Natural Link Structure – It’s a term you hear search engine optimization gurus through around a lot. They speak of the importance of having a natural link structure, but just what the heck is a natural link structure?
That’s an excellent question, and it’s one you need to know the answer to if you want your website to achieve its full potential in the search engines (i.e. you want to get top rankings). If your link structure looks “artificial” to search engines like Google, then you’re always going to be playing catch-up instead of getting ahead in the search engine ranking game.
Having a natural link structure means that you have a large variety of links pointing to your site, your links use a variety of anchor text, and those links point to a variety of different pages.
Examples of sites that have natural link structures would be websites like WebMD.com, Wikipedia.org, and Youtube.com. These sites don’t need to go out asking for people to link to them.
If you want to have a perfectly natural link structure, then you need to “attract” links just like those sites do. To get people to link to you, it’s important to understand what makes other websites owners link to you. Webmasters and Bloggers will link to your website for a variety of reasons – perhaps you have an article that is really informative; maybe you offer a free tool for download on your site; or maybe you have a hilarious video that people need to see. And there are a whole lot more reasons why someone will link to someone else’s site. Heck, sometimes people who hate you will link to you. (It’s happened to me more than once.)
Websites that have a natural link structure tend to rank highly in the search engines. For example, Wikipedia tends to rank in the top ten for just about every general term these days – a lot of this is due to the sheer number of quality links coming into that site.
Making a site’s links look natural should be the goal of anyone optimizing their website. That means that you should focus on getting links from a wide variety of places. Get links from articles, directories, social media sites, blogs (very important), press releases, and just about any other place you can think of.
If you have control over the anchor text, make sure you use a variety of it. For example, if you have a site about coins, a good variety of anchor text would be “coins,” “coin collectors,” “numismatics”, “gold coins”, and so on. The point is to mix it up.
Also, don’t have all your links point to you homepage. That doesn’t look natural. Sites with a natural link structure have links pointing to a huge variety of internal pages on their website. (See my post on deep linking) For example, if you had coins.com, you’d want links pointing to coins.com/silverdollars/ coins.com/gold/ and so on.
Of course, the best way to get a natural link structure is to get it naturally. By that, I mean that your website is just so interesting and offers such great content that people can’t help but tell others about it. If you have a website like that, you’ll have new links pouring in all the time and your website natural search engine rankings will skyrocket.
For more ideas on how to write content people will link to, just take a look around this blog – I write about it frequently (check out my post on linkbait for more specifics), and try to be an example of it myself.
Want to learn a whole lot more strategies for building links? Then be sure to check out my link building guide at MissionUnlinkable.com.