How to Build a Healthy Link Profile: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Build a Healthy Link Profile: A Beginner’s Guide
Do not index
Do not index
Wondering what’s a “healthy link profile” and how it impacts your SEO?
In this post, we’ll unpack the secrets of building and maintaining a robust link profile. We’ll explore:
  • How to analyze your link profile using free and paid tools
  • The six characteristics of a healthy link profile (+ some actionable tips )
  • What to avoid for a healthy link profile
But first, let’s go over some basics.
A link profile is an overview of all the inbound links (or backlinks) pointing to your website. It matters because Google and other search engines use backlinks as an indicator of a domain’s credibility.
Backlinks also serve as one of Google’s main ranking factors, making a healthy link profile indispensable to your SEO efforts.
Several factors determine the health of your link profile, including:
  • The tactics used to obtain them
  • Their anchor text
  • The quality of referring domains
  • Contextual and topical relevance of links
We'll discuss them in more detail later. For now, let’s look at how to analyze a link profile.
There are two ways to analyze your link profile:
  • By using Google Search Console
  • By using paid SEO tools
Here’s a look at both of these approaches.
This option is great if you want a basic overview of your backlinks.
To get started, fire up your search console and select “Links” on the left-side navigation menu.
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Once you’re there, you’ll see quite a few options:
  • External links
    • Top linked Pages
    • Top linking Sites
    • Top linking text
  • Internal links
    • Top linked pages
Since we want to analyze our link profile, we'll only focus on external link reports.
Here’s how to get the most out of them:
  • Select “more” in the “Top linked pages” section. This will show you the pages with the most backlinks on your website. You can select each page and see a list of domains linking to it – which you can filter by the number of links and the domain name.
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  • If you only want to analyze your top linking domains, check out the “Top linking sites” report. You can filter it by the number of linking pages, the number of target pages, and the domain name. You can also select each website and see a list of pages it’s linking to.
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  • If you want to analyze the text in your backlinks, check out the "Top linking text" report. It will show you a list of the most linked terms on your website – which you can filter by the number of links and the text within the links.
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Remember, these reports rely on data crawled by Google. So, they won’t include social media links or links from sources not crawled by the search engine.
To analyze your link profile comprehensively, you'll need an SEO tool.
We'll be using Ahrefs for this post, but you can use any SEO tool.
Here’s a step-by-step look at the process:
  • Step 1: Plug your website into the Site Explorer. This will take you to an overview screen that gives you a glimpse of your backlink profile. For instance, the domain in the image has 7.5K backlinks from 1.1K referring domains.
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  • Step 2: Next, check your backlink acquisition rate (in the section below “Backlink Profile”). This will tell you how many backlinks you’ve built over a certain period. You can also compare your acquisition rate with that of your competitors.
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  • Step 3: Scroll down further to check where most of your referring domains are based. You’ll find a map showing the distribution of your backlinks by domains (.com,.net,.org, etc.).
  • Step 4: To analyze your top anchor text, scroll to the bottom of this screen. If you see spammy or irrelevant terms here(see below), check out their full report.
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  • Step 5: To delve deeper, navigate to the “Best by Links” report on the left-side navigation menu. This will help you understand what kind of content attracts links to your website (plus, what type of sites are linking to your domain). You can also identify pages that are no longer passing link equity (or authority) to your website and should be fixed (learn how to identify and fix broken pages here).
                                                           Ahrefs’ Best By Links Report
Ahrefs’ Best By Links Report
Now that you know how to analyze a link profile, let’s explore the qualities it must possess.
For higher rankings and organic traffic, your website’s link profile must have the following characteristics:
Backlink relevance is a crucial element of link-building.
But what does it even mean?
Well, let’s consider the following example.
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This blog by Niftypm (a project management OS) mentions our other product SmartTask (a multitasking project management app).
Since we’re both in the same niche, getting a recommendation (or a backlink) from them is great for us. The fact that Niftypm is a DR(domain ranking) 74 domain with 60.9K monthly visitors makes this even better.
However, backlinks don’t have to be niche-specific to be relevant. They could come from “shoulder niches” – areas related to your content. For instance, SmartTask would also benefit from links on productivity websites since we help people with that. Or human resource management apps since we cater to that segment.

