Penguin Savvy Linking
If you’re reading this article, you are probably aware of how powerful — and dangerous — links can be to SEO. With Google’s Penguin 4.0. a website’s links are routinely analyzed. Meaning if websites didn’t adhere to inbound link quality guidelines, they suffered in organic search. Not sure if your link profile is helping or hurting you? A link analysis is an excellent place to start. I’ll share my best tips on what should be included in a link analysis project.
Google continues to reward websites that focus on quality links and provide helpful content. Conversely, they are penalizing websites with thin content (pages with little or low-value content) and irrelevant/poor quality links.
Understanding and managing your link profile enables you to:
- Find poor quality links, remove them so they stop hurting your business.
- Keep a clean link profile which is a major signal to search engines that you are worthy of higher visibility in organic search.
- Identify potential businesses/domains to cultivate more links that drive qualified sales leads.
- Compare your link profile to competitors so you can do better in search and get more business.
Link Analysis Components
- A Comprehensive List of Links. For example, we use 4-5 professional-grade link tools in addition to the information available in Search Console to aggregate a list as no one source is complete. We then organize a spreadsheet with key pieces of information (e.g., if the link is toxic or helpful).
- Competitive Comparison. SEO is a competitive sport. A link analysis will help determine how your website stacks up against your competitors. It will also give you ideas on how to identify opportunities and build new quality inbound links from credible and authoritative websites that boost your website’s authority.
- An Executive Summary with Recommendations. Receiving a spreadsheet with a bunch of links and appended data isn’t very useful. Interpretation of the information is key. As I analyze a profile, I cull out insights and make recommendations on how to manage a link profile moving forward (e.g., what needs to be cleaned up and how to keep it clean).
- A Disavow File. If you have links hurting your website, you should absolutely receive a disavow file to upload into Search Console. By doing so, you alert Google that you are actively managing your website’s link profile.
A link analysis is the first step in preventing a potential Google manual penalty. Recovering from a penalty is long and arduous. You want to avoid that journey at all costs.
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