Balancing Your Link Profile Links

    November 8, 2006

It’s a common misconception that the entire goal of link building is to get more links. You look at the top pages ranking for your keyphrases and see they have a lot of sites linking to them and assume you need to get a similar amount of links if you want to compete.

But not all links are created equal. Nor should they be. Some are going to be far more valuable than others. Links with little value create noise against the signal in your link profile. And not all link profiles are the same as sites develop links in their own way. If your link profile is skewed in one direction you want to put a little balance back into your profile.

Todd Malicoat has in an interesting post about Balancing the Link Equation, which I’d encourage you to read so your links appear more natural. The post is a year old, but I think everything mentioned still applies and it’s still good advice.

It’s becoming ever more important to appear natural in your SEO efforts. It’s possible to over optimize a web page or a web site. Google and to a lesser degree Yahoo and Ask do not want to be manipulated. (MSN is still perfectly fine with you manipulating them so knock yourself out). An over optimized site is a site that is attempting to game the algorithms. You want and need your SEO to be more natural. You want to take a more holistic approach.

Balancing your link profile is often one of the overlooked aspects of staying away from over optimization. Links can be so hard to come by that we’ll often just take any we can get, but it’s important to have a natural appearing link profile if you want your pages to rank well. If your link profile is so heavily weighted in one direction you’d do good to balance it out.

Your link profile is going to get skewed easily enough. I’m an active forum member with a quickly climbing count of posts so it’s likely my link profile shows too many signature links. It would probably be in my best interest to get more links that have nothing to do with forums. It would also mean that many of my links are coming from a small number of unique IPs and I should work more on getting links from more IP addresses. Fortunately I’ve worked on building links from more than one source.

Todd’s has some good examples in his post, but the main idea is not to use only one technique in getting all your links or to get them all from the same source or make them all the same type.

  • Mix up links to your home page and to deeper pages of your site
  • Vary the anchor text in links to your pages
  • Trade a few links to balance out the one way inbound links
  • Link out as well as linking in
  • Get site wide and one off links

Instead of trying to grab any link you can get take a look at where your links are already coming from and try to strike a balance with the new links you seek. Yes it may not be as easy as grabbing anything, but it’s not all about quantity. More isn’t necessarily better and in some cases it may even be worse if more is throwing the balance off. Take a more holistic approach and try to put some balance back into your link profile



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Steven Bradley is a web designer and search engine optimization
specialist. Known to many in the webmaster/seo community by the username
vangogh, he is the author of TheVanBlog, which focuses on how to build
and optimize websites and market them online.