Over the last few months I have started hearing “What does a natural link profile look like?” more and more. This usually means, “What is Google looking for in a link profile?” As Google and other search engines change and adjust their algorithms, website owners have to continue to evolve and adjust their SEO best practices to build and structure a natural link profile for their site.
Google has changed its algorithm throughout the years in effort to target bad/unnatural links and over optimization of a site. This prompts website owners to ask, “What exactly is does a “natural” link profile look like?” A natural link profile will consist of a diverse mix of relevant and authoritative inbound links from external websites. The more diverse, the more natural a profile appears.
As we adjust and try to find that perfect balance between SEO best practices, remember following Google’s guidelines will help create a natural link profile for your site.
What if my link profile looks unnatural?
Google will penalize websites that have an unnatural or “spammy” looking link profile. Deleting or removing old, poor-quality links from your site’s profile can be challenging and tedious work but it will benefit your SEO campaign in the long run.
According to Google Webmaster Tools “Link Schemes” section found here, “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
Take some the time to look at all or most of the links pointing to your site. Here are simple instructions on how you can view links in Google Webmaster Tools that are pointing to your site.
- Log in to your webmaster tools account
- Click on the “Search Traffic” tab
- Click on “Links to Your Site”
You will now be able to view a number of important items including “Who Links Most to Your Site” and “Your Most Linked Content.” From here you can continue to dig down all the way to the individual links.
At this point, there are a few questions you might want to consider asking yourself. Is the content surrounding the link relevant to this page that it is linking to? Are there branded terms included as links? Are these links appearing from high authority sites? Are these paid links, or did they come from a link farm?
Once you are able to give a definitive answer to these questions you will have a good idea of where you link profile stands. The better you can identify bad or non-authoritative links, the better your chances are of reaching that natural link profile.
Remember that getting links to your site will always be an important part of ranking with Google, but on the other hand remember Google’s algorithm heavily evaluates inbound links. Take the time and the actions to take a look and make adjustments as you feel necessary to ensure you have a natural link profile.
The best way for a site to receive and build high quality, relevant links to your site is to make sure that your content is unique and relevant. Don’t just create content just to have content, create and build content to gain popularity on the web. Gain popularity in your niche’s community by ensuring your content is link-worthy.