There is often talk of building ‘natural’ links when it comes to link building in search engine optimization. What does it mean to build a natural link profile? While the idea is quite simple, there is significant debate on the issue’s importance and how much we are able to push the envelope.
The general idea of a natural link profile is that the links to your site should appear to have come about without the aid of heavy link building techniques. A site should not have tried to ‘game’ the search engines by paying for links or doing anything that manipulates the search engine. This goes both for the type of sites that are linking to your website, and how quickly they have arrived.
If a new website appears and suddenly get thousands of links from nowhere – this can raise a red flag with search engines. However, some people overestimate this effect, particularly on the modern web. It can sometimes happen that a new website can get thousands of links in a short period of time, if it is a noteworthy site launched by a significant entity. For example, a car manufacturer could launch a new website, and this will generate a lot of links and traffic from social networking and the blogosphere.
Search engines therefore have the difficult task of automatically working out which sites are relying on link-building tactics which are falsely inflating their importance, and which sites people are actually interested in. If a search engine is too lenient, then its listings will be full of irrelevant content. If the search engine is too strict, then its content becomes outdated. Of course, they have incredibly complex algorithms that take into account many different factors to do this. But what does this mean for the search engine optimizer?
When link building, try not to focus on simply one type of attack. A link building campaign should target different areas that would naturally be linking to your website – some small sites, some large sites, certainly some social networking sites, blogging sites and forums. If possible, your link building should be more focused on ways that will encourage other people to build links for you – this will result in the most natural link profile.
Building a natural link profile is simply about spreading your time correctly across all of the various places that would link to your site naturally.