What Is a Link Profile of a Website
Accumulation of backlinks is a slow process; so, the effect of link building can be seen after six months of active promotion. It is important that the profile dynamics are stable, and the number of referring domains is constantly increasing.
1. What Is a Link Profile?
A link profile is a set of all the backlinks of a domain. Since the advent of search engines, the quality of link mass has been one of the main signals for ranking algorithms.
Google opposes link manipulation and recommends rejecting sponsored backlinks. In a perfect world, mentions should appear naturally, but in practice, this is rarely the case, especially if the site is new and has not yet had time to gain popularity in its niche.
Optimizers make sure that the profile of SEO links doesn’t make Google algorithms suspicious, but there’s no guarantee that paid backlinks can be masked as natural backlinks.
2. The Importance of a Link Profile for SEO
When Google was just developing, links made it possible to quickly bring your site to the top of SERPs, even for highly competitive queries. As algorithms evolved, backlinks with high authority became a priority.
Therefore, directories and other ways to quickly build backlinks are almost ineffective today. Google gives each backlink a different juice, and if a lot of authoritative donors link to the site, it can benefit in search results.
The state of the link profile is one of the main indicators of project quality. If the resource has no problems with internal optimization, high-quality backlinks will help take higher positions than competitors.
2.1 Helps to get to the top of search results
A balanced link profile is key to stable positions in SERPs and relevant traffic. If Google sees that the number of backlinks is constantly increasing, and the old ones are not disappearing, the site can have a permanently high position in search results.
Ranking algorithms take into account hundreds of different signals, but links are among the most important factors. That is why SEO specialists pay a lot of attention to working with link mass.
2.2 Speeds up page indexing
Stable profile growth indirectly affects the speed of page indexing. For example, if new articles on the site are regularly reposted by several reputable media, pages can get into the search database in a few hours.
The speed of indexing varies depending on the stable operation of Google algorithms; so, you should not expect to get to SERP quickly. But even pages that were analyzed by a fast crawler can get to the top of search results.
2.3 Increases site traffic
Links from authoritative donor sites affect traffic. If they are posted in articles and users can click on them, referral traffic will be stable until the audience forgets about publications.
Backlinks do not always attract a target audience, but the latter can be one of the essential bonuses. That’s why it’s beneficial to post links on sites of industry leaders that boast large audiences.
Optimizers argue about whether or not clicks on backlinks affect their juice, but targeted traffic will not be superfluous in any case. Some users can stay on the promoted resource even after the link promotion.
2.4 Increases brand awareness
Regular posting of content and links on projects with high traffic helps increase brand awareness. This is especially important for commercial resources that can attract customers due to activity on reputable sites.
Link-building techniques aimed at increasing branded traffic are used to increase brand awareness: crowd marketing, guest posting, outreach, and other approaches.
2.5 Helps to attract new customers
The right link-building strategy will help to not only maintain stable link mass dynamics but also to attract the target audience. If users are interested in a company’s products or services, they may eventually become customers.
A backlink profile addresses various issues; so, it should not be considered only as a tool to increase the site’s authority for Google algorithms. Some projects don’t focus on trust and use links to attract new subscribers for SaaS platforms or active commenters.
Sometimes, the importance of links for the effectiveness of site promotion is overestimated. They can really be very useful but only if the project is of high quality. Otherwise, few people will spend time on it, and Google algorithms will see that.
3. Quality vs. Quantity: What’s More Important?
Optimizers often argue about what is more important – quality or quantity. The answer is: there should be more high-quality links. A perfect profile includes backlinks from relevant projects, which can bring both trust and audience to the resource under promotion.
SEO services have their own metrics to assess the quality of domains and individual pages. For example, Domain Authority Moz and Domain Rating Ahrefs. If you take two different domains in the same niche and analyze them, it may turn out that the project with fewer backlinks scores more points.
In link building, quality comes first. In narrow niches, it is rarely possible to get a lot of links, but even 5-10 new mentions per month can positively affect the resource position in organic SERPs.
One link from a reputable resource can bring more value than 10 backlinks from projects of lower quality. But it is important to keep in mind that link metrics are not always crucial. Even spammed sites can have a good DA or DR.
4. What a Natural Backlink Profile Looks Like
Webmasters analyze the link profile of a resource they’re promoting from time to time to monitor the dynamics and disavow toxic links that can be harmful.
A natural link mass contains different types of backlinks in certain ratios. The donor and the recipient sites should match in terms of topics. Then, link juice will be successfully passed, and search engines will not have reason to impose penalties.
It is difficult to make all links in the profile diverse, but it is necessary to make maximum effort to achieve this goal. If you cannot solve the problem on your own, you can delegate the work to an experienced link builder.
4.1 Use of various anchors
Anchor is the text of the visible part of a link, which is available to users and search engine crawlers. It is necessary to be very attentive when creating an anchor list because overspamming may result in penalties.
Algorithms decide whether to consider a link as part of a profile based on several signals. If they consider that the anchor does not look natural, link juice might drop to zero, and it will not pass to the recipient.
4.2 The right ratio of dofollow and nofollow backlinks
A natural link profile cannot contain only dofollow links. There must also be nofollow, backlinks in the form of images, and even redirects. The more varied the link mass is, the lower the likelihood that Google algorithms will become suspicious.
The search engine has no recommendations about the ratio of dofollow and nofollow, but you can focus on the indicators of competitors. If 60% of links in their profiles are open for passing juice, and positions are stable, you should not worry that the number of dofollow is bigger.
4.3 Links from comments and reviews
It is important to analyze the link mass from time to time to make sure it is varied. Links from reviews and comments are often considered useless, but they can bring target traffic.
If backlinks are properly integrated into content and don’t look like blatant advertising, they will be beneficial. Such links increase the site’s branded traffic and help to regularly attract customers without the involvement of search engines.
4.4 Topic-relevant referring domains
Google algorithms pay a lot of attention to checking the relevance of donors when evaluating link mass. If projects operate in different niches, and there is no relation between them, links can be considered artificial.
The subject relevance of the donor is one of the key factors that affect the evaluation of the domain’s potential. Sometimes, you can sacrifice trust and post a backlink on a project that has just been launched but already has some organic traffic.
4.5 Social media mentions
When novice optimizers ask what Google pays attention to in the backlink profile, one of the answers is social media mentions.
Search engine algorithms determine brand popularity based on links and names without hyperlinks. Mentions on social networks have little or no effect on ranking, but they can bring relevant traffic and good behavioral factors.
4.6 Paid links or links posted in editorial content
A link profile of almost any site includes sponsored links. This applies to both informational and commercial projects. Google treats sponsorship fine but recommends using nofollow and sponsored attributes for backlinks.
It is possible to get links posted in editorial materials for free with quality content. Infographics, polls, surveys, and other highly unique formats help with this task.
4.7 Links that attract target traffic to your site
One of the indirect signs of a quality link is relevant traffic. If users actively interact with the posted content and regularly click on links, they look natural.
The value of links that attract traffic is that they are not only more beneficial for SEO, but they also increase the active audience of the resource under promotion.
4.8 Links from lower-quality sites in your niche
Directories, forums without moderation, resources with duplicate content are considered low-quality sites. Backlinks from them are not bad by default – it all depends on the specific site.
Commercial projects actively get local links from directories, some of which are heavily spammed, but this does not affect site positions in organic search results. Competitors can also post links from bad sites, but few can achieve success in this way.
4.9 Image backlinks
Image links are often used for link building on sites where content is removed for any links to external resources. Such backlinks are safe, but a link profile should not consist of them alone.
Not all resources allow editing the source code of the posted content; so, it is sometimes difficult to get image backlinks. You should not focus on them, but if such an opportunity arises, you can use it.
5. Links to Avoid
A quality site has a wide range of features, but content is among the main ones to pay attention to. If the project has good behavioral factors, and users solve problems with the help of posted articles or available tools, the site can be considered useful.
According to search engines, good links are those that appeared naturally. For example, if an editor used an outside source when preparing an article and indicated it in the list of references or added a link to the content.
Algorithms cannot know for sure whether a link is sponsored or appeared naturally. But they have a set of signals that help them determine this by indirect signs. So, it’s important to focus on the naturalness of backlinks.
Theoretically, all artificial links are bad and harmful to resource promotion. As for backlinks from doorways, spammed forums, and other low-quality projects, search engines know that site owners are not interested in them.
You should avoid:
- irrelevant donor sites
- spammed anchors
- sites created for earning on links
- resources that link to diverse sites without exception
Google algorithms disavow many links automatically and do not pass juice to them. In link building, it is better to use white-hat methods and avoid forbidden techniques.
6. How to Research Your Backlink Profile
An audit of your backlink profile allows you to quickly find problems and fix them. For example, if sponsored backlinks have disappeared over time, it is worth contacting the resource owner and reminding him of guarantees.
There are many tools for analyzing backlinks. You can choose one or compare data in several services. It all depends on the project’s importance and the budget for promotion.
6.1 Google Search Console
The main source of data on link mass is Search Console. To find out what links have already been detected by Google crawlers, just go to the Links section and look at the available list.
