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The 5 Most Important Elements of Your Blog’s Link Profile, Backlinks

Link your way to killer search rankings. With a neat sword. Yay.

[This is part of the The Blogger’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Optimization Series.]

One of the most important elements of your entire search engine optimization strategy and operation is links, and especially what is typically called “backlinks” or links on other properties (not your blog) that link to your blog and your blog’s content.

The most basic rule of thumb is that the more backlinks you have the more authority your blog can command and the higher you will rank in SERPs and will be included in your overall PageRank value (per Google).

Naturally, this is one of the major goals of any search engine optimization professional as they make it a point to help organizations, businesses, and websites get more links. They are interested in increasing what is commonly understood as the site’s Link Profile.

But not all backlinks are created equal and you’ll have to mix, match, and find the right combination of the following major elements and strategies in increasing a blog’s Link Profile. Doing this well (and wisely) will boost your traffic to incredible heights.

 1. Anchor Text

We’ve talked about this before here in this post (which would be a good review) but it’s one of the top ways that specifically increase a blog’s Link Profile.

For example, if tons of links use the same anchor text when linking to your blog you’ll most likely rank higher for those specific keywords. This is one way in which I was able to achieve a Page 1 SERP for the keyword “professional blogger” which you can read about here.

This is something you can control (internally) and something you can help coach your readers or passively assert to them with keywords they should use. Tried and true strategy that simply works.

2. Popularity

The simple fact is that the more links you get from more popular blogs the more popular you will become. This harkens back to your High School days when the so-called “popular clique” was able to distribute their favor among the lower life forms and temporarily (or permanently) increase the value of that human being and thus making them more credible, popular, and generally awesome.

This never happened to me in High School (and I’m not bitter, trust me) but it sure has happened for some of my blogs. I’ve been linked by TechCrunch, Mashable, Kotaku, CNN, LifeHacker, ProBlogger, Smashing Magazine, Daily Blog Tips, and more. These blogs are like super-power popular and I’ll take those links any day of the week.

3. PageRank, TrustRank

We’ve talked about PageRank before (and it’s relevant in this post here as well) but one other piece of vocabulary that you might want to become familiar with is what some consider “TrustRank” or the value that search engines give your blog (and the blogs that link to you) when considering SERPs.

This is essential to combat the increasing amount of spam and copy-and-paste blogs that steal content and simply reproduce it on other domains (here’s one way to stop them, by the way).

Earning links from trusted domains that have high TrustRank is essential. One major factor in this ranking signal is age of the linking domain. There’s just something powerful about age, right?

4. Topic-Specific Properties, Blogs

One of the reasons that you want to be as focused as you possibly can be when it comes to your blog content is that it ups the chance that you’ll be linked to other content-focused blogs.

You see, there is more strength in a link from a topical-blog than a blog that’s more general in nature. For example, I value a link from ProBlogger.com more than any other blog that sometimes talks about effective blogging techniques because the former is a much more focused content-rich source of link(s). In other words, being linked from a blog that talks about what they ate that morning is not of interest to me, search engine optimizers, or search engines in general.

Be specific, be topical, and be focused! You’ll attract more links from the same as you grow.

5. Trusted Link Neighborhood, Degrees of Separation and Association

This is the simple science of being related to directly or indirectly to trusted blogs within a network of links.  The point is this: It really does matter who you link to in your blog as search engines take that into consideration when passing value and creating a rubric for your SERPs.

For example, if you (Blog A) link to a blog that might have decent content (Blog B) but that blog links to questionable or “spammy” blogs (Blog C, D, E, etc) then you could be penalized for linking to a blog that doesn’t have a good “link neighborhood” or a trusted association of links.

That’s one reason I passionately dislike blogrolls because most blogrolls have outdated content and are links to blogs that have nothing to do with my content and my audience. In fact, I’ll hesitate or just not link to a blog if they have a blogroll that’s offensive!

The point of these five points? It’s clearly this: Be careful with your backlink strategy and curate the links that are incoming and be careful of who you link to!

It all can work for you or against you. But the most important strategy is simply creating amazing content that deserves to be linked, period.

[This is part of the The Blogger’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Optimization Series.]