Visible indication based on the aggregation of colloidal nanoparticles (NPs) is highly advantageous for rapid on-site detection of biological entities, which even untrained persons can perform without specialized instrumentation. However, since the extent of aggregation should exceed a certain minimum threshold to produce visible change, further applications of this conventional method have been hampered by insufficient sensitivity or certain limiting characteristics of the target. Here we report a signal amplification strategy to enhance visible detection by introducing switchable linkers (SLs), which are designed to lose their function to bridge NPs in the presence of target and control the extent of aggregation. By precisely designing the system, considering the quantitative relationship between the functionalized NPs and SLs, highly sensitive and quantitative visible detection is possible. We confirmed the ultrahigh sensitivity of this method by detecting the presence of 20 femto-M of streptavidin and fewer than 100 CFU/mL of Escherichia coli.