Is your SEO company damaging your backlink profile? Tips for 2012

Top five tips for 2012 to avoid having your domain blacklisted

We all know that links are a major part of SEO and that Social Media plays an important part of this, as ‘Social Noise’ is treated as links by Google. However, do you know exactly what your SEO company is doing with your money every month? Do they understand modern SEO techniques or are they leading you blindly down the Google penalty path?

Over the past 6 months, we have had a number of businesses contact us looking for a new SEO company to help recover websites which were hit by Panda during 2011. Unfortunately, a significant amount of these sites were suffering from Google Penalties for their primary keywords that will take years of hard work to resolve.

Five Tips to  avoid Google Penalties in 2012. Is your link profile safe?

1. Anchor Text – Don’t JUST focus on the money terms. If you constantly use the same anchor text you will get burnt – it’s literally just a question of when. Instead, build brand, compound and generic links.

Example: If your money term is fuel cards, build links with a variation of anchor text;

  • Fuel Cards from %websitename%
  • %websitename%’s Fuel Cards
  • Fuel Cards by %websitename%
  • Fuelcards
  • Fuelcard website
  • Website
  • Click here
  • Example: How anchor text can be categorised by type;

Anchor Text Ratio Anchor Text Ratio Analysis

2. Deep Linking Ratio – Deep linking is a great way to build authority deeper within your site for primary and secondary keywords. However, it needs to look natural. This will depend on a wide variety of factors.

The type of website: Some sites such as Newspapers will have considerably more deep links than an ecommerce website. Metrics to consider;

  • Basic Deep Link Ratio – Number of links to the homepage : all other pages.
  • Deep Links/Indexed Pages – How many pages are indexed compared to the amount of deep links on the site. Sites with more quality pages should attract more deep links.
  • Link to random pages, articles, blogs, images etc. If you only link to the same landing pages your link profile will be very unnatural.
  • Example: Possible overcooked deep linking by ratio;

Deep Linking Ratio Deep Linking Ratio Analysis

3. Linking Domain Authority  it’s amazing how many clients come to us with “I only want links from high PR sites”. Firstly PR (Page Rank) is pretty much meaningless and if anything it just shows a lack of up-to-date knowledge. A natural link profile would include links from a range of sites (this will differ from industry to industry).

  • Example: Linking domains by SEOmoz Rank;

Linking Domain Authority Linking Domain Authority

4. Theme of the Linking Domain – We all know that spam usually leaves patterns and anything automatic tends to leave the worst footprints of them all. Blackhat tools are notorious for this and we’ve inherited our fair share of clients that have been the victim of Xrumer ‘optimisation’. One thing that can make your site stand out in comparison to others in your niche is links from sites which aren’t really relevant. These are pretty noticeable and are routinely flagged by Google who can and do place penalties.

  • Example: The following graph shows the type of sites linking to a car company. If there were large amounts of links from Fashion sites this would present another flag to Google in the long term.

Theme of Linking Domain Theme of Linking Domain

5. Link Location – I might get some people disagreeing with me on this one, but based on what I have seen over the past year many people need to rethink their strategy.

  • What’s out: Obtaining footer links or blog roll style links. Ok, these might be site wide and/or located on authority pages, but you can do better. Just think about it – although Google has recently stopped highlighting the keyword from your search in its ‘Google preview’ (suggestions welcome) – I’m sure that Google now understands where links feature on a page and weights link juice accordingly. This moves nicely on to what’s in…
  • What’s in: Obtaining a link in a new article or blog post. Anchor text is over powered and it’s just a question of time until the next round of Google bashing takes place. Think about the words that surround the link, page title etc.… try to make it as varied as possible. Does it look manipulated to you? Chances are it will to a search engine very soon!
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