Build A Natural Backlink Profile 2022

External links have always been a significant factor when it comes to online search engines, as they play a big part in calculating a domain’s authority. Domain authority influences its ranks for various keywords. Now the technology exists to determine whether those external links are “natural.”

Unnatural links can earn penalties from Google or hurt domain authority while having natural links can increase your rankings and improve overall authority. As a result, many marketers have adjusted their link-building strategies to help their links appear more natural to search engines instead of relying purely on genuine link building. 

Let’s dive into the differences between natural and unnatural links and how to build a natural backlink profile. 

What’s The Difference Between Natural and Unnatural Links?

Google’s ability to detect natural links is quite advanced and is only becoming more accurate. While some Google employees don’t think that SEO experts should even bother with link building, we believe it’s worth mentioning the differences between unnatural and natural links and why natural links work. As you work towards building your backlink profile, we’ll discuss some of the critical components to ensure your links are natural and beneficial for you. 

We’ll start by defining what natural backlinks are.

Natural Backlinks Definition

The definition that Google uses for the basis for its algorithm development is that “natural links are ones that you had no part in creating.” A neutral third party decided that your website was worth linking to, and they posted it somewhere on their own platforms to offer a resource or share information.

On the other hand, unnatural links are links you put into place yourself. Thus, even your most carefully-placed and authoritatively sourced links will be considered unnatural if you place them with the intention of increasing your search engine rankings.

However, Google is omniscient (even if it seems that way at times!). Their algorithms only use specific indicators to judge whether or not a link can be considered natural. As long as your link passes, your domain won’t be penalized. Understanding these indicators can help you create a better backlink profile and structure your own links to appear more natural.

Types of Backlink Sources

To start, Google will look at the type of source that is used to host the link. For example, if the link points to a domain in an industry completely unrelated to that of the source, it will likely be considered unnatural. Therefore, it’s crucial that you link only to relevant sources or businesses. Additionally, higher authority sources have more power than lower authority ones, which means that getting your link featured on a major publisher or .edu site is more natural and powerful than a mere article directory.

Anchor Text

It was standard practice to anchor your links with keywords related to your industry back in the day. However, those days are over. Google will take notice if too many of your links use the same keyword or keyword phrase and will likely judge your links as unnatural. So instead, try to anchor your links with words that describe what your page has to offer. 

There are plenty of tools online to help you gauge proper anchor text variability among the various pages of your website. For example, the anchor text you use for your homepage should look much different than the content used for internal service pages and blog posts.

Source Diversity

Another thing that Google looks for is patterns in how and where you’re posting links. Specifically, it looks for a series of links and checks to see if they have been placed by a single individual or company. So, for example, if all of your links are confined to only one or two sources, Google might mistake your efforts as a scam or a reciprocal link scheme with those other sources. Either way, you don’t want your links to appear unnatural. 

Make sure you’re tracking link diversity by using third-party link-building tools.

Link Context

You should also be aware of where you place your link in context. If you simply post a link with no explanation or comment, that comes off as unnatural and forced. A better plan is to introduce your link with a thoughtful description of why it’s helpful to the reader. The only sure-fire way to build authority is to frame your links in an authentic and natural context.

The bigger picture here is that link building is really only a minor factor in building your domain authority. Onsite structure, content, and social media presence are all just as important. Plus, natural link building is also usually much more manageable than black-hat tactics. Rather than plotting and scheming, trying to make your links genuinely helpful to others. Couple that with high-quality content that can be a resource to your audience, and you’ll start to see the links pour in! 

Google rewards those who take the time to build the perfect link strategy in a way that is the most beneficial for your customers. 

Link Destination

Lastly, consider the link destination. If every link points to the home page and doesn’t point to your blogs or internal pages, Google might deem those links unnatural and penalize you. Use a variety of different link destinations and try to link to some of your deeper internal pages.

How To Build A Safe, Natural Backlink

We know that Google’s algorithm has made the process of backlinking more complicated and overwhelming, but it’s for a good reason. It’s almost impossible to spam links these days without facing some sort of consequence for it, and the internet is more useful and less spammy. 

However, hardworking business owners looking for tips on building a natural backlink profile are having a hard time promoting natural and safe from potential penalties. Quality link-building services for SEO can analyze the qualities of a link and give you tips on how to provide direction on how to execute a link-building strategy that works in the long term.

Type of Link

The first thing you need to consider is that it’s essential to make sure it’s relevant to the conversation when you post a link. For example, if someone is asking about a service you provide, link to that service page and not just the home page or contact page. Connecting to various pages within your site is a solid strategy to help your site and diversify your backlink profile.

Many backlink builders use a “no-follow” link to drive traffic without interfering with Google’s algorithms. The HTML tag tells web crawlers not to follow the link, making it a no-follow link. The advantage is that users will still be able to see and click your links without fearing consequences from Google. It generates traffic while making the link invisible to them.

Relevance of the Link

The relevance of your link is extremely important for the owners of the site you’re using to post and to Google. You don’t want your content to get flagged as spam and deemed irrelevant. Don’t get carried away posting links to your domain on sites that don’t have anything to do with your business or services. This is an obvious giveaway that you’re only trying to improve your page rank. 

Location of the Link

It turns out there are good and bad places to post links online. Watch out for article directories, which are typically poor-quality sites designed to collect links from all over the internet. Their sole purpose is to collect and exchange links, and Google views these types of sites as irrelevant and useless. Instead, there are industry-specific directories that you can use to build high-quality connections within your specific niche. Ensure your link is relevant to the thread or topic where you post it.

