Tips for Detecting a Naturally Grown Link Profile

In this tutorial I want to offer a few tips on how you can use the SISTRIX Toolbox to check how natural a link profile looks. For this tutorial it is necessary to have access to the link module. Natural profiles are very important when it comes to a sustainable presence on Google. With the aid of different updates, like the Google Penguin, we see that Google is trying more and more to automatically evaluate the quality of a page.

Analysing a link profile step by step

We start out by typing the domain which we want to evaluate into the Toolbox search bar. For this tutorial we will use the domain bonn.de, among others.

Suche nach Bonn

Now we switch into the link module through the left-hand navigation and click on “Links > Overview”. For a meaningful evaluation we will need all the information the Toolbox has to offer. Due to this, please activiate LinkPlus for the domain. If this extended database is not already active, the following message will be displayed.

activate LinkPlus

When the LinkPlus database is activated, we can show you a multitude of additional performance indicators for the linkdata. From this moment on, you can, next to other things, access the distribution of follow and nofollow links, as well as homepage and subpage links. Additionally, we will show you an overview of the distribution of the visibility values of your link sources. Extremely important for our evaluation are the link texts and link destinations.

links-overview-bonn_de

Distribution of link texts

A natural link profile mostly has its own name and domain as link texts. While we will not put down a specific percentage for this, it is important that they should make up the majority of linktexts. Let’s have a look at the most frequent link texts for the city of Bonn.

Häufig genutzt Linktexte

It quickly becomes clear that almost all link texts correspond to the domain (ex.: bonn.de) and the rest of the top link texts mention the city directly – though not in relation to any specific field of interest. For example “city of bonn”. Not marked were the interests, themes and other terms. Interests are, for example, tourists attractions, buildings, or cultural places. In the above example this applies to the “kunstmuseum bonn”, one of the art museums in Bonn. All links that do not have a link text are grouped under “empty”.

The Toolbox will not show a dedicated evaluation for these interests, etc., which, in part, comes from the personal definition of keywords. No two people may have the same idea of what a “interest” keyword may be. Let us take my definition and check how the most frequent linktexts would be categorised.

Linktext distribution for Bonn

(The circle diagram refers only to the above mentioned table “Top Anchor Texts”. Due to this, the percentages will not add up to 100%. To look at 100% of link texts, you can open “Links > Anchor Texts” in the left-hand navigation.)

51.01 percent of most frequently used linktexts are personal names and domain links. This is a very usual percentage for a natural link profile. Not only websites for a specific city can achieve these values, any website can. Even a big online shops like zalando.de have about 50 percent of linktexts with their own name and the domain.

The overview in the link module does not show all linktexts. On the left-sided navigation you will find the menu item “Anchor Text” for the link module. There you can look at all the available linktexts for the domain. If you click on the Plus behind a linktext, all the backlinks with this anchor text are shown.

Deeplink- & nofollow ratio

Every link profile usually consists of startpage links and links that lead to subpages. The same applies for nofollow and follow links. Basically there is no naturally grown page that does not have at least one nofollow link.

Explanation: nofollow-links are not being followed by Googlebot. Because of this, these links do not pass on PageRank or any other signals that contribute on how the results are scored in the searchengines. Nevertheless, Google is still able to know how many and what kinds of nofollow links a website receives. A typical link like this are those from blog comments (WordPress sets comment links to nofollow by default) and forum contributions. Some forums will mark their external links in threads as nofollow.

You can find extensive information on nofollow in our Ask-SISTRIX Knowledgebase.

Next I will show you a typical comparison of a positive and a negative distribution in the link profile.

Verteilung von Follow- und Deeplinks

The unnatural link profile only has links to the startpage. Subpages are not being linked to at all, even though they exist. These distributions are often caused by overly motivated linkbuilding actions, in combination with a lacking understanding of sustainability. The nofollow ratio, with only 0.9 percent of nofollow links, also shows quite the marginal value.

The proportion for bonn.de (on the right) looks quite positively, on the other hand. The start- and subpages are being linked at almost 50:50 and the nofollow attribute also shows a natural extend.

Please be aware that it is not necessary to get as close to the 50% mark as possible. Different types of websites may have different distributions. Online shops usually have quite a lot of links on subpages. This is partly due to the many communities that have formed on the internet. Customers that buy products, or potential buyers, like to ask in forums for other people’s opinions. In answering these questions, the product is often mentioned as a deep link. Therefore many links are created on subpages of shops. City or news pages behave quite similarly.

Focus.de, for example, has 79.2 percent of links on subpages and only 20.8 percent on the startpage. Most people are not interested on the startpage of a news site. The faz.net even has 92.4 percent of links on subpages. Online shops are often somewhere between 40 and 65 percent of subpage links.

Summary

Natural link profiles consist mostly of links to one’s own brand and domain. Additional linktexts are composed of words like “here” and there are, of course, also always some terms that are supposed to push specific services or products in the Google rankings. These would be the “money keywords”, like “book a hotel in Bonn”, for example. You should keep an eye on the distribution of startpage to subpage links as well as the nofollow ratio, at the very least. It also makes sense to evaluate the direct competition so you can come up with an average which you can then adhere to for your own website.

It is not condemnable to want to be in first place for certain search phrases on Google. But the way one approaches this goal is crucial in times of massive Google-Updates. If your website has natural values, then you are set for success that is sustainable.