b) Surrounding content relevance

Domain relevance isn't the only factor that determines backlink quality. Context also plays a huge role.
To understand this better, let's look at a different link to
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In this case, the link takes you to a blog post on project management tools. It comes from a paragraph on project management tools with an anchor that uses the same keyword. Overall, this is a perfect link.
However, if it were in the messaging and comms section of the post, it would be irrelevant to SmartTask's core business and content. Contextually, it would be a low-quality link.

c) Natural anchor text

There was a time when having keywords in your anchor text was considered a good thing. However, that changed after Google’s Penguin update.
Now, you can get penalized for stuffing your money keywords into anchor texts. And for using the same anchor in all your backlinks.
A better alternative is to use natural anchors (or diluted anchor text) in your links.
Let’s say you have a pet shop and want to rank for terms like pet food, wet cat food, dry dog food, etc. A natural anchor linking to your site would look like this: Want to prevent kidney disease in your cats? Switch to these nutritious canned foods.
Note: Only brand names are exempt from anchor text dilution, which can still point to your URL as is.
Backlinks tend to lose their impact over time – especially if they’re on outdated pages. That means a seven-year-old link from a DR 80 website isn’t as valuable as a fresh link from a low-authority domain.
This is mainly due to Google’s preference for fresh content and links from sites with a “high freshness score.”
Links should be sourced from various places, like blogs, news stories, testimonials, social media, and podcasts, to ensure a robust link profile.
Instead of pointing to a single page, like your landing page, backlinks should be spread across your website. The more diverse the linked pages, the healthier the link profile.
Generally, there are three ways to build a healthy link profile:
This is when you reach out to other websites and request them to link to your pages. Of course, you need to give them a compelling reason for it – which is where link-building tactics come into play:
  • Broken link-building: Identify relevant broken pages on a target website and replace them with your own content.
  • Guest posting: Write a high-quality post on a website to bridge its content gap.
  • Resource page link-building: Find a relevant listicle in your niche and ask to get your product/service included.
  • The Skyscraper technique: Improve an existing piece of content and ask sites linking to it to link to you instead(learn more about it here).
Let’s be honest: Traditional link-building can be tedious at times. The endless prospecting, outreach, and follow-ups can get a bit overwhelming – which is why we recommend using link-building tools.
Depending on their features, they can either optimize or automate the link-building process.
For instance, Smartlinks accelerates link prospecting and outreach by fetching relevant backlink opportunities for your site and converting them with a single click! It also has a Slack community that offers marketing and SEO insights and exclusive link prospects.
                                     Smartlinks’ one-click backlink request feature
Smartlinks’ one-click backlink request feature
The best part is that it’s absolutely free!
No hidden payments or conditions. Just ethical link-building with an innovative twist.
If you have the budget, you can hire a white-hat link-building service to boost your link profile. There are many options out there, some of which offer flexible payment packages.
To maintain a healthy link profile, avoid link schemes at all costs. They don’t do much for your SEO and can provoke manual action from Google's Webspam team.
Here are some examples of link schemes:
  • Paid links: Links acquired in exchange for money, goods, and services.
  • Article directories: Backlinks from sites that host editorial articles.
  • Spammy links: Backlinks from blog comments and fake social media profiles.
  • PBNs: Networks of websites that exist solely to link to each other.
  • Over-optimized anchor text: Spamming money keywords in all your anchors.

Next Steps

You’re now equipped to assess and optimize your website’s link profile. To learn more about backlink audits, use this comprehensive list of link-building metrics. Or master link-building for your new SaaS website with this beginner-friendly guide. You can also learn how to leverage your existing backlinks with our Tiered Link-Building Guide.

Written by

 Divya Mathur
Divya Mathur

Senior Content marketer at and Passionate about B2B SaaS and Artificial Intelligence. I’ve been in the content space for over 6 years and have first-hand experience in how On-Page and Off-Page SEO affect a site's traffic. These articles enable me to share my learnings and help you achieve better search results.