As any conscientious SEO should do, we keep our eye on the latest developments in the world of search engine optimisation. That could be industry news from Google and the other major search engines, opinions fro our fellow SEOs or results from testing that are generoulsy offered up on hundreds of high quality SEO blogs.
Just lately there have been a number of posts we’ve read relating to anchor text, link building and link profiles. Two great examples can be found here and here. Both of these have noticed changes in the way brand and exact anchor text linking is affecting a website’s rank, particularly in Google.
It got us thinking about a website’s link profile and how it needs to look to Google et al.
A lot of the work we do for our clients is link building – incoming links are an important part of search engine optimisation and, we think, always will be. But only if it is done smartly.
Let’s get back to exact anchor text linking. This basically involves trying to rank for a particular term by creating inbound links with that exact anchor text as the link. For example, if you wanted to rank for “cheap pet food”, you would create as many inbound links as possible that looked like this: cheap pet food. A simple enough concept and one that works – to a point.
If a website has a lot of incoming links with exact anchor text then yes, it will rank well for that specific term. The same applies to brand anchor text. However, if those are the only links it has, it will soon start to fall down the SERPs.
Why? Because it is clearly not natural. Google and the rest will penalise a site that is so obviously trying to manipulate the SERPs (and rightly so). That is why a natural link profile is so important.
What is a Natural Link Profile and How Do I Get It?
We at Fluid Search have always taken a logical, common sense approach to link building. If a client wants to rank for “cheap pet food” we will point our link building efforts in that direction. However, in the interests of maintaining (or creating) a natural link profile, we will also sprinkle around some links with anchor text that doesn’t say “cheap pet food”.
A natural link profile has a healthy mix of exact anchor text links, brand anchor text links, site name text links and, as the previously linked post from Search Engine Land describes it brilliantly, “crazy noise” links (“click here”, “learn more”, “here”). It’s also a good idea to create links from a sites with a range of PR values.
Directing these links to an array of relevant pages on a website is also part of building a natural link profile. What some SEOs can forget, however, is how to make link growth look natural.
Ideally, you’d want to start your varied link building slowly, and increase it month on month. There are occasions when spikes in the number of links created occur but even then, as long as it is natural – from a viral campaign, for example – that’s not a problem. This post on SEOMoz explains natural link growth very well.
You can be assured that when it comes to link building to increase your search engine rankings, Fluid Search bear all this in mind to create natural link growth and a natural link profile, ensuring your gains are sustainable and long lasting.