Your Backlink Profile: How Link Quality, Quantity and Diversity Impact Your SEO

What is a healthy link profile? What types of links are there?
Published on 
April 24, 2024
Updated on 
April 24, 2024

Backlinks are indisputably one of the top ranking factors for Google, especially as the competition in a niche gets more fierce. 

Even more important than the links themselves is the composition of your backlink profile: the sum total of your links and their features. 

High authority backlinks from niche-relevant websites that pass on SEO value are what will move you up the SERP and increase your organic traffic. But they need to be structured in a way that communicates naturalness.

Of course, building a backlink profile takes time, effort and usually some capital. 

Below we will explore what constitutes a good backlink profile (protip: it’s always on a case-by-case basis). 

What is a backlink profile measuring? 

In a nutshell, your backlink profile is both the total number and the quality of the total number of referring domains pointing towards your website. 

Typically, when viewing your backlink profile, you are using a tool like Ahrefs, which allows you to filter your backlinks in myriad ways. 

You can break down your backlink profile by anchor text, country of origin, Domain Rating, etc. 

Other tools like Majestic allow you to break down your backlink profile by their spamminess (which would then allow you to go about getting those links removed or disavowed). 

When you perform a backlink analysis, you are determining (i.e., making an educated estimation) how much your backlinks contribute to the rankings of your domain and its various pages. 

It is important to keep in mind that links and link building are not exact science. While Google has admitted that links are part of its PageRank algorithm, it is quality over quantity that matters when it comes to link building. 

A single great link from a relevant, high-authority site can make way more of a difference than a large number of low-quality backlinks–especially if those links are coming from places likes Private Blog Networks and Link Farms

Straight from Google’s John Mueller: 

If you were to hire an SEO to perform a backlink analysis for you, they were first take note of the highest quality sites linking to you–dofollow links, followed by nofollow links. 

At dofollow, we pride ourselves on being able to build links for our clients that they likely wouldn’t be able to get on their own. 

We’ve built some serious needle-movers for companies over the years: 

These are links from some of the web’s most high authority, trustworthy websites and, to Google, these are the kinds of backlinks that communicate quality–moving you up the rankings. 

So, what makes a good backlink profile?

In short, a good backlink profile is a natural backlink profile, comprised of a wide range of high-quality links. 

A good backlink profile contains: 

  • Dofollow and nofollow links
  • Links to a wide range of a domain’s pages
  • A good mix of anchor text in the backlinks’ hypertext

The bottom line is that a good backlink profile is one in which there are no patterns that indicate the site owner is trying to get one over on Google. 

A mix of dofollow and nofollow links

A good link profile is going to contain both dofollow and nofollow backlinks. 

Search engines like Google expect that a website, over time, will naturally accumulate both kinds of links. 

Of course, dofollow links confer more SEO value on a link-per-link basis, but if you’re getting backlinks naturally, not all of your links are going to be dofollow. 

This is because, again, if you’re building links naturally, a lot of the time, it is not up to you whether you get a dofollow or a nofollow link.

Some websites that want to link to you might have an editorial policy in place that applies a rel=nofollow label to everything. 

If you are building links in directories, forums, or blog comment sections, any hyperlinks might be automatically set to nofollow. 

Links can still be considered high quality backlinks even if they’re nofollow–i.e., part of a healthy backlink profile–and, at the very least, they can send great referral traffic your way. 

Check out this link that we built for ourselves on the website GoodFirms by responding to a HARO query–The red lines around the branded hyperlink are added by a tool that identifies nofollow links on a page.

GoodFirms is a huge, high authority website. Of course, a dofollow link would have been better, but it wasn’t up to us and Google still sees that we have built an organic, editorial link to our homepage.

HARO link building is one of the best ways to build powerful homepage links. 

Why search engines want to see both dofollow and nofollow links

A lot of link builders, especially inexperienced ones, tend to fixate on dofollow links as the be all, end-all. 

They’ve read or been told that having as many dofollow links in your link profile is the most important thing. 

But that’s not true. 

Too many dofollow links can be taken as a sign of link manipulation, which Google doesn’t like. This is because Google knows that not all sites will make their links dofollow–some sites do, but other websites don’t (for various reasons).

A good way to ensure you are only getting dofollow links is to buy them from spam sites that sell dofollow backlinks to anyone with the cash to buy them. 

Again, these are called link farms (we touched on them above). They don’t provide value or contribute to user experience.

Google doens’t like them and can and will penalize you for using them–either by neutralizing and SEO value the link might provide or by slapping you with a manual action penalty that hurts your traffic and ranking. 

A good SEO strategy should account for this and strive to build a variety of nofollow and dofollow links (always with niche relevance and user experience in mind). 

A good backlink profile features links to a variety of different pages within a domain

A good, natural backlink profile is going to feature links to a bunch of different pages on your website–your homepage, service and product pages, informational content, linkable assets, your About page etc. 

With that in mind, your link building efforts need to ensure you have many high quality backlinks pointing all over your website. 

Of course, strategic link building that directs link juice to your commercial pages is always going to be the name of the game when you’re running a for-profit business online. 

