If you, like millions out there, have an internet-based business you will know that there have been big changes recently in the way Google ranks websites. There has been a major update last month and there have been (as usual) winners and losers to this change. I’ll be discussing some things that you can do to help future proof your online business by encouraging you to know and understand a little about your back link profile. After all, it is one of your business’s most important assets.

Step one – Seeing what is out there

If you have a new website (this will not apply) and it consists of a minute number of pages, then you may want to look at this post: Introductory link building for a small client. If you have an established site or have recently bought a domain you will want to see what’s there as this will have an impact on how you move forward. There is another post that deals with this as well (link building for an established client) I will be looking at what you want to look for.

Majestic SEO – I adore this tool; with a little practice you can quickly get an idea of what you are dealing with. Once you know what to look for you can learn a lot from this tool. If you are serious about this then you might want to try it out and see for yourself. Here are some of the things that you would want to look for:

Anchor text
Majestic will show you how your anchor text is broken down. If you have a high percentage of brand and generic you are doing all good – if not then you have some work on your hands to fix this.

Site-wide links
If you go the “anchor text tab” it will give a break down of the anchor text in your profile and how many instances appear on other sites. Take a look for ones that have a excessive number of “total” links and low number of “referring domains “ this combination may indicate that you have site wide links on other sites. you will want to get rid of those. as soon as possible.

Links from bad sites
This last bit can take a while if you have a large number links to the site. Click on the tab “Referring Domains” and go through the list. Investigate sites that look a bit ‘dodgy’ (you can tell from the name usually). If there is nothing, then you’re plain-sailing and you can move to step two. If you find stuff you are not happy with then work on getting rid of them.

Step two – Looking to create a natural profile

Here are a few ideas that will help you to create a profile that is healthy and more robust. One of the key tasks to creating this is diversification, try different methods and target different (but related) areas and websites. You can be very creative here and design a process that will work for you.

Anchor text is important – use it wisely
Using exact match anchor text needs to be done with great caution, I have a rule of thumb , for most links just use generic terms (names, click here, visit website etc) if I come across a very good link opportunity (such as guest post ) then I would look to use the keywords or a variation of the keyword. Anchor text heavy profiles are more likely to be hit with a penalty or an “adjustment” then a natural profile.

Deep link to pages inside the site
Most people know about this, but it is still a neglected method. Linking to internal pages will help show which pages are important on the site. Linking to these pages will help them rank in Google and create “landing pages” which act like “hubs” for the website – bringing in traffic to different areas.

Use internal linking within the site to pass on “link juice”
With internal links you have the power to… well, distribute the power. Good internal linking can make a big difference to the performance of a site. Good internal linking helps both Google and the reader find relevant pages within the website.

Be picky where you get your links from
This one is sometimes overlooked. There are many opportunities to get links. Some are better opportunities then others – always go for the better opportunities.

Why do this?

The answer is simple really, the more natural and diverse your back link profile is, the more future proof your campaign will be. Google is changing its “algo” all the time and a natural-looking link profile is more likely to cushion you if your site happens to fall during this ‘transformation’ that we are seeing at the moment.
A natural profile is more likely to bring other benefits such as targeted traffic to your sites. Guest posts and commenting on other blogs is a great way to expand brand awareness and get traffic.

A good rule of thumb for me is; If the link I build will serve more then one purpose and that I would want to get traffic from the site I am getting the link from – then it is a good link.