Lately there’s been much talk about how the natural looking website – that is, natural looking for Google – is the best way to go if you’re trying to build your business online, whether you’re a blogger looking to monetize his or her blog, or a company looking to achieve better rankings in a competitive market. The ideal case is to make an authoritative website with a lot of content and backlinks; but none of it, content nor backlinks, can leave any kind of footprint in the sense of schematic or automatic growth.
What Google is looking for as one of the most important signals is so called natural spread in backlinks, where they come from, what they look like and which anchor text they use. Think of it this way: Coca Cola or Wikipedia, people link to them by themselves in all kinds of contexts, from all kinds of places, and with all kinds of words. That is how Google sees “natural”, and that’s how you should make your website’s backlinking profile appear.
Diversity in backlinks is achieved by posting backlinks on different website types and, often overlooked, different IP addresses.
So if you were building backlinks through blog commenting and guest posting, it’s time to include all other sorts of websites: “real” websites that aren’t blogs, Web 2.0 properties (Squidoo, WordPress.org, Blogger, Hubpages, Wikis), article directories, website directories, bookmarking sites, .edu and .gov sites, forums, social networks…
Yes, some of these places have become notorious in the past, but they all contribute to the diversity of your backlink profile. Forums for instance; isn’t it natural for a successful website to have some mentions and links from forums? People on forums share their opinions and recommendations, and having some backlinks from them is as natural as it can be; as long as you use and not abuse them, it’s all right.
Having many backlinks from the same IP address is also a bad idea: since each hosting account normally has one IP address, fewer links from different IP addresses will easily outrank bigger number of links from one IP – because different IPs mean that different people are linking to a website.
The same goes for dofollow vs. nofollow backlinks; real people don’t care if the links are followed or not, because “link juice” means nothing to them.
It’s impossible to find out the exact ratio of “perfectly natural” backlinking portfolio, because it depends on the niche and on the chosen keywords. Mix them all in, just do your best not to have a high number of low quality links in the overall picture.
Anchor text diversity
For years, the page from which you can download Adobe Reader is ranking No. 1 for the keyword phrase “click here“, because over time many people have linked to it with that anchor text. And that’s been the rule of thumb for a long time: to get a website ranked for a chosen keyword phrase, you just needed to throw a bunch of backlinks (all of the same kind, it didn’t matter then) with the desired keywords as anchor text. Not anymore; again – would real people link to a website with the same exact words? Take KTM for example: a number of people would link to them using their brand name – “KTM“, others use “bicycles” or “mountain bikes”, a third group would just use a “naked” URL or some random words like “click here” or “this website”.
To discover the golden rule and the perfect ratio of backlink types and anchor text distribution for your own set of keywords, if you don’t want to do it randomly (which you definitely shouldn’t, especially if you’re getting into a competitive niche), the safest bet is to analyze websites already ranking for your keywords. If they got there, it means that whatever they did – works. No magic formula is able to provide you with that kind of insight.
Alex Duke is an SEO expert working with one of the leading SEO companies in Atlanta and provides informations and updates related to SEO and Internet Marketing.