What are the Characteristics of a Natural Link?

July 21, 2020

This article throws light on the difference that exists between good, bad, natural and quality links. There are few terms used commonly in SEO like good links, quality links and natural links. Be it you are planning to carry out a client pitch, your boss wants to know the reason for not deriving quality links or attending search marketing conference, you need to be aware about it and explain about different link types effortlessly.

You can learn the following from this article:

  • Get to know each link type with definitions.
  • Determine the links which when used can boost rankings.
  • Identify the link types to include to disavow sheet.

Generally, there is debate on the specific link types (for example, relevant & edu, manual updated directories). It will prove to be a wonderful baseline to use.

Link types

  • Natural links: They occur organically (not viewed as something placed by your organization).
  • Such links does not:
    • Redirect through monetization or JavaScript tools.
    • Exist within paid or sponsored contents.
    • Come with tracking parameters.

Rather natural link tends to be considered to be a reference to part of source, website or content.

  • Unnatural links: These are paid links and can be placed as well as tracked easily by media buyers, PR firms or monetized via CPC campaigns, affiliate programs, monetization scripts or influencers. Google may take manual action upon your site if the links are not properly followed. Your site might also get impacted negatively by Penguin mostly, since these are not natural or earned.

About unnatural links. They are links:

  • Within the site’s sponsored content (since search engines are not aware of who made payments to place the content).
  • With tracking parameters (like UTM medium and source).
  • From sites which use monetization scripts since as per scripts, payment is offered to retailers for linking.

They can be found in outbound redirects, site’s code along with other mappable techniques.

  • Semi-natural link: You may come across ‘mixed’ link pattern occasionally. Natural link may be present for example using tracking parameters. Suppose you click an influencer paid for sharing a link, which leads towards the landing page having in place tracking parameters. The link when followed by aggregators, bloggers and others might copy-paste directly within their site, thus providing natural links with such parameters. It results in organic, but unnatural link scheme. This can be better resolved by, ensure that when a person visits your site using tracked link, you need to set up a redirect. This is to pass parameters as well as to solve natural page structure (like utm_campaign which redirects itself to without UTM parameter version).

This way, you can derive non-tracked and standard URL like the one used and also be in a position to attribute properly traffic, sales and lead them back to original site.

Still additional links’ exposure and halo effects are measurable and is done by pulling link acquisition report as well as scraping/crawling the shares, retweets and likes from initial influencer.

About Quality Links

These are links derived from superior quality sites. However, depending upon SEO quality discussed about, this definition is likely to change. There are few factors to be taken into consideration to determine website quality:

  • The site has a section that is updated regularly pertaining to the topic or is niche.
  • You cannot view what sponsored content is allowed (except clearly marked advertorials).
  • No outbound links to scam, payday, illegal or adult sites.
  • It is indeed a wonderful sign to identify them among Google news feed, since Google considers them to be highly trustworthy and of great quality.
  • Publicly viewable ad sections or media kits do not have any mention of backlinks or text links or price.
  • Link has body copy which needs to be earned. It is unlike press releases, forum mentions blog comments, including other areas where links can be purchased or developed easily by anyone.
  • All acquired links are not likely to be of contributors, but of staff writers. It is possible to buy contributors and no following links campaigns have already been started by several large publications. For example, for Huffinton Post if you Google search and nofollow, then you can view multiple discussions as to when they flipped switch.

How Good Link is developed?

When compared to quality link, good link can be termed to be somewhat different. This link type can be anything deriving positive impact, but with less risk associated with it. based upon SEO type performed like international vs. country and national vs. local specific like Google & UK vs. Yandex & Russia.

For Yandex, good links are referred to be those that are Russian government approved and does not link to banned content sites, contraband and those forbidden in Yandex.

For Yandex traffic, for instance, alcohol gifts are termed to be bad, but considered as good links for search engines and other countries.

For local SEO, local directories maintained, managed and not having submit site option is termed to be good. However, this does not apply for national, due to potential quality and content relevance.

Rather than being termed harmful, they can prove to be beneficial, if they clean out constantly 4XX errors, dead sites and old sites and have aged a lot. If I am specifying <strong>might</strong> or <strong>may</strong>, then it could be because of not being a solid no or yes. This again depends upon specific site and situation. There can be a great blogger with a wonderful niche content, however, without authority or age with chances of quitting blogging within a year. It might appear to be good link and fall under ‘OK’ or ‘maybe’ category, which is again 100% debatable. Also, there can be a well established blog, but without much fan following and is known to stick to its niche. Though having great organic content, it might not perform well in Google. It is likely to fall under ‘OK’ category.

New blog with relevant content, boasting of highly engaged readers in huge numbers but without much SEO traffic is another example to take. Since they possess quality audience, they are good link. They can also prove to be excellent source to garner sales/traffic as well as pass down authority for SEO from their links, only if they continue their niche path. For good backlinks, it is crucial to find out and determine their current and future impact. Every site is indeed unique and hence, every link needs to be independently considered prior to considering it as good/quality or bad.

How to find Quality Links?

You need to keep in mind few aspects while creating copy for links to derive.

  • Who has emotional reaction or made to feel important or have been empowered?
  • Why that person may want to tag a friend and be willing to share, call out or link to my contents?
  • Do I offer any readymade solution to some unique or common problems?
  • With regards to this content, what different, special or unique about its presentation?
  • Which are the ways that is better given examples of, in details or explained of something that is useful, funny or complex?
  • How I helped people to link & share this content easily?
  • What are the areas where I have advertised to make it viewable by people in huge numbers to derive quality references and backlinks (at times, it can be an influencer with large journalist or blogger following)

If natural links is mentioned, then it is more about quality. Being in good SEO neighborhood, it is not easily acquired and are content sites that are topically relevant and matches your niche, site, stores or services. With frequent Google updates, you can protect your site by focusing more upon quality than quantity. Focusing upon quality is sure to help lure more relevant readers to visit through referring sites. they may be interested to become engaged readers, customers, social media traffic and new link source.

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