We often hear people in the digital marketing industry talking about how it’s essential for a website to have a wide and natural link profile in order to succeed on the search engines, however what exactly is a wide and natural link profile? If you’re a small business owner running your own website or are new to SEO and digital marketing you may not fully understand the term and, as such, we have teamed up with Glenn and his team over at SpeedySEO.com in Essex to take a look at it and try and provide some clarification. Of course, taking a look at link profiles in depth could go on and on for a long time, however to take a look at the most important aspects, we have classified these as link source and anchor text.
A wide and natural link profile will include links coming from a wide variety of sources ranging from brand mentions and guest posts to directories and social shares and links. An unnatural link profile will consist of links primarily only of one or two types and will look obviously manually created. On this front, a natural link profile will look exactly that, natural and will not in any way, shape or form look as though it could have been manually created. If you see links from a wide number of sites and a wide range of different types of link, there’s a very good chance you’re working with a clean site with a great link profile! Whether you’re analysing an existing sites link profile or are in the process of generating links for a brand new site, it’s absolutely vital that you take into account the need for a wide range of link sources, ensuring that the link profile doesn’t just look natural but that it is natural.
In terms of individual link sources, however, there is certain types which can potentially cause issues in themselves, even if as part of a bigger link profile. If you see large numbers of links coming from ‘spun articles,’ ‘blog comments’ or ‘forum profiles,’ you could well have a problem on your hands. Penguin notoriously targets what it regards as low quality and spammy link types and these certainly come under that! You can no longer get away with low quality link sources and if you see these as part of a link profile, alarm bells should start ringing.
There is, of course, something else you need to look out for though and that is the over-use of exact match anchor text links.
Exact Match Anchor Text Links
The second thing which you need to take a look at when either building or analysing a link profile is the anchor text of the links. If you’re not sure what anchor text is, Moz define it as, “the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.” Of course, all links have ‘anchor text’ however what you need to be looking for when analysing a link profile is whether or not these anchor texts look natural. A natural and organic anchor text will generally use either a brand name, URL or generic ‘click here’ or the like as opposed to a keyword. It’s exact match keyword anchor text links which Google set out to target with Penguin and unnatural link penalties and if 80% of all links use just one or two ‘money phrases’ there’s potentially going to be serious issues for the site.
As a general rule, those linking naturally as an ‘editorial vote’ wouldn’t ever link using a keyword rich anchor text, unless it was a very specific product and, with that in mind, if you’re trying to build a wide, natural and organic link profile, you need to take this into account.
Whatever you do, it’s absolutely vital in this post-Penguin age that you concentrate on building up a link profile that not only looks natural but is natural and two main parts of that are ensuring a wide number of link sources are present and ensuring that there’s no skew of exact match anchor text links.