Google has more than a decade of links, Websites, and archives to reference when examining your link profile, the sites that link to your site. Although your the possibilities of the exact make-up of your link profile are infinite, Google has a very good idea of what a natural link profile looks like.
You really want to get as close to that as possible.
These are the best practices I have developed over the last six years that are effective in keeping my link profiles natural and sending good link juice consistently over time.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
SEO is much like investing. The greater the diversity of links you have pointed at your site, the less risk your site carries of being crushed by one of Google’s dreaded updates.
I once created a piece of software for a client, submitted it to software directories, and watched as my client’s site skyrocketed to the top of the SERPS. Unfortunately, someone created an affiliate program selling that very technique to those who had not discovered how effective this link building could be.
Before long software directories, who were already struggling with spam, were overrun with mass produced, crappy software and Google took notice. Some software directories still send good Page Rank, but my client’s site plummeted out of the SERPS because that was the only links his site had.
If I would have diversified his link profile, he would have enjoyed great search rankings for the entire contract. I was able to save his site, but it wasn’t without having to sit through some very heated meetings with my client.
Learn and practice geometric link building
Google has seen, and facilitated, the rise and fall of millions of Websites over the last decade. Their algorithms are built to detect sites that are artificially inflated with spammy links.
One method of detection is to monitor the rate at which inbound links are acquired. If a site, especially a new site, suddenly starts getting hundreds of links a month they may not count many of those links until the site has proven itself.
Geometric link building requires you to build link slowly over time. This month get 7 links. Next month acquire 13 links. Target 21 links the third month. All though this method takes some patience, your site’s rankings should climb nicely by the third or fourth month of implementation.
The only exception to this rule is…
The most naturally looking link profile is one that is actually natural. The best way to acquire 100% natural links is to create viral content that magnetically attracts links.
You can easily brainstorm viral content by examining what is viral in your field, and working to create something similar. As you are reading these posts at social media sites, make some friends, they can come in really handy when submitting new content.
A site that has content that goes viral on a regular basis can easily build hundreds of manual links without drawing to much attention to itself from Google’s quality control team.
Get anchor text variety
Google says that approximately 25% of all searches are completely unique and have never been searched before. That is an astonishing figure and a testament to human creativity when you consider the billions of Google queries Google has seen. It must seriously turn some heads at Google when a site magically has 80% of their link profile consist of their money keyword.
As a matter of fact, one of the quickest ways to watch your hard earned links disappear into oblivion is to keep using the same anchor text over and over again. Google will devalue those links very quickly in most cases.
The fact is, people do not take into account your SEO goals when they link to your site. They often highlight whole sentences and random phrases. If you are building links, you should do the same.
I don’t violate this rule, and when I have I get lackluster results:
- Your main keyword should only make up 5% of your total link profile
- Your site/company name can make up to 10% of your total link profile
That means that when you are link building, only one of twenty links should have the same anchor text. Not only that, but each month you should generate random anchor text and use those as well. This will protect your site and your link profile.
Get deep links to content rich pages
One mistake many new SEO’s make is to get tunnel vision on one page and keyword ranking. They spend all of their time focused on that keyword ranking ignoring the opportunities that exist elsewhere in their site.
Don’t get caught in this trap, 60% of your links should be to deep pages within your site. Don’t forget that your domain carries a certain amount of authority, so deep links help your home page as well. This authority and Page Rank can be leveraged through the proper use of internal links.
Not only does this carry true SEO value, it protects your site from being seen as spam. The only exception to this rule is if your content is behind a wall, like Facebook, where it makes sense that most links are to the home page.
Remember, Google doesn’t just look at the quality of your links, but the way they were acquired. By following the above mentioned rules, I have often outranked sites that have had much larger link profiles.
- Getting started on your link campaign (Julie Joyce)
- How to really build backlinks and dominate Google (Glen Allsopp)
- Why PR's can be better link builders than SEO's (Kelvin Newman)
- The true value of links (Peter DaVanzo)