What Is Link Diversity?
As you start to build links to your website, you’ll want to analyze your backlink profile to see just how well you’re doing in your quest to develop a popular, trustworthy and authoritative website that will rank high in the search engines.
A natural link profile will include all types of links. Links from blogs, articles, high quality directories, audio sharing sites, EBook sites, news sites, comments, social bookmarks, review sites, directories, educational establishments, Q & A sites, press releases, social media sites, forums, etc. Link diversity also means obtaining links from a rich variety of domains such as .edu, .com, .gov, etc.
Furthermore, a natural link profile will typically include a large percentage of low PageRank, nofollow and unanchored links. You cannot have just high PageRank, dofollow links. That is highly unnatural.
Google has designed its algorithms to penalize sites with artificial or manufactured backlink profiles, and they highlighted this in their How Search Works interactive infographic, explaining that they may penalize a site if they find “a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive or manipulative links pointing to [it].”
A good backlink profile will also have a diverse range of link anchor texts, a balanced mix of links from both high and lower quality domains and contain as few artificial signals as possible.
Elements of a natural inbound link profile:
- High domain diversity
- High link type diversity (blogs, web 2.0 sites, web directories, press releases, editorial content, blog comments, forums, etc.)
- A mixture of dofollow and nofollow links.
- Social signals (tweets, likes, shares, social bookmarks, etc.)
- Safe anchor text diversity includes the following:
- Branded anchors (e.g. moonpig)
- Naked URLs (ie, http://www.moonpig.com, www.moonpig.com, moonpig.com,)
- Universal anchors (ie, read more, read more by clicking here, visit this website, etc.)
- Hybrid-branded anchors (ie, Social media news at Mashable)
Domain diversity simply refers to the overall number of unique domains (also known as the linking root domains) you have pointing to your website. This concept considers a wide range of link attributes including the linking page types, content types, domain names, IP address, anchor usage, PageRank, degree of relevancy, dofollow/nofollow, and more.
Consider the Following Example:
Assume you have two sites in the same industry with the following link profiles:
– 5,000 backlinks from 80 unique domains
– PageRank 5
– 800 backlinks from 250 unique domains
– PageRank 4
If someone were to ask you which of the two websites would rank higher on the SERPs, you would be forgiven for thinking that Site A would be the dominant site out of the two simply. After all, it has a higher number of backlinks and higher PageRank than site B. However, the reality is that site B is ranking much higher in the search results pages for the same keywords.
Why is site A not dominating?
It comes down to one simple fact: site A has 5,000 links from 120 unique domains. This means on average, there are around 60 links coming from each domain. On the other hand, site B has 1,000 links from 250 quality domains. Therein lies the reason why site B is the dominant site. Domain diversity is a very strong ranking signal.
When you have many backlinks from the same domain, Google does not count all of them as valid for the purposes of ranking. A site with 10,000 links from 100 domains is never going to rank as high as a site with 500 links from 300 domains – all things being equal. This is because in the eyes of the search engine spider, the second domain is obviously much more natural.
The IP Address Factor
A link profile with links from multiple domains that are all hosted on the same IP address does not look natural. The IP address factor means that if you have a lot of links from the same IP address block, they will be valued far less than links from multiple IP addresses.
In fact, it could actually trigger a penalty because a link profile with majority of links from one IP address block looks like a manipulative private block network (PBN). For example, 217.301.54.21 may be considered to be the same IP as 217.301.54.99 (for link evaluation purposes) since they are both part of the same C-block (217.301.54.x).