But you want to obtain links that demonstrate your entire website is valuable to users. 

The importance of diversifying your link building efforts

To ensure you have this plurality of links, you need to hone and apply different link building efforts. 

These include:

  • Guest posting, broken link building and skyscraper link building for deeper informational pages
  • HARO and other forms of digital PR for strong homepage links
  • Social media for social signals (and brand awareness)

A strong backlink profile combines all of these things to create a diverse pool of links for a backlink profile. 

A good mix of anchor text

Anchor text is another key component of a natural backlink profile and contributes to your search engine rankings. Unfortunately, it is often left by the wayside by link builders. 

Low quality links pointing to your site are bad enough. Low quality links with spammy anchor text are the double-whammy of bad link building. 

Search engine optimization means letting Google know what target pages are about and when other websites send people to your site with a hyperlink, there are various ways they can do it. 

A good mix of anchor text includes: 

  • Keyword rich anchor texts 
  • Contextual anchor texts
  • Naked URL anchor texts
  • Branded anchor text

Keyword rich anchors

Keyword rich anchors are when a linking domain hyperlinks to a page on your website using the target keywords you are trying to rank for on your target page. 

For example, the target keyword of this article you are reading right now is “backlink profile.” 

If you were to read another article (either on our site or other sites) that looked something like the below example

You would notice that the hyperlinked text reads “backlink profile.” This is an example of keyword rich or keyword optimized anchor text. 

It’s ok to have some keyword-optimized anchors in your backlink profile, but you can’t overdo it. 

Overdone keyword rich links can be interpreted by a search engine as spam links, which can hurt your backlink profile. 

This is because they often read like ad copy and disrupt the flow of a piece of content (i.e., diminish user experience). 

SEO success requires a  healthy anchor text ratio–one that includes keyword rich anchors along with the others mentioned above–naked URLs and contextual anchors. 

Contextual anchor text

Contextual keyword anchors are those that help contextualize the content on a target page. 

They don’t disrupt the flow of an article, which is better for user experience, which means Google tends to like them more. 

At dofollow, we are huge sticklers when it comes to anchor text when building links for our clients. 

Sometimes clients would like us to use certain anchor text, in specific quantities, as part of an already established link building strategy. Other times they want us to develop an anchor text strategy for them, including the use of contextual anchors. 

A contextual anchor, using this article as an example might look as follows. 

Let’s say we are trying to build a link to this very page by having a guest post published on another website that links back here. 

Neither we nor the referring domain want a keyword rich anchor in the article because they eschew low quality spammy links (as do we). 

Instead of just shoehorning the words “backlink profile” into the article with a link that takes the reader here, we might structure it as follows: 

Think of contextual anchor text as a primer for the content you’re linking to. 

In the example above, the text “quality and naturalness of your links” is essentially our definition of what a backlink profile is, which our article then expands upon. 

When building your backlink profile, some sites allow you to choose your own anchor text, while other sites do not. 

Having a good ratio of contextual anchors is an important component of your search engine rankings. 

Naked URL anchors

Naked URL anchor text is basically just the entire URL of your page/domain. 

Most often, it is your homepage URL. Less commonly, it is the URL of a deeper page. 

These are often used so that readers can easily see where they are going to be directed when they click on a link. 

Branded anchors

Branded anchors are those that contain your brand name, pretty simple. 

Here is another example using a link we built for ourselves: 

You can see that the link’s anchor text is just our company name. 

Most homepage links have branded anchor text. 

Monitoring your backlink profile: Ahrefs and Google Search Console

There are basically two ways to monitor your backlink profile: Ahrefs and Google Search Console. 

Both let you see new links from referring domains as Google crawls new pages. 

Google Search Console has a links tab that lets you see all of your site’s backlinks: 

Google Search Console will show you your overall backlink profile, but it will not give you the kind of domain metrics that Ahrefs gives you. 

For deeper insight into the nature of your backlink profile, you need to use something like Ahrefs (or Semrush or Moz). 

You want a full picture of your backlinks at all times because you want to know where your links are coming from, the anchor text being used, how those links impact your traffic, and, importantly, whether some of those links should be removed. 

Why your backlink profile requires careful stewardship

How many backlinks you have is not nearly as important as where those links come from and how they are structured. 

A sound SEO strategy recognizes the value of link, anchor text and page diversity and sets out to build and curate a link profile based on those attributes. 

Obviously, this requires a lot of work, experience and SEO insight to pull off. 

This is why a lot of companies with the budget for it outsource the work to link building professionals with the time, tools and knowledge to build sustainable, high-performing backlink profiles that will stand the test of time. 

Reach out to dofollow today and find out more about how we have been doing exactly this for our clients for years. Skyrocketing their rankings, organic traffic and conversions. 

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

In this Article:

Turn your website into a traffic & lead gen machine with the world's most powerful backlinks.  

High-quality backlinks to your business each month with our user centric link building service.

Recommended Posts

Ready to get started?

Book a discovery call and get to know us better. Ask all the questions you have about how we can help you scale your business.