Is Link Stability a Key Element in Google’s Ranking Algorithm?

2 min read

Discover whether modifying your website’s links positively or negatively impacts your rankings. Explore the influence of link stability on your search rankings.

The debate surrounding link stability and its relationship with search rankings has persisted since a patent referencing “link churn” emerged in 2006.

Specific individuals believe that the stability of a website’s links, precisely the duration for which links remain unaltered on a page, may produce signals incorporated into Google’s algorithms.

In this discussion, we will delve into the assertions concerning link stability as a potential ranking factor, trace their origins, and assess whether there is any substantiating evidence.


The Assertion: Link Stability as a Ranking Factor


A link is deemed stable when it remains unaltered on a webpage over an extended duration. Alterations that can disrupt link stability encompass URL substitutions and modifications to the anchor text.

When a website consistently changes the outbound links on its web pages, it is characterized as having high “link churn.”

In 2005, Google filed a patent outlining a potential adjustment to its search algorithm, incorporating link churn as a possible ranking factor.

Below are excerpts from the patent, dating back to its discovery in 2006:

Simplified Explanations:

  1. The algorithm update examines a website’s link churn, which affects the significance of outbound links in ranking.
  2. Link churn is measured by how frequently links and anchor text change on a specific site.
  3. Google might impose penalties on websites surpassing a certain link churn threshold.

Considering these claims arising from the patent, should you hesitate to modify outbound links due to potential negative signals for search rankings?


Supporting Evidence for Link Stability as a Ranking Factor


Google’s patent concerning link churn was initially filed in 2005. While an archived version is accessible on the web, it has undergone multiple revisions.

The current iteration of the patent does not contain any mention of link churn or similar concepts. This suggests that if link stability ever played a role as a ranking factor, it has likely ceased to be relevant for a considerable period.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that a patent is merely a document, and companies regularly file patents containing ideas that may never come to fruition in practice.


Link Stability Is Certainly Not a Ranking Factor


Although the initial patent discussing link churn presents indirect indications of the significance of link stability, the absence of direct confirmatory evidence raises doubts about its contemporary relevance. Google has yet to officially communicate or provide guidance indicating that link stability or churn is a fundamental component of its ranking algorithms.

On the contrary, Google is known for openly sharing major ranking factors through comments, help documents, and webmaster videos. However, there has been a conspicuous absence of any mention of the ongoing use of link stability as a signal for over 15 years.

This silence carries weight. If link churn impacted rankings, Google’s search representatives would have reaffirmed this in public communications by now. While there may be reasons for their silence, they do not appear significant.

Additionally, the original patent addressing link churn has undergone multiple revisions, with any reference to these concepts subsequently removed.

Considering the dated nature of the initial patent filing and the absence of supporting signals from Google, it is safe to conclude that link stability is not a ranking factor.

Both large and small websites regularly update their outbound links without facing any penalties. You can confidently edit your links as necessary without concerns about adverse ranking effects.

If you still find it challenging and bewildering, consider exploring our monthly SEO packages and entrust the task to our skilled experts.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]