If you’ve started a website and are wondering how to get more traffic, it won’t be long before you come across the term “backlink profile”.
But what exactly does it mean?
In this piece, we’ll break down everything you need to know about this key piece of SEO terminology, including what a backlink profile is, why they matter, and how to build a strong one. Understanding them is a foundational skill in digital marketing.
What is a Backlink Profile?
A backlink profile is a collection of links from other sites that point to your website.
These links, also known as inbound links, act as a vote of confidence for your website, showing Google that other people find your content relevant. For SEO professionals whose job is to rank higher in Google, backlinks are the holy grail.
But ranking highly isn’t the only thing about backlinks; they can also drive referral traffic to your website, leading to more brand awareness and potential customers.
Understanding the different types of backlinks and how search engines evaluate their quality is essential for building a solid backlink profile. We’ll start with some basic lingo.
‘Do Follow’ or ‘No Follow’
There are two main types of backlinks: dofollow and nofollow.
Dofollow links are the default type of link, and they pass on link equity, or “link juice,” to the linked-to website. This means they can help improve the linked-to website’s rankings.
On the other hand, nofollow links don’t pass on link equity and are typically used for sponsored content, user-generated content, or links that the website owner does not want to vouch for. Nofollow links indicate to search engines that a website owner does not endorse the content of the linked-to site.
Another key term you’ll read in conjunction with backlink profiles is ‘anchor text.’ Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink.
An example of how a website that sells Nike running shoes might use anchor text would be in a product description for a specific shoe model. The website might have a page dedicated to the “Nike Zoom Pegasus 38” running shoe.
In the product description, the website might include a sentence like “Experience the comfort and support of the Zoom Pegasus 38” and use the words “Nike Zoom Pegasus 38” as anchor text for the link that directs to the specific page.
This phrase tells the search engine that the linked-to page is about the “Nike Zoom Pegasus 38” running shoe, which can help boost the relevance and search engine ranking of that page for related searches.
|Anchor Text Example||Description|
|“best running shoes”||Keyword-rich anchor text that targets the keyword “best running shoes”.|
|“https://www.example.com“||URL as anchor text.|
|“Air Zoom Pegasus 38”||Keyword-rich anchor text targeting a particular product|
|“read more on our website”||Brand-specific text with no specific keywords.|
|“more information”||Generic text|
How Google Evaluates the Quality of a Backlink
Google uses various factors to evaluate the quality of backlinks, including the linking website’s relevance, the linking website’s authority and trustworthiness, and the link’s anchor text.
Some search engines also claim to penalise for bad backlink practices, such as links from spammy websites or link farms. That’s why monitoring your backlink profile and removing any dodgy links is a valuable skill, even if you need to be more actively engaged in SEO.
5 Great Tools for Tracking and Analysing Backlinks
A number of tools, free and paid, allow webmasters greater visibility on backlinks.
- Google Search Console: This free tool lets you see the backlinks pointing to your website and provides information on the anchor text and linking domains.
- Ahrefs: Offers a comprehensive backlink analysis tool that lets you see any website’s top backlinks, linking domains, and anchor text.
- SEMrush: Provides a detailed backlink analysis tool and the ability to track your competitors’ backlink profiles.
- Majestic: A backlink analysis tool that allows you to see the backlinks, referring domains, and trust flow of any website.
- Open Site Explorer: A backlink analysis tool provided by Moz that allows you to see the top backlinks, linking domains, and anchor text for any website.
How to Build a Strong Backlink Profile
Acquiring high-quality backlinks is a crucial part of building a solid backlink profile. Here are a few strategies:
- Create genuinely awesome content: Creating content that offers genuine value remains the cornerstone of most online marketing strategies.
- Guest blogging: Reach out to other websites in your niche and offer to write a ‘guest blog’ post. These have become an accepted way for website owners to share your expertise while getting a backlink in return.
- Reach out to influencers: Offering nfluencers in your industry free products in exchange for coverage can help you to gain backlinks from authoritative websites.
- Get listed in online directories: Many online directories allow you to add your website and get a backlink.
- Create infographics: Infographics are easy to share and embed on other websites. If you have graphic design skills or a great visual story to tell about your product, they remain a powerful way to gain links.
- Participate in online communities: Engage with people in online communities related to your niche, share your knowledge and provide value.
- Broken Link Building: Find broken links on other sites and offer them a replacement link to your own brand.
- Online Public Relations: Getting coverage in reputable publications, perhaps by offering a comment to a journalist as a source, is a sought after way of garnering powerful backlinks.
- Diversity is Crucial: Build links on guest blogs, forums, social media platforms, directories, industry-specific platforms, local business listings, infographics, press releases, resource pages, and more .
- Remember Anchor Text: The most powerful links come from those linking directly on keyword, but Google is looking for a diverse and natural mixture.
- Negative SEO: Keep an eye on your backlink profile to identify and address potential harmful SEO attempts from competitors.
- Social media: Social media platforms can also be a source of backlinks, and building a solid presence on these platforms can help drive traffic to your website.
- Local SEO: Backlinks can also be an important factor in local search engine optimization such as Google Maps, as they help to establish a website’s relevance for a specific geographic area.
- Internal linking: Internal linking between the pages of the same website can also be necessary for SEO by passing link juice to the inner pages and helping them rank better.
- Quality over quantity: Prioritise real links from credible websites with traffic over link farms or offers from ‘link building experts.’
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