How and Why You Should Maintain a Clean Backlink Profile?

Google has been aggressively changing the very fabric of how search brings traffic to websites for over a decade; here’s a fool proof way to build and maintain a healthy link profile –the first line of defense against Google’s algorithmic changes.


With every update that Google aggressively pushes, businesses have risen and fallen under the weight of it. Off the cuff, Google’s Mobilegeddon is a key example of Google’s glut.

Algorithm updates like Mobilegeddon (also known as the “Google Mobile Search Update”) and others, such as Panda, Penguin, and Google’s Phantom 2 Update have all had dire consequences for organizations that are unable to jump through the hoops set out by Google fast enough.

With new updates to how search works under the hood from Google looming over website owners year after year, there a few things a business can do that seem to be evergreen; a healthy backlink profile is one of those things a business can put into action that will help them weather tomorrow’s algorithmic storms. If you’re likely to build your own backlinks yourself, keep reading –and if you’d like a little help, consider reaching out to Digital Search Group backlink audit services.

What Sort of Links does Google Favour?

backlink profile

Google views backlinks as a way to measure the credibility of your website content, which simply put, is a measure of your relationship to the sort of websites it deems reputable.

Achieving quality backlinks has become an art form in itself; it is suggested that backlinks are earned manually, and not via automated bots as was all the craze not too long ago. In a ‘natural’ scenario, not every “real” link you build will have a ‘do-follow’ designation, nor will its anchor text be perfectly on point every time. This isn’t a guess; it’s Google’s business to know and understand this.

Google is smart, and they know the difference between automated link building and natural, seemingly holistic backlink building.

Here are a handful of backlinks which Google appreciates and favours on its search engine;

  1. Editorial Links

These links are produced in a non-promotional, natural way via trustworthy industry sources.

  1. Social Citations

Very similar to editorial links, social citations are no-follow backlinks which still pack a punch. These links help Google measure their importance within the industry, by comparing them to content from other websites.

In order of importance, here a few social media channels that can help quickly grow the number of social citations your content receives: Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Quora.

  1. Guest Posts and Co-Citations

Guest posts are still invariably useful if done correctly; content is not spammy, promotional, or overly pushy to complete a call-to-action. Put simply, approach guest blogs as charity work where you have only the best intentions. Do it for the good of your audience; readers can smell a pusher a mile away (and so can Google).

Co-citations are also effective in backlink profiles, and perhaps much more than they once were. In the older days, too many links out would siphon off some “Google juice” to your competitors. Today, having links to your content alongside reputable sources or competitors aligns you with them, and rightly so it also makes you seem more reputable. (Heaven forbid Google ever gets into the “disinformation” business, or we’d all be screwed!).

Consider the Data

Backlink quality boils down to the number of linking pages to your content, the number of domains linking to your content, the age of those domains and their authority, as well as their page rank, their website’s home page rank, backlink anchor text (closer to the end of the list), linking domain relevancy, link context and location, number of social shares, ratio of do-follow versus no-follow backlinks, and the rate of which your backlinks are created.

A small word on link context and location; contextual links are much more valuable, as Google deems site-wide links (in a menu, widget, or footer, for example) to be low quality and a little sneaky.

A Healthy Backlink will Withstand SEO Updates

As time goes on, these factors will likely change as they are devalued or abused, however backlinking has proven to be one of the most evergreen ways of keeping you in a good position.

So how long does it take for SEO to work? You’ll find that your SEO initiatives work faster and more effectively if you keep a clean backlink profile. Some links or circumstances to avoid include:

  • More than 50 outbound links on a page is unsafe
  • More than 30 inbound links from one domain is unsafe
  • More than 50 backlinks from the same subnet is unsafe
  • Any site-wide backlinks from other domains is just plain bad news
  • Clearly manipulated do-follow versus no-follow backlink profile; too many do-follow links is a tell-tale sign that your links are disingenuous

If you really get down to it and view Google as a person, these requirements and observations are not rocket science. Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments!