While we all know that link building is one of the key methods of improving search engine rank, acquiring natural looking links isn’t that easy. Google and other search engines are always on the lookout for unnatural links and they can easily penalize your website for unnatural links. Here are a few tips on how to keep your links looking natural.
Vary Anchor Text & Text Surrounding Links
Do you often use the same anchor text and the same description when you are submitting to different directories? If so, you are not fooling anyone. One way to create natural looking links is to vary the keywords used in the links as well as the words surrounding the link. SEO experts have known for years that the words surrounding the link can affect search engine rank.
Also, in addition to using keywords as the anchor text, consider using more generic anchor text such as “this site”, “click here” or “visit this site.” While using generic anchor text may seem unreasonable to SEO experts, it is the most natural way to link to a site.
Distribute Inbound Links
While the majority of inbound links should point to your home page, it isn’t reasonable to have all inbound links pointing to one page. Some of the links should at least point to secondary or inner pages so as to create a more natural link profile. If you are not sure how to distribute the inbound links, follow the 50-50 rule; 50% of the links should go to the home page and the other 50% should be spread all over the site.
Focus on Relevant Links
No link is more natural than a link from a topically related website. For instance, if you operate a medical website, you are better off getting links from medical blogs and medical forums as opposed to a printing company’s website.
Also, whenever possible, try to get a link from the site’s homepage; such links look less suspicious to search engines.
“No Follow” Tags Are Not All Bad
While it is important to get links which do not have the “No Follow” tag, it is also important to have both “No Follow” links and “Do Follow” links. When you have a reasonable mix of both kinds of links, your site is less likely to raise a red flag with Google.
Avoid Sudden Link Growth
One of the most common mistakes in link building is sudden link growth. Let’s face it: It’s not normal for sites to get thousands of back links overnight. Therefore, if you are starting a link building campaign, increase the number of back links to your site gradually by about 50 to 100 links a week. Keep the links coming regularly and avoid unusually long breaks between links; this gives the semblance of a gradual and natural link building process.
Following the above tips can keep your website from being penalized by Google on account of an unnatural link profile. Nonetheless, the rule of thumb in link building is to focus on quality rather than quantity and to steer clear of paid links.
Sam Mauzy is a blogger and contributing writer for Invesp, an agency that helps improve ecommerce conversion rates.