Gardening is very similar to SEO. You have to put a lot of effort in to get a lot out. It’s tedious work and particularly frustrating sometimes when the seed you plant goes to waste or doesn’t grow as beautifully as those randomly in the wild.
Sometimes I feel my garden would do much better if I just left it be instead of pruning and trying to create a perfect growing environment. Some things are just meant to be natural—like your link profile. I’m not saying don’t do anything and just let it improve naturally. SEOs are like farmers. They are knowledgeable of what works to imitate that natural growing atmosphere that produces an abundant harvest.
It’s the novice you should be concerned about. Those are the ones who tend to take things a little too far. Plants need water but too much water could kill it. You have to strike the perfect balance to get results.
Similarly, using keywords as anchor text will help your rankings, but too much could ensue a penalty. This is called over optimization.
The following best practices are guidelines to help create a flourishing and natural link profile for your website.
Growing a Great Link Profile
It’s always exciting to see that little line on Google Analytics start to point upward as you build links and optimize your site for the search engines. Especially if you’re new to this industry, it sets an adrenaline rush to do more and rank even higher.
But there’s a line that over-zealous link builders tend to cross and all of a sudden they see a diminishing rate of returns.
Google penalizes websites that have an unnatural looking link profile. You can think of Google as God in our farmer analogy. He creates the rules in how this “world” works. Unfortunately for farmers, those rules change often.
Google doesn’t do this to frustrate SEOs but to help keep the search engine world fair. Most importantly, they do it to help searchers in their quest to find the best answers. Farmers are supposed to support that mission by feeding the masses (with answers, of course).
Below are a few best practices to implement when planning your link profile:
- Use Open Site Explorer to compare your link profile to competitors’ backlink profile. Not only does this give you a good idea about where to build links it also shows your competitors’ weaknesses.
- Organize your website with the best fitting keywords. Do not keyword stuff your content! Each page should be assigned a different keyword that fits naturally into the content. The keyword used will also be the anchor text you use on other sites to link to that particular page.
- When determining keywords, use Google Adwords tool to find high traffic with low competition keywords. Instead of going for the term “shoe,” which has very high competition in the SERPs, try using a niche keyword such as “comfy sandals for women.”
Link Profile Breakdown
There isn’t a perfect link profile but there are guidelines to help you stay in the safety zone of optimization. The percentages given will change varying on the type of page you are trying to optimize. Following the percentage is an example of what that type of anchor text would look like in the content.
Exact match anchor text: 15% (e.g. drug rehab programs)
Branded anchor text: 25% (e.g. CJ Pony Parts)
Phrase anchor text: 15% (e.g. the list of scholarships for active duty)
Keyword branded anchor text: 20% (e.g. my rentals are from Empire Cat)
Random anchor text: 15% (e.g. My recent article here.)
URL: 10% (e.g. http://www.dashburst.com)
Follow these guidelines to create a natural environment for your links and watch your website grow! Happy planting!