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Back-linking may sound hackneyed to many companies yet it dominates Google’s search algorithm even now.

If you have been doling out dollars in optimizing your website, have a look at your backlink profile that can be a potential goldmine for your business if done with a proficient SEO outsourcing company.

top 3 search ranking factors

Before taking a dive further, let’s update ourselves about link profile…

Backlinks are a vote of confidence or endorsement for your webpage.

Imagine getting a pat on your back from any rookie? You will take the first bus never to look back. An almost forgettable incident you wouldn’t be recalling.

On the contrary, if you get a recommendation call from someone like Brian Dean from Moz or Barry Schwartz, the News Editor of Search Engine Land ! It’s time to set for some bonhomie.  Right?

Having good connections with the right people makes your life hell easier. Right? Likewise, in the digital marketing space, your website will have good as well as bad links.

Good links are a mark of your credibility and integrity while patched with ‘bad’ links is like sitting with rotten apples. They are a barometer of shoddy quality that will hurt your webpage value, authority and in result, clamp down its rank in Google.

How To Differentiate Between Good And Bad Links For Your Website?

Let’s hear out what Google has to say on this…

Going by Google’s Quality Guidelines for “link schemes”:

“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site”.

what are bad links

It brings us to the three most important questions that will be answered in this blog…

Learning Objective 1: Why Do We Need To Audit Link Profile?

Let’s face it. Having high-quality links is an added advantage for your website. Make sure, the links must come from the websites that resonate EXPERTISE, AUTHORITATIVENESS, TRUSTWORTHINESS.

In fact, On August 1, 2018, Google stamped its approval through a broad core algorithm update which reinforces the purposeful nature of the content.

Our arguments are substantiated with a recent study shows websites ranking in first page if they have

external baclinks

When done the right way, back linking will bring you some really good results than any other SEO effort you are putting in.

However, if your website is getting unsolicited attention from spammy or spurious links, time to take immediate action – Report such spammy/shady links.

How Can You Remove Bad Links?

  • Use the legitimized disavow tool to block such low-quality links.
  • Any delay or ignorance, of sorts, will negatively affect your SEO efforts
  • Google has extremely low tolerance for any unnatural and manipulative links!. If you are faking it, stand by to be slapped with manual penalties.

disavow tool

Wondering How To Disavow Links? Watch the video to learn more

If you are writing good content and is supported well by equally, if not more, trustworthy websites, you need not worry about Google ranking.

It brings us to the second question…

Learning Objective 2: When To Audit The Link Profile?

As a general practice, link profile is audited before starting any campaign. You can use Google search console and Google Analytics to get some actionable insights into your backlink profile.

If you smell the rate, just catch it!

Do not wait for the make-believe links to collapse your SEO efforts. Take preemptive measures to identify and eliminate such toxic links from your website.

And the final and ultimate third question…

Learning Objective 3: How to Find 7 Such Red flags That Springs You To Action

1. Does that link belong to your website?

Every search engine works on the principle to provide most useful and relevant results to every user query.  If your backlinks are not supporting this principle, you’re up for a shake up!

Matt Cutts of Google makes is very clear that “links are still the best way we’ve found to discover [how relevant or important somebody is to someone else]”. 

In the past, black hooded SEOs flooded the websites with an abundant low quality, irrelevant links to outsmart Google.

Not anymore, after the series of Penguin Updates. Google is tightening the noose around such unethical practices to improve search engine rankings (SERP).

google penguin

It’s good you’re getting backlinks but does that help the users on your website?  Google does not want to mislead its users. Having irrelevant links to your websites trick the users as well as flouting Google’s rules.

Wouldn’t that raise alarm if you’re receiving links from countries you are not even catering to? Or you’re directed to random sites which does not serve your niche?

What Can You Do? As you’re on Link Explorer, visit the inbound links report to determine the source domains. If there is an unnatural volume of links coming from suspicious domains, it is worth getting rid of.

Here’s a caveat: Do not go on a rampage to fish out every unknown link. Dig out some information to confirm your doubts before disassociating yourself from the source.

bad internal links

2. Something fishy about Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the clickable text on the link on your website.

anchor text

Google has been suspicious of how webmasters use the anchor text to twist the rankings in their favour. The infamous Google Penguin updates have primarily been centred around:

  • Quality of the link sources
  • Anchor link distribution

Before the first Penguin update on 2012, SEO professionals enjoyed complete discretion on the anchor text.  Not anymore!

How Google Penguin Functions Now?

  1. Create a backlink
  2. Google bot index the backlink
  3. Google stores the acquired backlink into its database ( popularly known as your “link profile”)
  4. The steps 1-3 are repeated for every backlink to build your “link profile”.

If the Google algorithms find that your on-page content is optimized for the same keyword used in anchor text, you will face the penalty.

What Can You Do?  Visit the Moz Link Explorer for anchor text report to determine if you’re receiving majority of their back link with the same exact anchor text.

export anchor text

Remember, Google can be lethal in penalizing the violators.

inbound links with anchor text

If you are into natural link building, need not kill your sleep on anchor text optimization. But Google will be alarmed if it anything something untoward on your website.

