How to Create a Natural Backlink Profile

Louise Armstrong
by Louise Armstrong on July 17, 2012 in Visibility
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In Internet marketing, as in just about everything else, results achieved naturally are always best.  You already know that content that uses keywords naturally, without sounding forced or over-optimized, is more likely to get read and shared.  But, you may not be paying quite as much attention to how you are handling your backlinks—and if you aren’t, you should.

Your backlink profile is the picture of how you have built your links—how many links you are garnering, where they come from and when, and what quality they are.  Search engines are becoming increasingly sensitive to this data so your marketing efforts need to focus on it.

What does this mean?  Artificial link-building tactics such as link buying are no longer accepted and rewarded by the bots.  So, you need to concentrate on building your links naturally, through organic methods.  Here are 5 ways to create a natural backlink profile that keeps both humans and search engines happy:

1. Go for variety.
It’s the spice of life, and for good reason.  Going for a variety of different types of links tells the search engines that you are targeting many different sites that would naturally want to link to you anyway.  So mix up your sources—consider asking for links on blogs, social media sites, bookmarking sites and forums in your niche.

2. Pace yourself.
Slow and steady wins the race.  Keep in mind that a sudden spike in backlinks may tell the search engines that your site is buying links.  It won’t always hurt you, as an increase in links may have an innocent explanation (such as strong interest in a newly-launched site).  But, it could be a red flag for the increasingly sophisticated and wary bots.  So concentrate on getting quality links over time rather than instant quantity.

3. Avoid spammy link programs.
Speaking of quality, “submit sites” and other automated link programs don’t help your efforts to build a natural backlink profile.  If you are appearing on these types of sites, Google is likely to infer that you’re looking for links and aren’t too picky about where they come from.  Seek out links that make sense for your site and avoid anything that smacks of artificial link-building.

4. Balance your profile.
This means to stop putting so much emphasis on getting links from “first page” sites in your niche.  Sure, they have authority, but so do a lot of other lower-ranking sites.  Good quality links can be obtained from these sites and just as important—they are often easier to get.  Rather than focus on PageRank, take a balanced approach that includes links from a variety of thought leaders in your industry.  Links from these sources can add a lot of value to your site.

5. Switch up the anchor text.
Any good keyword list contains a variety of possible search terms, both short- and long-tail.  When linking, use these variations to get more and better results.  This will capture more sites that also use these and similar terms.  Limiting yourself to the same main keyword all the time not only limits your ability to get backlinks, it also tends to make your profile look more manufactured than organic.

Louise Armstrong

Louise Armstrong

Louise is a Senior Digital Strategist at Bonafide. A pop-culture addict with a passion for all things digital. She's Scottish by birth, but don't ask if she likes haggis...