When it comes to mastering the art of SEO, a healthy backlink profile is key. You may not realize it at first, but a bad backlink profile could be hurting your results in a bad way.
So how can you make sure your backlink profile stays healthy? Here’s what you need to know.
What Makes a Backlink Profile Healthy?
There are a number of key indicators that tell Google your backlink profile is healthy. And the more emphasis you place on maintaining that healthy backlink profile, the more likely you are to see your rankings improve. But what factors do search engines like Google pay the most attention to?
If you want to make sure search engines notice your backlink profile in a good way, your links need to be:
- Natural-looking – If all of your links come from comments on someone’s blog or they’re put in as an afterthought, they’re not going to look natural. Natural-looking links add value to a piece of content in a way that reads like a human wrote it.
- Authoritative – When we say authoritative, we mean a link needs to be on a high-authority site. For example, a link in Forbes for a financial planner is going to be much more authoritative than a link from a personal blog you found.
- Diverse – Link diversity is incredibly important, especially when it comes to anchor text. If your anchor text is the same across all of your backlinks, you’ll immediately raise a red flag to search engines.
- Relevant – How would you feel if you saw a link back to a cooking site on a blog about troubleshooting computer issues? If it feels irrelevant to you, it definitely feels irrelevant to a search engine. Relevant link placement is crucial.
How Can I Build a Healthy Backlink Profile?
There are a million ways you can go about this, but for starters, it’s important to focus on three major elements: link quantity, link diversity, and anchor text. These elements of your backlink profile help drive SEO results. When you utilize and build them up correctly, they can change your rankings for the better.
Examining the number of links you have back to your site can give you a good insight into how healthy your backlink profile looks.
But why is it so critical to look at how many links you’ve earned over the lifetime of your site? When you look at how many links are in your current backlink profile, you can learn…
- How many links you’ve built in a specific period of time
- How quickly you’re building links
- How you’re being hurt by any links you’ve lost
- How many links are pointing to different pages on your site
Of all of those things, learning how quickly you’re building links is probably the most important to understand. It might seem great to win a large number of backlinks in a short period of time, but building links too quickly can send off a warning sign for search engines. When you build links too quickly, it could seem to Google that you’re engaging in suspicious or spammy link-building tactics. And that will tank your rankings faster than anything.
Building a healthy backlink profile necessitates building diverse links. What does it mean to have “diverse” links, thought? Well, link diversity can mean a couple of different things.
- Acquiring links from a wide variety of websites
- Acquiring links for a wide variety of pages on your site
The most important reason to make sure you have link diversity in your backlink profile is that it signals to Google that you’re acquiring new, relevant links on a regular basis. It might feel great to get several links from a high-authority site, but each subsequent link on that site carries less authority. In other words, the more links you get from a single website, the less value they have for you. Fortunately, tools like Moz and SEMRush make it easy to keep track of which sites you have links from.
In addition, you need to make sure the links on your site are diverse, too. Again, getting a bunch of links to one page on your site can feel like a big win. But when Google sees that all of your backlinks point to one page, there’s a red flag. As a result, your domain can seem less authoritative. Solve this issue by rotating through different pages on your site when you’re seeking out backlinks.
When you’re trying to build up your backlink profile, anchor text might be the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, that will come back to bite you later. Anchor text — diverse anchor text, at that — is an essential part of building a health backlink profile.
What kinds of anchor text do you need to build a healthy backlink profile? When search engines look at your anchor text, you’ll want them to find:
- Branded Anchor Text – In most circumstances, this type of anchor text can help avoid getting flagged for spam. But try to steer clear of using an exact-match domain for branded text.
- Keyword Anchor Text – The purpose of this anchor text is to improve keyword and page rankings, which makes it pretty common. Again, be wary of using too many exact-match keyword anchors.
- Relevant Anchor Text – Your anchor text doesn’t always need to be an exact match for the page you’re linking back to, but it should at least be semantically relevant.
Anchor text strategies have been forced to change in the wake of Google’s 2012 Penguin update. So if you’re tempted to keep all of your anchor text as exact-match keywords, it’s probably smart to think again.
Using the right Link Building Tools Matters
Your backlink profile is a huge part of your SEO. If your backlink profile is healthy, it translates positively to your results. With the right knowledge and tools, you can build a healthy backlink profile that stands the test of Google and the test of time. How healthy is your backlink profile?