Last Updated on June 22, 2021 by Elevate Digital
Trying to rank on web searches without a well-structured and diversified backlink profile is like trying to run without a backbone. Not only is it mildly horrifying to imagine, but it is near impossible to pull off as well. Due to this, a well-maintained and manicured backlink profile is crucial for all aspiring SEO campaigns.
What exactly is a backlink profile?
A backlink profile is the quantity, anchors and quality of links pointing to your website. This has a direct bearing on your ranking as Google’s search engine crawls through the Internet looking for these links. Google then assesses the quantity and quality of these links, determining whether or not your website has sufficient authority and popularity on the matter. If so, you rank high, if not … to the abyss of search results.
There are many factors that contribute to your backlink profile, such as dofollow/nofollow links, naked urls, anchor text, and much more. Of course, coming from an SEO marketing company, there are ways to optimize these factors to improve your backlink profile.
However, as with most things, there is a catch. Google doesn’t want websites to “hack” their algorithm and artificially inflate their rankings. So, as with landscaping and cosmetics, the goal here is to work hard to make your backlink profile appear “natural.” This “natural” look can be the difference between your website floating to the top of the rankings and being buried in search results.
Factors affecting your backlink profile
Given that Google has been around the block, they have seen all the ways that crafty website owners have tried to artificially inflate their rankings, meaning that Google’s search engine has become more and more complex. Many people talk about the importance of gaining backlinks when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. However, few people talk about the importance of anchor text and how that affects your overall link profile and SEO performance.
What is a healthy anchor text ratio
One of the more integral factors of a backlink profile is anchor text. Anchor text is the actual text of a hyperlink in a webpage. It is the text that appears underlined or a different color, indicating that it is a hyperlink and not just another piece of text.
This text is crucial to both users and to search engines. For users, it helps indicate what to expect when the link is clicked and, for internal links, helps direct the flow throughout your website structure. For search engines, it helps give context to the linked page. For example, if a page on a website is discussing lawnmowers and the anchor text of a link says “list of top lawnmowers,” it is clear what the hyperlinked page will contain. If many websites and pages point to this page regarding lawnmower queries, the ranking will rise.
One of the key aspects of using anchor text is to diversify your usage. If you have too many of one type, especially of the type of terms you are wanting to rank on, Google can spot this and penalize you. Instead, you should diversify your backlink profile. You can partially achieve a diverse profile by using a variety of these following types of anchor text:
- Naked URL: One of the many types of anchor text is a naked URL. Naked URLs are links that, instead of hyperlinking normal text, are the URL itself, such as https://www.google.com. While naked URLs may appear as “unnatural” or “raw,” they can actually be beneficial if used correctly. First, if your website is trying to optimize its backlink profile too aggressively, Google may penalize you and take away traffic. Naked URLs can be a great way to “dilute” and diversify your backlink profile by making it appear more organic.
- Branded Anchor Text: Branded anchors are links that are, unsurprisingly, a link that uses your brand as an anchor. An example would be Home Depot having its name as a link. The catch here is that it can only direct traffic to your site through your brand, meaning that the incoming traffic already knows about your site. Branded URLs are great ways to cement your brand and help diversify your profile, but ultimately they are limited in their capacity to bring in new traffic.
- Keyword Anchor: These are your double-edged swords. Keyword anchors are anchor texts that use the keyword you are trying to rank on as the anchor for a link. While these could potentially create a stronger backlink profile and direct more new traffic to your site, Google could potentially flag this behavior as spamming and as an attempt to artificially inflate your ranking.
SEOJet have an incredible article (and tool!) on building backlinks whilst maintaining a healthy link profile for optimal organic growth! Their platform even shows you the ideal link profile for certain pages based on what’s currently ranking number 1 in search engines
You can check out their blog on building links here.
Backlinks from other websites and how they affect your link profile when doing SEO
Probably one of the more important parts of your profile is the links pointing to your website from other, highly trusted websites. This also means that these are more difficult to get. There are a few different ways to obtain these kinds of links and a few things to consider:
- Organically gaining backlinks: In a perfect world, your website is one of the most informative, most appealing, and most trustworthy of websites in existence. Because of this, other websites naturally view your website as an authority on certain issues and therefore link to your website. Google, acting as the benign monarch of the Internet, rewards this behavior by listing your website at the top of its search results. This is built through great content, hard work, and lots of time.
- Building Networks: Naturally, we can’t all be perfect and it can be a tough world out there. Because of this, it is only natural to talk to other websites and build relationships with other relevant sites. This also takes some hard work. By thinking of how users find your website and what they might search before they come to your product, you can reach out to related websites and ask to link to each other. Sometimes this works out, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it is a great way to eventually build up your backlink profile with trusted websites.
- Buying backlinks: Really speaking to the “imperfect” world of the Internet, many choose to purchase backlinks from services or other websites. This has the potential to quickly inflate your ranking but runs the risk of being penalized by Google, possibly backfiring and setting you back further.
- Diversify, diversify, diversify: This cannot be stressed enough. Just as with creating anchor text, so too with backlinks from other websites. If you have links from all too similar sites, Google will begin to suspect foul play. Regardless of your method of obtaining backlinks, be sure that it is from a diverse pool of relevant websites. For example, if you are a small business shop that sells cookware, you can obtain links from cooking blogs, other similar shops, and possibly town attraction lists. The key here is to spice things up a bit.
Whether you are building your backlink profile through anchor texts or links to your website from other sites, remember to diversify and pay attention to this backbone. While you make the most beautiful website with specially crafted keywords and content, forgetting to tend to your backlink profile can jeopardize your ranking.
Most importantly, be natural! Not simply appearing “natural,” but producing good content and becoming a trusted authority. Ultimately, this is what Google and potential customers want.
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