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.