If necessary, the list of external links can be exported as a file. Google updates data in the console from time to time; so, it’s worth checking it several times a month to keep the situation under control.
7. How to Get Started with Building an SEO Link Profile
Link profile quality has an impact on the effectiveness of website promotion, but it is worth starting active external promotion only after all internal problems have been solved. Then, link building will be much more beneficial.
The strategy should cover different types of links and determine the minimum number of mentions that should appear every month. At the start of the promotion, it is better to set realistic goals and gradually increase their scale if you manage to achieve the initial ones.
7.1 Identify your main competitors
There is no point in analyzing the link mass of projects that are not striving to get to high positions in the niche of the resource under promotion. It is important to focus on relevant projects and understand why they got to the top.
For a quick search of competitors, you can upload semantic keywords in services that check positions, and they will automatically find competitors. Topvisor and other platforms perfectly cope with this task.
7.2 Analyze link profiles of competitors
By reviewing a link profile, you can find a lot of useful information about the methods of website promotion. Particular attention should be paid to analyzing projects that have increased their positions in the last six months.
Copying the strategies of successful sites is often made part of a global link-building strategy. But it is worth carefully monitoring the dynamics of competitors because for SEO, comprehensive optimization is important, and it may be not links that lead to growth.
7.3 Carefully study the types of referring domains
Types of links differ depending on the format of their distribution. If your competitors’ profile contains mainly backlinks from social media, you don’t need to focus on them.
Links from authoritative resources, which have a target keyword in the anchor, affect ranking. No need to pay attention to spammy backlinks – a link profile of almost every resource includes them.
7.4 Analyze their anchors
Anchors indicate the purpose of a backlink. If target queries are integrated into them, a competitor wants to use the donor site to increase link juice.
Anchor analysis helps to see the share of branded, commercial, and other types of anchors. If a competitor promotes a project with naked links, SEO analysis services will show this.
7.5 Count the average number of links they get per month
Copying a competitor’s link-building strategy can be useful, but if the rate of link building is low, you can wait long for results. An audit of a backlink profile helps identify important features and use them to the benefit of your project.
In some cases, it is impossible to keep up with competitors because of a small budget for promotion. But it is important to know at what rate profiles of the main competitors grow and develop an effective strategy.
8. How to Check Competitors’ Link Profiles
The pace of link distribution can be very high; so, it does not make sense to analyze each backlink manually. It is better to use SEO services that save a lot of time on routine tasks.
The features of link analysis tools are roughly the same. But there are differences in the amount of data collected and the number of their own metrics for assessing the quality of links and donors.
The service is one of the most popular SEO marketing platforms. Optimizers often use it to analyze competitors’ backlinks and determine the benefits of posting links on a particular site.
Ahrefs allows analyzing a domain, subdomain, or individual URL for free. It displays profile dynamics and statistics of lost backlinks for a given period.
The service focuses on link analysis and, unlike Ahrefs, provides far fewer tools that are not related to backlinks. It is among the most reputable brands of search engine marketing.
Majestic SEO gives comprehensive information about the link profile of the resource you are analyzing. It has its own metrics for assessing domain quality, which many optimizers use.
The service is similar to Ahrefs in terms of features. It can be used not only for links but also for a complete analysis of competitors or potential donors. It perfectly determines the amount of traffic in different regions.
Serpstat allows monitoring links, tracking positions, following changes in SERPs, and performing an in-depth site audit. The service is constantly being updated and offers new features to customers.
8.4 Netpeak Checker
The software was created to enable SEO specialists to see data from different services in one interface. After setting up a connection to Ahrefs, Majestic, or Semrush via API, data from those platforms will be available in one report.
Netpeak Checker is often used for bulk link analysis using metrics from 25 services. The software checks website traffic, finds contacts of site representatives, and knows how to export data to PDF or Google Sheets.
The service is the main competitor to Ahrefs and Serpstat. It provides webmasters with a set of tools for search engine marketing. After creating an account, you can use some of these tools for free.
Semrush is not inferior in quality to its competitors in terms of link building, and it provides complete information about a domain profile in seconds after the start of the analysis. The link profile checker tool offers advice on removing links and helps protect against Google penalties.
|Service||Key feature||Link database volume||Subscription cost, $|
|Ahrefs||Index is updated every 15 minutes||28,8 trillion||99–999|
|Majestic||Availability of historical index||2 trillion||49–399|
|Serpstat||Search for valuable competitor links||1,66 billion domains||69–499|
|Netpeak Checker||Data aggregation from different services||—||0–55,20|
|Semrush||Deep link audit||43 trillion||120–450|
9. Best Tips for Building a Link Profile Properly
There are many ways to check a backlink profile, but in link building, it’s important to be consistent and avoid rushing to snap judgments. A link-building strategy should cover different types of resources.
