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SEO 101: How to build a healthy link profile

Link building is essential to the success of any solid website. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between the links your site acquires and its search engine ranking. So how can you build a link profile that Google loves?

Last month we touched on how to spot the difference between a good link and a bad link. This month we’ll delve a little deeper and look at how to build a strong, robust link profile using these high-quality links. Read on to get started.

What is a link profile?

First and foremost, we need to establish what a link profile is exactly and what makes a good one. A link profile is the makeup of links directing to your site as well as the characteristics of those links. Your site’s link profile consists of:

  • The number of links pointing back to your site (also known as backlinks)
  • What content they point at
  • Where those links have come from
  • How they’ve been created

So why do these links matter? We don’t know for sure, but it’s safe to assume that a link profile accounts for the vast majority of a site’s rankings according to Google’s algorithm. In fact, the penalties given to sites are largely based on their link profiles, so you need to make sure yours is of a high quality.

To help you understand, let’s break it down. Here’s a great guide to understanding the importance of a link profile from QuickSprout:

  • Most important factor in website ranking: Link profile
  • Most important aspect of a link profile: Quality of backlinks
  • Most important aspect of backlinks: Anchor text
  • Most important quality of anchor text: Diversity

Characteristics of a healthy link profile

So besides diversity, what else does Google like in its links? Some of the key ingredients of a strong link portfolio include:

  • Quality
  • Quantity
  • Relevance
  • Freshness
  • Depth
  • Naturalness

If you can acquire links that tick all of these boxes, you’re well on your way to building a strong, healthy link profile.

Top tips for building a healthy link profile

Now you have a better idea of what makes up a great link profile in the first place, here’s how to maintain your efforts:

Build it up

Link building takes time, but the results are rewarding. A great way to approach your link profile is by performing it in phases:

  • Phase 1: Focus on links that are the easiest to secure, i.e. directories and business partnerships
  • Phase 2: Target links that are a bit harder to acquire, i.e. industry publications and bloggers/writers
  • Phase 3: Target the most difficult link sources, i.e. well-known websites

Then, evaluate your results to determine whether they’ve had an impact on search engine results, inbound leads and brand awareness. Assess as you go and make adjustments where needed.

Stay organised

To key to managing a quality link profile is organisation. Using a systematic approach, start by eliminating low quality links that are negatively affecting your results. Take a long hard look at the links pointing to your site and ask yourself:

  • Is the content of the linking page relevant to the page it links to?
  • How many other links appear on that page?
  • Does it use keywords or brand/URL links?
  • Is the site high authority?
  • Does the link have a reason for existing other than to boost your search engine rankings?
  • Did you pay for the link?

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll identify the links that either need to be removed or modified in order to achieve a healthy link profile. A great tip is keeping a detailed log of your link efforts and link acquisitions, including link sources, link targets and link text.

Be consistent

In order to see link building success, you need to stay on track. And the best way to keep on top of your link profile is by constantly checking it. So how do you check your link profile? Go back to the beginning of this blog post and have a look at the characteristics listed. You need to make sure your links tick each of these in order to be successful.

Not only that, keeping up-to-date with your link profile means you’ll also notice any suspicious behaviour early, allowing you to address it before it becomes a major problem. Remember, Google is big on penalties when it comes to black-hat strategies. So by monitoring this data you can keep on top of your site performance – but you have to be willing to dedicate a lot of time and energy to it in order to see a return.

Quality content

Content marketing and SEO are inherently intertwined with good content being the best way to grow your links. So before producing a piece of content, always ask yourself if it’s going to create value for the user. In other words, could you expect to get legitimate referral traffic from the link placement? If the answer is no, then it’s not beneficial to your cause.

Another question to ask yourself is if your content is linkworthy. If it’s not, then you’ll never achieve a link profile that’ll enhance your search engine visibility. There’s also certain types of content that produce better results than others. Here’s what Sprout Social’s Neil Patel lists as his go-to content marketing for better SEO results:

  1. Detailed content – short blog posts tend to get fewer links than detailed, thorough content
  2. Digestible infographics – if you can make complex data easy to understand in a visual format, you can get millions of visitors to your site
  3. Social profiles – a key requirement of a successful content marketing strategy is owning powerful social profiles (you need them to spread content)
  4. Collect emails – if you have a solid email list, you can always email it every time you publish a new blog post or content piece, so make sure your have email opt-in forms in your sidebar and leverage pop-ups to collect even more emails
  5. Be consistent – if you can’t publish on a regular basis, no matter how good your content is, it’ll be tough to get a good ROI out of your content marketing
  6. Headlines matter – no matter how good your content is, if you can’t write attractive headlines, no one will read your content

Do you need help building your link profile? Have a chat to Bang Digital’s team of search experts today. We’re more than capable of helping you implement an SEO strategy for success starting with your links.