Having a strong, diverse backlink profile is an essential component in SEO. For those who are unfamiliar, a website’s backlink profile contains the external sites that link out to your website. So as far as a diverse profile, this can mean many different things: link type, the strength of the linking domain, follow vs. nofollow links, diversity among IP addresses, and a wide range of anchor text.
Recently, Google started attributing less emphasis on exact match anchor text (the text that contains the link) and more emphasis on the diversity of your profile and the quality of your links. Therefore, it’s now increasingly important to have a diverse range of anchor text ranging from different synonyms to your URL to ‘click here’. These variations allow the link building efforts to appear natural – something search engines are looking for – which is why I have included a couple of options to assist you when you are hitting a wall with your link building campaign.
First, try to consider what your online customer is typing in as a query. If you are tracking your site through Google Analytics you’ll be able to narrow down this information by looking at the keywords report. Here you will find all the keywords used in the search query before they landed on your site. You’ll probably notice that the majority of searches are long-tail and could look something like, “search engine optimization company in Chicago, IL”.
Google AdWords offers a useful tool for building tightly themed keywords called the Contextual Targeting Tool. While this was specifically built for AdWords, it can be a great resource to get a few fresh ideas. Type in your current keywords you are using and it will outline similar, relevant keywords that could be helpful with your campaign.
Another great option is to turn to Google and see what they consider to be synonyms of your keyword. To do this simply place a tilde (~) directly in front of your keyword and Google will bold similar keywords in the result pages. This makes the process easy for identifying what Google perceives as like terms and this technique also provides more avenues for you to pursue when reaching out to site owners for guest posting or other link opportunities.
Lastly, take a look at your competitors. They can provide some great insight on areas that you may be missing out on. Run through their website and check out their title tags (if they are optimized), do some research in Google and see what keywords they appear in the result pages for. Finally, take a look in their HTML to see if they still utilize the meta keyword tag – a tag that indicates all the keywords that company deems important. This isn’t a common SEO practice anymore, so businesses who are staying on top of trends aren’t using this tag anymore but it’s worth looking into if your competitors are still using it.
In the end, there are many ways to go about diversifying your link building efforts but the main point is that it’s increasingly important to have a natural-looking profile and a variety of anchor text is a good jumping off point.
Lindsay Atkinson is a former SEO Analyst at Digital Third Coast, a search engine marketing agency in Chicago. Connect with Digital Third Coast on Google+.