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Link Building: Natural Linking Behaviour
Effective link building is a complex affair and can be an extremely time consuming and laborious task. However quality links are extremely powerful and a constant flow of incoming links is essential for any website hoping to compete in the search engine marketplace.
When building links you should always be careful not to represent unnatural link behaviour. Failure to do so may see you link building efforts wasted.
So how do you avoid being flagged as a site that participates in unnatural linking behaviour? Here are a few key pointers you should keep at the forefront of your mind when building links:
Google will give more weight to a site with 500 links all pointing to different pages on a site than it will a site with 750 links all pointing to the homepage.
Link exchange programs can be used to acquire high volumes of links in an effort to boost rankings. The traits of a website that participates in such a program are a high percentage of inbound links all pointing to the same destination URL.
Just like any other tactic that becomes popular it often finds itself being abused by unethical SEO’s. And just like with previous tactics, such as stuffing the meta keywords tag, the major search engines adjust their algorithms to filter out websites that employ these tactics from their results.
Even if you don’t participate in such a program, you should be mindful that your inbound links don’t all point to the homepage if you want to avoid triggering such filters.
Another point to consider is that, with natural links, a website has little control over where an external site links to. Natural links will usually link to a page deep in the websites structure.
Varying Anchor Text
Many webmasters believe that the more keyword rich anchor text links to the target page the better. Wrong! As discussed, when a site acquires links naturally they have little control over where the external site links to. This is the same for the anchor text of natural links i.e. the webmaster has little control of the anchor text of inbound links.
If you build high volumes of inbound links with duplicated anchor text you may be signalling to the search engines that there is unnatural linking activity. A high percentage of duplicated anchor text is also another trait of websites that participate in link exchange programs.
Of course it would be madness not to use your keywords in the anchor text of inbound links but to avoid triggering filters you should use variations of your keywords. If your site is about Link Building then, by all means, build links with that phrase in the anchor text but also build links with the terms “Links”, “Building Links”, “Linking Services”, “Linking Strategies”, “One-way links” and “Inbound Links” in the anchor text.
Balancing the Equation
There are many ways you can acquire links including Blogs, forum signatures, reciprocal links, articles, directories, press releases, link worthy content, site-wides, buying links and social media marketing, to name but a few.
It is highly likely that a website with compelling content will acquire links from a variety of these sources. It will have press releases announcing new content, articles reviewing the site, listings in trusted directories and communities will be discussing the site in Blogs and forums.
A site that acquires links unnaturally may have a high percentage of links from article resource boxes or reciprocating sites. To avoid being picked out as a site that participates in unnatural linking behaviour you should ensure your site has inbound links from as many different types of source as possible.
Always ensure you have inbound links from a wide variety of sources to avoid triggering unnatural linking filters. Constantly analyse your back links and compare the types of links against each other. If you find you have no links from Blogs, then go off and start participating in a relevant discussion. If you notice there has been no recent news about your site then write a press release announcing the great new feature you have just added for your users. And if you notice that all of your links are from the same source i.e. reciprocal, then build more links from other sources to balance the equation. In all cases vary the anchor text and the destination URL of inbound links.
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