What’s a link profile? I get asked that question a lot. For the most part I attribute it to the fact that it is not exactly a common everyday SEO term. Even I was ‘turned on’ to it by an industry friend that used it. While I had a strong understanding of the many implications of Link Building Programs, I hadn’t spent a great deal of time in viewing the results in a structured way. Once you can start to understand and quantify the linking factors affecting ones over-all rankings, .
This ability to quantify, allows one to analyze not only they’re own site, but a competitor’s site as well. If you’re a SEO service provider, it also helps in the project proposal and pricing phases as you can equate the potential clients Link Profile against those of the top competitors with the goal of establishing a base line for cost estimation.
I won’t be going into those aspects deeply here, but we got to the point of creating a formula to speed up the process with a sliding scale Link Profile Score system. The advantages of understanding a Link Profile are many.
Elements of a Link Profile; this is by no means a definitive list. These are merely the aspects we commonly look at.
One way links v Reciprocal links; these are 2 types of back links pointing to your site. It is wise to keep ones reciprocal links to a minimum and have a higher ratio of One Way Back Links to Reciprocals.
Back Link Relevance; the main considerations here are the relevance of the website – the page name (Title) --- and the actual link text itself. Try to maintain a strong relevance throughout where possible.
Back Link Quality; The old adage is as true as ever and it’s Quality over Quantity. Don’t spend time adding your site to every directory on the planet or marketing your articles to EVERY repository you can get your pixels on.
Bad Neighborhoods; avoid involving with sites that seem - less than reputable. Not to start over-doing old adages, but if you lie down with dogs…..
Link Age; If you’re utilizing viral endeavors or an article marketing program, then monitor the links as they will ultimately slip into supplemental/older results over time. New campaigns must be timed to ensure no ground is lost over time. It is, as with many things in web marketing, and ongoing endeavor.
Getting it together
Now that we can start to grasp elements, we can apply them to the ongoing Link Profile development process. I won’t get into the various methods at this point, more the strategy. Thinking of it as Link Building is very myopic in my opinion and belies the many assets that exist in the process such as Viral marketing, promotional opportunities, brand and authority building and more. You link and the Link Text are powerful tools that have far more value than is commonly perceived within the Search Marketing world.
One of the more overlooked areas is the Link Text. This is really a product of a much earlier part of the SEO life cycle, Keyword research and development to be more specific. Before one can decide on the text one will use as the Link Text, we must establish as part of the over-all plan, which ones are likely to produce the best Return On Investment in our SEO Program. This, for the sake of argument, is a product itself, of earlier NON SEO research in the form of a Unique Selling Proposition (or multiple selling positions).
Next time I shall work on a list of great ways to not only build a strong Link Profile, but create traffic and brand awareness at the same time. Gotta’ get the most ‘Bang for the Buck’.