Balancing The Links In Your Link Profile

It’s a common misconception that the entire goal of link building is to get more links. You look at the top pages ranking for your keyphrases and see they have a lot of sites linking to them and assume you need to get a similar amount of links if you want to compete. But not all links are created equal. Nor should they be. Some are going to be far more valuable than others. Links with little value create noise against the signal in your link profile. And not all link profiles are the same as sites develop links in their own way. If your link profile is skewed in one direction you want to put a little balance back into your profile.

Todd Malicoat has in an interesting post about Balancing the Link Equation, which I’d encourage you to read so your links appear more natural. The post is a year old, but I think everything mentioned still applies and it’s still good advice.

It’s becoming ever more important to appear natural in your SEO efforts. It’s possible to over optimize a web page or a web site. Google and to a lesser degree Yahoo and Ask do not want to be manipulated. (MSN is still perfectly fine with you manipulating them so knock yourself out). An over optimized site is a site that is attempting to game the algorithms. You want and need your SEO to be more natural. You want to take a more holistic approach.

Balancing your link profile is often one of the overlooked aspects of staying away from over optimization. Links can be so hard to come by that we’ll often just take any we can get, but it’s important to have a natural appearing link profile if you want your pages to rank well. If your link profile is so heavily weighted in one direction you’d do good to balance it out.

Your link profile is going to get skewed easily enough. I’m an active forum member with a quickly climbing count of posts so it’s likely my link profile shows too many signature links. It would probably be in my best interest to get more links that have nothing to do with forums. It would also mean that many of my links are coming from a small number of unique IPs and I should work more on getting links from more IP addresses. Fortunately I’ve worked on building links from more than one source.

Todd’s has some good examples in his post, but the main idea is not to use only one technique in getting all your links or to get them all from the same source or make them all the same type.

  • Mix up links to your home page and to deeper pages of your site
  • Vary the anchor text in links to your pages
  • Trade a few links to balance out the one way inbound links
  • Link out as well as linking in
  • Get site wide and one off links

Instead of trying to grab any link you can get take a look at where your links are already coming from and try to strike a balance with the new links you seek. Yes it may not be as easy as grabbing anything, but it’s not all about quantity. More isn’t necessarily better and in some cases it may even be worse if more is throwing the balance off. Take a more holistic approach and try to put some balance back into your link profile

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5 comments

  1. It is in the best interest of the site owner (and his customers) to get links naturally, by creating content, for instance.

    Then it’d be natural to get noticed on more and more related websites. Of course, it’d make sense to remember about the right keywords in the link text, but mostly you can’t control the links on other websites, unless they are in your author bio article box.

    Other than that, yes, it is important to vary, because variety is one of the things that makes one keep moving :)

  2. We couldn’t agree more. We offer quality link building services to help business get valuable links not just lots of links. Hopefully web site owners will start to understand how important that is to their SEO efforts.

  3. Not sure where your disagreement lies. If the goal is natural, then it is quality content, not link bait (unless you produce something miserable anyway).

    Or do you count zombifying people to link to you natural?

    By the way, though it may seem that Steve focused on the website, not on the people, he simply omited the ‘human oriented approach’ and told you what consequences such a strategy will make to your website (and linking profile).

  4. ubibene I don’t want to imply that you should only look natural. The idea is to build a link profile naturally. I’m not advocating tricking anyone into thinking your unnatural seo is actually naturally occurrng.

    Like Yuri mentioned the post is really about the fact that it’s easy for your link building to become unnatural in the eyes of a search engines and it’s best to put some balance back into the equation.

    The motivation though is really to be more natural and not merely look more natural. I think we have to remember that because a search engine is involved that most everything about SEO has a certain unnaturalness about it.

    But if you read more posts here you’ll know that I’m not advocating tricking search engines at all. I believe in a holistic approach to seo and always try to put visitors to this or any site I work on above algorithms. If I link out from a page it’s because I think it adds value to someone reading that page. When linking in I seek to link to the page someone clicking on the link would find most relevant.

    I think what happens for many people though is they read that anchor text is important and you want to place keywords in your anchor text. Those people then go out and use the exact same anchor text in every link back to a certain page. This post and the original one at Stuntdubl are saying that you’ll be better off varying that text.

    You’ll also be better off varying the sources of your backlinks. If all link coming into this site come from a single source then this site only reaches one audicence. Getting links from a variety of sources expands the reach to multimple audiences.

    I’m not advocating doing things for search algorithms while ignoring real people. People first always, but there’s no reason why you can’t please both. The balancing above is something you should do after you’ve made sure you’ve done right by your visitors.

    By the way I read your reply post and thought it was good. I may not have said it explicitly in the above, but we really are saying the same things. It’s always about people first.

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