Alternatively, you can go for anchor text variations as shown below:

anchor text distribution×349/

3. What’s the ideal follow/No-follow ratio?

Nofollow links are links with a rel=”no follow” HTML tag applied to them. This tells the search engines to ignore that link and do not pass PageRank.

This includes comments, tweets, Facebook posts & URL shares.

According to Matt Cutts: “in general, we don’t follow nofollow links.”

What Can You Do? Use Moz Link Explorer to determine the proportion of follow and nofollow links.  Google keeps a close look on the website activities including the rate at which you’re getting the links.

Aggressive link building could be detrimental to your website, especially if it’s fairly new. Keep a judicious balance between dofollow and nofollow links.

Generally, your Dofollow links > nofollow links! The former is integral to improve the SEO of your website but for the nofollow links, Google says:

link building

Take the case of big fish with the likes of Amazon which can comfortably get away with link building in hundreds or even thousands. But do not be an inhabitant of fool paradise if you have just started off!

Watch your digital steps as Google is watching!

4. Link & Domain Ratio

In an ideal scenario, there is no predetermined figure as to how many links from which domains you must get.  Google, in particular, keep a vigil to notice any suspicious link profile activity.

Thus, it’s important to proactively pursue link building to diversify the way we secure links for a well-rounded backlink profile that fits in well with all search engines.

For instance, if you are getting say 500 links from a single domain. Doesn’t that ring a bell? It should!

A natural link profile somewhat resembles having :

  • Different Type of links – blogs, forums, directories etc
  • Anchor text distribution
  • Natural Link velocity

What Can You Do? Divert your efforts to make a strong backlink profile based on the foundation of high-quality links to your website. Consider the high-value domain names on priority such as .edu, .org for natural link building.

Google rewards natural sites, but receiving too many high equity links may raise the brow.

Scrutinize The Domain Name

While you are link auditing, having spammy links with domain such as directory, article or SEO, links etc are worth worrying about. The conventional wisdom says do not go by the sheer name of any domain name and find out relevant information.

What Can You Do? Scratch the surface to find if there is anything worth benefiting your website. Observe if you are receiving too many unexpected links. Get a quick clean up!

6. Do You Weigh Moz Metrics?

There are many free and premium tools that come in handy to get some vital information about the links of your website.

Moz has come with the two most popularly used metric: Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) to predict how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Both the metrics are rated on 100-point logarithmic scale. The higher the figure, the better for your website rank.

The Thumb Rule: Do not get links coming from low DA or low PA URLs. they can be very new and possible with little credibility to their profile. not necessarily spammy though.

What Can You Do?  You can get DA/PA using Link Explorer, MozBar, Moz’s free SEO toolbar, or in the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer.

In fact, you can determine spam score of your website through Moz.

Remember, Google does not stamp these metrics but they are indicative of the health of your link profile.

7. Visual Suspicion

This test the vigilant activity of your SEO professionals the most.  How frequently and closely do you assess your link profile. Check for some telltale signs of spammy links.

Answer some of the possible questions:

  • Do you have hundreds of sites with same logo, navigation and network?
  • Do they have provide fake or no contact information ? – phone number, email id etc.
  • Stay off the sites that facilitate suspicious & glaring spammy links: look for messages such as “Uses this PayPal to get your links removed from this site,” or “Pay to Submit Links”.

The bottomline is schedule the backlink audit to catch any suspicious activity that puts you under Google’s radar.

links quality

The Takeaway:

Google rewards websites that are genuinely creating high-quality content for its users.  Build links that add more relevancy and benefit the internet community.

We are reiterating that links are nothing but an editorial vote of confidence. If you are providing useful information to your readers, you will automatically find the right way!

How you can naturally build link profile?

  • Guest Blogging: Each content is editorially monitored. So you have it!
  • Directory Submissions: Likewise, they review all your content submissions. Nothing goes off without their approval.
  • Press Releases: Forgo the myth that they are for link building. It is just to distribute interesting and useful stories for the best interest of the community.
  • Blog Commenting: Blog comments are heavily moderated. Only purposeful and insightful comments take you long way!
  • Niche Forums/Community Sites/Questions: A big No to spammers here. The moderators do not blink an eye to delete the random posts.

To Conclude …

In the words of Google staffer John Mueller, who called Penguin a site-wide algorithm – “presence of a large number of low-quality links pointing to one page of your website could result in a reduction of Google’s trust in your entire website”.

Google loves linking but not more providing purposeful results to its end users.

Having a strong link profile is essential to manage your SEO practices and stay in the good books of the global search engine for a sustainable period of time.

Most SEO experts religiously practice link audit profile to keep the websites devoid of any dirty business of links. However, if you haven’t been doing it well, it’s time to have a word with ingenious SEO professionals.

Leave us a message or Call us at 0425 204 887 for more information.

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