A healthy inbound link portfolio is an essential aspect of SEO. Some links are extremely beneficial and can increase the trustrank of your site with search engines. However, there are some links that are of little value and can even taint your link portfolio. This article provides an overview of link building and how to maintain a healthy link portfolio.
Links from Multiple Sources
A healthy link portfolio consists of links from a variety of sources and domain extensions. It is important to acquire links from a variety of source types including directories, blogs, press releases, article submissions, and etc. For example, if all of your links are from directories the full strength of these links won’t be recognized as it will appears unnatural to search engines. Adding a few links from other sources would greatly benefit this type of portfolio and increase the strength of the directory links.
For example, lets compare the link portfolio of two imaginary sites A and B. Site A has 1,000 inbound links from six sources and site B has 100 inbound links from sixty sources. Site B will be recognized as an authority within its industry and all of the inbound links will be valued by search engines. Site A would appear spammy to search engines and only a few of the links from each source would be recognized. It is more important to add links from a variety of sources then to have multiple links form the same source.
Domain extension is another factor that can help add variety to your link portfolio. If I live in a certain country such as Canada you would expect the bulk of my links to come from domains with a .ca or .com extension. To add more variety to this portfolio links from domains with .info, .org, .edu, .net, or .gov extensions should be acquired. Links from .gov and .edu domain extensions are believed to contribute greatly towards search engine trustrank. The registration of these domains are restricted and as a result most SEO experts believe these links Carry Special Value.
Rate of Link Acquisition
If inbound links are acquired too rapidly it can appear unnatural to search engines and result in a penalty. This is a common mistake made by inexperienced SEO experts that become too ambitious. If a site doesn’t normally acquire links on a regular basis and then all of a sudden begins acquiring 5 links a day it raises a red flag for search engines and can result in a penalty.
In contrast, if link building comes to an abrupt halt it can also raise a red flag. For example, if numerous inbound links are applied to your website over a short period of time followed by prolonged period of inactivity it too can look suspicious to search engines. Best advice is provide some type of ongoing maintenance in which and a few links are regressively acquired.
Perhaps one of the most important link building factors is site relevance. If you acquire links from sites outside of your industry they will hold very little weight. In fact, links from sites totally unrelated to yours appears inorganic and weakens your link portfolio. Links from sites that are industry specific are as good as gold. These links will not only increase the strength of your link portfolio but will also drive quality traffic to your website. Even if these links are from nofollow blogs they can still help steer the overall theme of your link profile towards a direction of relevance. These nofollow links won’t pass along link juice but can help your profile appear more organic.
The PageRank (PR) of the site that links to yours is another important factor. However, it is more important to pay attention to the total number of outbound links these sites have as opposed to their page rank. A link from a PR6 website with 1,000 outbound links contributes very little link juice. In fact you would be better off with a link from a PR2 websites with only 10 outbound links. Most often acquiring links takes much effort and you will gladly accept links from any site regardless of its PageRank or the number of outbound links it has. However, it is a factor to consider if you have to choose between linking sites.
Link Value Increases with Age
The last factor I would like to discuss involves site and link age. It is a well known fact that the age of a domain plays a critical factor in trustrank. Therefore the age of the site linking to yours is very important to consider. Links from sites that have been in existence for several years are more trusted by search engines compared to new sites. Also, the length of time a link has been in place is also important. A link that aged for several months will have more strength then a newly acquired link.