Link building is essential to any website that wants to climb the search engine rankings and stay there. What a lot of people fail to understand is that this is not as simple as finding as many links as you can, no matter where from, and then adding them all in one go. If a website is to be consistently successful in the search engines, it has to possess a natural link profile.
What Is a Natural Link Profile?
A good link-building strategy should appear natural, and not forced or manipulated. Ideally, the search engines are looking for a steady collection of relevant links from good quality sites, over a period of time. The links should be from a variety of sources.
A natural link profile is one that does not ring any search engine alarm bells. There are many things a web owner can do, when creating links, that will cause the links to look unnatural and suspicious. Unfortunately, there are many guides and uninformed advices that will advise of certain link-building methods that can alert a search engine that something is afoot.
How to Keep the Search Engines Happy
Keep the following guidelines in mind if you wish to keep search engines on your side:
- Link Velocity – Do not add 100 links in 2 days then none for a month, before beginning another mad burst of link-building. Sporadic linking can look like you are link spamming, search engines look for consistency and continuity.
- IP Diversity – Having 20 links all coming from a variety of small blogs or hub pages you have created may satisfy the criteria for having links from different sites, but it will not fool the search engines. All these links come from sites with the same IP address and suggest that you are falsely manufacturing links. Get backlinks from a variety of sites with different IP addresses.
- There is a significant number of SEO experts who believe that you should mix “NoFollow” and “DoFollow” links in your link building efforts. Some of them even go so far stating that 10-20% of your links should be from “NoFollow” sources to appear natural. There is no strong evidence for this, but is something worth keeping in mind.
- Link Popularity – Search engines place greater importance on links from trusted sources and authority sites. Google has its PageRank system but the other search engines also look for high-quality links. The more quality links you have, the better you will rank. A larger amount of low-quality reciprocal links, or off-topic links, may suggest you are blog spamming or using a link farm/exchange.
- Topical Relevance – Keep your content fresh and updated and a steady flow of links coming in to your site. Search engines are looking for sites that provide up-to-date information and relevance. If you keep your content on-topic and have good links gradually pointing to your site, the search engines will start to regard you as an authority over time.
Keep the Search Engines on Your Side
Of course link-building is unnatural. Unless you are Google, Facebook or Wikipedia you will have to go looking for your own links. In a perfect online world no one would have to ask for a link, everyone would be linking to other sites naturally purely for the interest of pointing out new, informative content for searchers. The internet is not perfect and if you are not one of the “giants” you will have to beg, steal and borrow links.
Nearly everyone is in the same boat, but the person that shines in the eyes of the search engines is the one who can make this unnatural link creation appear totally innocent. Try to maintain a natural link profile and the search engines will eventually reward you.
Great advice, thanks for sharing this. Who knows we might commit one of these mistakes in building links. My recent post Building Quality Backlinks Strategies
For some of my niche sites it seems that there just aren't enough similar sites to link to so the guys that are number one on Google are simply the ones with the most links, even though most of them are from crappy directories.
Those are some interesting discussion points Jarret.I agree that in certain niches people don't share or link to content has easily as other niches. Its true that certain types of content have a better chance at going viral or is link worthy.I think the best way to approach those types of niches that don't link as much, is to come up with unique ways of displaying your content (ie: Infographic, Whitepaper, Industry Report, etc...) which are more attractive than just a regular text blog post.
Yep, good points. Its better to write a guest post and gain a high-quality inbound link, than to sit there and submit to 200 directories for 2 hours. Instead transfer that time into creating good content!
Great tips Wynne!I agree that you could pay someone to submit to 1000 directories, but the quality of those links are going to be so low, that most of the time its not even worth it.As long as you are providing valuable content and promoting that content, the links will come. You shouldn't be thinking about ways to just gain links for the sake of Google. Produce awesome content and the rest will fall into place.
Good advice. Relevancy and authority of links along with diversity of links are very important. However, it doesn't solve the problem of how to get these links. :-)I have a number of blogs in different areas. Depending on your niche it can be hard/easy to get quality backlinks. I have a sports team blog that generates natural high quality links from authoritative sources. People in this niche are very prone to linking to posts that they cite or find useful.On the other hand, I have a few health and fitness blogs and this area is nearly impossible to generate quality natural backlinks. People in this niche are either spammers or companies selling products. Bloggers in this niche will share posts mostly with social media, so they never generate quality, in content, backlinks.
One thing which I always keep in mind before developing a link building strategy is that you cannot misguide google. I always prefer White SEO techniques for link building. Quality backlinks are much preferred rather than quantity. Also links are the basis of SEO, so one must involved in link buildings regularly.SEO is truly said non stop continuous process.
I agree that link building needs to look as natural as possible:- minimize predictable linking habits, i.e. mix IPs, use proxy and VPN when posting, randomize everything you, and clear cookies everytime (I dedicate Internet Explorer to this task).- mix nofollow & dofollow links as you've mentioned- mix articles, videos, bookmarks, rss, press releases, blogs, comment links etc- use social linking such as twitter, facebook, myspace, blogger, etc- drip feed your content over time instead of one hit in the morningIn a nutshell backlink building is a specialized job. Sure you can pay someone $10 for 10 million backlinks, but for the work to be effective it has be done thoughtfully and naturally as you've mentioned in this post. Good job on the article.