Before launching a site, take care of a link-building plan and update it periodically if promotion dynamics are low. It may turn out that links acquired with the help of crowd marketing are not working, and you will have to focus on another source.
9.1 Make sure your site is working correctly
There’s no point in linking to a project that has technical problems. Positions can be far below the top 10 for a long time, even with mentions from reputable resources.
If you need to promote a business website, and the owner already knows what a link profile is, you need to focus on internal optimization. And when it is completed, you can proceed to active link building.
9.2 Pay attention to link quality
A quality link is a mention from a relevant donor with useful content and an active audience. In some niches, there may be very few such projects, and you will have to pay several thousand dollars for a link.
In such cases, you can use additional link-building techniques. For example, create content that competitors do not have. This will give you the opportunity to get mentions almost for free.
9.3 Choose reliable, authoritative sites
Every site has backlinks from low-quality resources in its profile, but they should not form its basis. You need links from reputable resources for good search engine rankings.
If the site was created for profit and does not benefit the audience, it is worth refusing to cooperate with it. A specialist who will conduct link building needs to deeply analyze each donor.
9.4 Grow your profile slowly
A link burst can attract the attention of Google algorithms, and the site can be exposed to risk. But if the rapid growth of the number of links is natural, you should not be afraid of penalties.
A natural link burst can be provoked by viral marketing. But this is not always possible because you cannot guess in advance the pace at which content is spread over the Internet.
9.5 Don’t use backlinks of one type only
The value of a quality profile depends on different types of links. Do not focus only on crowd marketing or outreach – you also need links from user profiles, directories, and social media.
If you cannot solve the problem by your own efforts, you can hire specialists for outsourcing. Delegating saves a lot of time, but you should check the third party carefully before starting the work.
9.6 Avoid anchor spam
Google Panda carefully monitors the quality of backlinks and pays much attention to anchors. The latter ones help understand whether a backlink is sponsored or natural.
Spammy anchors are distinguished by a large number of keywords and unreadability. Users rarely click on such links, and Google crawlers consider them suspicious.
9.7 Choose relevant donors
If an online car parts store posts links to a blog about pets, this seems strange. The core of successful link building is a focus on relevant donors.
For narrow niches, the only option is to use donor sites on general topics. In this case, you should focus on quality content and not make posting a link the main purpose of cooperation.
9.8 Choose sites with steady traffic
Donor sites with an active audience are always more valuable than projects with high trust and minimal traffic. Users can click on links in articles and improve the behavioral factors of the resource under promotion.
Through link building, commercial projects get target customers and increase brand awareness. You can estimate the amount of traffic using SEO services or request data while communicating with site representatives.
9.9 Make sure the donor site is not penalized
So far, there are no tools that allow you to make sure there are no penalties from Google. Algorithmic filters are not displayed in Search Console, and to determine which update affected the site, you need to do manual analysis.
Before posting links, it is worth checking:
- traffic dynamics
- the number of new and lost backlinks
- the dynamics of indexed pages
If the traffic has not decreased recently, and the link profile of the donor site is stable, you can post links on it. However, without a preliminary analysis, it is not worth discussing cooperation.
9.10 Check the donor site for ads and pop-ups
Some projects are created for profit, and they cannot be called quality. They may have good link metrics, but during manual check, it turns out that it is impossible to read articles because of advertising.
Donor usability is an important quality criterion that should not be ignored. Link metrics are important, but if the goal of link building is not only links, you need to consider other factors as well.
10. Link-building Strategies for Different Types of Websites
Even novice optimizers generally know how to analyze a backlink profile, but creating a link-building strategy is a more complex task. You can copy your competitors’ approach, but there is no guarantee that it will help you rank high.
A link-building strategy must be developed individually for each site, taking into account the situation in the niche. If competition is minimal, there is no point in investing a lot of money in link building.
10.1 Personal blog
Link building for a personal blog implies a focus on the naturalness of the profile and coverage of different types of donor sites. The site owner must not only promote the project as a brand but also attract target traffic.
It is impossible to improve blog traffic without quality content; so, it is necessary to pay maximum attention to this task. If the site has unique articles with added value, which are difficult to copy, links will begin to appear on their own.
A link profile doesn’t necessarily have to grow slowly. If a natural link burst can be triggered, this can help the site rank high for the targeted queries.
10.2 E-commerce site
Link building for commercial projects has its specific features. It is important to create backlinks to pages with high priority. Thanks to this, you can promote product cards or categories.
