underperformed saw significant drops of 30% plus
  • Sites that had active link acquisition with good domain metrics and a good portion of relevant links but large index bloat also saw drops of 20-30%+
  • Sites that had no active link acquisition but had a good tight index of performing pages (less than 20% underperforming index) saw an INCREASE in rankings, as much as 25%

Factors where there was no real correlation:

  • Any change in weight on site speed (think with google)
  • Site age or establishment over time
  • Brand trust/citation

Factors where there was SOME correlation:

  • Poor quality links
  • Negative Link Patterns i.e. Blogspot abuse
  • Massive skew between links at a root domain level and lower level pages
  • Anchor text profiles

Daniel Carter

Director at Assertive
A driven entrepreneur providing the fearless counsel to clients who need to maximise their investments in Digital Marketing, Advertising, Business Development and End User Strategies. Twenty years of SEO experience – and still learning.