Google keeps pushing out updates to try and get the best search results for its users, though what exactly does it look for in the backlink profile of your website? A significant component of the Penguin updates appears to deal with anchor text over-optimisation of backlinks, which is why it is important to create a natural looking backlink profile.
Building only exact match anchor text links to your website will make your website look like it has an un-natural link profile to Google. Let’s think about it logically, when you send a link to your friends or put it on a forum, are you more likely to use a keyword, the brand of the company or are you more likely to just chuck the URL into your post? My guess, you probably use the URL 85% of the time, and you may use other methods for the remainder when sharing online.
So you are probably wondering what a natural anchor text profile looks like?
The proportion of anchor text links will be the brand name, the URL or a brand keyword. A lot of websites will link to you if they like your services using the name of your company. Now if you were really clever, you would have included some of your top keywords in your company brand name or your URL. Not only does this let your potential customers know exactly what you do, your links will include some of your top keywords and in return help your rankings for your keywords. (Perhaps this is something to consider if you are a new company starting up or when buying new domain names.)
The most common of all links to your website are links to your brand, such as the examples below. Without the majority of your backlinks being some of these, Google could flag your website with an un-natural link profile:
- Company Name
- Company’s website
- CompanyName (Without a Space)
Exact Match Keyword Anchor Text Links
These are the keyword links you build to your website to help rankings. Over use of anchor text links is usually where some SEO agencies and linkbuilders go wrong. Before the Penguin updates kicked in, it used to be easy to get good keyword ranking results through using anchor text links in articles. Now days it’s a bit harder to push your website up ranks using the same techniques. Even though these lower level links help to build a natural link profile, it’s now higher authoritative links which are needed to push keyword rankings higher in Google. For some ideas on how to get higher authoritative links and find out what types of links they are check out our blog What is authoritative linkbuilding?.
If your backlink profile contains thousands of links that all contain the same anchor text, this is more likely to be flagged by Google. This is based on the fact that no one will ever use the exact same keyword every time they add a link to your website. This is where using variations and different anchor text links can be a better method for building links than using the same keyword over and over again in articles and other submissions.
Taking a shop that sells cards for example:
The top keyword: “greetings cards”
You could build a link profile containing: “Christmas greetings cards”, “holiday greetings cards”, “greetings cards for birthdays”, “Birthday greetings cards” etc. These all still cover off your main linkbuilding keyword: “greetings cards” but they are not all exactly the same and create a more natural looking link profile for the eyes of Google.
What is the best way to create natural looking links?
The best way to find out what your profile should look like is to look at your competitors backlink profiles, see what links they have, and try to get some similar if not the same links to your own website. This will help your domain to gain some of the authority that your competitors have. A few possible places you can get this information from are: OpenSiteExplorer, MajesticSEO, and Ahref.
- One of the best ways possible to get a natural looking link profile is to create great content on your website and promote it to get natural links to it. This usually takes more time and a lot of promotion on your part, but well worth it in the end.
- Visit some of your favourite blogs, websites and competitor’s websites and see how they link out to other websites. You will find that most bloggers do not tend to use anchor text links in their blog posts unless you have paid for the privilege of a guest blog post.
- When you are doing internal linking on your website, or even building links in articles, do not force your keywords into a sentence. When you write a sentence, you want it to make sense and flow properly. This way it will look a bit more like a natural link to Google.
- If you are a regular link builder for your website, or any profile, you should try and create a mixture of links. Having a variety of links will help to broaden out the range of links you have. Get links from social networks, blogs, forums, small websites, large websites, follow and non-follow sites. Even if non-follow links may not have a major impact on SEO, these type of links provide you with a more natural link profile and are a great way to get your content out and on relevant websites for your business.
- Reach out to other websites that will find your content interesting and useful. Asking the right people for the right reason often leads to much better results than the scattered approach that is used by many companies. There is a very small chance that bloggers will add your content to thier website, although when you have developed a relationship with someone, you are more likely to get more links through guest blogging through them.
- Use Google Plus. All of Google Plus posts and profiles are indexed within Google. These can therefore in return help your linkbuilding campaign when your content gets shared using the social media icons by making the link more authoritative when the post is more shared and more +1.
Have you been building black hat links to your site and want to get rid of them? Google has now introduced the Disavow tool, though unless you have any warnings from webmaster tools, perhaps it is not such a good idea to go and take out all of the links you think are bad ones, as you could take away some of the more authoritative links that are helping you get good rankings. Watch out for our blog post coming up on this.
Find out more information on penguin today and visit: How to optimise your website for Google penguin updates by Joesph Bradley
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