Certainly, backlinks remain a primary factor in SEO. You are probably aware of their importance and you understand that having anchor texts that are over-optimised can be harmful. You probably also understand that getting low quality links from questionable sources can be harmful. Yet, how vital are links and how are you able to obtain a link profile that will be looked upon favourably by Google?
We will review what constitutes a quality link profile and give you some direction in improving the link profile of your site.
How Important Are Backlinks In SEO?
We’ll demonstrate the importance of your backlink profile. Last year saw a lot of changes in SEO with Penguin 2.0 and the rollout of Hummingbird.
How do all of these algorithmic changes impact the importance of your backlink profile?
We aren’t absolutely certain, but on the basis of experience, testing, and careful study, we can still conclude that your backlink profile still accounts for the bulk of your site’s ranking in Google’s algorithm.
When Google penalises a site, it is normally based upon the links to the site. The factors that have the biggest effect upon the ranking of a site directly correspond to its link profile.
Since your link profile is of the utmost importance, we need to determine what constitutes a quality link profile in the eyes of Google.
What Is A Quality Backlink Profile?
To begin with, you should understand that a quality link profile does not merely consists of numerous backlinks.
Just about every SEO knows that links are the most vital SEO component. Rankings are unlikely to improve without links. Nevertheless, your link profile consists of much more than simply having numerous backlinks. There is much more complexity to this issue.
Let’s review several factors that have an effect upon your link profile. Certainly a quality link profile will have numerous links from high authority domains and no low-quality spam links. This is something that you probably already knew, so let’s go into some of the less obvious factors.
When we examine the importance of the various elements that have an effect upon a site’s ranking, it appears as follows:
- Backlink Profile – of primary importance in site ranking
- >Backlink Quality – most important component of a backlink profile
- Anchor Text – most important component of backlinks
- Diversity – most important component of anchor text
Google looks for anchor texts that are diverse and contain anchor texts that are branded. Branded anchor texts normally contain the business’ brand name.
For instance, in the case of our business, our brand name is eTraffic Web Design, therefore our branded anchor text would be “eTraffic Web Design”, and the link would point to our URL.
Branded anchor texts may also be used in combination with keywords. A quality link profile will be comprised with as much as 25% of anchor texts that are branded.
Anchor Texts That Are Semantically Relevant
You may be familiar with keywords that are semantically related. For instance, Google may display a site in the search results for queries that are not the same as those you are targeting, as long as they are related.
For instance, our web marketing site may be displayed for, “internet marketing”, “web marketing”, “search engine marketing”, and similar terms.
Having anchor texts with keywords that are semantically related helps to diversify and enrich your link profile.
Anchor Texts That Are Diluted
This refers to anchor texts that are branded in combination with additional words. This is a component of a health link profile.
Building links with anchor texts that are optimised is a bad idea, post Penguin. However, anchor texts that are diluted are good. An anchor text that’s diluted is one which has numerous words, some of which are related and others that aren’t.
For instance, a web marketing site may have a diluted anchor text such as, “Want to improve the online visibility of your site?” That’s a large anchor text, and it doesn’t even contain any of our keywords or brand. Nevertheless, since it is dilute, it’s a valuable component of our link profile.
In summary, a diverse, diluted, and diverse backlink profile is preferable.
Linking Site Relevancy
The links to your site should be from sites that have a similar or related topic. Your links should be relevant.
For instance, if you have an auto dealership, and your get a link from a women’s clothing boutique, this link won’t help your link profile much. However, if your link came from an auto parts supplier, it would be valuable. Basically, you’ll want links from other sites in your market niche.
Surrounding Context Relevancy
This refers to the content that is around your link. A quality link will normally be surrounded by relevant content. Quite often this will be a link that is surrounded by relevant text.
Going back to our auto dealership, this may be a link that’s embedded in an article that reviews a particular type of car. In this instance, the context of the link would be relevant to an auto dealership. When a link comes from an irrelevant discussion, it’s not as valuable.
When a link comes from a discussion that is related to your field of endeavour, it will have more value to your link profile.
Linking Sites That Are Compromised
This occurs when you obtain a link from a site that is not really a spam site itself, but it links out to spam sites and has spam links that point to it.
In the eyes of Google’s algorithm, the link you are getting is from a website that is from a bad neighbourhood. This diminished the value of this link.
The value of a link tends to decrease over time. For instance if you have a backlink that comes from a DA 80 website and it has been in place for six years, it won’t be as valuable as a backlink for a DA 70 website that linked to you a week ago.
This concept is known as the freshness factor. The content of a page normally declines in value over time, therefore, the newer a backlink is the greater is the value it imparts.
A citation is not really a link, but it does impart some value to a link profile. A citation is the mention of your site within another site, without actually linking to your site. Some value will be passed to your site simply by its mention.
This concept goes a bit further. If a site that mentions your site is itself mentioned in a high authority site, some of the value gets passed on to your site.
Linking Site Authority
This is rather clear, links from sites with a high domain authority are more valuable. You get a lot of value when you are linked to by a high authority website.
Certainly, to be effective, the link should be a “dofollow” link rather than a “nofollow” link. Nevertheless, to make your backlink profile appear more natural, it’s a good idea to have some “nofollow” links to your site, even though they won’t provide you with any link juice.
Inner Page Links
It’s important to have links into the inner pages of your website. The majority of links to your site are likely to be to your homepage. Nevertheless, an over-abundance of links to your home page that are not balanced by inner page links does not give you the best link profile.
The inner pages of your site also need to have links to them. When your inner pages receive links, they bolster they authority of your entire site.
This is a reason it’s beneficial to engage in content marketing. Your content will reside on pages deep within the structure of your site, and if you have good content, people are likely to link to it.
Linked Pages Diversity
A quality link profile will have links to many pages in your site. Your links won’t be restricted to a couple of pages on your site, but they’ll be dispersed throughout the inner pages.
In general a broad distribution of diverse links is best to produce a high quality link profile.
Google considers paid links as spam. In general, when Google’s algorithm determines that you have paid links, the will give you a severe penalty.
Volume Of Links
A page with numerous links is likely to rank better. Certainly, a great link profile will have numerous backlinks.
However, what if you get numerous links from one site. Do additional links from one site add any value? The answer is no.
If you have one link from an authority site, that’s great, but getting more links from the same site is not likely to impart much additional value.
Certainly you want a lot of links, but you want to get them from diverse sources. Numerous links from one source won’t hurt, it just won’t help a whole lot.
Links From Article Directories
Good links generally don’t come from article directories. This is relatively well known in SEO circles. Links from article directories may be considered spam.
Even Matt Cutts has suggested getting links from article directories is not a good idea. In the past, you could get numerous article directory links that would give you some good SEO value. Today, things are different.
If you have a lot of article directory links, it may be a good idea to remove them.
So, how can you build a quality link profile? Now that you have a better understanding of the features that constitute a good link profile, you’ll have a better concept of how to construct a strategy to obtain them.
One technique that should certainly be part of your link building arsenal is content marketing. If you generate great content, you are likely to get numerous natural links and you will naturally acquire an excellent link profile.