The best places to build backlinks are industry-specific resources because you’ll know that readers will be looking for the information you can provide. The closer the website is to your industry, the more likely that our links will be seen as relevant to Google. One easy way to find quality places to build your backlinks is to take advantage of the competitors who have already done the work. Moz is a free tool to help you search for existing backlinks. You can search for your main competitor’s URLs and find out what places they post. If they are in the same industry as you are, you should look into posting to those places yourself.

Content Surrounding the Link

Your link must be a part of an article or a comment and not stand alone. Google can detect whether or not you’re using natural language, so don’t just write fluff and throw words around. Google notices these low-quality articles and could lower your rankings. You want your content to be interesting and engaging, whether it’s a comment on a blog or an article. The link you provide should make sense in the given situation. Explaining why you include the link allows it to appear natural to users as well as Google.

You’ll also want to make sure your links and the content surrounding those links are not repeated repeatedly. Some business owners often cut corners by copying and pasting the same link and commenting on the same thing on multiple sites. This is a bad idea because Google is advanced enough to detect this repeated language and penalize you for spamming the same message. Vary the language you use every time you post a link. 

Examples of Opportunities for Backlinking

Now that you know some of the qualities that make up whether a backlink will be considered natural by Google's algorithms let’s look at some opportunities to cash in on high-quality and Google-approved backlinks.

  • Guest blogs. Many successful companies and organizations invite guest bloggers to post on their site. This is a mutually beneficial strategy since it provides excellent content and a little bit of link power to both participants. This also allows you to post a link or two back to your list within your blog post. Make sure your post is well-written and relevant for your site’s audience.
  • Post your links within a forum or blog comments. Do you get a lot of traffic to your current blogs? Now is the opportunity to provide answers to questions, elaborate on existing conversations, and add value to your audience. Keep your links as specific and relevant as possible.
  • Press releases. Be sure to keep the focus of the article on relevant and newsworthy content. The link itself should be secondary to the content. If your press release gets shared, you’ll benefit from the link power from websites with higher authority.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to create useful things that will point back to your website and help encourage natural link building practices. For example, you could create an entertaining video with the chance to go viral and share that visual content on all of your social platforms. Putting effort into content, be it visual, written, or graphic, can help you engage with your audience and provide quality information that will inspire them to link it to their own platforms.

Characteristics of a Well-Rounded Backlink Profile

There are several characteristics to look for when looking how to build a natural backlink profile. 

  • Quality. Backlink building is not an exact science, but over all of Google’s algorithm updates the thing that matters the most is quality over quantity. If you want to have SEO succeed, make sure your backlink profile is as perfect as possible.
  • Context. The context of your links is vital for success. You want to make sure that your links are relevant to a particular publisher site and that the post itself is relevant.
  • Navigation. It isn’t enough to simply link to your homepage while building a backlink on an external source. You’ve spent time building detailed internal pages, so use them too!
  • Social Value. A healthy backlink profile needs to include links from social platforms as well. Work on syndicating links to your content on social media.
  • Mentions. You can build your domain authority with brand mentions or non-linked instances of your brand name on external sources.
  • Consistency. Continually working on your strategy and staying consistent can help you build a well-round backlink profile.
  • Up To Date. Just like with content, Google and search engines favor websites that have recent and quality backlinks. 
  • Diversity. The diversity of your backlink strategy is also crucial and it applies to almost every area of link building. You’ll want to have a variety of sources, a range of link types, and lots of content to back them up.

Remember, it takes time to build a natural backlink profile. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not making immediate progress. If it were easy to build domain authority, everyone would do it! Stay focused and seek out the help of a professional if you’re having trouble. 

Unnatural Backlink Practices to Avoid

Now that we’ve gone over nearly everything you need to know about the anatomy and characteristics of a natural backlink profile let’s talk about how to avoid the most common “dangerous” backlinking practices. 

  • Don’t buy into those companies that can promise a huge number of cheap backlinks. When it comes to SEO, you get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t risk getting penalized by utilizing low-quality sources.
  • Google has an official policy when it comes to directly buying or selling backlinks. Don’t do it. 
  • It’s also good to limit your exchange links with another company. If you have too many links back and forth between one company, Google will likely penalize you as not relevant. 
  • Don’t rely too heavily on directories. If they are very specific industry-related, they might work as part of your strategy, but avoid the ones that seem low quality. 
  • Lastly, don’t repeat the same thing all over the web. Google will quickly pick up on repeated language, so if you’re using the same company description with each of your backlinks, you’ll lose some of your authority.

Conclusion

Are you wondering why Google seems to be obsessed with disqualifying unnatural links? For years, many SEOs have manipulated their rankings, and the result is that they offer no real value to people searching online. Instead, they create nonsensical and confusing content in search results, which ultimately reflects poorly on the user-friendliness of Google. In addition, it costs Google money to scrape and index nonsense content. 

Google works hard to keep low-quality or worthless content out of its index and search results. However, in recent years, they’re becoming more transparent with their goals as they try to give webmasters and SEO experts guidelines for ranking more efficiently.

As a business owner, we understand that you’re likely overwhelmed by the changes that Google puts into place. However, to us, it is the same message that they’ve been shouting for years - create quality content that your audience will actually want to read and share. Inbound links will come naturally and you won’t have to worry about unnatural ones bringing your rankings down.

If you’re one of those people feeling like you have no idea where to start when it comes to SEO services and natural backlink profiles, reach out to our team today. We specialize in white-hat, white-label building services to help your business grow. Get in touch here today.