Advanced SEO: Natural Link Profiles

In the early days of the internet, links were king. Before professional SEOs began attempting to game the system with spammy links and unnatural link profiles, Google’s initial algorithms were generally effective at displaying websites with authority for their subject matter on page 1. As opportunists got wind of how these rankings were acquired, Google had to change things up to keep people from obtaining rankings that were unearned and served up websites that didn’t always provide users with the information they were seeking. It has been a cat and mouse game ever since. Some basic tenants of SEO have remained like the importance of links, but the vetting process behind those links is another matter entirely.

While updates like the “Panda” update from Google have increased the importance of user experience factors like load time, social interaction and bounce rate, having strong but natural link profiles on your optimized websites is still vital. The reason that your link profile must be “natural” is because if Google “thinks” you are trying to game the system, that’s bad news for your rankings. So the goal here is to create and obtain links to your website while keeping in mind Google’s guidelines to “show the value” of your website and not appear to be “gaming the system”.

Think of links like a giant map where every road is a link and every website is a city. The bigger cities in this case have a lot more “link juice” or authority because so many roads (links) lead to them. On this map, not all roads go both ways. Linking to big name authority websites like HuffingtonPost or Breitbart is helpful for your link profile, but if those big names send a link back to your website that would likely massively improve the rankings and prestige of your website (or city in this metaphor). However, even the roads within your city are important. Proper linking within your own website to your interior pages can do wonders for your SEO as well. Here are a few tips for keeping a natural link profile to get some of that natural link juice flowing your way.

  • AVOID using too many instances of exact match anchor text in your external links. Use exact match anchor text maybe 5% of the time.
  • DO use exact match anchor text for internal links within your website a majority of the time.
  • Link back to internal pages, not just the homepage.
  • Blog on your website regularly and continually link to your key pages and previous blog posts.
  • The first links on your page have the most “juice” so don’t stuff links in the footer.
  • Don’t place too many links on one page, each one takes a little bit of juice from the page diluting the overall strength of the links.
  • Never buy links.
  • Avoid untrustworthy directory sites.

Is your website not ranking how you’d like? Or are you worried that your link profile may be hurting your rankings? Contact New Wine Web Design today!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/8/2016) Kid Clutch (Flickr)

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