Yesterday I read a very good article on Problogger which looked at 10 tips for a flawless link strategy. There’s some great ideas in there for anyone looking to strengthen their website’s reputation in Google.
But… It did lead me to ask the question; does a perfect link profile look too natural?
The above quote may be true, but in this case I prefer this one: “A beautiful thing is never perfect.”
Obviously everyone wants to aim to do everything perfectly, but the reality is that as close as you might get, you probably still won’t consider it to be perfect. If you think of this from an SEO perspective, even if you’re number one in Google for all of your top ten target keywords – why aren’t you number 2 and 3 as well? What about the other keywords? Where are you in Yahoo? Etc… There’s always room for improvement.
The same applies for link building – a link profile is never complete, it’s always a work in progress – even if you dominate market share in your industry, there’s always that bit more you can do.
But thinking about how link profiles are built up, something you might think is the perfect link profile, Google may consider to be unnatural. So in theory, building high-quality links which boost your website’s credibility, should help to build Google’s trust in you – and let’s face it, it’s not a bad start! But if you’re competing at the top end of Google for competitive keywords and you’re looking for that extra 2% or so to push you forward, perhaps the fact that you have very few nofollow links will appear unnatural to Google and could be the difference between being first and second or third.
Let’s have a quick look at how some UK brands backlink profiles using Open Site Explorer. Clearly these sites will have had at least some sort of link building activity (maybe even Google?!), but I’m basing this on the fact that they are well known brands who should naturally attract links.
So firstly, lets look at Boots which has 8% of its links nofollowed:
Next, it’s Next – with 7% of links nofollowed:
John Lewis has a lower figure, but this still accounts for 2% of their backlinks:
And finally Google UK (who knew they were comment spammers?!) have 7% of all links nofollowed:
So if we agree that all of these sites have strong backlink profiles, which help them to rank highly – perhaps it’s safe to assume that a perfect link profile will not just consist of SEO perfect links.
What do you think? Would this change your link building activity? Do you ignore building all nofollow links, or would you still look to build them anyway?