It is better to build links in several stages:
- Naked links from forums, social media, Web 2.0 blogs.
- Backlinks from submissions, directories, press releases with branded keywords.
- Guest articles and outreach with a focus on branded traffic.
For a site to benefit the most from link building, internal optimization must be perfect. And at the early stages of development, focus on simple link-building techniques.
Commercial projects must cooperate with regional resources. If an online store sells goods in the USA and buys links from French sites, there will be little targeted traffic.
11. Signs of a Bad Backlink Profile
Not all sites can boast a good link profile. The graph may grow steadily, but the site’s position in organic SERPs will be minimal due to low-quality donors.
Not only is it important to monitor the backlink SEO profile but also regularly disavow toxic links. For this purpose, Google provides a useful tool for site owners in Search Console.
11.1 Repeating anchor text too often
Anchor spam is one of the most common link profile problems. Backlinks with commercial keywords are important for site promotion, but if their number is too high, the project can be penalized.
The site owner should make sure that the profile contains naked links, anchors in the form of links, and image backlinks. The more natural the profile looks to search engines, the better.
11.2 Overuse of commercial backlinks
Commercial projects often use keywords with search phrases. This results in the site falling under the attention of algorithms, and if the growth of commercial links continues, it can get penalized.
You should be careful when using keywords related to the purchase of goods or services. You cannot avoid them, but if the share of such links exceeds 50%, the site may suffer because of the filter.
11.3 Suspicious dynamics in the profile
Link burst is not always harmful, but if it is generated artificially, it will be difficult to avoid problems. Search engines are constantly improving their link recognition algorithm and can identify sponsored links.
Suspicious dynamics in the profile have different signs: a drastic increase or a constant decrease in the number of donors. For successful promotion, the graph must be constantly directed upwards.
A drop can negatively affect positions
12. How Low-quality Links Can Harm Your Site
Not all links are equally useful: some of them can harm the site. A webmaster should monitor that the profile has as many backlinks from reputable resources as possible.
Directories, forums, and Q&A sites can be spammed. But a few links from such projects will not affect the site position if its profile includes hundreds of mentions from quality resources.
Bad links are harmful because they:
- reduce the donor’s authority;
- dilute the link profile;
- increase the risk of penalties;
- can negatively affect positions.
Sometimes, competitors deliberately interfere with normal promotion and buy toxic links from doorways and sites that violate the law. They can be disavowed via Google Search Console.
Toxic links can appear regardless of the webmaster’s will, but they don’t always hinder promotion. You can focus on buying good backlinks on the PRPosting exchange and constantly improve your link profile.
The service offers 44,000 sites for different countries and provides the possibility to flexibly adjust filters to find donors who meet the specified requirements. The system also displays information about the rate of article posting.
13. How to Get Rid of Unnatural Links in Your Profile
The only effective way to deal with bad links is to remove them from donor sites. If Google imposed a filter for backlinks from exchanges, you can contact site owners and negotiate a content update.
If low-quality links appeared by themselves, they cannot be removed completely. You can use an alternative option and disavow backlinks in Google Search Console.
13.1 What is Google Disavow Tool and how it works
Disavow Tool is a tool in the Google Console for webmasters, which is designed to disavow poor-quality links. The site owner creates a file with URLs or domains and uploads it to the panel.
It is important to understand that link disavowal is not guaranteed. Google representatives have repeatedly stated that their algorithms work accurately and automatically disavow most spammy backlinks.
If the file for Disavow Tool contains links that were added there by mistake, their previous juice may not be restored even after the file is updated. Therefore, you should carefully check the list before submitting it.
Even novice optimizers know what a backlink profile is, but they are not always able to develop a link-building strategy. To do this, you need to understand how ranking algorithms work, and use automation tools.
Links still affect the success of site promotion, but Google algorithms are constantly developing and know how to distinguish natural backlinks from sponsored ones. Therefore, it is important to use different types of links and maintain stable profile dynamics.
A set of backlinks from one site. Positions in organic search results depend on the quality of your link profile.
Link building is about link quality, not quantity. But profile dynamics must be maintained at the same level, which requires increasing the number of links.
There is no optimal ratio – it all depends on project features and the situation in the niche. The profile should not contain only dofollow links.
A natural link profile includes backlinks from different types of projects. It includes nofollow and dofollow backlinks, mentions without links, redirects, and image links.
You can use Google Search Console and services that collect link data.
Use Ahrefs, Semrush, and other search engine marketing platforms with link-building tools.
If they were bought on exchanges, you can contact the owners of donor sites. Otherwise, reject backlinks through Disavow Tool in the console for webmasters, but in this case, links are not deleted.