As online marketers recover from the many Google updates rolled out in 2012 those in the know are already gearing themselves up for the next twelve months. Make no mistake Google will continue to make changes to its algorithm and this will have a major impact on websites that don’t choose the right link building tactics.
There are of course many SEO “gurus” who all have an opinion on how to build a future-proof link portfolio, so much so it can sometimes make our head spin. However if we sift through all of this chatter, there does seem to be a consensus on certain things we need to do in order to protect our sites from sliding down the SERPS and disappearing forever.
Do Not Create A Logical Linking Pattern
Are you building links to your sites in an easily identifiable pattern? Are your inbound links all coming from a similar source? If you answer yes to these questions then you are not creating a natural link profile. If a linking pattern is easily detectable then Google will easily be able to connect the dots.
Start by varying the number of links you build to a site, no website ever naturally garnered inbound links at the same rate month after month. Vary the places you get your links from, use a combination of blogs, article directories, forums etc.. to avoid creating recognizable patterns. By building links in an illogical manner we can hope to stay under the “Big G” radar.
Anchor Text Variation Is A Must
Nothing looks more unnatural to Google than inbound links from a hundred different websites all with the same anchor text. To them it seems highly unlikely that a hundred different webmasters will have linked to your site all using that same anchor text. Indeed many SEO experts have agreed that this is a major factor for those sites penalized in recent updates.
I know, for many of us, the idea of using phrases in anchor text that bear little resemblance to what we are trying to rank for is a difficult concept to take on board. However to appear natural to Google it seems that at least some percentage of your backlinks should be made up of phrases that are regularly used by webmasters in natural link building.
Naturally Balance your Social Signals
How do you think it looks to Google when you have plenty of links coming into your site but no one is talking about it on social networks? Google will see that whilst people want to link to you they do not want to share those links. This is probably going to throw up a red flag and put you at risk of being penalized for building unnatural links.
In today’s SEO world Google see social signals as a powerful way to measure how natural a sites inbound links are. If your pages have a high amount of links without this social engagement you are pursuing a risky strategy. Remember a high amount of links always amounts to some form of social signals.
Of course when we try to work out how to build a future-proof link portfolio nothing is guaranteed. However if we work towards creating a well rounded portfolio when it comes to backlinking, and try to look as natural as possible in our execution, we will limit our overall risk if Google decides to discount one or more of our current strategies.