Search engine optimization is not as easy today as it was before. With Google employing intelligent algorithms to filter and penalise bad links and potential spam, every webmaster’s top priority should now be to ensure that their website has a clean link profile. You definitely don’t want to be in danger of being de-indexed by Google, as a penalty for containing high-risk back-links. But you might ask yourself: where is exactly the line between a good and a bad link profile?
Would a couple of directory listings be able to kick your website out of Google’s index? Should you forever forget about commenting on forums, being afraid that it might hurt your rankings?
Here are some tips that will help you get an objective evaluation of your link profile and enable you to improve it up to the point where it does what you expect it to: help your website achieve high rankings in SERPs.
What A good Website link profile is made up of?
The link profile of a website, consists of three things:
- the type of links used in the website
- the timeline (range of time) over which the links were added into the website
- the words used to anchor the links (the anchor text)
Each component is equally important for determining the quality of your link profile and each can trigger a penalty from Google if mismanaged.
How to assess the quality of your link profile
To evaluate a website’s link profile, you would typically ask two questions: How many links does it have? and How much value are these links passing?
A both fast and efficient method to answer these two questions is to skip the one-by-one analysis of backlinks and look at proportions. Here is what I suggest:
The number of backlinks compared to the number of LRDs (Linking root domains)
Having an enormous number of backlinks to your website might sound like an advantage, but in reality that greatly depends on the number of LRDs your website has. For example, having tens of thousands of backlinks from just a couple of domains definitely looks like a sign of manipulation, agree? Therefore, I don’t recommend you to limit your analysis to raw metrics but to also correlate them to each other.
An even more in-depth backlink analysis consists of comparing the number of backlinks by source: from blogs, forums, directories, etc.
The backlinks distribution by authority
Although in a natural link profile, the links coming from domains with very high authority are considerable less than those from medium or low authority, the backlinks’ distribution by their authority should not be disproportional.
You should be aware that a link profile with a majority of low authority links will not only appear of poor quality to Google but might also attract a penalty.
- For bookmarking: 5 Best free online Backlink checker tools
The anchor text distribution
Beside the raw number of exact/partial/branded match backlinks, you might also want to monitor the relation between these metrics. For example, while the raw number of exact match backlinks is just a number, by looking at the ratio between exact match and branded links you will be able to get a reliable indicator of whether your link profile looks over optimized or not.
- Also read: What is Anchor text and Why it’s important
Quick tips for a steady Website Backlink profile
1. Always start with the best
When starting to build links for a new website, you might be tempted to go first for the easy links just to see them piling up and hoping that they’ll give your website a quick boost in rankings. But that might not be the best idea though. Just keep in mind that quality is always better than quantity, and you stay out of trouble.
2. Be patient
Aggressively building links for a site is the worst thing any webmaster could do for his website. Building massive amounts of links over a very short span of time results in Google detecting an “unnatural link behaviour”, qualify it as suspicious activity and penalize it. The best way to build up the links on the site is to do it gradually and consistently, over a period of time.
3. Avoid disproportions
When building links, you might find yourself focusing only on one method and ignoring the rest. But this results in achieving an unnatural link profile and increases the risk of Google detecting some sort of manipulation. Even in the case of a technique that has been proved to be effective and “safe”, such as guest blogging for example, if used massively, it can turn against you and do more damage than good.
- Recommended read: Post Panda/Penguin SEO Strategy for Bloggers
- Why you should never buy back links from cheap places – Case study
Although it would take a lot of time to work on multiple link-building strategies, it would most definitely be well worth the wait.
4. Adjust to Hummingbird
Although the latest Google Hummingbird update does not have a direct impact on the techniques used for link building, it changes something even more important: the methodology for determining a website’s relevancy for a topic. And for link building, that means co-citation.
Make sure the backlinks you get are relevant for the topic of your pages, rather than anchor text optimized.
Certainly, the time of aggressive link building has passed. In fact, when it comes to vigorous techniques, each and every one of the SEO techniques is bound to be detected as suspicious or unnatural, if they are employed without discrimination. The thing that actually works is a combination of “safe” techniques employed with moderation, instead of going for a large-scale approach.
I would like to know what do you focus more when building links for your Website? Do you prefer quality over quantity or vice-versa? Do share your opinion and if you enjoyed reading this article, do consider sharing it on Facebook and Google plus.
This is a guest post by Dana. If you would like to write for ShoutMeLoud, check our guest post guidelines.