This is a guest post by Adam White from SEOJet.net
Ever since Google decided to really crack down on unnatural backlink profiles, SEO agencies and marketers have been forced to guess at how to build a natural link profile.
Everyone should know that too many exact match anchors is a bad thing, but how many is too many? And what should take the place of an exact match anchor?
These are the questions I set out to resolve once and for all so I could stop doing guess-E-O and start moving more quickly to the top of Google.
I looked at thousands upon thousands of backlinks researching anchor text profiles of #1 ranked websites as I built out SEOJet.
I found 5 traits that every #1 ranked site had in common.
1. Homepage Branding
The first big discovery for me as I looked at the back link profiles of #1 ranked websites was how lopsided the homepage anchor text profile was toward branded and URL anchors.
In other words, 80%-95% of the backlinks pointing at the homepage had either the brand name as the anchor text, or some form of the URL (Website.com, http://www.website.com, www.website.com etc).
They weren’t targeting key phrases on their homepage, they focused on building brand trust with Google.
I also noticed the large majority of links pointing to their sites were pointing to the homepage.
So the majority of your links need to point to the homepage and 80%-95% of those links to need to have the brand or some form of the URL as the anchor.
Note: The other 4 traits apply to inner pages of a website and not the homepage.
2. Very Few Exact Match Anchors
When the big Google updates started hitting in about 2011 they really cracked down on anchor text profiles that had too many exact match anchors.
Since that time many business owners and even SEO companies have been too scared to really delve back into link building.
As I was doing all of the backlink research for SEOJet I expected to see very little (if none at all) exact match anchor links.
I was surprised to find that the typical #1 ranked website actually had 10%-20% exact match anchor links pointing to the page that was ranked at the top.
Keep in mind that these links were almost never just targeting one single keyword, but several.
For example, a page might be targeting 4-6 keywords and the 20% exact match anchors would be made up from a mix of all the keywords they were targeting.
A single keyword by itself would appear as an exact match about 3% of the time, a far cry from the way things used to be.
3. Keywords Blended Into Anchors
If on your inner pages you can only have 10%-20% exact match anchors, what do you focus on with the other 80%-90% of your links to that page?
In order to strike a natural balance you need to still get about 35%-45% of your links with URL or branded anchors.
That leaves you with about 50% of your links that you still need to decide what to use as your anchor text.
This is where you can really make a backlink profile get natural.
The remaining links should fall under the keywords mixed into your anchor text category.
This means that if your keyword is something like “SEO services” a typical anchor text in this category might be something like “can find SEO services that will work”.
You can see that I wrote that anchor as if it was in the middle of a sentence. That is because it should be in the middle of a sentence.
This is why guest posting is still alive and works extremely well. There is no easier way to get an anchor text like this that looks extremely organic.
4. Huge Variety of Anchors
The best part about keywords mixed into anchors text is the combinations of anchor text are infinite.
You could essentially get a million links that contain one of your key phrases and none of the anchors are exactly the same.
This is why it looks so natural. When you have repeats for anchor text you also start to develop patterns.
Remember that patterns aren’t random and you want your backlink profile to looks as natural as possible.
Your brand name and URL can be used over and over again without issue but other anchors need to be as large a variety as possible, all the while including parts or all of your key phrases.
That is how you get Google to trust your backlink profile, and if you think about it, if you got all of your backlinks naturally that is what would happen without you trying.
5. Relevance & Randomness
The final trait that was common among all #1 ranked backlink profiles was both the relevance of the links that pointed to the sites, and also the randomness of the authority of the sites linking to them.
Relevance – Another reason guest posting is such an effective link building strategy is you can have great control over the sites that link to you.
There are huge categorized lists of blogs that accept guest posts and you can find a large number of them in any category.
There are also plenty of link building services that offer blogger outreach.
You obviously can’t control which sites link to you naturally but as you go out and link build, there is no reason all of your links can’t come from relevant sites.
Randomness – When I talk about randomness I am referring to the Domain Authority or Domain Rating of each site linking to your site.
For example, it would look extremely unnatural for a website to only have links from sites that were DA 50 or higher.
Considering that the overwhelming majority of the sites on the internet fall below DA 40, most of your links should probably come from sites DA 40 and lower.
Having said that you want to have as good of a variety as you can with your links.
You need some high DA links and you need some low DA links. Keep it random but make sure you have a good mix and again most of your links should fall into the 20-40 DA mark.
So lets recap. If you want to have a backlink profile that matches #1 ranked websites there are five things you need to focus on.
Build brand trust with Google by hitting your homepage hard with branded and URL anchor links. Get very few exact match domains for any single keyword you are targeting. Really focus on getting a huge variety of links with keywords mixed into anchors naturally in a sentence. And finally make sure the links are as relevant as possible and have a mix of all Domain Authority levels.